June 12th, 2024

Alberta UCP government limits debate on contentious bills, drawing Opposition anger

By The Canadian Press on May 28, 2024.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks during a press conference in Edmonton on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Alberta's government is limiting debate in the legislature to quickly pass four controversial bills, a tactic the Opposition New Democrats say runs roughshod over the democratic process. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Alberta’s government is limiting legislature debate time to pass four controversial bills, a tactic the Opposition New Democrats say runs roughshod over the democratic process.

With the spring sitting set to wrap up this week, Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party government has passed motions to limit debate to one hour at each stage for the bills.

The NDP says the tactic stifles elected members who won’t have a chance to voice concerns from constituents about the proposed legislation.

Three of the bills have been characterized by critics, including rural municipal leaders, as an authoritarian power grab.

One would give the province the power to veto federal funding deals with cities and towns while another would give Smith’s cabinet authority to overturn local bylaws.

Government house leader Joseph Schow dismissed the Opposition’s concerns, saying the NDP doesn’t want input on the bills and just wants them scrapped.

He says there are other ways to get feedback from Albertans.

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