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    MLA report January 24

    Hello Chestermere! You may have noticed last week’s article was a repeat. I was in India to visit some of my aging family. I was able to enjoy Sankranti, a celebration that marks the beginning of longer days and the harvest. I want to thank Peter Tindall my assistant for helping me put together the first article for 2018, 2 weeks ago while I was travelling. We hope that it was informative in helping our constituents understand the priorities for infrastructure and the process we go through as private members in advocating for dollars for the areas we represent.
    We also gave notice to the Government that senior’s facilities were high on the City and my priority list. Unfortunately, the Government seems conflicted about senior’s facilities and are sending mixed messages about changing the rules to remove private participation which I think would be a big mistake.
    I have quite a few interesting topics to chat about this week, and as always, I certainly appreciate the feedback we get from you. I would like to start this article digging a little into Lyme Disease. Many people in Alberta believe incorrectly that Lyme disease is not an issue here in our beautiful province. The rhetoric around this debilitating disease is that the ticks responsible for the disease do not live in our province. I want you just to think for a moment about the provinces that you visit when you leave our fair borders. The first province that comes to mind for me is British Columbia. I have family there, I hike there, I camp there, and I swim in the magnificent lakes there. It is for many Albertans a home a way from home and many of our friends and families have cabins, trailers and campsites in our neighbouring province. Common sense would tell us that just because these ticks do not “live” in our province, we might be somewhat susceptible to ticks and their diseases.  Also, animals and migratory birds certainly enter Alberta from other parts of the continent. New research has shown that a red circular “bulls eye” rash indicates Lyme Disease is only true in 30% of the cases. Canada’s testing protocol is severely flawed, and the bureaucracy controls any ability to push for better testing. Our friends and family are forced to go to the United States, and spend tens of thousands of dollars to receive treatment. One friend of ours went to the USA a year ago, helped in part by the generosity of his neighbours in the Indus area. With proper treatment he’s gained back over 40 pounds, feels much better, and is getting his life back. This is wonderful news for him and his family. We will be following up on this and continuing to ask questions about what we can do to change protocols in our province. These people, their lives are forever changed.
    This past week was an extremely busy week. We were as always privileged to go all over the constituency of Chestermere-Rocky View to see and chat with many of you and some of the issues facing your areas. We attended a panel in Redwood Meadows surrounding Russell the Bear who you may have seen in the news. He is a young bear, and he has an injury on one of his legs. Russell hasn’t been seen for a while and is probably hibernating. Provincial policy requires that injured large animals are left alone, even though there are privately funded groups that would rehabilitate them or humanely euthanize them if necessary. Even more concerning is the policy of euthanizing juvenile bears, cougars, wolves, elk, etc. if they are orphaned due to accidents or hunting. I think we need to revamp policy around these issues and strike a better balance which preserves these magnificent animals and protects public safety. I will be meeting some of the stakeholders early in February to get some specific suggestions to improve policy. Please contact us with your thoughts on this.
    I was proud to represent the UCP Caucus in the Women’s March. The reasons I march are maybe different than the person standing beside me. I march to bring awareness to female genital mutilation, honour beatings and killings, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and the equal treatment of women in countries where women are not safe, lack the dignity of human rights and have no voice. These issues transcend politics. Unfortunately because of the march I missed a great event engaging our young women: Go Girl. This year’s theme was “Sisters Of Sweat”, celebrating exercise and healthy habits. My assistant attended and says kudos are owed to Vicki Klinger for a very successful day.
    I was also at the Robbie Burns Dinner For The Homeless at the Drop In Centre in Calgary and had the privilege of performing with my son some of our favorite Robbie Burns songs along with the band “After the Storm”. MP Pat Kelly (who gave the address to the Haggis) was also there along with MP Kent Hehr.
    We attended the Legends gala in Strathmore for the new Strathmore Overnight Shelter that will be opening soon. Thank you to board president John Hilton O’Brian, the board, organizers Richard Rodgers and especially Cheadle’s “event dynamo” Jane Mitton, Legends pub, and the community for their love, compassion and for taking care of those that may be down on their luck, or suffering from addiction and isolation. Finally, I would like to thank some very special people. These are my husband and my children who give up their mom/wife on a regular basis for public service. I want to thank Pat Shaw, Peter Tindall’s wonderful wife for giving him up to events and long hours as he tries to keep up with my schedule and keep me on track and briefed. I am so grateful for these people, and for their dedication to this province. As always we love to hear from you.