NEWS
10/27/2017 13:34 EDT | Updated 10/29/2017 20:21 EDT

Money first: Alberta plans to bring in prepay law on gas fill-ups after deaths

EDMONTON — Alberta is planning to bring in legislation that would require drivers to prepay before filling up at gas stations after several recent fatal robberies.

Government house leader Brian Mason isn't saying whether the law would dictate that drivers pay at the pump or involve some other payment method.

Mason says the bill will be the first one introduced when the fall sitting of the house begins next week.

"There have been two tragic incidents recently where workers in Alberta were killed trying to stop a gas and dash," Mason said Friday at the legislature.

"We promised their co-workers and their families (that) we're going to do more to prevent those horrible incidents from happening — and in this session we're going to fulfil that promise."

Three weeks ago, gas-station owner Ki Yun Jo died when he was run over by the driver of a stolen cube van as he fled without paying for $200 in gas in Thorsby, southwest of Edmonton.

In August, Joshua Cody Mitchell was sentenced to 11 years in prison for running over and killing Calgary gas-station attendant Maryam Rashidi while Mitchell was trying to take off without paying.

Mason said there will also be a bill, announced last month, by Education Minister David Eggen about gay-straight alliances in schools.

The alliances are peer-support groups set up by students to provide mutual support and prevent bullying of LGBTQ students.

Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney has faced criticism for saying it's best in some cases for officials to tell parents their kids have joined a gay-straight alliance.  Opponents say outing kids before they are ready puts them at risk of family ostracism or worse.

Mason said the bill will make it clear that the only people who could tell parents, or anyone else, would be the students themselves.

"We aren't going to let anyone out gay kids," he said.

The bill will also propose that every school receiving public money establish codes of conduct against discrimination, adopt policies to protect LGBTQ students and affirm the existing legal right for students to set up a gay-straight alliance.

Eggen has said many schools have been working with the province to set up such rules, but 20 of them, mostly private schools, are resisting.

Mason said there will also be new rules around consumer protection.

"You're going to see us bring in new measures to help defend people and families against fraud, scams and misleading high-pressure sales tactics. We all hate that stuff."

The province will also move forward, Mason said, with new rules for cannabis, which is to become legal in Canada on July 1.

Ottawa will be responsible for health and production of marijuana, but it will be up to provinces to decide how to distribute it, sell it and keep workplaces and roads safe.

"As we get closer to legalization, public safety is a top concern and it will remain so," said Mason.