Government House Leader Jason Nixon held a press conference on Monday to announce the introduction of several motions to the House, including a motion to immediately pass and amend the budget for the Alberta government in order to allocate an additional $500 million to health services.
Nixon laid out plans to introduce motions to allow evening sittings, and to ask for unanimous consent to amend and expedite the passing of Budget 2020 Bills 5 and 6.
Included in the amendments to the budget is the addition of $500 million allocated to health services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in addition to the $750 million in emergency funding and the funding already included in the 2020 budget, according to a release from the Province of Alberta.
Nixon also announced a motion to allow the adjournment of House meetings from outside the House, in the case that the legislature has to adjourn due to concerns over infection.
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“We are living in unprecedented times. The situation around the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating and ever-changing,” Nixon said in the release.
“We need to ensure funding is available for the front-line health-care workers whose presence will be critical in treating Albertans who become seriously ill as we also call on all Albertans to reduce transmission and help flatten the curve of the virus’s progression, to spread those cases and the burden on the health system over a longer time. In addition, we need to be certain that other essential government services are fully funded going forward in order to ensure these services are available to Albertans during this challenging time.”
Health Minister Tyler Shandro was also quoted in the release, noting the steps the province has taken on the face of the pandemic.
“While we took dramatic action on preventing the spread of COVID-19 over the weekend, it is difficult to know precisely what the virus’s progression will look like in Alberta,” said Shandro in the release.
“These motions will give us the adaptability to ensure our government is able to provide money for care where it is most needed by allowing for an additional $500 million in spending for front-line health-care support.”
With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.