Fall session in the Alberta Legislature came to an end last week and one local MLA said he was happy with how the fall session went.
Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Trevor Horne said that he was most proud of the work the government did on bill relating to workers compensation and political action committees.
Horne said that changes to the Workers Compensation Board Act were much needed and he had been hearing complaints about the previous act since 2012.
The legislation, which was introduced in November, was a major overhaul of the act and included giving Alberta workers the right to refuse unsafe work without facing any repercussions, workplaces with more than 20 employees must now have a health and safety committee and ending the $98,700 cap on insurable earnings for workers compensation benefits.
Horne said that the political action committee (PAC) legislation was much needed because of new developments in political funding.
“I think we have seen some troubling developments lately and it’s good to see there is going to be some sunlight on that,” Horne said.
The number of political action committees in the province has grown rapidly in the last two years, since the government introduced legislation in 2015 that capped the amount of corporate and union contributions to political parties. The government went on to cap the amount of money individuals can contribute at $4,000 per year.
PAC contributions to parties, candidates or leadership contestants will now be capped at $150,000. This limit will be imposed in the December before the election year. Spending on local constituencies will also be capped at $3,000. Outside of election periods, PAC spending will not be limited.
Although Horne said that the government achieved a lot over the last term, he still had a few items on his wish list.
Horne said that next year he would like to get closer to finishing Ray Gibbon Drive. Right now the project is in limbo and on the government’s unfunded projects list that was released in the spring budget.
“We got it mentioned in the budget. It’s been recognized as an important issue. I was very happy to see that progress. It’s not the finish line but it’s certainly something,” Horne said.
During a visit from Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci in November, the minister told St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron to try to raise private capital from landowners in the area to help move the project forward.
Horne also said that he wishes to find an easy resolution to determining which MLA will run in which riding after the boundary commission report chopped up his current riding.
“The boundary commission report wasn’t terrible for Spruce Grove or St. Albert but it put me in an awkward situation where I don’t have a constituency,” Horne said.
Horne grew up in St. Albert but currently represents Spruce Grove, so he is in the early stages of conversations with his colleagues to try to determine where the incumbents will run in the 2019 election.
The next session will start sometime in the spring and the government will introduce the 2018 budget.