For the first time in a while, COVID-19 isn’t the main topic of discussion in Alberta. Instead, it's the poor air quality Albertans have been facing thanks to rampant wildfires. The increasing occurrence of wildfires, heatwaves, and other climate events makes it increasingly clear: where there is smoke,; there is climate change. Even those who question whether climate change is happening can’t deny that wildfires affect the air we all breathe, the air many of us work in, and the air our children and grandchildren play in. We can’t ignore this problem.
The narrative of a carbon tax or no carbon tax being played out in the legislature is simplistic. Our 2019 platform talked about the need for a two-pronged approach to climate change: mitigation and adaptation. It’s not enough to just reduce our carbon output at this point. We need to reconcile with the damage that’s already been done and adapt to the new normal. That means better budgeting for disasters, innovative urban planning, and planning for the effects on healthcare and other services.
Sadly, our provincial government is taking the opposite approach. Instead of researching solutions, they are funding the research of anti-environmentalist conspiracy theories through the Allan Inquiry. Rather than painting environmental groups as enemies of the state we’d be better off consulting them on what we could be doing better. Solutions can’t be found in confrontation: We need to work together to succeed.
Environmental groups are not the only ones at odds with the UCP government right now. Nurses and healthcare support workers are currently fighting against the UCP’s plan to cut their wages. This comes on the heels of an ongoing bitter fight between the Government and doctors. So is it any wonder that we’re now seeing bed closures across Alberta due to staff shortages?
Albertans deserve world-class healthcare. To get that, we need to fairly compensate healthcare professionals and treat them with respect. Wage cuts immediately following a pandemic is the antithesis to this. Instead of taking constructive feedback from healthcare workers, experts, and opposition parties, the UCP has dug its heels in and accused critics of politicizing the issue. Governments that listen govern best. The UCP needs to take out their earplugs, take the feedback from the public and healthcare workers and reverse their heavy-handed and confrontational approach to healthcare before they do more damage.
Liberals in Alberta have long advocated for available, affordable childcare. Today the UCP announced they had reached a deal with the federal government regarding child care. But in reality, they are leaving money on the table. We must do better for families!
The Alberta Liberals and I believe in the politics of listening and collaboration. We want to hear what you think about these and other issues.