December 19th, 2018

Connecting with constituents

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on August 10, 2018.

Summer activities have been keeping me busy. This is the time of year I really enjoy because it means more time to spend with you and hear about the issues that are important to you. It also gives me an opportunity to talk about the ways our government is working for you.

Just last week, it was great to have Premier Rachel Notley participate in the grand opening of our Legacy Regional Park, the first major regional park in north Lethbridge, which received $12.75 million in provincial funding through the MSI. This is out of the total $22.6 million invested in this park.

It was wonderful to take part in this ceremony and see the enthusiasm generated by this spectacular new park, which includes 73 acres, a lake and 1,300 trees, skate park and pickleball courts. I can only offer hearty congratulations to City Parks Manager David Ellis, mayors, managers and city councillors past and present, and all those in the community who offered suggestions over the years to bring this vision to fruition.

Premier Notley and I also had a good visit with Lethbridge Family Services, to meet with co-ordinators and staff and thank them for helping individuals and families navigate through some very difficult circumstances. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the efforts of all those on the front lines of social work and the dedication you all have in the welfare of Albertans.

The conversations I have with you during these visits, at events and even on your doorstep, are what help our government shape policy and legislation. It also gives me the opportunity to clear up misinformation about important steps we have made to move our province forward.

One of the common questions I get asked by residents on the doorstep are about the carbon levy. The Climate Leadership Plan is a made-in-Alberta plan >and is made to work for Albertans and our economy. For the last three years we have worked side by side with industry to get it right.

We are not handing the keys to our industry over to the federal government because our model has to support Alberta. In fact, Ottawa is following our lead as they are setting emission targets which are almost identical to ours.

So, where is the money from the carbon levy going? For starters, more than 60 per cent of Alberta households will have it come right back to them in the form of rebates ($1.4 billion). Also, $440 million is being allocated to oilsands innovation; $225 million for research into new technologies that reduce emissions; $240 million for industrial energy-efficiency projects that help companies save money while upgrading equipment or facilities to lower energy use; $63 million in grants for bioenergy projects including biodiesel and ethanol; $400 million in loan guarantees to support investment in efficiency and renewable energy.

You may ask what does this mean to me? It means we are diversifying Alberta’s economy, creating new jobs, and reducing emissions and pollution.

The UCP say they want to cancel the carbon levy but what they won’t tell you is how it will affect the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Alberta families, especially those in southern Alberta.

Some examples: irrigation rehabilitation, hospital retrofitting would be unfunded. It would erase the Alberta market for carbon offsets and credits which currently have a value in the tens of millions of dollars. These are assets which would be stranded and have no value in Alberta if carbon pricing were cancelled. The broader offsets market – from technical workers to aggregators to financial sector – is estimated to be in the high hundreds of millions of dollars. The market would lose its value overnight and create turmoil for the contractual relationships.

A repeal of the levy would affect us locally; we would lose the small business tax reduction, the consumer rebates, energy-efficiency programming, agriculture, seniors and housing and transit funding. This would have a devastating impact on Lethbridge and the southern Alberta region.

And thanks to the Climate Leadership Plan and Premier Notley’s leadership, we’re closer than ever to getting a pipeline to Canadian tidewater built. We will keep fighting for good jobs in the energy sector and an economy that works for everyone.

I look forward to more conversations with you so don’t hesitate to drop by my office Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., or at other times by appointment. Contact us by telephone at 403-320-1011 or by email at Occasionally there are community events which take all of us out of the office. If you stop by and we are not there, please leave a note in the mail slot and we will get back to you.

As you know there are a multitude of activities every weekend at the Galt Gardens and the other parks and venues throughout the city. This weekend we celebrate Applefest, an annual celebration of the Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association and all its initiatives.

There is also a Thursday lunch at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association – check their website and see what is on the menu.

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

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2 Responses to “Connecting with constituents”

  1. Dennis Bremner says:

    Good idea , stay away from the elephant in the room you created! ARCHES in a residential area, which you obviously thought was a great idea! Crime in London Road area because of it. Devaluation of property . Perhaps, you think if you ignore the increase of Drug Addicts in Lethbridge London Road Area because of your inattention to this issue from 336 to 724+ it may go away? So by November when we reach 1000 and crime is doubling will you then think it a good idea to do something? When is “your time to get serious, what “number” triggers you into doing something, the electorate would like to know”? Certainly your master plan for housing these people must be in full effect…I am still searching for the building you must be supervising being built in preparation for winter?
    I note you are more than willing to take some credit for some of the good things being done by your government elsewhere, but ignore what you are doing personally, to Lethbridge East businesses, residents, property values, and the city! Sadly you didn’t even think it important enough to even mention, so we know where your priorities are, maybe the electorate won’t notice???

  2. lonestar says:

    We sincerely feel for Ms, Fitzpatrick, a great person with a big heart in the right place., but at work in the wrong place – the Legislature, where she has zero impact or input. A nice person to converse with, she listens, she’s not dismissive (like her bench mate across the stream) she means well.

    However like any politician of any stripe whose messages are crafted by the party for the MLA to chat up at the garden party, there’s many things during her discussions and conversations with the electorate that Ms Fitzpatrick will not be discussing, one being how many brand new faces (votes) her government hired (at what cost) to sprinkle that carbon tax around to those they determined needed it more than those they grabbed it from in the clever wealth distribution scheme. Or, two, how she’ll make right with the voter, the businessperson, patron, BRZ, etc the damage done over the winter to the inner core, from addicts of every brand filling every place with a heater, as Mr Bremner alludes. This will add to the damage already done paying every window cleaner a job destroying wage. We’ll just be coming out of these and more messes the NDP will be blamed for, as the snow starts to melt and the voters head to the polls!

    We predict very little good coming from those polls for Ms. Fitzpatrick, Ms. Notely, Ms Phillips,and many more ND Party members.

    Back to the tax grab. If the member for Lethbridge East had legislative shaping input she would be telling her boss what her constituents are saying – that the NDP’s policy shaping legislation in this grab, is hugely unpopular, it is morally undemocratic (because it was not part of the platform that got the NDP party elected) it’s proved completely useless mitigating atmospheric carbon outputs , and it’s a downright colossal failure from a public relations viewpoint – a keynote item the UCP is going to jump all over and win the day a few months from now.

    We’d also like to ask the member this: in an era of petroleum having peaked, why $440 million dollars of that carbon tax grab, public money, is targeted for the “Oil Sands” then offseting that dead and calamitous polluting project, they’re targeting $225 million for research presumably to discover new technologies that might be used in the future to reduce emissions. Conflict?

    Oh!, Ms. Fitzpatrick the UCP and going to feast on your party, the policies – the hope you said was forthcoming to make Alberta a better place to live – Lethbridge in 2018 has dropped from a ranking of 89 in the Money sense magazine poll of 2016/17 of best places to live in Canada to a dismal 209th in 2018 – we hope you have a contingency plan.

    Albertans may well make another mistake, but we think they’ll make that mistake with different dance partners in 2019!

    God Bless you Maria.

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