Happy Summer everyone. As Albertans we long await the arrival of our precious summer so I hope everyone is enjoying all the activities summer time has to offer within the constituency as well as in and around our great province.
Spring session at the legislature has now wrapped up for the summer which in turn allows me to focus on you, my constituents and participate and enjoy community happenings within the constituency. Really, this is the best part of being your MLA!
Having been involved in education for so many years and now the Shadow Minister of Education, it is such a pleasure to have the opportunity to be part of the graduation ceremonies of our local high schools. I was honored to be able to attend the graduations of John Maland High School in Devon, Thorsby High School, Breton High School, Buck Mountain High School, Holy Trinity Academy and Frank Maddock High School in Drayton Valley. Congratulations to all the 2018 graduates and best wishes in your future endeavors.
Economic development within the constituency is something I have been working hard on. In June I hosted a tour of the constituency to Atco Energy Corp. showing them the numerous facilities the constituency has to offer for a potential pilot project involving solar energy. Discussions with stakeholders are continuing and I will further update at a later time.
I still have been very active in supporting the hemp initiative and attended the recent hemp launch. This was a meeting to bring potential businesses together with investors. As well I had an opportunity to meet with the federal Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi in Drayton Valley, to discuss moving the hemp supply forward with government funding.
I met with County of Parkland officials to discuss the impacts coal phase out will have on their county services. It was determined the county will be facing a 25 per cent drop in their tax base resulting in budget cuts to services to the tune of $4 million dollars. As the NDP government continues to push toward phasing out coal powered plants, this is a prime example of how Albertans will be affected.
Rural crime is an ongoing issue and has been a focus of the United Conservative Party. UCP Justice Critic Angela Pitt says it best “the fact of the matter is that families from across rural Alberta still don’t feel safe in their own homes”. Recently the UCP brought forward their recommendations to combat rural crime. Here is what was recommended by the UCP Rural Crime Task Force: Strengthen police response capability, repeat offenders policy, combating court delays, data collection and public transparency, improving victims’ services, crime prevention and protection of property.
These recommendations focus on concrete actions. As stated by UCP Leader Jason Kenney, “These are thoughtful recommendations that go well beyond short-term, band-aid solutions to drive meaningful change”. On July 25 the Town of Drayton Valley council together with the Drayton Valley RCMP will be holding a community consultative group discussion on “Crime in the Community” which I will be attending.
A huge thank you to the communities of Drayton Valley, Devon, Breton and Thorsby for inviting me to take part in the Canada Day parades and festivities. It is always a great feeling to be able to celebrate our country’s birthday with so many of my fellow constituents.
If you have a community event you wish me to attend, or a provincial matter you require assistance with, please contact my office in Drayton Valley at 780-542-3355, office hours Mon. to Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or my Devon office at 780-987-3666 office hours Wednesday and Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy the summer, have fun and be safe!
Mark Smith is MLA for the Drayton Devon constituency and writes a regular column for the paper.