June 6, 2017 (Edmonton) Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark released the following statement following the end of the 2017 spring sitting of the Alberta Legislature:
“I’m proud of what the Alberta Party accomplished this session.
We started with our third shadow budget, proving it’s possible to balance the budget in four years while funding population growth. We also showed that the NDP plan never balances, ever, and continues Alberta’s over-reliance on non-renewable resource revenues. Their irresponsible budget led to Alberta’s fifth credit rating downgrade, which will cost Albertans millions. Their plan to backstop electricity prices could cost Albertans billions.
We also showed the Wildrose “plan” would decimate public services; although we don’t believe they actually have a plan because all they’ve done is oppose the government rather than propose ideas to share with Albertans. Albertans should expect more from their opposition.
We pressured the government to act on creating a provincial dementia strategy, and I will keep up the pressure.
We contributed to the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention. I respect the process established by the Minister; we’ve made good progress so far, but much more needs to be done to address the conditions that led to Serenity’s death and to prevent the same thing from happening to any other child in Alberta.
On Bill 17 I’m glad to see the changes to employment standards, particularly regarding job-protected leave. I proudly voted in favour of the Employment Standards changes in this bill. If that was a standalone bill, I would have voted in favour of job-protected leaves like bereavement leave, compassionate care leave, parental leave, leave for victims of domestic violence, leave to participate in a citizenship ceremony and long term illness and injury leave.
These are welcome changes. They’re good for Alberta and the changes are long overdue.
I was also happy to see my amendment accepted by the NDP that added balance and security for both temporary and long term workers when people return from job-protected leave.
Unfortunately, the changes to the Labour Code did not provide the same benefits to Albertans that were found in the changes to Employment Standards.
The NDP are addressing a lot of problems that Alberta does not have and does not need to solve. They’ve done this for ideological reasons; the debate laid bare what they think of business and employers and job-creators in Alberta.
My specific concerns about Bill 17 are as follows:
- Allows for a non-secret ‘card check’ process to certify a union vs. a secret ballot
- The timeline for unionization drives doubles from 90 days to six months
- Eliminated prohibition on “salting”, allowing unions to place temporary workers on job sites for the sole purpose of supporting unionization
- Imposed first-contract arbitration, tilting the playing field towards new unions and against business
- Despite claims the updates were required because it had been decades since labour legislation was reviewed, the NDP rejected multiple amendments to establish mandatory review periods
- The government introduced two pages of last-minute amendments well after midnight and rushed them through the house, a process that could have been avoided if they had simply taken more time to write the bill
I strongly support expanding job-protected leave, but many Labour Code changes are another brick in the wall for Alberta business. The NDP have made it more expensive to invest in Alberta and it’s clear Bill 17 will slow our economic recovery. We’ve already seen a flight of capital out of our province, these changes are only going to make it worse.
The process was badly flawed and lacked adequate time for consultation. Thirty-six days is nowhere near enough time to hear from Albertans on expansive legislation that hasn’t been updated in nearly thirty years.
The government should have paused to consult on the draft legislation through the summer to give Albertans a chance for input on the dramatic changes proposed to Alberta’s Labour Code.
This summer I will continue to build the Alberta Party, to develop strong policy and give Albertans a compelling, viable, centrist option. Albertans are tired of polarized politics. They want a choice better than an irresponsible left or an intolerant right.
That choice is the Alberta Party.
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