MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith: Spring sitting of Legislature wraps up

Recently, your United Conservative government wrapped up the spring sitting of the Legislature. This session saw the passage of several important pieces of legislation and many long hours of work. It also saw several new measures adopted to get Albertans back to work, diversify the economy, and make life more affordable for families. Here are some of the highlights!

We began the spring sitting by passing the first balanced budget Alberta has seen in nearly a decade. With this, we delivered on a key commitment to inspire investor confidence, control spending, and get our province’s finances back on track.

We passed the Utility Commodity Rebate Act, which provides $150 in electricity rebates for two million households, farms, and small businesses – amounting to nearly $300 million in relief on high electricity bills. We also cut the provincial fuel tax for gasoline, diesel, and marked farm fuel. This has resulted in Albertans paying the lowest prices in the country for fuel.

We passed the Traffic Safety Amendment Act, which protects roadside workers by requiring all motorists travelling in the same direction to slow down to 60 kilometres per hour when vehicles with flashing lights – an important safety initiative.

And we passed the Continuing Care Act, which expands and modernizes continuing care at the same time as we provide funding for more than 1,500 new continuing care beds in the province.

Further, we continued making strategic investments in high-demand education programs to meet labour needs through the Alberta at Work initiative, ensuring post-secondary students have more opportunities to train close to home in the programs they choose, and supplying industry with the highly skilled and talented workforce they need for the future.

And we passed a critical private members’ bill from Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson – Bill 205, the Human Organ and Tissue Donation (Mandatory Referral) Amendment Act. The passage of this bill is incredibly important as organ failure and organ donation impacts the lives of so many Albertans. Organ donation is truly the ultimate gift of life, but changes were needed to improve the process. With this bill passing, there will be several amendments to the organ and tissue donation process, including the implementation of a mandatory referral process, improving agency guidelines, and improving education and awareness surrounding the process and importance of organ and tissue donation. Bill 205 will literally be a life saver.

The 2022 highway construction season is underway with nearly $1.4 billion being invested in 300 capital and highway improvement projects employing 12,000 Albertans. Budget 2022 invests $789.4 million in this year’s Capital Plan for roads and bridges. Several major capital projects will be completed this year, including Highway 19 twinning, west segment, Highway 15 twinning and new bridge, and the Peace River bridge deck replacement project. We are building and maintaining the important infrastructure that makes Alberta a strong and vibrant place to live, raise a family and grow a business.

As we move into the summer season, our United Conservative team will remain laser focused on the priorities that matter to you and your family. I hope you have a great summer, and I look forward to reporting more good news soon.

— Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley – Devon