Posted on May 2, 2017
May 2017 Constituency Newsletter
Spring is here and volunteer committees at your community associations are already at work to offer some awesome family friendly community events in the coming months. There is so much to look forward to including Neighbour Day, Stampede festivities and of course the celebration of Canada’s 150th. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and if you have time to spare contact your local community association for volunteer opportunities.
In the past month your Alberta government has put forward some incredible proposals for legislation to make life better for you and your families. The first, Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees, will upon proclamation, effectively reduce school boards’ ability to charge two school fee types fees for instructional supplies or materials and bussing fees for students travelling to their designated school. In these two areas alone, Alberta families paid more than $54 million in 2015/16 alone. We have heard from families and believe every student should have the right to a publically funded education. School fees should not be a barrier to kids getting a good start in life, no matter their circumstances. The funding needed to compensate school authorities for the lost fee revenue will come from Alberta Education efficiencies and other re-purposed existing education funding. Nearly 600,000 Alberta students will save money as a result of Bill 1.
I am co-sponsoring a bill brought forward by the Honourable Minister of Justice, Kathleen Ganley titled Bill 2: An Act to Remove Barriers for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence. This bill seeks to eliminate the limitation periods to bring forward a civil claim against the perpetrators of sexual or domestic violence, making the legal system more accessible to survivors of these crimes. Currently survivors have two years to bring forward such a claim which is retroactive. This Act is in line with steps taken by almost all other common-law jurisdictions in Canada, Alberta and Prince Edward Island being the only two that have not in some way altered or removed the two year limitation. Every Albertan deserves to feel safe and respected in their communities, homes and workplaces.
I was honoured to be included in the celebrations of the official opening of the West Ridge Middle School this April, which opened its doors unofficially in January of this year. As part of Budget 2017, our provincial government approved 26 school projects for design and construction. These projects include eight new schools, nine replacements, seven modernizations and planning of two additional new schools that will address swelling schools and revitalize older ones while creating thousands of jobs for Albertans. Other highlights from Budget 2017 include the funding of Calgary’s new Cancer Center which fulfills and important campaign promise made to Calgarians in the 2015 election. $3.1 billion dollars has been allocated to roads and bridge infrastructure.
While we work to make the lives of Albertans better by maintaining the services they rely on, the Government of Alberta has cut spending for operating expenses and is projected to save $200 million this year along. Salaries for the CEOs of 23 provincial agencies have been reduced saving $16 million per year. Other cost savings initiatives include the amalgamating or cutting 26 agencies, boards and commissions, freezing salaries of political staff and management in the Alberta Public Service and signing a new agreement with Alberta’s doctors that will save $400 million this year alone.
I look forward to connecting with you soon,
Deborah Drever, MLA