A Week of Downs and Ups

B.C. Floods and Disaster Preparedness 

This week our B.C. neighbours have been dealing with devastating floods. My thoughts are with them as they face this crisis. The floods are a painful reminder of the very real consequences of climate change and our need to work cooperatively to combat it. We are all affected by climate change, both directly by flooding, fires and hail storms and indirectly by things like disrupted supply chains. Unfortunately, Kenney’s parochial “fortress Alberta” approach is too narrow to meet today’s challenges. Our provincial leadership needs to think nationally and globally. 

Extreme weather events like this also highlight the need to rethink disaster preparedness. Conservative and NDP governments have consistently under-budgeted for disaster recovery. In contrast, the Alberta Liberals have pushed for disaster preparedness budgets based on the rolling average of disaster expenditures over the last five years instead of relying on massive supplementary appropriations. This is just one of the policy changes the Alberta government must make if it wants to deal with the increased frequency of these disasters. Planning ahead will reduce our costs (and our taxes) overall.

Liberal Ideas Make for a Good Week in Alberta

Albertans received some rare good news from the UCP government this week. The UCP has finally reached a childcare funding agreement with the federal Liberals. The $3.8 billion, 5-year funding agreement aims to create 42,500 new childcare spaces while driving costs down to a $10-a-day average. This critical funding will help families with young children, hasten our economic recovery and move us towards greater gender equality. 

Another win for Albertans came this week with legislation paving the way for an Extended Producer Responsibility recycling program, something the Alberta Liberals have advocated for years.  EPR legislation shifts recycling costs away from consumers and municipalities and on to product manufacturers. This will encourage practices that better protect our environment. Of course, the devil is in the details, and there’s more to be done to reduce waste, but this is still a rare good decision from the UCP that is worth celebrating. 

Despite two good moves from the UCP this week, we can’t forget these types of changes come too late and too infrequently. These good news stories will be more common in Alberta when we get Liberals back in the Legislature.