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    MLA report February 21

    Hello Chestermere! I am just returning from our Election Readiness Conference in Edmonton, and I am beyond impressed by the caliber of our UCP candidates. We are so excited for this election, and I encourage you to watch the speeches that were given at the conference.  If you have never watched a speech by Mr. Kenney, please take the time to watch this one.  He shows deep compassion, grace and the humility of a true leader, and I look forward to continuing to roll out our platform.  I have posted the speeches on my Facebook page “Leela4ChestermereStrathmore”.  We are excited to see this election happen, and as we continue to knock on your doors and hold gatherings to get to know one another, I will continue to “work hard, stay humble and earn every vote”.  See my Facebook page or VoteLeela.com for upcoming events and look for me at your doors. Currently on the books are:

    Thursday Feb. 21 7:00 – 9:00 AM at Langdon AM (Buy-Low Foods Plaza)

    Thursday Feb. 21 7:00 – 9:30 PM at the Langdon Lounge (Buy-Low Foods Plaza)

    Wednesday Feb. 27 6:00 – 9:00 PM at the Blue Saloon, Carseland

    Other events in Chestermere, Strathmore and around the constituency are in the works.

    I would like to chat with you about an article that came out last week in the Edmonton Sun by Dustin Cook (https://edmontonsun.com/news/local-news/inclusion-alberta-not-satisfied-with-provinces-draft-guidelines-on-seclusion-rooms/wcm/0a80b358-0182-4d6a-8987-6afaf8cc8298).  The notion of putting a child in a seclusion room conjures up horrible feelings in all of us and for good reason.  Imagine that your child is non-verbal, or that your child was put in one without your knowledge.  These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night.  From a personal standpoint, I understand that there is strategy needed and required to cope with a child who is physically acting out and may need to be removed from a classroom.  In September of 2018, Marcy Oakes, a mom from Edmonton, shared the story about her son who was locked in a seclusion room for 45 minutes, covered in his own feces.  This story continues to haunt me, and so when the government struck an 8-person committee to work on solutions, I thought that we would be seeing some ideas come forward fairly quickly.  Well here we are in February and we have an extremely flawed document, 27 pages that have done nothing to change the status quo.  Why? Well, we actually don’t know, so let me share a quote from the article:

    “The two largest organizations in Alberta representing families of children with disabilities expressed their deep disappointment with what was being proposed, as Alberta Education had changed virtually nothing from the existing guidelines which had already proven to be grossly inadequate and ineffectual,” said Trish Bowman, Inclusion Alberta CEO, in a Friday news release.

    Letters were sent to the minister and Premier Rachel Notley in January voicing collective concerns about accountability, about the lack of a regulatory mechanism and that input from the working group members wasn’t reflected in the draft.

    “The existing draft is devoid of any measures on how Alberta Education would ensure anything relative to the use of seclusion, physical restraint and time out,” the letter said. “These are not better guidelines than the existing ones and may be worse in falsely communicating that they are an improvement while condoning the continued used of forcibly and physically moving students.”

    There is long term trauma to both the children and the parents who have endured this type of methodology, and as Trish Bowman said, if a school is having to use this intervention on a child more than once, they need to look at their methods and policies.  As she also said, these are lifelong impacts.  I do not understand what is taking so long on this policy and why the recommendations of the 8-person board have not been used in the present document.  This is not acceptable, and parents deserve answers and solutions now.  As always we love to hear from you