Dear friends and neighbours:
It has been a very busy week in Edmonton as my colleagues and I from across Alberta finished the most recent session of the Legislature with a marathon sitting. Throughout the last few months, as the combined public health and economic crises hit our province, I have had the honour of continuing to represent our community, support bills that will make life better for Albertans today and into the future.
I am proud to share that this session, Alberta’s government introduced and passed 34 bills through the Legislature. The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic collapse faced this year disrupted the normal legislative session, but Alberta’s government was still able to deliver on 93 more platform commitments while taking concrete measures to save lives and livelihoods. This means Alberta’s government has already kept or is well underway on 255 of 375 promises to Albertans, representing 68 per cent of platform commitments despite being elected just over a year ago. Alberta’s MLAs returned to the chamber earlier than any other sitting jurisdiction in Canada, and I am pleased to say that our Legislature met more times than any other legislature in Canada, including the federal Parliament.
During this sitting, important legislation was passed, like Bill 32, the Act to Restore Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces. This was one of our key platform commitments to protect workers from being forced to fund political parties and causes without explicit opt-in approval. Now, Alberta’s government has delivered on that commitment.
Alberta’s government also passed Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, working to strengthen the Health Quality Council of Alberta so it can drive health-system improvement and positive change for patients and families. Albertans pay for the best and deserve the best, yet we’re not getting it. This legislation is about ensuring we have a sustainable and high-quality health system for generations of Albertans to come. Alberta has an increasingly expensive health-care system that does not result in better services for Albertans, which can be improved upon by embracing change and innovation in our health system.
As part of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan, I am pleased to share that municipalities province-wide will receive significant investments to help to fund shovel-ready projects and build core infrastructure that will get Albertans working. This funding will also support municipal and public transit operating costs and create thousands of good-paying jobs now. Alberta’s communities play a critical role in our economy and we want to help them get shovel-ready projects into the ground immediately to create jobs, drive economic growth and improve Alberta’s competitive position.
I am also pleased to announce that amendments made by Alberta’s government to the Meat Inspection Regulation will cut red tape and provide consumers with greater access to locally produced meat while maintaining food safety. The changes come as a result of consultation with industry and other stakeholders and include: increased licensing options for personal use slaughter, allowing provincially licensed meat facilities to salvage and sell meat by-products, and allowing for video pre-slaughter inspections in emergency situations. These changes give operators more flexibility to meet legislated requirements and increase consumer access to high-quality local products. I know my farmers and ranchers in the constituency are supportive of this change as it allows them to create a relationship directly with the consumer and vice versa.
Although many in our community may be experiencing fatigue with our new ways of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to encourage everyone to keep practicing safe habits like frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and staying home when sick. For the latest information and resources on COVID-19 in Alberta, I encourage you to visit alberta.ca/covid19.
Jackie Lovely, MLA for Camrose