Friday Focus: By-Election and Charter Schools

By-Election Breakdown 

Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche’s high-profile by-election came to a close Tuesday. Our vote share makes it clear that we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but the gains we made also give us reason to be hopeful. Our strong values and policies attracted an excellent candidate in Abdulhakim Hussein who ran a solid campaign. Consequently, we improved upon past results in the area. We also more than doubled the vote of the Alberta Party helping to cement us as the moderate third option Albertans are looking for. 

These are small wins, but every journey has to be taken one step at a time and this by-election was a step towards returning Liberal MLAs to the Alberta Legislature. I thank Abdulhakim, his team, and all our supporters who donated to his campaign. Your generosity and commitment have helped to move our cause forward just as, by working together, we can move Alberta forward. 

Put Public Education First

This week the UCP announced $72 million in new spending for charter schools. This puts the cart way before the horse. The vast majority of children attend regular public schools and for many of them, their education is compromised by underfunding. We don’t want our schools to become a tiered system that isn’t easily accessible to all. We should be prioritizing equality of opportunity for students before looking to expand specialty charter schools.

The Alberta Liberals would address the class size problem in our schools by implementing class size caps, investing in badly needed new schools and hiring more teachers and educational assistants. We would also increase spending on inclusive education to help all students with unique needs, not just those lucky enough to get into a special charter school. On top of that, we would help bring in life-changing healthy lifestyle programs and stronger mental health supports. 

Once the core of our public education is strong and provides equal opportunity to all students we can then look at the need for charter schools. The Alberta Liberal’s “public schools first” approach ensures that no child is left behind because another receives preferential treatment. 

COVID Reporting

The province has now moved from not only relaxing guidelines but also relaxing reporting with COVID-19. Albertans will now receive COVID updates weekly instead of daily. This continues the UCP government’s approach of pretending the pandemic is entirely over. While the downward trend of serious illness and deaths is good news, we must remain vigilant. I don’t agree with this government’s complacency. The UCP is risking another “best summer ever” debacle, and the health and wellbeing of Albertans.