Rick Wilson. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Rick Wilson. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

MLA Rick Wilson: September- October updates

Opinion: MLA Rick Wilson

Greetings friends and neighbours!

There is good news to share about Alberta’s Recovery Plan – it is working! Several months of major economic investments and job growth are clear indicators that our economic recovery is well underway. Earlier this month, for example, Dow Chemical announced its plan to build the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives complex right here in Alberta. Once this multi-billion-dollar project receives final approval, it will be the largest private investment in the Alberta economy over the past several decades, and it will have the potential to generate countless jobs in both the construction and operational phases of its development. By choosing Alberta as the host for this project, Dow Chemical is highlighting Alberta’s growing global leadership in emission-reduction technologies and is sending a clear signal that Alberta is once again a top destination for companies to invest their capital.

The entertainment industry is on the rise in Alberta, too. HBO’s series, The Last of Us – the largest television production in Canadian history – is currently filming at different locations around the province. High River is one such lucky location and it received $100,000 in compensation after hosting the film crew. Those funds will be used for projects benefiting the town.

In September, Alberta experienced its third straight month of significant job growth, adding 19,600 new jobs. Our province has now recovered all the jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic and we remain focused on attracting investment to our province and getting Albertans back to work. Better days are ahead!

I was honoured to take part in the Alberta government’s official declaration of September 30, 2021 as the Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As part of the ceremony held on the Legislature Grounds, I helped plant a tree to represent the strength and resiliency of residential school survivors, their families, and communities. It was a moving experience; I was reminded that while the past cannot be changed, together we can work toward a brighter future, forever remember those children whose lives were lost, and support those struggling with intergenerational trauma.

Sisters in Spirit Day was October 4 across the province. I attended multiple events that day — both in-person and virtually — and I was pleased to have been able to participate in a powerful event in Wetaskiwin, organized by the Heritage Museum in conjunction with Samson Cree Nation’s Advisory and Hate to Hope. So many people came together to honour the Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing across Alberta and Canada. My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who shared prayers, stories, pain, and hopes for the future.

Municipal elections wrapped up last week across Alberta. Voters got a chance to have their say about who they wanted representing them in their municipalities and on their school boards. I’m encouraged that so many Albertans got out to participate in the democratic process. Thank you to everyone who took the time to ask questions and learn about the candidates so that you could make informed voting decisions. And a big thank you to those who had the courage to put their names forward for public service. Congratulations to everyone elected this time around. We are incredibly fortunate to have an impressive mix of experience and fresh talent in this area, and I look forward to working together with each of you to help make good decisions for all Albertans.

Voters had some additional work to do in this election; the province asked Albertans their thoughts on two referendum questions – one about Equalization, and the second about switching to Daylight Saving Time. Thank you to everyone who took these questions seriously, did the research, considered the possibilities, and let your voice be heard.

Senate Elections were also held in conjunction with Municipal Elections this year. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot and voters could choose up to three. The three candidates with the most votes will have their names forwarded by the government of Alberta for consideration by the federal government to receive appointments to the Senate of Canada. Although there are no guarantees that they will be appointed, Albertans remain committed to the idea of a democratically elected Senate.

If some spooky Halloween family fun is your thing, check out The Haunted Barn of Grandview on October 29th or 30th. This labour of love was started by Corey and Claudia Kozack last year as a fundraiser for Lakedell School, and was so successful that it has returned! There is plenty of fun for the whole family to enjoy, while helping raise funds for a worthy cause. Details are available at their Facebook page, The Haunted Barn of Grandview. Sincere thanks to the Kozack family and their volunteers for this amazing event.

Last week was small business week in Alberta. Did you know that 95 per cent of all businesses in Alberta are small businesses? They are the lifeblood of our communities and play an important role in the economy. I can’t resist the opportunity to recommend shopping local and supporting our small business owners and workers today!

It gives me great pleasure to report that the Town of Millet won the National Outstanding Achievement Award – Community of Gardener’s Award, and the Hope is Growing Social Media campaign, small communities award. Congratulations to Millet in Bloom and all their partners and volunteers for their excellent and beautiful work.

Even during challenging times, there is always something to be grateful for. I want to share with you the deep gratitude I have in simply being able to share a meal with my parents. Please take care, be safe, and appreciate every moment you have with your loved ones.

Rick Wilson is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. His constituency office can be reached by emailing maskwacis.wetaskiwin@assembly.ab.ca or by calling 780-360-8003.

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