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MLA Wilson update: ‘Alberta is truly a hive of activity’


Fall is such a beautiful time of year in Alberta. It warms my heart – particularly on the days I have a very full schedule – when I remember to take a moment and appreciate the bounty of this province. In my mind, the bounty comes in many forms: it’s in the beauty of nature, the stability of good governance, and the undeniable richness we have in the very people who make up the communities of Alberta.

It’s hard to miss the beauty of nature these days; harvest is well underway and local producers are once again immersed in their contributions to the thriving agricultural industry in Alberta. Newer industries like technology and innovation are also in full swing in this province. This kind of growth and development does not happen by accident; it’s stimulated by cutting taxes, balancing the budget, reducing red tape, supporting pro-growth economic policies, and ensuring Alberta’s workforce is prepared to work in vital industries.

A few weeks ago, Finance Minister Nate Horner gave the first quarter Fiscal Update of 2023-24 and reported that Alberta is well positioned for a prosperous economic future. We’re focused on jobs and the economy, keeping life affordable for Albertans, and debt repayment and savings. Alberta is experiencing a strong population growth, a decreasing unemployment rate, and a robust business environment. These conditions result in increased personal and corporate tax revenue forecasts for 2023-24. We’ve extended the fuel tax pause to the end of 2023, saving Albertans 13 cents a litre at the pumps. In 2023-24, we’re forecasted to pay down $2.6 billion of Alberta’s debt. While there is still work to do, especially in terms of affordability, Alberta is projected to lead the country in economic growth again this year.

Alberta is truly a hive of activity! And all that activity, coupled with our expanding numbers, also means keeping up with increased requirements of provincial services. My constituents are often surprised when I tell them about the many different ways the province is responding to the needs of Albertans. If you haven’t already, I invite you to subscribe to news from the Government of Alberta so that you can keep up to date on all we are doing to attend to the growing needs of our growing province. (Go to Go to “News” in the Table of Contents, scroll down to “Subscribe to News”.)

Did you know, for example, that the 2023-24 paving and overlay budget is $335.1 million, an increase of $80 million from last year, demonstrating the government’s commitment to ensure a well-maintained highway network for the movement of people, energy, agricultural and forestry products? Or that we are providing $3.5 million to fund 22 projects in rural and urban communities through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program to help restore riverbanks and wetlands, protect streambanks and improve natural drainage? Have you heard that we’re investing $5 million in the province’s aviation industry to help fill the growing demand for workers and position Alberta as Canada’s aviation hub? Or that, in addition to the $330 million announced in Budget 2023 to support front-line workers across Alberta’s social services sector, we are now adding $3 million to increase wages for front-line workers supporting individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)? (This commitment is on top of $25 million in operating funding already provided to Alberta’s FASD networks.) There’s also a new Specialized Criminal Justice Navigator (SCJN) Grant for eligible non-profit organizations to help fund staff who support victims of crime as they navigate through the criminal justice system. Organizations have until October 15 to apply. Details are online if your organization is interested in serving Albertans in this way.

Last week, I was thrilled to join the Hon. Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health, and Chief Cody Thomas at Enoch Cree Nation for a groundbreaking ceremony. Construction is beginning on a new chartered surgical facility that will increase publicly funded surgeries and reduce wait times. The facility will be the first one built on First Nation land in Canada, and will be operated by Enoch Cree Nation. The partnership between Enoch Cree Nation and Alberta Health Services (AHS) will support a culturally safe facility that will provide high-quality surgical care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This government is working tirelessly to fix the issues that have hindered our health care system for years, and I was so pleased to be part of this real step forward for Albertans.

I am honoured to be the provincial representative for the people of Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. While it gives me great pleasure to bring you some good news about progress our government is making, I am acutely aware, too, that there are some big, important, pervasive issues that still need attention.

I am grateful that there are folks willing to share insights, opinions, suggestions, and expertise so that problems can be clearly identified, and solutions can be intelligently and compassionately considered. People really do make up a big part of the bounty of Alberta. We have every reason to be hopeful.

Hon. Rick Wilson is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. His constituency office can be reached by email at, or by phone at 780-360-8003.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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