MLA report Sept 14

    Hello Chestermere! I hope you enjoyed the Country Fair, the Parade, and the Fall Supper. We were in the parade armed with candy, Elvis The Parade Puppy, and our awesome horse drawn wagon provided by Verne Kemble and Connie Challice. This is becoming a tradition at our parade and we are so grateful. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Pie Making session for the Pie Auction supporting STARS and the agricultural society. It is so much fun to see our local community come out with zucchinis, pickles, flowers, crafts, and thousands of other items. For the second year in a row, the Grand Aggregate Award was taken home by the Kearns Family of Langdon. Thank you to the Red Ribbon Committee and the Agricultural Society for their tireless work and for bringing this wonderful event to our community every year. I was not able to join in on the festivities this year due to a loss in my family, but my husband and children were there. They were also in Olds last weekend at the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association annual yearling sale. A certain very generous horseman who wishes to remain anonymous donates a horse each year with proceeds going to charities supported by ASHA and Century Downs Racetrack and Casino throughout the year. You would be hard pressed to find a more generous bunch than Alberta’s horsemen.
    As September moves on with our children back in school, I can’t help but be grateful to see munchkins with their new back packs holding hands with their older family members as they head to school. We are so lucky to be able to walk to our bus stops, and have a bus pick up our kids and then know they are safe and sound and on the way to school. Bill 1 has had a tremendous impact on families all over this province and we are seeing that impact with kids taking multiple buses in the city and parents are shelling out double for their kids to bus to school. The letters we have received have been painful to read. We warned the Government about these unintended consequences of Bill 1 but they refused to listen. Please keep sending us your letters and letting us know how this is affecting you.
    You may have seen an article in the Edmonton Journal by Janet French (http://edmontonjournal.com/storyline/education-minister-david-eggen-would-rather-amend-school-act-than-finally-proclaim-education-act). I recommend that you read it if you have a moment as it shines some light on the governments intentions with respect to education in the next legislative session. As most of you know the previous government did a comprehensive consultation with Albertans on the old School Act from 1988, and came up with the Education Act in 2012 which received royal assent that year, but it has not been proclaimed. Since then, there would most likely be reasons to amend the Act given that it is now 2017, things like Inspiring Education seem to have serious flaws, and the new regulations would need to reflect that. When the NDP became our government, they spent the last 2 years and a bit consulting around the Education Act, but our teachers and school authorities including private, independent, home and charter schools have been functioning under the old school act including the funding model. What we understood this week is that the Minister now wants to go back to the school act and amend that. So here are my questions. How long will this consultation take? How much will it cost? How do the First Nations and school boards feel about potentially having their tuitions and other issues regulated by the government? These are elected bodies that have autonomy presently. Why is the government ramming through education legislation with out the oversight of an Education Act to shape the regulations? They are passing legislation and then changing the regulations to accommodate these new laws without understanding the impact on everyday Albertans (see Bill 1). There are many issues, and many lives are impacted with these changes. Please take a few minutes if you have kids in school to familiarize yourself with the potential changes as it is imperative that families have their say and understand what could happen. When the Education Act was being created and brought forward for debate, Minister Eggen while in opposition stated that “we don’t allow businesses to have free run on public education”. I couldn’t agree more, but the question we should be asking a Minister who call our children “agents of change” if he is “willing to allow ideology to have free run on public education” and whether or not you as teachers, parents and students will have say as to how that will look. The Education Act and the existing School Act are available at www.gov.ab.ca.

    Please spare a prayer for the victims of the current hurricane season. Harvey and Irma have caused massive damage and others are on the way.

    As always we love to hear from you.