June 12th, 2021

Alberta NDP caucus focused on what matters to Albertans


By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on May 28, 2021.

Usually as the end of May approaches, we are beginning to see the weather warm and the Alberta legislature wind through its last days of sitting – wrapping up the business of the province before the summer. Unfortunately, it seems that neither Mother Nature nor Jason Kenney have any interest in their normally-appointed duties. Those of us who have spent our lives in Southern Alberta can forgive the former for her fickle manner, but the Premier has few excuses for his relegation of duties this month. 
Yes, rather than dealing with the serious and important concurrent crises enveloping our province, Jason Kenney spent most of the spring trying to please extremists in his own caucus.
Instead of focusing on the things keeping Alberta’s working families up at night – jobs, affordable childcare, what they would do if they got sick – the premier delayed action on the third and largest wave of the pandemic, and left Albertans without the help they deserve from their government.
Over the last few weeks we have seen the results of that failure: kids at home instead of at school, small businesses continuing to struggle when they should be beginning to emerge, and Kenney’s own workplace – the Alberta Legislature closed so that he can hide from Albertans instead of doing the things that need to be done. 
While the UCP has continued to fight with itself, our NDP Official Opposition caucus has been focused on what really matters to Albertans – getting our economy up and running, defending the public services that will get us out of this rut, and proposing measures to help speed up our province’s emergence from the pandemic. After months of failed experiments by the UCP government that pitted the economy against public health, we know that it’s not one or the other, but that both need to be considered in tandem.
Just like there can be no economic recovery without defeating the pandemic, there can be no defeating the pandemic if we don’t take serious actions that help working people do what they need to do to take care of themselves and their communities. 
One proposal our caucus has made to do the latter is to provide paid sick leave to workers throughout the province.
We know that for many Albertans it can be a gut-wrenching decision whether to miss work and try to make do with a smaller (or no) paycheque, or to simply keep working if they begin to feel sick.
For so many of us with families who depend on us, a few missed shifts can be financially calamitous, making controlling the spread of the virus so much harder than it needs to be.
Short-term paid sick leave for workers isn’t just the right thing to do for those workers who need both a paycheque and to stay home from work, but it’s also one of the most important tools to put this pandemic behind us once and for all. 
That, and vaccines of course.
We all know that the pandemic has forced difficult choices on all Premiers and leaders, but the UCP government’s decisions have left us behind on almost every metric – especially economically.
Though our burgeoning vaccination rates and emergence from the pandemic gloom are inarguably good things, our ascent should be much faster and easier than it is – and that is due in no small part to the health and economic choices that Premier Kenney and his government have made.
These issues are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems our province is facing, and which the Kenney government has made worse.
Though it is absolutely true that we need to get ourselves out of this pandemic and on the road to recovery as soon as possible, we also need to make sure that we have an eye toward protecting our province from the long-term effects of the UCP’s policies. I was reminded of this poignantly recently with two recent events.
First, there was World Family Doctor Day last week. I hear every day from constituents the struggles of finding a new family doctor, and I fear for the future of our primary health care system when I hear stories about how Jason Kenney’s war with doctors is harming our community’s ability to recruit and retain skilled physicians.
Second, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) reported an excellent year of earnings, and confirmed that it is fully funded far into the future.
We cannot let the Kenney government pull Albertans out of this fund for spiteful political purposes, as he has threatened, both recently and in the past.
As we have done on so many issues before – we need to work together to push back and tell the government to invest in these vital services. 
While we do that – let’s continue doing the things that need to be done to support one another. Let’s continue to reach out to neighbours in need, continue to make efforts to support each other, and perhaps above all – continue to get vaccinated. 
If you haven’t done so already – please visit https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-vaccine or call Healthlink at 811 for more information.
As always, should you require the services of my office please don’t hesitate to reach out.
You can access my office by call 403-329-4644 or by emailing Lethbridge.west@assembly.ab.ca.

