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MLAs continue filibuster debate on contentious bills

Last Updated Jul 28, 2020 at 9:08 am MDT

A shot of the Alberta legislature building in Edmonton. (CREDIT: iStock)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – It’s been a filibuster night in the provincial capital where Alberta MLA’s haven’t slept as they continue to debate two bills.

The United Conservative’s Bill 30 is the proposed Health and Statues Amendment Act which, as written, would cut approval times for private surgical facilities and allow private companies to take over the administration of clinics.

Meanwhile, Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, will put limits on where and how unions picket during strikes or lockouts and allows employers to apply for an exemption to employment standards rules and could allow union dues to be used for political activity.

Both Bills passed second reading despite the “dozens and dozens” of amendments proposed by the Opposition NDP.

On Monday, the Alberta Federation of Labour said the government should expect a constitutional challenge of Bill 32, without fundamental changes to the law’s provisions.

In a release, the AFL said the Bill is unconstitutional and represents a clear and present danger to the workplace interests and democratic rights of working Albertans.

“This Bill moves Alberta far outside the Canadian mainstream when it comes to rights and protections for workers,” said AFL President Gil McGowan.

“It tips the balance of power outrageously in favour of employers, both in the workplace and on the political stage. And it actively attacks democratic rights guaranteed by the Canadian constitution. This law will make Alberta look more like Mississippi or Alabama than a Canadian province, and we will not allow it to stand.”

McGowan added the Bill could spell the end of overtime for non-union workers and will allow employers to opt-out of the minimum workplace standards.

The UCP argues that Bill 32 will give workers the choice to fund union politics while Bill 30 will give taxpayers high-quality care and ensure the publicly funded health care system is sustainable.