May 2, 2021
EDMONTON — The government of Alberta has suspended the spring session of the Legislative Assembly for at least two weeks.
Jason Nixon, government house leader, said in a news release Sunday that there is a need to pause the spring sitting because case counts of COVID-19 are increasing.
“With COVID-19 continuing to spread across Alberta, the government has determined that having MLAs return to Edmonton from all over the province after constituency week is no longer prudent,” Nixon said.
“Suspending proceedings is the right thing to do as case counts increase,” he added. “We continue to strongly encourage all Albertans to follow their local health guidelines and get vaccinated when it’s their turn. We all have to do our part to get through to the other side of this pandemic.”
Alberta shattered records for most active cases and most COVID-19 infections reported in one day Saturday.
According to the press release, cabinet and legislative committees will continue to meet virtually.
The province amended standing orders earlier in the spring session to allow for adjournment of a legislative session in response to public safety concerns.
The suspension is to prevent further COVID-19 spread and not because any MLAs or staff have confirmed infections, the government said.
In a statement to media, the Alberta NDP said they “adamantly oppose” the decision to halt legislature proceedings, as outstanding bills, such as paid sick leave, remain to be discussed.
“The single most important measure we can take to keep sick people at home is to provide paid sick leave,” NDP House Leader and Labour Critic Christina Gray said in a statement.
“It’s a gross dereliction of duty for Kenney to run away from the legislature without having provided this,” she said.
Rachel Notley said in a statement that now is not the time to pause the proceedings of the legislature.
“Alberta needs real leadership at this moment of crisis, but instead Jason Kenney is abandoning his post,” Notley said. “I can’t help but remember his boastful rhetoric this time last year, invoking the memories of the British parliament remaining in session through the Blitz.”
“The suggestion that the legislature cannot sit while servers are still working on patios and people are still crowding into malls is absurd. Now more than ever, Jason Kenney needs to show up to work.”
CTV News Edmonton reached out to the premier’s office for comment.