Politics

Expanded gay-straight alliance legislation ‘a clear victory for LGBTQ kids,’ advocate says

Expanded gay-straight alliance legislation ‘a clear victory for LGBTQ kids,’ advocate says

A signal from Alberta’s education minister that he’ll introduce legislation to prevent school staff disclosing which students participate in gay-straight alliances gained fans and foes Thursday. “It’s a clear victory for LGBTQ kids,” said Kristopher Wells, an assistant professor of education at the University of Alberta. Violating students’ privacy can put students at risk of harm, he said. If parents want to know their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, they should ask them, Wells said. A group that pushes for parents’ rights called the minister’s move “heavy handed” and a government overreach. Such a law could limit schools’ powers to respond when a child is having problems, said Donna Trimble, executive director of Parents for Choice in Education. “If minister (David) Eggen truly cared about the needs of children, wouldn’t he be focusing on expanding the care and resources to our most vulnerable youth, and not focus on … what he’s threatening to do now, which is to outlaw the involvement of parents,” Trimble said Thursday. On Wednesday, Eggen said he’ll introduce legislation in the fall sitting to make it illegal for school employees to “out” a student who joins a gay-straight alliance (GSA)

 
 

Education minister vows to tighten privacy rules around gay-straight alliances in schools

Education minister vows to tighten privacy rules around gay-straight alliances in schools

New legislation coming this fall would make it illegal for schools to “out” students who join a gay-straight alliance, Alberta’s education minister says. “It’s very important to do the right thing. That’s why we get elected in the first place, is to ensure the safety and security of all inhabitants of this province,” David Eggen said Wednesday.

 
 

Will Fildebrandt now be sympathetic to other "flawed" politicians?

Will Fildebrandt now be sympathetic to other "flawed" politicians?

You have to wonder what MLA Derek Fildebrandt thinks of recall legislation now. You have to wonder how he’d react if he was on the receiving end of a legislatively approved movement to have him fired. After the past week of revelations about his real and alleged misdeeds, Fildebrandt would seem to be the ideal candidate for recall — if we had such a law. Keep in mind Fildebrandt has been a big supporter of such a law whereby disgruntled voters in a constituency could sign a petition to have their MLA fired and a byelection held. Here, for example, is what Fildebrandt said in August of 2014 when he was the Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Citizens deserve the right to hold their elected officials accountable more than once every four years.” Back then, Fildebrandt was taking aim at Alison Redford, who had stepped down as premier but was still an MLA, after a scandal involving her misuse of government aircraft.

 
 

Strathmore-Brooks constituency stands by Fildebrandt

Strathmore-Brooks constituency stands by Fildebrandt

No matter where United Conservative Party Derek Fildebrandt ends up on the legislature floor come the fall session, his constituency association says it has his back. The member for Strathmore-Brooks resigned from the UCP caucus Tuesday night after a series of controversies unravelled around him, including renting out his taxpayer-funded apartment on Airbnb, double-dipping on meals paid by the public purse, and facing a court date over a vehicle hit-and-run charge.   Ronda Klemmensen, president of the legacy Strathmore-Brooks constituency association, said the board stands by its representative.  Klemmensen blamed the media for the MLA’s departure from the UCP caucus, calling the multiple controversies surrounding the 31-year-old “distractions.” “We believe in Derek Fildebrandt’s integrity and values, and we are greatly disappointed in the low-level, ridiculous mudslinging taking place through the media,” she said in an emailed statement. “Derek’s decision to resign from caucus is the right decision at this time for his family, for Strathmore-Brooks constituency, and for Alberta.” Fildebrandt took a swipe at the media in his resignation letter, saying stories were “distracting from the work that must be done as the UCP is founded.” When the Journal revealed he was renting out his apartment on Airbnb, the MLA initially called the story a political “smear” over his criticism of former Wildrose leader Brian Jean. It was more than 24 hours before Fildebrandt offered an apology and took leave from his post as the party’s finance critic, saying he recognized the perception of the Airbnb arrangement wasn’t good enough. Fildebrandt has informed the Speaker of his resignation from the UCP caucus and intention to sit as an independent. Details on his caucus office location aren’t yet finalized and questions remain about who will pay for his constituency office. As an independent MLA, Fildebrandt is entitled to a pro-rated share of a $192,000 annual budget, comprised of the $78,907 all members receive and a $112,724 committee research allocation. The physical location of Fildebrandt’s seat on the floor of the legislature will be sorted out closer to the assembly reconvening Oct

 
 

Former PC MLA Sandra Jansen sworn in to NDP cabinet as minister of infrastructure

Former PC MLA Sandra Jansen sworn in to NDP cabinet as minister of infrastructure

