Hello Chestermere! Whew! It has been a crazy week. This week I attended many events, and I was so happy that I was able to make it to the East Lake School Christmas concert. Thanks to Assistant Principal Jason Billings for the invite, Principal Ragan Johnson and her staff, and especially Music maestro Diego Bechtold and all the kids for a wonderful performance. After a week at the legislature is was so nice to see our beautiful students perform. Thank you to Shali Baziuk our new trustee for attending as well. I also travelled to Indus for the Community Christmas Party and Cheadle for the fantastic Superheroes Christmas Party which is becoming a signature event in the community there.
We debated several massive pieces of legislation this past week, everything from electoral boundaries to labour legislation. It is amazing to me the thousands of pages of legislation that have come over our desks in the past few weeks. We have been consistently asking for legislation to go to committee as we have been unable to consult with our constituents with respect to how the new legislation will impact you! You are what matters, and your voice matters. The government is consistent if nothing else. They bring large pieces of legislation that covers the true nature of the bill in smoke and mirrors and a pretty title that gives us the impression of what that bill will reflect. Wrong! The lack of consultation is overwhelming. For example, the Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Resler was never consulted on major aspects of Bill 32, or “An Act to Strengthen and Protect Democracy in Alberta”. Now there’s a pretty title. There is lack of respect shown in this NDP Government’s inability to acknowledge and respect the office of the electoral officer. This demonstrates a lack of respect for democracy itself. The bill is over 200 pages long and the magnitude of the impact to our citizens needs more than a couple of days of debate, but requires real consultation. The new legislation allows Elections Alberta to collect information on 16 and 17 years olds. Ok, well how is this going to happen? Obviously we want our youth engaged and to have the ability to vote as soon as they turn 18, to understand the privilege of voting, but what safeguards will be put in place to ensure that our young voters are receiving balanced information about parties and candidates. The most concerning part is that the government wants to have an “Independent Elections Officer”. This could cost anywhere from 1 million to 10 million dollars to set up. We already have oversight by Mr Resler, the independent Chief Electoral Officer, so what is the purpose of this duplication? This bill must be referred to committee. Bill 31- a “Better Deal for Consumers and Business Act” is another extremely flawed piece of legislation that gives government way too much power to change legislation and over regulate. For example, they have put Veterinarians into this legislation with out ever once consulting the industry. The government has removed power from the Veterinarians council and given it to the government. Again, this legislation must go to committee. I will have more about these and other dangerous bills in future articles. Have you heard of Nurse Practitioners? If not, you need to. NPs have degrees in Nursing and advanced training in diagnostics. Many have advanced specialties in areas like mental health, senior care, pediatric care, sexual assault, etc. Study after study has shown that Nurse Practioners can save our health care system huge amounts of money by taking some of the load off doctors, especially in our smaller communities. People appreciate having an NP medical specialist “right around the corner” who can in many cases do a home visit. We have been trying to educate the Government about the value these extremely competent professionals bring to our health care system, the dollars that they save our system, and how much we need them to have a full slate of care around us to help with everything from diagnosis to mental health. I had a great meeting with one of our local NPs, Lynette Wolgemuth, surrounding these issues and I plan on continuing to advocate for these professionals. To find out more visit http://albertanps.com. If you have used the services of a NP please write us at Chestermere.Rockyview@assembly.ab.ca and tell us what you think.
I have to tell you about a seriously inspiring person that I met this week at the South East Asian Excellence Awards Gala. Munira Nagji, the 2010 Calgary YWCA Peace Medal Winner, received the Community Hero Award. Munira has moved to India and established Montessori schools at a number of orphanages. She embodies the spirit of our great province. The greatest gift we can give to children beyond our love and support is an education. When I have the privilege of meeting people like this, it makes everything we do as public servants worthwhile. It was an honour to meet her and the other award recipients and to join Deepak Obhrai, MP in speaking at the awards. Thanks to Shan Ali, a Chestermere resident who spearheads these awards, for the invitation. I am proud to call him my friend.
Please remember that the food bank is in need of your generosity as many people are suffering as we head into the holiday season. Christmas with Dignity is also collecting money for their function on December 16th from 10:30 to 1:30 at City Hall. Please see chestermere.ca/CWD and I hope to see you there. I will be performing at 12:15 to serenade you with a few of my favorite Christmas carols. As always we love to hear from you.