Hello Chestermere! I hope you are navigating the insane icy roads without too much difficulty. I can honestly say I have never been more grateful for my winter tires. I have been so honoured to see you at many events this week and as always, I am inspired by your resilience, your drive, your generosity and your ability overcome the obstacles that life provides for us fairly regularly these days. I have a question. What do you think about the 80km/hour zone on Highway 1 between RR281 and Highway 791(the high school road)? I have been advocating for improved safety at the high school intersection since my maiden speech in the Legislature. Let’s go back about 2 years or so. Alberta Transportation made a presentation to the city council at that time along with the principal of Chestermere High School, the trustees, and myself. We were presented with several choices, some expensive like an overpass, and some cheaper solutions like lights. There are many points of view as to what would be a good choice, but I do not recall ever seeing the reduction of speed without a legitimate reason like…hmmm…lights??. The ideal solution for the high school intersection is an interchange and Alberta Transportation has a preliminary design on its books. Interchanges are expensive and times are tough, although the Government seems to have no problems spending your hard-earned dollars on all sorts of their priorities like paying billions to power companies to shut down perfectly good, clean, inexpensive coal fired power generation while negotiating to buy power from our “friends” in the BC NDP government. We understand better than our Government that there is a time to tighten our belts, but to outright disrespect the people who were consulted on this project is a continuing legacy of this Government. Here is what happened. In April 2017 Alberta Transportation’s safety experts held a meeting at Camp Chestermere to present options for this intersection. Problem is, they didn’t tell anybody. I was in the Legislature and was not informed, nor was my office. We found out about it from Sherri Sommerfeld and my assistant attended. Those who found out and showed up voted overwhelmingly for lights until an interchange could be built. Alberta Transportation’s safety experts themselves said a speed reduction would do nothing to address the root cause of the accident that took young Jaydon’s life. Now I know some folks think lights are a bad idea, however the lights could have been set up to only function when large numbers of people are trying to turn left across eastbound traffic, such as when school lets out. For the rest of the day Highway 1 could be “on green”. Perhaps we need a corridor of lights like Strathmore as we develop, and slow things down on the number 1 altogether. That is a topic for another time. I would like to state for the record that I fought in Legislature for the option of lights pending an interchange, but vehemently against the reduction in speed as it is presently. Check out my video November 4, 2017 on www.facebook.com/ChestermereRockyview. The speed reduction is completely disrespectful of you, your input, and your safety. We had another suggestion of an overpass that basically takes the traffic over the highway to head west, but east bound traffic would just merge off the level crossing and onto the highway. We have received no correspondence from the government other than the statement that this was their decision.
The ATA (Alberta Teachers Association) had David Suzuki come and tell them that Albertans like you in the energy industry are destroying the environment. Funny, I don’t know any one of you that gets up in the morning saying “let’s go out and make sure we leave a dirty mess for our children” but I know lots of you that enjoy the prosperity that responsible resource development brings. This is the Association’s dollars from mandatory contributions by teachers, so I guess that is their prerogative, but they gave a standing ovation to someone who stated our resources should stay in the ground, and that we should not build infrastructure to transport our resources. He told them that there should be no more exploration of fossil fuels. The Rick Bell article in the Sun “Suzuki scores big with Calgary Teachers” February 16, 2018, is an interesting read and I would suggest you take a look at it to understand that this is what was offered to our teachers for their professional development. Now I believe in critical thinking as I believe most of us do, so if the ATA wants to bring in David Suzuki, that is up to them, but the fact that he refers to our oil sands as the “tar sands” and says that we must keep it in the ground should have raised eyebrows. This is definitely concerning to me, again not that the ATA brings in controversial speakers, but more that his philosophy hurts our people, our economy, our citizens, the country, our prosperity, and future generations of amazing young scientists that will work to develop our resources and become even better at responsible resource development as well as protecting the environment. David Suzuki believes that a carbon tax will change our behavior and help us to choose cleaner technologies. Is solar and wind cleaner? It is definitely not reliable. We have a lot of cold, dark, calm weather here in Alberta. I challenge you to consider the energy it takes to make solar panels, ship them here and then what do we do with them at the end of their life? I have 40 solar panels on my house, and I love them, I am glad that we have them and they save us quite a bit of money for heating our home in that little thing we have here in Alberta…winter. But the question is, what will we do with them when they reach the end of their life? Put them in a landfill? Most likely. They can be recycled but at what cost? It would make sense if the end of life on these products were included in the cost of installation. We will see what the future will bring, but in my opinion the market should decide.
Jason Kenney, leader of the Official Opposition, will be in Chestermere on February 26th upstairs at the Dockside Pub at 7 pm. Please make sure you come and see us, and if you are not a UCP member you can join there. We are truly honoured that the leader is visiting and we look forward to seeing you at our event. There is no charge for this event, so please come, listen to his vision, and give him your input. Did you know that your 14-year olds can vote in nomination races for the UCP candidates in the next election? Make sure they have their memberships so that they can flex their voting muscles. As always, we love to hear from you.