MLA report October 26

    Hello Chestermere! I actually have so many issues bubbling in my head this week that I quite frankly do not know where to start. Let me start with saying how much fun we had at the Pumpkin (or as my niece would say-punki) Patch put on by the Lions Club this past weekend. I would like to personally thank them for ordering up such superb weather, and for the amazing hot chocolate that painted the mouths of all the children running around. The seagulls have asked me to thank all the children for the hot dog dropsies! I also attended the Scotiabank Small Business Week Trade Show, and the Chestermere Chamber Business Awards. Given the provincial and federal political climate around small businesses, new tax laws that may impede the way we do business, the Government narrative that obviously everyone who owns a business is trying to avoid paying their fair share because we are tax cheats, not because we put dollars away to pay for things like retirement as we do not have the privilege of access to pensions, it was wonderful to see everything Chestermere has to offer. The best tweet of the week in my opinion was from Andrew Scheer who said:

    “Let’s be clear that the most popular Liberal announcements are when they announce they are canceling their previous announcements”
    This apparent backtrack came as a result of public outcry, so take a moment to pat yourselves on the back. Your voice does matter. However, we have yet to see any details so remain vigilant. Unfortunately, every time they try to fix their mistakes they make things even more complicated which will end up costing you more time and money. Don’t look to your Provincial NDP Government for support. The portrayal of small business, doctors, and other self-employed people as a bunch of tax cheats fits their ideology perfectly so they refuse to stand up for you.

    Even more disturbing is the “clawback” of the disability tax credit to families and people suffering from Diabetes. What is wrong with our Federal government? They are targeting those who need our help now? This will cost the average family thousands of dollars in their taxes and remove their eligibility for a Registered Disability Savings Plan for their retirement. The decision has no basis, and the government refuses to provide evidence. Insulin is not an option. Diabetics can not choose to just not take this vital medication. What is the explanation for this? Please write to us, and the Federal Government about the impact to you or someone you know. We would be happy to supply contact information for the Alberta Liberal MPs who seem to have forgotten who they are supposed to represent.

    I was also at the Equal Voice Luncheon honouring Premier Notley with Equal Voice’s 2017 National EVE Award honouring her work to advance women in political life.  I may not agree with the present Government, but it was a tremendous honour to be in a room with so many incredible women and men who are a credit to their professions and to the fabric of our province. I heard the Premier utter the words that as a politician mean the world to me, and that was that our work at the Legislature should include robust debate and passion, and that we should leave behind the rhetoric and the character assassinations. Unfortunately, not even 2 minutes after uttering what I believe to be a true statement, and one that I attempt to live by (notice attempt) she then makes a joke about grumpy relatives at the dinner table who may be in her opinion behind the times like “Uncle Jason”. People did not get the joke, and then she went on to say “Uncle Brian” and continued with some underhanded statement about Doug Schweitzer, the other UCP leadership candidate. Then came the torrent of what this government has done, and what their mandate is and their political point of view and how awesome they are. There was no acknowledgment of the power of democracy or the need for a strong opposition considering that was once her station. I was truly disappointed that this trailblazer, and whether or not you agree with her politics, she is certainly that, abused the opportunity to inspire, and to share her stories of strength and wisdom with a crowd of people who were there to honour her, myself included. Instead as I sat at the front of the room she used yet another event to politicize her view of the world and to try and make points for team orange. I have heard her speak at a multitude of events, funerals and memorials so I know she is capable of doing much better. This was a severe disappointment, and very underwhelming in my humble opinion.
    Since I am ranting, I would also like to bring up another tweet of interest, and that is from the newly appointed NDP parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Education. You may have seen this retweet of a tweet from SOS Alberta:
    “Charlottesville reaffirms for us why we cannot afford to segregate our children. Not by class, race, culture, religion or ability. If we separate our kids under the guise of choice we remove opportunities to celebrate diversity WITHIN schools.”

    In other words, in her opinion, parental choice in education such as private, home schooling, faith based schools, sports and music schools create “structural barriers” and that she does not value choice in education whether that is public or private. She has not taken down the retweet. Choice in education is a pillar of our province and we must make sure that we as parents and care givers are always in charge of our Children’s education and our right to choose the type of education.

    I was asked about my opinion around Bill 62 in Quebec which requires people to show their faces if they give and or receive public services. As per usual the bill was passed without any idea of how to enforce it or how it will impact people who cover their faces for religious, cultural, medical, or work- related reasons. Women who wear a Niqab, or face coverings may be turned away from public transit, being able to attend secondary institutions, or even receive medical treatment. I realize that this is an emotional discussion, and that our opinions vary on this point. My thoughts are this: it requires consultation to understand what is the best way to move forward. We cannot profess to have the freedoms that Canadians have fought and died for, and then take away another person’s freedoms. I do not believe the notion that the bill is an attack on any particular faith, nor do I believe that anyone has the right to tell another person how to dress. That is an individual freedom that I would personally go to the wall to protect. This is a result of extremely poor legislation that is badly worded, thoughtless and is full of contradictions and tries to limit the freedoms of people. This is my frustration.
    Happy Diwali! The “Festival Of Lights” celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Thanks to all of you who packed our Diwali event this past weekend featuring Brian Jean. Voting in the UCP Leadership Race begins October 26 and I am supporting Brian. He is a thoughtful, compassionate man who understands the challenges facing Alberta families and has a positive vision to put this province back on track. Brian has led the best Opposition Alberta has ever had and as a sitting MLA can hit the ground running in the Legislature when it resumes at the end of this month. If you are a UCP member I am asking you to support Brian Jean. Check his vision out at www.BrianJean.ca.
    As always, we love to hear from you.