The spring session of the Alberta Legislative Assembly ended with a marathon all-nighter that ended at 8:15 a.m. July 29, 45 minutes earlier than the session that went until 9 a.m. the day previous.
Local MLA Peter Guthrie returned a call shortly after the spring session ended, exhausted yet satisfied with what was accomplished in yet another lengthy spring sitting.
During the spring sitting, Alberta’s government passed 34 bills, to not only change the way Alberta is administered but to address the COVID-19 and launch the largest-ever infrastructure program to help anchor its recovery plan.
"We're all very happy," says Guthrie. "It's been a long and very complex and interesting session, so we finally got it wrapped up," says Guthrie.
"We're setting in motion now a recovery plan structure to try and get people back to work. We're in a very difficult financial situation as a province."
He's keen for an upcoming update on the province's finances.
"They'll be a fiscal update at the end of August, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the situation truly is the finance minister makes his presentation in what will now be three or four weeks."
Guthrie believes the Alberta government was determined to not allow COVID-19 prevent healthy debate on bills presented. In particular, he says over 30 hours of debate were allowed for both Bill 30, that makes sweeping changes to health care, and Bill 32, that deals and labour legislation.
Adding to the already full plate was the government's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. He believes the response helped both the province and his constituency keep numbers relatively low compared to other provinces.
The fall session will be equally aggressive, says Guthrie. He says 40 Bills are being considered.
"We will not get through 40, that's a lot, but that's what's being looked at and worked on."
Since the establishment of the Kenney administration, the Legislature has sat into July in both 2019 and 2020. Traditional the spring session ends sometime in June.