Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rent Control Filibuster

The Liberals and NDP filibustered the Alberta Legislature last night when the Tories tried to sneak their toothless rent control bill through the Legislature.
Tories refuse rent debate

Marathon debate over soaring rents keeps Alberta legislators up all night

Canadian Press

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2007

EDMONTON (CP) - An overnight debate in the Alberta legislature over new housing legislation had NDP Leader Brian Mason ordering pizzas and Liberal members stashing food.

Mason says he felt like a kid at a sleepover as he ordered fast food for his NDP colleagues and shared food with security staff. Liberal Leader Kevin Taft didn't join the marathon debate about whether rent controls should be brought in, but his members stashed food in the assembly to keep up their strength.

Government whip Frank Oberle said rent controls would stifle construction of new housing units, so the legislation that eventually passed second reading did not include them.

It instead limits rent increases to once a year, increases fines for landlords who ignore the rules and give tenants more notice when their apartments are being converted to condos.

Opposition politicians say that's sadly inadequate for thousands of people facing huge rent hikes, forcing some to leave Alberta in search of cheaper housing.

Rent legislation debate goes overnight (9:35 a.m.)

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2007

EDMONTON - In a rare move, the Alberta legislature sat all night to debate the Conservative government's controversial rent legislation.

The New Democrats introduced an amendment about 8:30 a.m. today to bring in rent guidelines. The amendment is still being debated.

Liberal-sponsored amendments to the legislation - Bill 34, the Tenancies Statutes Amendment Act - were passed early this morning.

The legislation will limit rent increases to once per year and require landlords to give tenants a year's notice before turning their buildings into condominiums.

But the government has steadfastly refused to include rent controls in the legislation even though a committee recommended rent-control legislation.

The Liberals said in a prepared statement today one of their amendments doubles the fines for landlords who violate the rules on condo conversions.

The debate was continuing this morning. Live video of the legislature is available at

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