05/12/2015 03:01 EDT | Updated 05/12/2016 05:59 EDT

Notley Meets With Prentice For Insight, Advice

EDMONTON - Incoming premier Rachel Notley met with her predecessor Tuesday as Alberta's government machinery continued to churn toward its first change in parties in almost 44 years.

Notley and Premier Jim Prentice met at Government House one week after the NDP won a majority of 53 seats and defeated Prentice and his Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election.

After the meeting, the two shook hands for photographers.

"I'm very grateful for the co-operation that we are receiving as we prepare to assume office," Notley said.

"And today (Prentice) offered me his insight and advice, both of which are very valuable and ... I want to thank him for his service to the province."

Notley wouldn't say what Prentice told her and he declined to talk with reporters.

He announced on election night that he was quitting politics, despite just having reclaimed his seat in Calgary. Prentice remains premier until Notley is sworn in, but has not been in the legislature and has not spoken to reporters since the election loss.

Notley said she's worked out a plan with Prentice if an emergency arises before she becomes Alberta's 17th premier.

"I have every reason to believe that Mr. Prentice will respect the results of the election and work collaboratively to follow through on whatever advice we suggest should occur," she said.

"Should there be an emergency, I'm your go-to person."

Notley has been dealing with multiple issues as the NDP prepares to assume power for the first time in Alberta's history.

She said there is still no date to swear her in and she wouldn't comment on whether she's decided on a cabinet. She must also revise and then pass the budget that Prentice ran on during the campaign.

The delay is running up against other deadlines, including a May 31 date for school boards to submit their final budget plans. Notley has asked the Prentice government to extend that deadline for a month so that education officials can incorporate her promised budget changes to cover the cost of 12,000 extra students next fall.

"Our government was elected on a commitment to fund enrolment growth, and this extension of their budget deadline will permit us to act on this matter in good time for next year."

She also announced some senior appointments, including Brian Topp as her new chief of staff. Topp is a former president of the federal NDP and was deputy chief of staff to Roy Romanow when he was Saskatchewan premier.

The election has radically redrawn the legislature chamber seating chart. Seventy of the 87 members are new to the job.

On Tuesday, Speaker Gene Zwozdesky, who lost his seat, instructed the newcomers on the ins and outs of legislature procedure and protocol.

He reminded them that the law gives them freedom to say anything they wish in the chamber, but cautioned them that it's a room where even the calmest of people boil over.

"Emotion can overcome you in this chamber, unlike anything you've ever felt before," said Zwozdesky.

"It can engulf you. It can enrage you. It can frighten you. It can also make you laugh out loud on occasion."

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