January 17th, 2021

UCP missing election goals

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on September 25, 2020.

As much as it pains me to report, I must admit that summer has drawn to a close. The signs I wrote about last month in this column have become ever-more apparent: the shocks of yellow and orange in our trees have become full blooms of colour lining our streets, and leaves have begun to collect on our lawns and in our parks. The mornings have gotten chillier, and the evenings are arriving even earlier. For our neighbours outside the city harvest is in full swing, despite some challenges with a bit of extra moisture. This year in particular I am reminded of the work of our producers and how vital that work is not just to our economy, but to making sure our shelves are stocked and our pantries are full. >

Yes, fall is here. And with it, we are seeing more of Jason Kenney’s plans for this province, and how he intends to deal with the fiscal and economic crisis he and his government have helped to create. >

Eighteen months ago, Albertans elected Mr. Kenney with the understanding that he would deliver on jobs and the economy. His focus on those goals has, of late, been lacking – prioritizing huge giveaways to profitable corporations, stoking a war with our doctors during a pandemic, and pulling money from our schools while our kids go back to school amid that same pandemic. It seems like Jason Kenney wants to do just about anything to distract us from his record on the economy. And now, it seems, he’s got a new plan.

I wish I could say that plan was guided by thoughtful compassion and a clear-minded approach to the generational questions facing Alberta. Unfortunately, the reality is just the opposite: Jason Kenney has decided that he should try to save money on the backs of our most vulnerable neighbours, all while expediting his multi-billion-dollar gift to already-profitable corporations. Yes, rather than asking corporations to pay their fair share instead of stashing a massive tax cut offshore, the premier is actively floating reductions to the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), which provides modest living stipends to members of our community who are unable to work because of illness or injury. >

At this point, I feel I need to do what Jason Kenney and his ministers have not had the decency to do: reassure people who I know for a fact are indescribably anxious and stressed by talk of changes to AISH. To all of you who are worried about how you will make rent, or how you will buy groceries or other necessities without AISH, let me assure you that at least for the next little while those payments will continue. >

Though this is true, it is a remarkable indictment of our premier’s morality and capacity for compassion that he is actively considering reductions to this program, especially as he insists on giving billions of dollars to profitable corporations. What’s even more troubling is that this is an effort to distract Albertans from the very real, very big problems that we are facing. While our province struggles with double-digit unemployment, a lack of economic diversity, and investment fleeing the province, Mr. Kenney continues to blame everyone but himself for our province’s generational problems. >

While he boxes with ghosts in Ottawa, or foists his budget problems on the backs of disabled Albertans here at home, Kenney doesn’t seem up to the job of fixing our problems because he refuses to take any responsibility for them. But the reality is that when you’re premier the buck stops with you – regardless of how much you try to shift the blame. Now, more than ever, we need a government who fights for the working families of this province – not one that does everything in its power to shift blame and distract from its own broken promises. >

Though the dark clouds seem to continue gathering on our province’s horizon, the residents of this community, the spirit of this province, and the ethic of this country continue to be a wellspring of hope in these challenging times. There might not be a better example of this than Terry Fox – whose Marathon of Hope celebrates its 40th anniversary this year – and the ways in which communities and youngsters are carrying on his legacy in new and innovative ways while protecting themselves and their classmates from COVID-19. When I read these stories, and ones like Winston Churchill teacher Kevin McBeath’s 26-mile run in support of the Terry Fox initiative, I am absolutely blown away by the people of this city. Any place like this, where young and old work together to make life better, is worth fighting for, and I am reminded every day of the privilege I have been given to fight alongside all of you. >

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

With regard to AISH and giving $billions to profitable corporations, what the Catholic Church says about poverty comes to mind: “Consideration of poverty in Catholic social teaching begins with the foundation that each person is both sacred and social, created in God’s image, and destined to share in the good of the earth as part of a community of justice and mercy.”
Premier Kenney stated in his reviving of the Alberta prayer breakfast in Dec/2019, that, “personally, it’s essential to my vocation to be grounded in my faith.”
Who even had more to say about the poor, poverty, and wealth, was Jesus.
It is interesting to note the paradox between actual actions and what is said about faith within the realm of Alberta politics. For me, as a member of the ‘christian’ community in Alberta, my vote goes to, by actions, the more ‘Christ-like’ AB NDP.

Dennis Bremner

Just another diversionary tactic Ms Phillips. Why not address local issues, local issues you created? You represented the downtown and West Side, you created the SCS you funded it, and you created the draw of addicts to this city. Yet, you have never apologized to the businesses you represent and victimized ? You have never apologized for creating the ability for organized crime to appear or the resultant robberies ?
You rant about your union friends and how Kenney is affecting your voter base. You carry on about how teachers are getting the shaft, yet never apologize to all the children that have had their bicycles stolen by your “invited homeless drug addicts”. Why? If you keep talking about Kenney I guess you don’t have to talk about Lethbridge and what you have done to it, do you Ms Phillips? Great diversionary tactic, it may fool some of the residents perhaps, but not the majority.
If you wish to Champion the cause of our doctors, why not offer real help instead of lipservice Ms Phillips. Kenney has made a clear statement, we, in Alberta do not get the bang for the buck that other provinces do, period. So why not be the Doctors Champion and prove Kenney is wrong?
You are very good at hot air Ms Phillips, oh and lightbulbs, but I have never seen anything of substance in this newspaper but diversionary tactics from your feeble record here in Lethbridge. You promised alot of things and funded none of them(except the SCS), so what did you actually achieve, other than catastrophic destruction? I see Zero positives in your 4 year tenure! So its easy to see why you are into diversionary tactics!

Last edited 3 months ago by Dennis Bremner

As usual Shannon! Nothing but the usual yibble-bibble-babble!
Why have you been so hush-hush on the SCS boondoggle?
If you had a f…en ounce of credibility you would of owned that fascial!
You are a hypocritical pathetic individual! But oh so qualified to be in Nutleys tent.

Last edited 3 months ago by johnny57