By Lethbridge Herald on July 14, 2015.
Her message is clear: Maria Fitzpatrick’s first goal as an MLA is restored funding for Lethbridge’s long-successful 5th on 5th Youth Services.
The ousted Conservative government cancelled its support more than a year ago, and Lethbridge supporters warn 5th on 5th is no longer able to continue many of its job-readiness programs for teens and young adults.
Fitzpatrick, the New Democrat Party member elected in Lethbridge East, says renewing provincial support for the service was the first issue she raised during the brief spring session of the legislature.
“I intend to fight for it,” she said in an interview. “I think it’s such a great program that every community in Alberta should have it.”
She’s again raised that issue during NDP caucus sessions, Fitzpatrick added.
“And in the fall session, it will be my first question.”
When the new government produces its first budget, she observed, she’ll be looking for those support funds to be there.
Not that there aren’t many other concerns, she noted.
“I’ve had so many people come with issues,” she said. “And I’m developing more priorities.”
Fitzpatrick reported her constituency office, currently on 5 Avenue N. near the fire station, will be relocating to a more central location later this summer.
Plans for a summer getaway were cancelled after her election, she added.
“Most of the summer is booked.”
Looking back to the legislative session, Fitzpatrick said she’s pleased that Conservative budget cuts to health care and education were cancelled.
Early action on environmental protection is also needed, she said, and it’s encouraging to see positive ideas coming from the recent “Women in Energy” conference.
After the fall session opens, Fitzpatrick said she expects to see constructive debate between the political parties as new bills are introduced.
“I certainly hope during the next session we will have more opportunity to share in debate, and that the opposition members will make their points.”
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