By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on January 11, 2019.
The new year brings with it hope that the 2019 will be progressive and productive; that our economy continues to rebound as it has in 2017 and 2018; that our children continue to be educated in positive learning spaces where all are respected, valued and kept safe; that our health-care system continues to improve.
I went for some annual lab work this week; I arrived at 6:20 a.m., took my number and was all done and walked out at 6:40. Thank you to all the staff at the hospital community lab for your efficiency, professionalism and I barely felt the needle!
As the year begins, I am thinking about education. I recently received an invitation from Lethbridge Public School District 51 to participate in a town hall event. It was a very interesting event last time I attended so I plan on going again this year. The purpose of the town hall is to seek feedback from parents, teachers and stakeholders to assist the district and the Board of Trustees as they explore actionable strategies for the district. They will then be reviewed during the planning phase for inclusion in the Education Plan for the District. I think this is a very good exercise for parents, teachers and specific stakeholders to develop a deeper understanding of the education planning process in the district.
One can never underestimate the power of a good education, great teachers, supportive parents and school districts/boards that bring it all together. We have, I think, the best and most dedicated teachers in this province. (I may be a little biased). We have school boards in this city and region that are focused on our children now and for the future. I have visited many of the schools in the city (and in the region) whenever my schedule allows. I have been part of opening new schools, renovated schools and sod turning for new schools. Our province is growing, our city is growing and schools and the learning that occurs within them are an essential part of that growth. If you haven’t been inside the renovated Wilson Middle School, the new St. Theresa of Calcutta, or the new playgrounds at Agnes Davidson or Park Meadows, you must pay them a visit. I suspect you will see, as I did, that they are nothing like the schools of the past. They are built to encourage and empower learning. I am so happy to be part of a government that knows the importance of education and does our part to support it.
Under the leadership of Rachel Notley, our government is investing in Lethbridge schools after the PC government failed to build a new school in south Lethbridge during their entire 44-year run. As an MLA in this city, I take seriously my role in making sure provincial tax dollars actually return to Lethbridge in many forms, and schools are a big part of that. Our school boards, educators, students and parents deserve the investment.
Last month, my colleague from Lethbridge West, Minister Shannon Phillips, had a very exciting announcement: five new wind projects as part of Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program. In total these projects, which are derived from private investors, will create about 1,000 jobs and will generate enough power for nearly 300,000 homes. One of the projects in southern Alberta is the Stirling Wind project which is being done in a partnership with the Paul First Nation and Calgary-based Greengate Power Corporation. The second project is the Windrise project southwest of Fort Macleod brought by the Alberta-based TransAlta Corporation. There are three projects that are private-sector partnerships with First Nations. Chief Roy Fox from Kainai First Nation has said, “This is an important first step in economic reconciliation that helps our children and their children prosper alongside other Albertans for generations to come.”
There are a number of other projects supported by our government in both wind and solar. I have mentioned these because of the influx of money and opportunity here in Lethbridge because of renewable projects. This private investment is an indication of the emerging economy that is ideal for the Lethbridge area. We have sun. And good heavens, we certainly have wind! One other point: investment in renewable energy is coming here to our area from Ontario, since the election of a government that does not support the emerging renewable economy. We definitely need these jobs, and this investment, here in Lethbridge and area. Certainly the opportunities for “renewable” collaboration with Lethbridge College offer great potential.
I hope each and every one of you had a restful break and is looking forward to a wonderful 2019. Don’t forget to check out “A Taste of Hungary” at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association on Friday, Jan. 25.
Lethbridge East Constituency Office can be reached by telephone at 403-320-1011 or by email at email@example.com, for inquiries and appointments. We are generally open for walk-ins Monday-Thursday mornings.
Maria Fitzpatrick is the NDP MLA for Lethbridge East. Her column appears monthly.