MLA Shane Getson discusses first session in Legislature

The province passed 13 bills between May 21-July 4.

The first session of the legislature has wrapped-up, with Lac St. Anne- Parkland MLA Shane Getson saying he's proud of his government's ability to pass 13 bills.

Three of these bills focused on scrapping Alberta's carbon tax, amending regulations for gay-straight alliances in schools, and lowering the minimum wage for workers under 18. 

Getson says changing the minimum wage to $13/hour from $15 is beneficial for all parties.

"It was blocking out a lot of students that couldn't get that well-needed and required job experience. The industry responded well, a lot of them didn't go down to the $13; if they already had the means to do it, they were already paying more than minimum wage," he said. He says the higher wage was forcing many employers to avoid hiring students because of a perceived lack of experience. 

Getson says looking into the policies for GSAs was about protecting the province's vulnerable youth.

"The misconception that's out there is that [Bill 8] disallows GSAs. It's quite the contrary. It actually gave Alberta the strongest legislation, not just bylaws or policies, it's actual legislation," he said. 

In regards to the carbon tax, Getson says getting rid of it will be beneficial to his constituents, and was a major platform for the United Conservative Party.

Along with the bills passed, the first session in the legislature garnered two filibusters and a controversy surrounding Premier Jason Kenney handing-out earplugs to his MLAs.

Getson says despite push-back from the opposition NDP, he believes these bills are what's right for the province.

"The bills we put forward were very straight-forward. They were items we campaigned on, they were in our platform, there were no surprises. It's what the majority of Albertans wanted [and] we owed it to those Albertans to make sure we followed-through with what we were doing," he said. 

In response to the earplugs situation, Getson says a lot was made from nothing. He says he personally wore earplugs in response to an excessively loud speech by an MLA who was using a microphone near him.

"A mountain was made out of a molehill. This distracted from what we should've been doing, which is having strong debates," he said. 

The session ran from May 21 to July 4.

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