The Friday Focus is a weekly blog post from Interim Leader John Roggeveen. It covers some of the pressing political issues of the week.
Welcome to another Friday Focus. There is a lot of news to cover this week so let’s get to it.
Education Brain Drain
A recent Alberta Teacher’s Association survey shows a worrying number of teachers will be retiring, changing professions or leaving the province. Pandemic fatigue is driving some of these numbers up but so is failed government education policy. The top-down education edicts from the UCP are harming our ability to retain teaching talent. The Liberal approach of consultation and collaboration is the better course for our province.
Dissemination of Disinformation
Premier Kenney has been stoking fears about empty food shelves to promote lifting the vaccine mandate for international truckers. However, supply chain experts and grocers themselves say food shortages are minor, short-term, and influenced by many other factors. Kenney is ignoring this evidence to stir up anti-Ottawa sentiment. We need leaders who reassure people, not frighten them.
Ironically, our EMS system has needed emergency assistance for years. Unfortunately, the current and previous governments have largely ignored this despite continued Liberal efforts to raise the issue. But changes announced this week would allow paramedics to have emergency departments take immediate charge of the patient. This will free up paramedics instead of keeping them trapped for hours in ER corridors. Of course, there’s still more work to be done to improve our EMS system, but this is some progress for EMS. Now we will need to ensure that emergency departments in our hospitals have the ability to take on the extra load. Shifting responsibility from EMS may make things worse for our hospitals.
The Wrong Approach on Courtrooms
The UCP is attempting to reduce court wait times by circumventing your legal rights. They are introducing a $150 fine for challenging your traffic ticket. This tactic is designed to discourage Albertans from disputing tickets, which is their constitutional right. The government announced that they would delay the changes to “educate the public”, but there is no indication that they’ll back down. As a result, justice changes delayed is still justice denied for Albertans.
That’s it for this week’s Friday Focus. If you want to have your say on the UCP’s proposed curriculum changes, you can join me for our next Virtual Pints and Politics on Education by RSVPing here. You can also provide feedback directly to the government here.