July 23rd, 2019

Fighting for southern Albertans

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on February 8, 2019.

This month’s ‘At The Legislature’ column by MLA Maria Fitzpatrick

Thinking back to 2015, just after our election, we were thrust straight into the fire! There was a hot local issue facing Fifth On Fifth Youth Services, and other similar groups around Alberta. The former Conservative government had cancelled their FCSS funding allocation, generating a lot of concern in Lethbridge, because without it, these groups were not certain to survive.

After my election, I immediately began advocating with the new minister, caucus colleagues and in the Legislature to address the issue. It was quickly addressed and these groups have since been able to continue their vital work in our communities.

Since then I have utilized my speaking time in the Assembly Chamber and my voice within our government caucus to fight for the things that matter here in Lethbridge. On the local economy, I spoke up for jobs, pushing hard in support of the Cavendish project, economic diversification, and wind and solar energy projects to bring new development, economic activity and jobs to our area.

This week, my Lethbridge-West colleague, Minister Shannon Phillips, and I attended the unveiling of the electric vehicle-charging initiative “Peaks to Prairies.” When completed, the Peaks to Prairies network will cover over 1,700 kilometres of southern Alberta highways and transition the region to full electric vehicle connectivity. These charging stations will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from southern Alberta and will generate further jobs and economic prosperity across Southern Alberta. This EV announcement follows the five major wind generation projects brought forward by private investors late last year through our government’s Renewal Electricity Program. I’ve mentioned before that Lethbridge is ideally situated for this emerging economy, and these groups bringing investment (more than $1 billion) to various projects in our region are visibly bearing this diversification out.

We cannot afford to put our region’s economic future and burgeoning prosperity and jobs in southern Alberta at risk. Mr. Kenney’s inclination to oppose advancement on climate objectives would put this new economy in jeopardy, harming economic growth in our area. All that emerging renewable sector money Mr. Ford is chasing out of Ontario? We want that private investment here in Lethbridge. We want those jobs here in Lethbridge. We want that collaboration with Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge, to grow our local expertise and a labour force connected to a vibrant future economy, complete with ag-sciences, technology and trades. We want those jobs to develop and stay here in our city so that our students can stay and grow their lives instead of leaving to be in some other place in another province. Again, Lethbridge is stunningly well situated to be a leader in the emerging economy and we need to protect that.

Families here in Lethbridge are often made up of energy, construction, agriculture and related industry workers whose partners are often teachers and nurses. Over the past four years Alberta has been challenged by the low world price of oil and our struggle to gain tidewater access. This directly impacted many of our citizens here in Lethbridge. When tough times strike, Albertans come together for one another, and have each other’s back – just like Rachel Notley and our government did by protecting health care and education, fighting to build Trans Mountain, and working to diversify our economy to create new jobs. I stand with her and our caucus to protect those jobs in health care and education. A big cut to health or education would have harmed our vulnerable local economy and hurt families in Lethbridge. Even today, if such a thing were allowed to occur those cuts would deeply harm us, and opponents have said themselves these cuts would hurt.

Our government, with private sector and local government partners, has pushed forward on multiple major infrastructure projects like U of L Destination Project, supporting the absolutely amazing TE building at Lethbridge College, the remarkable Senator Joyce Fairbairn School, the fast-coming District 51 school in southeast Lethbridge (complete with photovoltaic solar panels), renovations at Wilson Middle School, completing and fully funding staffing for the Chinook Regional Hospital expansion, and the rehabilitated eastbound Highway 3 bridge, just to name a few. As an MLA in our government, I pushed hard on these local infrastructure builds to keep our citizens employed during the energy sector downturn. Every job – every paycheque – matters.

The past three years and eight months have been tremendously busy. There have been lots of challenges. Many heart-rending stories from constituents seeking an advocate have come through my office, and it has been my absolute privilege to seek help on their behalf. Many conversations and remarkable ideas have also come my way on how to continue to advance the city and province, and it has been gratifying to share those ideas with my colleagues, sending them forward to become policy and legislation. I love Lethbridge and promise to continue to passionately push, promote, advocate and keep fighting for you with a strong voice in Edmonton, dedicated to our inclusive community values.

