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    MLA report November 23

    Hello Chestermere! What a week! From the Manning Centre conference of 21st century Conservatism to the Knights of Columbus fundraiser for Christmas With Dignity, it has been a busy week full of rammed through legislation, and attending fundraising functions. Philanthropy is something Albertans do best. We take care of each other despite the government, the economy, or our own personal losses. I attended DilWalk, a gala to raise money for heart health clinics and to help educate people about heart disease. Dr. Anmol Kapoor and his wife Raman Kapoor, president of the DILWALK Foundation, are truly amazing Albertans whose contributions have touched thousands of Albertans. Albertans are the most generous people in the world. I am so proud to see so many people taking the time to help their neighbours, and it is these things that inspire me to keep working harder, and to be better.

    A quick shout out to my friend Derek James From for his work with the Canadian Constitution Foundation (“CCF”), a group of amazing folks that litigate against the government on behalf of individuals who have had their rights infringed on and/or violated by the government. You may recall a gentleman from New Brunswick who was stopped and ticketed for the “crime” of buying beer in Quebec where it is cheaper. Derek and the rest of the CCF are standing up for his right to free trade between provinces, a right set out in section 121 of the Constitution. Restrictions on beer are just one of many artificial provincial trade barriers that are estimated to cost you, the taxpayer, up to $130 Billion a year! I think Sir John A. MacDonald would agree that we should not be penalized for buying and transferring goods between provinces. Congratulations Derek on standing up for Canadian consumers, educating us on inter-provincial trade, and holding our governments accountable.

    I would like to speak about small business. This week The Belvedere and The Catch closed in Calgary. Did you know that the Belvedere had been in business for almost 20 years? They have survived other downturns, so what makes things so difficult this time around? It is not just one thing, it is the cumulative burden imposed on small business in this province. Government of all levels in its infinite wisdom has not only raised minimum wage, which on its own is quite damaging, but you add to that a carbon tax, increased taxes on alcohol, increased business tax, and finally on, January 1, there will a 25% increase in holiday pay. Mr. Morgan the owner of the Belvedere calls this “death by a thousand cuts”. This is what businesses will face going into the Christmas season. Small businesses are job creators, and now are smashing into the wall of how to cope? The obvious choices are to close up shop, cut personnel, and hours, or raise the prices. When we are in hard economic times the last thing that governments at all levels should be doing is raising taxes. Being called a “tax cheat” for trying to survive by the Prime Minister doesn’t help. As a local example, I would like to give a massive “thank you” to our very own Pete Lewis who along with his staff closed the doors of Chestermere Paint and Décor. We are so sad to see you go, and thank you for bringing your warm smiles, support for our local community, and kindness to the business landscape in Chestermere.

    Finally I would like to speak about mental health. This past week a good friend of mine took his own life. He was successful, he had a beautiful family, he was loved by all who knew him. He was a beautiful light in the world, and gave and gave. He spent years building his businesses to heights most of us will never experience. He was kind, generous, and so intelligent. He was also suffering from depression, border-line personality disorder and substance abuse. He was caught in a downward spiral that took him into the shadows, and the shadows won over the light of this wonderful human being. The various stigmas around mental health, asking for help, medications, and therapy have just got to stop! Sunday November 19th was International Men’s Day. To all the amazing men in my life, I am so happy to honour who you are and what you contribute to my life. We have to be able to have these difficult discussions, and we have to be willing to understand that these demons cross socio-economic lines, gender, age and any other so-called demographic. We need to be able to acknowledge when someone is hurting, and help them, not judge them. As we leave another “Movember” behind us, and the beard growth gets shaved off, please remember that 1 in 10 Canadian men will experience major depression in their lives. So please, as the Movember foundation says:

    Talk. Ask. Listen. Encourage action. Check in.

    As always we love to hear from you.