Friday Focus: How Much Better Could Alberta Be?
Gaslighting on Coal Mines
For over a year Albertans have made it abundantly clear they want to see the Rockies protected. That’s no surprise when you consider how vital they are to our water supply, tourism industry and wildlife. The UCP was forced to halt exploration activities in the area in favour of public consultations, however there have been numerous complaints that the consultation process is biased and half-hearted. Now it’s been uncovered that, behind the scenes, companies are buying up open-pit coal mine exploration leases for sites in the Rockies.
No company would do this unless they were confident the halt was temporary. That means either the UCP is telling the public one thing and industry another or that industry agrees the public consultations are a sham. Albertans need to see this government take a more environmentally sound approach to this issue. At the very least they should be honest with Albertans and not waste tax dollars on phoney consultations while working to undermine them behind Albertans’ backs. How much better would Alberta be if our government were transparent?
Passing the Buck on Homelessness
This week in Wetaskiwin, tensions rose over a camp for the homeless on the outskirts of the city. I won’t dive into the particulars of this situation, you can read about them yourself here. What I will do is emphasize how issues like this arise because successive Alberta governments have failed to adequately address homelessness.
It is almost impossible to stabilize your life when you are living in emergency shelters and on street corners. It impedes an individual’s health, safety and the ability to find a job which in turn perpetuates a cycle of poverty. This cycle of poverty comes at an enormous cost to our economy and our public services. In the 2019 election, the Alberta Liberals committed to doubling the funding for affordable housing because we understand just how strong the business case and the ethical imperative for taking action are. The problems and their solutions can’t simply be downloaded onto municipal governments and local organizations. How much better would Alberta be if we had strong provincial leadership on this issue?
The Young are Restless
Alberta has a dire migration problem. Young people are leaving the province in droves, and 27% of young Calgarians plan to go in the next five years. New research shows this is directly tied to the values and policy decisions of our UCP government. Respondents identified the lack of affordable childcare, cuts to education and a lack of diverse career options among their main reasons for wanting to leave.
It makes perfect sense why bright, young Albertans would leave. The UCP is shaping an Alberta where there is meagre hope for future generations for a better life. The biggest shame of this is that Alberta is full of opportunity and promise under the right leadership. Both Alberta and these young people are the worse off for them leaving. How much better would Alberta be if those young people stayed and helped build a stronger, more vibrant, healthier and wealthier Alberta?
This is why it is critical we have forward-thinking leadership in this province. I want Alberta to be a place where the young can excel, and Alberta can thrive on their success. With the right leadership and the right policies, I know Alberta can be that place.
Remember to get out and vote on Monday. It’s your power. Use it.