• Friday Focus: July 23rd, 2021

    Posted by · July 23, 2021 4:49 PM

    The following is Interim Leader John Roggeveen's take on some important issues in Alberta politics this past week.

    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.

    Let’s talk.

  • Canada Day Statement 2021

    Posted by · July 01, 2021 10:33 AM

    Interim Leader John Roggeveen issues the following statement in recognition of Canada Day: 

    Canada Day is usually a time of celebration where we recognize the accomplishments of our nation. However, with the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the location of former residential schools, let us reflect on our successes and also our failures this Canada Day. This Canada Day is also a day to grieve for the losses that First Nations have endured.

    We must recognize the importance of truth and how we can achieve reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Throughout Canada’s history, Indigenous people have been gravely mistreated and subjected to racist and horrific practices. Even today, Indigenous peoples face injustices that should not exist in modern Canada. 

    There is much to be proud of as Canadians, including the promise of freedom and equality made to all our citizens. Sadly this promise has not been kept to all people. Let’s work together to ensure that in all Canada Days to come, Canadians can be proud of the progress we’ve made but also realize the improvements we must continue to make, to find the truth and to achieve full reconciliation.

  • Alberta Liberals Call for Circuit Breaker Shutdown

    Posted by · May 24, 2021 12:15 PM

    Alberta Liberal Interim Leader John Roggeveen issues the following statement in reaction to today’s announced COVID-19 restrictions: 

    “The Kenney Government’s barely heightened COVID-19 restrictions are pathetically inadequate. The UCP half-measures will keep Alberta in a perpetual COVID-19 Groundhog Day. An enforced circuit breaker shutdown is the only way to overcome this virulent, potentially lethal threat. A 10% positivity rate is alarming. The variants are winning.

    “To defeat the COVID-19 virus we need strong, resolute action. We must shut down in-person attendance at our schools now, close all non-essential businesses, declare stay-at-home orders and enforce tougher restrictions on essential businesses.  We now have 10,809 active cases, including 4,604 variant cases. This sharp rise in cases – and more harmful variants in particular – can’t be taken lightly.

    “Alberta can’t afford to treat this wave of the pandemic the same as the last one. Variant cases are proving more transmissible and more deadly. We need a stronger response for a more dangerous phase of the pandemic. Non-compliance is no excuse for half measures. Alberta has the highest number of cases per capita in Canada. This health emergency demands stricter enforcement. 

    “Albertans want competent leadership and science-based solutions to the pandemic. A spineless government will prolong the agony. We need a broad shutdown now to stop the explosion of COVID-19 cases, as the December shutdown did, and put Alberta back on the path to recovery. This is the right move for Albertans’ safety and for Alberta’s economy. Regrettably, Jason Kenney and the UCP are failing Albertans again.”