My office is open for walk-in visits Monday through Thursday mornings. You can also reach us by telephone at 403-320-1011 or by email at lethbridge.east@assembly.ab.ca. If we aren’t in and you happen by, drop a note in the mail slot to let us know we missed you.

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

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13 Responses to “Fighting for southern Albertans”

  1. A useful article on range of electric cars in cold weather. Range cut in half as extra electricity is needed for the heater.


    IC engine powered cars use otherwise wasted energy for heating. Is Maria putting lipstick on pigs here with her promotion of these charging stations and electric vehicles?

  2. Seth Anthony says:

    Putting lipstick on a pig is the TRUE title of the NDP’s position on wind and solar. The lies they tell when trying to sell these wind and solar projects to the public, are blatantly obvious to the few pragmatic people. Just one example was a recent solar project in which Philips claimed it would provide power to 3500 homes and create 700 jobs. Truth is, the project can produce power for 3500 homes, ONLY if homeowners just want to run a toaster. Also, those 700 jobs are short term only. Further to that, the government should not be creating projects to create jobs. The government should only be creating a business friendly environment to attract business and commerce. Creating projects to create jobs, is like printing money to get out of debt. It’s idiotic.

  3. lonestar says:

    Mr. Anthony come on over – we love ya – now as you reveal we have two mis-peakers to deal with this spring’

    Lying by omission don’t cut it with folks living responsibly some on fixed incomes, worried that that energy flowing to 3500 homes will not come without – the delivery charge – fixed – the delivery charge – variable – the rate riders (?) municipal franchise fee and carbon levy. All five of these taxes we can do ZERO about, if we don’t use any energy. Together they comprise between 3 and 4/5ths of the energy bill.

    These hidden taxes in plain sight will not change or go any direction but up, a debate – a “fight – for Albertans if you will ” few politicians including Maria Fitzgerald choose very coyly to avoid any mention of!

    • Pecker says:

      All those fee’s are from the Conservatives.

      • Seth Anthony says:

        @ Pecker:

        It doesn’t matter where the fees are from.

        The point is, due to this solar and wind nonsense, those fees and the price of electricity will skyrocket. To add insult to injury, we’ll get basically nothing in return.

      • lonestar says:

        ….and the NDP saying now they’re “fighting for Albertans” did zero to fix those fees – agree?

      • George McCrea says:

        True enough, however the carbon tax wasn’t. The NDP, so concerned about the little guy, has had over three years to rectify all these charges that we all complain about. Crickets.

  4. Seth Anthony says:

    Indeed Lonestar, indeed.

    What they say, isn’t as important (nor as revealing), as what they leave out.

  5. snowman says:

    Ms Fitzpatrick how much are Albertans paying for stranded costs on wind turbines like you payed on coal plants? What is your position on subsidizing electric vehicle maybe from carbon tax. What is your position on electric cars paying road tax? voters would like your response.

  6. biff says:

    with all your self congratulatory back patting, mf, you forgot to gloat about how your party has permitted fracking in lethbridge. the job numbers and money this brings must be enormous to justify the poison fracking brings with it?
    you are a bunch of cons, pretending to be social, and leaving an environmental and financial mess from which we are never likely to recover. it is all so pathetic that it seems the real purpose is to sink in the final knife that aims to discredit “social” approaches to society once and for all.
    are the ndp really so thick as to not understand you cannot have much of a social approach without owning the essential levers of the economy? with all the real and meaningful wealth spilling away and funneling into a few private hands, how are we to pay for our collective needs? we already know that taxes do not cover these costs – hence the ever ballooning debt load. or, do you just keep piling on the taxes while our wealth gets stolen away by the few well-placed and connected? i suggest you are either crooked or morons – what do you say?

  7. lonestar says:

    Just luck someone here read biff’s comment for the first time in a long time ( the first line sucked her in) -annnndddddd we agree. Imagine that!

    • biff says:

      ls – gee, thanks! but if one is passing me by, you will have missed several kudos from me over the last week or so. 🙂