Danielle In The House, November 21: Legislative Process

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government has tried to bully doctors. It bullies municipalities into donating to their party.

It bullies landowners, and now it’s trying to bully and intimidate the opposition into passing horrible pieces of legislation. This from a government led by a Premier who says: “We need to change how the Legislature and MLAs operate. More free votes so MLAs can reflect constituents’ views. More time between proposing and voting on legislation.” When will we see that  change? Today? Sometime in the middle of the night tonight? Tomorrow? Ever?

Mr. Speaker, members of this Assembly on this side of the aisle are doing their jobs, reflecting the views of the people who elected them, proposing alternatives and adjustments. It’s our job. It’s a function the Premier referenced in a piece that she wrote when she was a candidate for the leadership of her party. She said: “We need to change how we make decisions. We must make time and processes available for consulting with Albertans before we pass laws.” Now that she’s the Premier, the time for lofty ideas, for generous interchange of ideas, for reflection of the wishes of the people is gone. There is no time. There’s minimal consultation.

There’s a ramrod approach to the legislation: let’s do it their way or no way. We say: enough.

Mr. Speaker, the democratic process matters. We are elected by Albertans to come to this Assembly and make sure everything that comes out of it is debated, vetted, tweaked, adjusted, and voted on to represent our constituents’ views. That is how this is supposed to work. The arrogance of this government is astounding. Bills are introduced and passed in a matter of days. Amendments are steamrolled as though perfection has already been achieved. Committees are sidestepped. Consultation is ignored. This process has to stop. We cannot keep making laws like this.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.