Hello, I hope this finds you well as we approach the end of another month. As you know, the fall session of the Legislature began this week. As your MLA here in Chestermere- Rockyview I am very much looking forward to following through on the commitment I made during the election campaign to represent your views in the Legislature.
There are several priorities my colleagues and I in the Wildrose Official Opposition will be focusing on.
First and foremost, from a provincial perspective, we have to push this government to get its financial house in order. As you may know, what we warned about before the election is coming true. Despite the Premier’s promises of a balanced budget, this government has us looking at a $3 billion deficit. As a province blessed with an abundance of natural resources – and the $11 or more billion dollars of revenue that comes with it – I think we all agree that this is unacceptable. We will be pushing the government to show leadership on the financial front, to rein in their uncontrolled spending, and prioritize where our taxpayers dollars are being spent. When times are tough in our homes and our businesses, we are forced to go to the mirror and do what needs to be done – my belief is that government should do the same.
We will also be holding the government to their commitment to act with greater accountability and transparency – something they have blatantly disregarded since the election. For example, the PCs rehired Allaudin Merali as Provincial controller, then Chief Financial Officer of Alberta Health Services, after he already had been found to have abused taxpayer dollars. He then billed taxpayers $346,208 for frivolous expenses such as a butler, expensive wine, and even a phone for his Mercedes. They also waived conflict of interest legislation in order to hire defeated cabinet minister Evan Berger back into his former ministry only months after his electoral defeat. Their excuse was that Mr. Berger is part of the “government family.” The icing on the cake of these ethical lapses was the $113,000 spent on unused luxurious hotel rooms during the Premier’s trip to the London Olympics. This is unacceptable.
I also expect this Fall session to keep me busy as the Wildrose Education critic. The Education Act will be re-introduced, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of parents to make sure the government heard the feedback they provided when similar legislation was introduced this past spring. I will fight to make sure that the contentious Section 16 of the Act is taken out, and that parents still have the paramount right and responsibility to make decisions respecting the education of their children. We will also make sure that the autonomy of separate school boards within our education system is respected.
Over the next 8 weeks I will be in Edmonton Monday through Thursday while the Legislature is sitting. That being said, my constituency office in Chestermere is always open, Monday through Friday, and I am in constant contact with them. As well, Friday for me will always be a constituent day. Also know that my weekends will be proudly spent in the community, and I look forward to seeing you out and about. As always, if you have questions and concerns, feel free to contact me, I would love to hear from you.