Happy Spring everyone! Although to look outside it doesn’t seem like spring, soon we will be enjoying the warmer temperatures and brighter days to come. Spring is a time for new beginnings, a fresh start and with the Legislature spring session back in full swing, now is the time to focus on just that.
In preparation for the start up of spring session, meetings with caucus were held to discuss our goals as the official opposition going into the house. Session began with the Speech from the Throne, given by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Lois Mitchell. Her speech was a general overview of where the government wants to go with legislation. If imitation is the best form of flattery, then several parts of the Throne speech were straight from the UCP platform, in that the NDP has decided to come late to party in its willingness to defend Alberta’s right to access tide water through the Trans Mountain pipeline into British Columbia. To view the Speech from the Throne, visit www.alberta.ca. Something new for this spring session is Alberta Assembly TV available on Telus channel 843. Unfortunately at this time the broadcast is not available for Shaw subscribers but it’s in the works to extend this service to Shaw customers in the near future. One can also watch house proceedings via online and of course in person. For more information please visit www.assembly.ab.ca.
Some outcomes from the opening of session included:
Jason Kenney gave his first speech in the Legislature and is making a concerted effort to raise the decorum in the chambers. The Official Opposition will limit the heckling of the government, ask questions with a respectful tone and respond in the house by politely clapping.
A report from the NDP Government’s Energy Diversification Advisory Committee (EDAC) has resulted in the creation of Bill one – The Energy Diversification Act. In the event this bill passes, Alberta would commit up to two billion dollars to leverage private investment including:
a. $500 million in royalty credits for a second round of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program
b. $500 million in loan guarantees and grants to establish a Petrochemical Feedstock Infrastructure Program
c. $1 billion in loan guarantees and grants to initiate a Partial Upgrading Program
Bill two – Growth and Diversification Act. This bill creates tech spaces in post secondary institutions, creates framework to invest in new scholarships and programs in tech, launches an Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC), continues the Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC) and Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC), plus instills the Minister of Transportation as the point person for the unmanned aerial systems sector (drones).
Over the past few weeks I had the opportunity to attend many meetings with a number of organizations. I spent time at the Leduc-Beaumont United Conservative Constituency Association AGM where Jason Kenney was keynote speaker to a crowd of close to 100 people. I was able to touch base with some members concerned about the education curriculum.
As well, I also met with the Alberta School Boards Association zones 2 and 3, which covers central Alberta. Discussions revolved around mental health concerns within our schools as well as funding issues surrounding transportation.
I attended the Alberta Urban Municipality Association meeting where I connected with many municipal councilors from our constituency and listened to a speech given by Jason Kenney, which was very well received. Plus I had the opportunity to attend a meeting with Alberta Registries agents from 200 plus registry offices across the province, expressing concerns needing to be addressed.
I recently met with our local seniors, along with Drayton Valley town councilor Cory Peebles, at the Season’s Retirement Community where we discussed a variety of issues including problems surrounding transportation for seniors. It is always such a joy to meet with our local seniors and I look forward to our next gathering. I visit the Season’s Retirement Community on a quarterly basis and welcome all seniors from within the constituency to attend. My next visit will be on June 1st followed by September 7th and November 9th. Meetings start at 10:30 a.m. I look forward to see you there on those dates.
As always I am here to help with any issues or concerns you have, please contact my office in Drayton Valley (780-542-3355) or in Devon (780-987-3666).