Moving forward, Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Bruce Hinkley has many priorities he plans to focus on. At the Wetaskiwin County council’s request he presented his plans during its Sept. 1 meeting.
Hinkley told council that on Aug. 28 he and approximately 12 other MLAs gathered in Ponoka to meet with several rural organizations on the premises of building foundations and partnerships, and making the MLAs and information more available to constituents.
“So we met with the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, we met with the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, we also met with the Alberta Rural Development Network, we met with the Alberta Rural Electrification Alliances, Alberta Surface Rights, National Farmers Union and the Alberta Growing Foods Security Network,” said Hinkley.
“My priority as a semi-rural MLA is certainly to be a strong voice,” he added. “Because I think in the end, public service, whether it’s the provincial level or the county level, is a service to the people of our constituency.”
Addressing the challenges rural communities face is a priority, says Hinkley.
He has his eye on landowners compensation and the right to appeal. “I do want to mention, so far, I had the privilege and created some history . . . I had been drawn for the first motion. And my first motion pertained to property rights, surface rights and it had to do with compensation for the landowners.”
He feels landowners suffer from a long history of unfair compensation. “The right to appeal has been denied over four different acts.”
Hinkley says his motion passed unanimously and the acts, put in place by the former government, are under review.
“It is now sitting with the Environment and Properties Stewardship Committee,” he explained.
Hinkley also specifically mentioned a mental health review is underway, but believes all health services in rural areas are lacking and need review.
Funding models are also an issue for Hinkley, especially when it comes to services such as seniors’ care, heath and education. “The funding formula is the problem.”
Hinkley told council he was also drawn for the Consumers Electricity Protection Bill, officially named the #7 Private Members Bill. “It has to do with regulation and de-regulation of the electrical rates. In the end, whatever it comes out to be, it is meant to be consumers protection.”
“So those are some of the things that I have been working on and I would say are priorities,” he added.