August 19th, 2018

Working to get pipeline built


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on June 8, 2018.

While gladly home in Lethbridge for Constituency Week in late May, I was very busy, out and about at a number of events and celebrating provincial government funding for the following groups: LCI to support the purchase of new wrestling mats for the 2019 Rural Championships being held here in Lethbridge; Exhibition Park to upgrade their computer systems; and Dominion Gateway Centre Church to add an elevator to make their new church accessible for all who worship there.

While there was much positive energy in our community, the uncertainty about the Trans Mountain Pipeline was at the forefront of many Albertans’ minds, with so many jobs and livelihoods dependent on this project and what it means to Alberta and to Canada as a whole. Knowing how important this project is, especially given all of the work that has been done to make this the safest means to deliver our resources to tidewater, I was very happy to hear of two decisions from the B.C. Supreme Court that support the completion of the pipeline.

Since then the federal government has stepped in and assumed the risk to make sure this pipeline would be completed. Our premier, Rachel Notley, has been relentlessly fighting for Alberta, in public and at the negotiating table, because Albertans deserve the best – and fairest – return on our resources and to do so in the safest manner possible. I, together with the entire caucus, proudly passed Bill 12 in the Legislature, which gives us the power we need to restrict the export of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels. The premier is now fully prepared to turn off the taps of resources flowing to B.C., if the path to building that pipeline is not cleared. Shovels are in the ground. Investment confidence is up and we can keep Albertans working.

Getting this pipeline built is critical to our community, our province and our country. If you sit on a couch, or wear a pair of glasses or running shoes, you are using oil-based products. If you have ever taken a trip on a plane, ship or a train, you are using oil-based products. When I thought of oil in the past, I generally thought of it in terms of driving a vehicle. Oil is so much more throughout our society, from product usage to direct and indirect employment. That employment and revenue from our resources supports our communities through taxes and through the products we use. Those taxes support the building of schools, hiring of teachers, building or maintaining hospitals and hiring nurses and doctors who look after all of us.

I am sorry to say that UCP leader Jason Kenney is not helping. He’s talking down Alberta’s chances instead of backing our efforts. He can’t keep his story straight, first agreeing we could invest in the pipeline, then saying funding it is wrong. Not to mention, he spent 20 years as an MP in Ottawa, nine as a minister, and failed to get a pipeline to tidewater built. Mr. Kenney’s government bailed out the auto sector to the tune of $9 billion – but now thinks Alberta projects and jobs aren’t good enough to receive the same deal? He even said no pipeline project is a national priority – this after demanding the federal government force it through!

Every step of the way, Premier Notley has taken a consistent and careful approach to make sure that we win this fight and get the right outcome for Albertans. And it’s her leadership that has pushed the federal government to move forward.

Additionally, the Alberta government also announced the largest protected boreal forest park in the world. Protecting our environment and growing our economy go together.

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I posted my member statement about ARCHES and the opioid epidemic on social media. I thank those who identified their concerns, and I thank the mayor, ARCHES and many other informed people for their responses. Here is a link to the mayor’s statement: https://www.lethbridge.ca/NewsCentre/Pages/Mayor-Statement-on-Needle-Debris-and-Community-Safety.aspx.

The drug crisis is not new to our city or any other city in this country. Because of the intensity of this opioid epidemic, the city’s Coalition on Opioid Use has taken urgent action to address this issue. We know that as a community we want everyone to be safe. When my children were young, I scanned the environment to ensure that any place they were going was safe. In addition to our city doing everything they can to ensure our safety, as citizens, if you see a needle on the ground – please follow the procedures that have been posted to ensure it is removed safely. Our collective concern will help us keep our city safe.

The Taste of Africa will take place at the Multicultural Centre (421 6 Ave. S.) on Friday, June 29. This will be the last “Taste of” evening before the summer. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children.

I send out my sincere congratulations to the organizers and participants in Lethbridge Pride Fest. This year Lethbridge Pride Fest (June 18-23) is marking 10 years of celebrating and supporting diversity in our community. Thank you to Lethbridge Pride for the work you are doing in Lethbridge. I am very much looking forward to this year’s Pride Fest events, especially the Pride Parade (from City Hall to Galt Gardens) and Pride in the Park (Galt Gardens), taking place June 23 beginning at noon.

Our spring Legislative Assembly session concluded this week. As I continue to serve on committees and attend to government business, I will certainly be out in our community, visiting neighbourhoods, doing some door knocking, and talking to you throughout the summer. I welcome the opportunity to hear your concerns and feedback so I can best represent you.

To contact the Lethbridge East Constituency Office, please call 403-320-1011 or email us at: lethbridge.east@assembly.ab.ca walk in hours are, Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Maria Fitzpatrick is the NDP MLA for Lethbridge East. Her column appears monthly.

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