October 28th, 2020

Gov’t not supporting Albertans


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on August 28, 2020.

After a very hot August, I am begrudgingly beginning to accept the signs that fall is on its way. Whether it’s the earlier sunsets, the slight chill in the air in the mornings, or the yellow shocks beginning to accent the tops of the generations-old trees in my neighbourhood, I am reminded that summer is in fact beginning to draw to a close. >

Fall is normally such an exciting time in our city – kids getting back to school and into their activities for the year, students returning to our city and bringing their indelible energy, and the general sense of rejuvenation that comes with getting back to work after vacation. This fall, however, is a bit different. Rather than that air of excitement we’ve come to know, there’s anxiety and uncertainty surrounding all of these things as parents worry about their kids’ return to schools, students attend classes remotely, and so many of our neighbours continue to struggle in one of the toughest job markets our province has seen.

My office has heard from so many parents concerned about their kids returning to classrooms – and from so many moms and dads who feel like they’re in a real bind. They want their kids to get back to normal as much as possible (for their kids’ sake, but also so they can return to something approaching normalcy in their own work), but they’re worried that the provincial government hasn’t provided the resources to make sure that this can be done safely. After all, the Kenney government has committed exactly zero new dollars to help school boards adjust to the new reality, and are still plowing ahead with their cuts to education despite the new challenges being faced by teachers and administrators. >

The fact that this government is refusing to fund a safe reopening while giving away billions of dollars to large and already-profitable corporations is nothing short of immoral. While every day parents struggle with how they’re going to grapple with child-care demands normally filled by grandparents who might now be at higher risk for COVID, it’s clear that Premier Kenney and his government care more about the bottom lines of companies than the legitimate problems they have created for families.

This is beyond frustrating. As a parent and as an MLA I’m fed up with a government that seems to think giving billions to corporations is more important than our kids’ safety and the safety of our seniors. Here’s the thing, though: as the government demonstrates every day how little they care about the things that keep us up at night, parents are finding their voice and learning how many allies they have. Whether it’s the string of protests that happened all over the province over the last month, or the realization by so many that the economy doesn’t work without safe schools and proper child care, it’s clear that Albertans are banding together. As with so many challenges, finding our collective power is what will overcome these challenges, and make sure that we have a government that actually thinks about the needs of working parents. There remains so much work to be done in this regard, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note all of the incredible work that’s already taken place.

Of course, this is just one of the things that’s leading to sleepless nights in our province. Set against all of these concerns related to the pandemic are those of an economy that was already struggling before COVID came into our lives. Even before this, the Kenney economic plan of slashing public services, raising personal income taxes, and putting billions in the pockets of profitable corporations was causing the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in our province. Because of these failed plans, along with his government’s decision to add thousands more to the unemployment rolls through layoffs in the school system, Alberta has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and Calgary – long one of Canada’s beacons of economic opportunity – has the highest unemployment rate of any major city in the country. >

Though times certainly are tough for so many, I know that this community is even tougher, and that we will lean on each other – despite not having a government that has our back. Though the government will continue to prioritize corporate profits over meeting the needs of people, we will continue to do our best to make our community the best place it possibly can be. While failed economic policies will continue to challenge young people and jobseekers, our teachers will do their best to provide safe and caring classrooms, our post-secondary instructors and staff will prepare us for new opportunities, and the hard work and compassion that this city is known for will support our families and neighbours. As we have in the past, we will get through this challenging time together. >

As always, if you need the support of my office, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can be reached at lethbridge.west@assembly.ab.ca or by calling 403-329-4644.

Shannon Phillips is the NDP MLA for Lethbridge West. Her column appears monthly.

