It’s amazing what you can learn at a rink watching a hockey game, and I’ve been spending a lot of time of late watching the kids in this community as their regular seasons wind down. As many people know, I myself have put in a lot of hours in arenas over the years, both as a player, and then watching and supporting my son as he made his way through the ranks and on to junior hockey.
I love the game, the coffee, the relationships and the conversations.
These days a lot of parents are talking to me about politics. Go figure!! It’s encouraging for me to hear from regular Albertans about the things that matter to their families. I’ve been getting great feedback on the direction the Premier is going and the positive changes he has made in his short time in the big chair
I’m sure people know already that we’ve got a challenge we need to tackle together. Everybody knows the upcoming budget will have some very difficult decisions to make. Hitting closer to home, everybody knows someone, if not themselves, who will have jobs affected by the plunge in oil prices. Premier Prentice is as aware of this as any of us, and it shows: he is facing the upcoming challenge head-on, and with great honesty, at that. Most importantly, he is demonstrating this with his actions, which, as any hockey parent knows, are worth more than their weight in gold. It’s not surprising that the Premier himself is a hockey man.
Among the first pieces of legislation the Premier passed limited severance packages for officials. Staying true to his promise, he has ensured that the fleet of government planes is well on its way to being sold off completely. He has also made good on his commitment to closing international offices, including one in Ottawa. This will save the province millions.
MLA’s and cabinet members took a pay cut.
Actions speak louder than words, and people are seeing the results firsthand. But don’t get me wrong: I know all too well that not everything is sunshine and roses, and that not all feedback is entirely glowing. Some decisions that will have to be made are going to hurt. There’s no sense sugar coating that. And some people have made very clear to me what some of the costs of that hurt will be. What the province is going through is not unlike what we do in our homes and businesses when times are challenging. We have to separate wants and needs and take a balanced approach.
Back to the rink and closer to home: I hope to spend a lot of time there in the coming weeks as play-offs get going. And you know, it’s a funny thing: regardless of how many complaints are aired, far more people have a positive outlook. The overwhelming majority of parents in our arenas recognize that, in order to support and encourage their kids, positivity and can-do attitudes are the best incentives. Always have been, always will be. Kids and parents take the lessons of the game with them: no matter how great the challenges or daunting the hardships, they play hard, and they leave the rink with smiles on their faces.
Hopefully I’ll see you out and about in the days ahead. I look forward to more conversations as we work together, on the same team, for what’s best for this great province.