By Mariam Ibrahim, Edmonton Journal
Monday’s throne speech promised action on the province’s climate change framework, but opposition critics said Albertans have already been waiting years for a definitive environmental strategy from the government.The speech pledged action on a new tailings pond framework and continued work on the climate change plan, which will be released before the end of the year.The province has admitted the existing 2008 strategy will fall short of its goal to cut emissions by 50 megatonnes by 2020.Alberta auditor general Merwan Saher recently lambasted the government for failing to publish a single public document detailing the plan’s progress.Liberal critic Laurie Blakeman said the speech “continued to put the environment after everything else.”
While critics welcomed a reference to ending youth homelessness in Monday’s throne speech, they said the government has turned its back on impoverished Albertans.NDP Leader Rachel Notley noted that Monday’s speech included “not a word about reducing poverty,” despite the fact the Progressive Conservatives were elected in 2012 after promising to address the issue.“Instead of saying let the poor eat cake, it’s basically let the poor eat nothing,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta.
The throne speech included heavy emphasis on increasing Alberta’s international market access, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Prentice promised to lobby Ottawa for enhanced transportation infrastructure within Canada and pledged to continue working in tandem with B.C. and Saskatchewan on accessing tidewater.
The speech also noted the province will work with employers, municipalities and Ottawa on labour strategies that provide solutions for the Alberta job market. The Alberta Federation of Labour noted the speech made no reference to consulting with workers on a solution.© Copyright (c) The Edmonton JournalRead the article on the Edmonton Journal website