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Viral spread in Alberta prompts suspension of legislative session

The announcement drew immediate condemnation from the NDP Opposition, with Leader Rachel Notley accusing Premier Jason Kenney of suspending the session in order to "flee from scrutiny" on bills such as paid sick leave for Alberta workers.
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The Alberta Legislature.

The spring sitting of the Alberta Legislature is on hold for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the province.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon announced the suspension Sunday. The session may resume May 17.

In a media release issued Sunday, Nixon stated the suspension is "the right thing to do as case counts increase." The media release noted the decision was made following consultation with the Official Opposition.

"We continue to strongly encourage all Albertans to follow their local health guidelines and get vaccinated when it’s their turn. We all have to do our part to get through to the other side of this pandemic," Nixon stated.

Cases in Alberta have smashed records over the past week, with the province surpassing 2,000 new recorded infections each day for the past three days.

Saturday brought another daily high of 2,433 new cases, with a testing positivity rate of 12 per cent.

Cabinet members and legislative committees will meet virtually for the time being.

The announcement drew immediate condemnation from the NDP Opposition, with Leader Rachel Notley accusing Premier Jason Kenney of suspending the session in order to "flee from scrutiny" on bills such as paid sick leave for Alberta workers.

"The abrupt decision to close the legislature follows a week of falsehoods, misleading statements and reversals from Kenney," Notley stated in a post to Facebook.

"The single most important measure we can take to keep sick people at home is to provide paid sick leave. It's a gross dereliction of duty for Kenney to run away from the legislature without having provided this."