Premier Rachel Notley appointed Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen as minister of infrastructure at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Tuesday. The former PC MLA took over the infrastructure portfolio from Brian Mason, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. Mason remains minister of transportation and government house leader. “Alberta’s economy is looking up, but there is more work to do — especially in Calgary, where too many skilled people are still looking for work,” said Notley. “That’s why I’m appointing Sandra Jansen, an experienced and well-known champion for Calgary, as our new minister of infrastructure.” Notley also announced the following changes: Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of economic development and trade for small business Annie McKitrick, MLA for Sherwood Park, has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of education Brian Malkinson, MLA for Calgary-Currie, will sit on Treasury Board Estefania Cortes-Vargas, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park, was recently sworn in as a member of the legislative review committee This was Notley’s second cabinet shuffle of 2017.  A small cabinet shuffle in January led to the creation of the children’s services ministry, led by Danielle Larivee. The ministry split off from the human services ministry, leaving Irfan Sabir head of the renamed community and social services department. Shaye Anderson was appointed the new municipal affairs minister in that shuffle, taking over the position from Larivee.  More to come … 

 
 

Live: Former PC Sandra Jansen sworn in to NDP cabinet as Minister of Infrastructure

Live: Former PC Sandra Jansen sworn in to NDP cabinet as Minister of Infrastructure

Premier Rachel Notley is set to shuffle her cabinet Tuesday, with a swearing-in ceremony scheduled at Government House.  This will be Notley’s second cabinet shuffle of 2017.  A small cabinet shuffle in January led to the creation of the children’s services ministry, led by Danielle Larivee. The ministry split off from the human services ministry, leaving Irfan Sabir head of the renamed community and social services department. Shaye Anderson was appointed the new municipal affairs minister in that shuffle, taking over the position from Larivee.  Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Government House.  More to come … 

 
 

Premier Rachel Notley announces cabinet shuffle

Premier Rachel Notley announces cabinet shuffle

Premier Rachel Notley is set to shuffle her cabinet Tuesday, with a swearing-in ceremony scheduled at Government House.  This will be Notley’s second cabinet shuffle of 2017.  A small cabinet shuffle in January led to the creation of the children’s services ministry, led by Danielle Larivee. The ministry split off from the human services ministry, leaving Irfan Sabir head of the renamed community and social services department. Shaye Anderson was appointed the new municipal affairs minister in that shuffle, taking over the position from Larivee.  Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Government House.  More to come … 

 
 

Premier Rachel Notley announces cabinet shuffle to come

Premier Rachel Notley announces cabinet shuffle to come

Premier Rachel Notley is set to shuffle her cabinet Tuesday, with a swearing-in ceremony scheduled at Government House.  This will be Notley’s second cabinet shuffle of 2017.  A small cabinet shuffle in January led to the creation of the children’s services ministry, led by Danielle Larivee. The ministry split off from the human services ministry, leaving Irfan Sabir head of the renamed community and social services department. Shaye Anderson was appointed the new municipal affairs minister in that shuffle, taking over the position from Larivee.  Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Government House.  More to come … 

 
 

Minimum wage hike could lead to 25,000 job losses: C.D. Howe report

Minimum wage hike could lead to 25,000 job losses: C.D. Howe report

The NDP plan to boost the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour next year could lead to the loss of 25,000 jobs, according to new study by a University of Alberta economist. The hourly minimum wage is set to rise to $13.60 Sunday from $12.20 before reaching the final figure Oct. 1, 2018, but in a commentary published by the C.D. Howe Institute, Joseph Marchand said these moves could hurt low-wage staff by reducing employment. “I worked a ton of jobs before I went to college. I think that experience helped me,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “If we keep on raising the minimum wage, and not having a minimum wage specifically for young workers, then those jobs won’t exist.” The minimum wage was $10.20 an hour in 2015

 
 

Cracks in the united armour grow two months from UCP leadership vote

Cracks in the united armour grow two months from UCP leadership vote

The United Conservative Party leadership race is far from an all-in brawl but, as we creep ever closer to the vote, so too comes more of the kind of talk that ends in a barstool being thrown. When the UCP leadership committee released race rules late Friday, four candidates had entered the ring: Jeff Callaway (former Wildrose president), Brian Jean (former Wildrose leader), Jason Kenney (former Alberta Progressive Conservative leader) and Doug Schweitzer (a Calgary lawyer). It will cost each one of them $75,000 for the chance to pursue the crown, with the vote taking place over three days from Oct. 26 through a preferential, non-weighted ballot by phone or online. Keeping it above board None of the candidates has stooped to ad hominem attacks; even when pushed by reporters recently, Callaway admitted he thinks Jean is “a good guy.” Kenney thinks the race has been “positive and respectful so far,” but takes issue with Jean proposing detailed policy. He and Jean simply disagree on some of the fundamentals, Kenney shrugs, and now is as good a time as any to discuss those differences

 
 
 
 

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