Hello, Chestermere and Strathmore readers.
This week’s weather was Alberta’s finest display of the saying, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”! Wow! We went from spring weather and light coats to winter weather with a couple of inches of snow, to shorts weather to intense wind gusts, all within 24 hours. I hope you were able to navigate the fickle weather and enjoy some sunshine. I would like to wish everyone a belated celebration of the feast of Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of the 1st day of the Holy Week. We also celebrated Holi, a celebration in Hinduism that marks the beginning of spring and the triumph of good over evil.
I will be holding an Easter Egg COVID Friendly drive-through on April 3rd from 10 a.m. – 12 noon in Strathmore, at the Strathmore Stampede grounds, and in Chestermere at the Chestermere Landing from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. We look forward to seeing all of you from your cars.
I wanted to chat with you about Agri-stability. Our government supports farmers and ranchers through business risk management programs of more than 300 million dollars for those farmers and ranchers facing significant declines in farm income. Minister Dreeshen has been working to remove the Reference Margin Limit, providing more support to farmers and ranchers. The federal government had promised $170 million for changes to the AgriStability and then decided to remove $75 million from the compensation. Alberta transfers more than 20 billion dollars to Ottawa annually, so we are very disappointed with this decision. We deserve equity for our farmers and ranchers, especially as they navigate hail, drought, and excess moisture.
Minister Shandro, the Minister of Health, offers financial support for students completing their residency training in rural Alberta and agree to practice in rural Alberta. This is an amazing opportunity for new physicians and will help with rural recruitment and retention. The total amount being spent this year on this initiative is around $90 million. We offer some of Canada’s best programs for recruitment and retraining physicians, including compensation that is amongst the highest in Canada. The Minister also exempted rural physicians from overhead policy and froze the liability rates for rural and family physicians a $1000. The Rural Health Professions Action Plan with be the ones running the Service Agreement program, which gives rural and remote areas greater access to a family doctor.
In December, Alberta began its vaccination campaign, first targeting high-risk populations that included residents of long-term care and designated supportive living facilities. The majority of Alberta’s oldest residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19, putting the province ahead of the national average for immunizations among the elderly. Alberta Health has confirmed that about 75 percent of Albertans aged 75 and older are most vulnerable to the disease, have received COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccination bookings were opened to the public last month. As of Saturday, 576,953 Albertans have received at least one dose. 96,447 Albertans have been fully immunized (with two doses).
Albertans are being vaccinated as fast as supply allows.
As Always, I love to hear from you!