MLA report May 18

    Hello Chestermere! It was wonderful to have so many of you pop into our office this week. We really appreciate you coming in to see us and letting us know about your concerns about our city, and what is happening in the province. Just a reminder, we offer Commissioner For Oaths services. Please call ahead (403-207-9889) and Pete will let you know if your document can be commissioned by us. This is a free service.
    I would like to thank The Knights of Columbus for a beautiful “Surf ‘N Turf” evening that was dedicated to raising funds for Elizabeth House. From their website: “Elizabeth House is a life skills program and family-oriented home which welcomes in at-risk pregnant teens and parenting young women who need a safe place to live. From there these young women are empowered to work towards a transition to independent living as well as pursue the education or job skills training necessary to help set the foundation for a bright future.” What a wonderful cause and also wonderful was the band Fraid Knot who played some fabulous Celtic and country tunes. Thank you to all the volunteers who put on this spectacular event!
    There was a big crowd at the Emergency Preparedness Open House this past weekend. Fire, EMS, Police, the Red Cross, and City Staff along with Sparky the Fire Dog let parents and kids check out the equipment and gave some valuable advice on preparing for an emergency. Our thanks to all of them for their dedication to keeping our City safe.
    I would also like to speak about an amazing organization called Servants Anonymous. These amazing women endeavor to help women and girls who have been exploited and trafficked. They provide wrap around programs that deal with addictions, mental health, and helping them to create new lives for themselves in a loving and safe environment. We were honoured to attend their amazing Book Sale at the crossroads market where they raise $200 000 dollars to fund programs that give these women and girls a second chance at life. They are in need of donations and volunteers for everything from donating clothing to cuddling children.
    I attended the 22nd Premier’s Scholarship luncheon at Bow Valley College where 10 very deserving students received scholarships for their hard work, perseverance and resilience. The luncheon endeavors to raise money to be able to continue to provide these scholarships, and in fact many of the private sector donors were there to promote and support this wonderful event.
    I also attended and volunteered at the Youthsingers “IAmMusic” event that celebrates the 150th birthday of Canada in amazing musical style. Shirley Penner the CEO and founder of Youthsingers started with 26 students in 1985, and now has a company of over 500 students ranging in age from 3-70+. They travel all over the world, and have received countless awards and accolades for their performances, arrangements, choreography and original pieces. I was honoured to see these amazing musicians (including my youngest) put on a sold out show at the Jubilee Auditorium that I will not forget. They will be performing at Marda Loop and Canada Olympic Plaza on June 3 in a couple of free concerts. Please make sure you check them out!
    Turning to the Legislature, it is time to move adoption into the 21st century. I was honoured to sponsor and move first reading of Private Members Bill 206 this past week: the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement (Adoption Advertising) Amendment Act, 2017. Currently, and unlike in other provinces, Albertans who are looking to adopt cannot advertise their profiles online where as we all know, increasing numbers of people do most of their business and research. It is so important that our laws and regulations keep up with changes in technology.
    Bill 206 amends the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act in section 85(2) and would allow the publication of an advertisement (by a licensed adoption agency) publicizing the profiles of prospective adoptive parents. 
    This piece of legislation was inspired by my colleague from Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Nathan Cooper. He has spoken with tremendous passion as a father who has been given the gift of 2 of his beautiful children through adoption. His story is compelling and through his experience with the system he believes that there is a necessity to update the legislation around adoption and accessing information of potential parents. This will enable birth parents who have decided to find forever homes for their children to find parents that for a myriad of reasons will complete their families this way.
    This loving and lasting commitment not only comes from the side of those adopting, but those who courageously look to find home to adopt these precious children. Digital access to these families will not only help streamline the process, but more importantly will hopefully end the stigma that surrounds birthparents and adoption. We need to elevate this conversation and to give every opportunity for the birth families and mothers to participate as fully as they wish.
    This bill is about opening up as many pathways as possible to support families through the adoption process, and helping connect families who want to adopt with children who need a forever home.
    As always, we love to hear from you.