MLA Mark Smith prepares for fall legislature session

Seniors health, mental health, opioid crisis remain on the radar

by Mark Smith, MLA Drayton Valley-Devon

Hello Drayton Valley-Devon. Well another very busy week finished. With our nice days dwindling fast I’m sure many of you are busy with harvest time and canning season. I have been getting prepared to head back into the Legislature for the fall session. Although session doesn’t start back up until late in October, there is a lot to do and many individuals and organizations to speak with so I can address your concerns once in session.

As part of my Seniors and Mental Health portfolio, it is my responsibility to ensure issues are being heard and addressed. Recently I met with the Standing Committee on Families and Communities in Edmonton. We are in the process of reviewing the Missing Person’s Act. I’ve also met with the Alzheimer’s Society, Alberta Senior’s Communities and Housing Association and the Seniors’ Advocate to discuss issues ranging from housing to home care to mental health.

Another component of my portfolio is the opioid crisis. Last year there were 70 fentanyl-related deaths between January and March. In that same period this year, there were 120. These numbers are unacceptable. So far the NDP government has provided band aid approaches but have no comprehensive plan to deal with the complexity of the issue. I have been working with Mike Ellis, MLA Calgary-West to develop an opioid strategy that address all the related issues.

On a lighter note, earlier in the year I was able to be a part of the Telus ‘Kits for Kids’ event held at the legislative grounds where, with a number of colleagues, I filled back packs for children. This year Thorsby School was one of several schools selected to receive the backpacks, and on Sept. 11 I had the privilege of delivering these backpacks to students.

Once again I had a lovely time meeting with the seniors from Sunrise Village for coffee and some lively conversation. I look forward to our next quarterly coffee date which will be on Dec.15.

I am arranging a meeting with the Minister of Economic Development and Trade to promote local businesses in diversifying our economy. I will touch more on this topic once I have had the chance to meet with the Minister.

On September 20 I will “Walk a Mile in her Shoes” down Jasper Ave in Edmonton. This event is sponsored by the YWCA and raises funds for violence prevention and recovery programs. Not looking forward to strapping on a pair of stilettoes and trying to navigate the streets, but I’ll be joined by a lot of other people to take a stand to help break the cycle of domestic violence. If you would like to sponsor me, you can use the links on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MarkSmithAlberta/?ref=bookmarks

If you have any issues or concerns or if you have an upcoming event you wish me to attend, please contact my office 780-542-3355 (DV) or 780-987-3666 (Devon). I’m here to serve you and my door is always open.

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