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Southern Albertan

So, in all of this, our neighbours to the east, Saskatchewan, with its very right wing government, appears to be more responsible for revenue flow than their Alberta UCP friends. They, recently, raised their provincial sales tax to 6% from, I believe, 5%. It has been said, for Alberta, that a 3% sales tax would bring in about $6 billion/year and a 6% sales tax would bring in about $11 billion/year. As always, those with lower incomes would be rebated/excluded. To give credit to the AB NDP government, they implemented a carbon tax (instead of a sales tax) which was being reinvested back into the province. That the Kenney UCP is, not, addressing revenue is shocking. They believe they are, by lowering the corporate tax rate to 8%, etc. is the way to go….a trainwreck in the making? We should all know that trickle-down economics does not ‘work.’
By many appearances, there still, seems to be a lot of ‘money’ around in Alberta, i.e.high end vehicles on the roads, RVs boats, new houses…..Would it seem that if this all can be afforded that a sales tax on these high end items could be well afforded as well? Then, there’s the matter of not doing fair taxation and not dealing with tax loopholes. The question is: How bad does it have to get before it starts affecting votes? After all, Alberta has a dim history of 40 + years, of right wing AB Conservative politics frittering away our oil and gas resource during the boom years, which are now done….and folks actually kept on voting for it?!
Former fiscal conservative Premier Peter Lougheed had ‘Six Principles’ for resource development which were not followed by successive AB Conservative governments: “Behave like an owner, Collect your fair share, Save for a rainy day, Add value, Go slow, and Practice statecraft.” Can it only be imagined, now, if Alberta had a few $100 billion in our Heritage Trust Fund?

Dennis Bremner

Get over yourself Shannon, we are sick and tired of listening to you complain! You oppose in hopes you are right and when you are wrong for opposing, you suddenly disappear from the conversation.

zulu1

This woman never ceases her whining and complaining. She was a major supporter of the now defunct and alleged criminal organization ‘Arches’ . She remains totally silent on that subject.

IMO

For those who are not informed or who may be confused regarding the role of members of the Official Opposition within the framework of the Westminster Parliamentary system:

The Opposition is made up of MLAs who aren’t part of the governing party. The role of the Opposition is to critique government activity, propose improvements to legislation, and present itself to the public as an alternative to the party in office. The party with the most opposition seats in the Assembly and is called the Official Opposition.”

https://www.alberta.ca/how-government-works.aspx

Dennis Bremner

IMO I am more than familiar with the roll a MLA plays in the opposing party. Her/His roll is not to oppose EVERYTHING the governing party does in an attempt/hope that as time moves on, they may be right. Phillips was one of the main orchestrators of the Lethbridge FIX Room, known as the SCS. She blindly led the foolish in Lethbridge Council down the Garden Path creating the nightmare we are now slowly getting cleaned up. But you will note Shannon takes no responsibility to the devastation of downtown businesses or the scandal at the SCS. Seems she suddenly lost her memory.

configman

Please do some research Shannon. The left keeps saying that we need to flatten the non existent curve. Left wing politicians relying on propaganda from the corrupt WHO that have estimated Canadian deaths in the hundreds of thousands. We haven’t even hit 10,000 as a country. This represents less than 0.003% of the countries population. Children in the school system are the least likely people in our country to be affected by the virus and yet the fear mongering of the left wing politicians and media have made our entire population afraid of something that is little more than the common flu for most.
The initial two to four weeks of lock downs would have cleared the majority of the population from spreading the virus. The left once again rather than thinking of the country as a whole has gone off on some tangent to silently implement communism pairing heavily with the Chinese model of social credit and little to no freedom, using this virus as a political means to stop protests against their incompetence and elite exclusivity around the world. We do not need to place any of the restrictions on schools that you mention in this article (thus no additional costs need be incurred).
We could simply restrict the freedom of less than 10% of the population by having healthcare workers that deal with the sick and elderly isolate themselves from the general public, other people with health issues that could be compromised could choose for themselves based on their own independent risk analysis whether they want to take additional precautions to protect themselves. This would allow healthcare workers to continue to provide services without compromising their clients health while at the same allowing the majority of the population to continue their lives as normal. How can we ask the health care workers to do this? They are already doing this or should be doing this. We could also provide additional Compensation and assistance with education and socialization for their families. If the COVID isolation itself is causing the psychological issues being reported this would be the best solution. Healthcare workers could still enjoy socialization with cohorts and their immediate families.
We need our economy back, we need our freedom back, and we sure do not need any more fear mongering or draconian laws that evict our freedoms in life from you or anyone else in government.

h2ofield

“”The left once again rather than thinking of the country as a whole has gone off on some tangent to silently implement communism pairing heavily with the Chinese model of social credit and little to no freedom, using this virus as a political means to stop protests against their incompetence and elite exclusivity around the world.””

Here’s the kind of paranoid garbage the right likes to promote. Gee, how they would have handled the beginning of the pandemic so differently. All for ‘freedom’ ::rolleyes::