Share this story:
<5
Subscribe
Notify of
17 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Southern Albertan

Wholeheartedly agree! Thank you for representing us in the manner in which we should be represented. Judging by voting intentions, the AB NDP is being rewarded by the largest percentage. Interestingly, as a result of even right wing disillusionment with the Kenney UCP, a right wing vote split seems likely, off to the Wildrose Independence Party and to the Alberta Party.

DougCameron

I agree Southern Albertan. The very thing that Jason Kenney was trying to accomplish by uniting the PC and Wildrose parties, is now coming back to roost with the far right fringe parties making inroads and splitting the right once again. Amazing!

johnny57

I to am a true Southern Albertan born and raised! Have watched this province prosper even under abnormal conditions! We have been able to pay into the national pot way more than we take-out and why? Because we have had successive governments that believed in investment and return on that investment which has made this a province of envy!
We only need to look a few hundred miles east and see how successive NDP governments drove that province into ruin based on a flawed ideology. From what I understand they have at least as much Oil-sands up there as us which could have made them a have-province if it had been developed at least as aggressive as us.
One can only shudder in shock if the socialists gain power again here and drive our economy the only direction they know and that is DOWN!
We were lucky Nutley and company only had one term in office that limited their damage.
Kenny and company are also focused on what matters to Albertans and that is jobs created by the private sector a concept foreign to the Nutley squad.

Southern Albertan

In the 1930s and beyond, when Alberta was a havenot province, federal regional development money was directed toward Alberta by the feds, i.e.Ottawa. It was even used to help jumpstart the oil and gas sector in the day. A deal was done with the feds, then, to keep back profits from the oil and gas sector as well. As far as equalization is concerned, not even the Harper Conservatives of which Jason Kenney was part and parcel, did not vigorously attempt to change the equalization formula. Alberta and Jason Kenney know full well, that the only way for Alberta to pay less in equalization is to implement a more fair taxation system. There are definitely those in Alberta who are not paying their fair share. We, also, only need to also remember disastrous right wing Conservative provincial governments such as the Mike Harris era in Ontario and the Grant Devine fraud scandal era in Saskatchewan, and our own 40 + years of financial bungling by right wing Alberta governments who frittered our own oil and gas resources away during the boom years. One would hope that history would teach all of us about, all, of the mistakes made by, all, politics….but there’s nothing like stubbing one’s toe on the same rock more than once, such as the now bumbling, authoritarian Kenney UCP.
A review of former fiscal Conservative Premier Pete Lougheed’s ‘Six Principles’ for resource development, which were, not, followed by successive right wing Alberta governments is probably apt: “Behave like an owner, Collect your fair share, Save for a rainy day, Add value, Go slow, and, Practice statecraft.” This failure to follow these principles, alone, will negatively affect Alberta, forever. What we have now is toxic neo-liberal authoritarianism, not the once loved, more inclusive, fiscal conservatism from days of yore.

Dakota

Your words, ..”This failure to follow these principles, alone, will negatively affect Alberta, forever. What we have now is toxic neo-liberal authoritarianism, not the once loved, more inclusive, fiscal conservatism from days of yore”… Seems that your beloved NDP have never ever abided by these values either. Your hypocrisy is laughable.


johnny57

Very interesting how you conveniently looked over my point how successive NDP governments drove Saskatchewan’s economy into the ground! One only needs to take a trip to Calgary for a Stamp’s-Riders game to realize this province is full of the green province’s people! Why did they come? As I have talked with many of them in my line of work the answer is usually the same “We were seeking-out a better future for our families as there is nothing back there.”
How one could even support any NDP government at all with their past history of failings is completely beyond me!

h2ofield

Putting things beyond you is easy, simpleton.

Dakota

There have been many Saskatchewan folks who have moved to Alberta. All were attempting to escape the economic desperation created by the SK NDP and trying to find healthier economic and employment opportunities. Insults such as yours does not offer any tangible or cogent argument to create your point. Seems your point is non existent anyway unless you consider insults as offering any type of opinion.

h2ofield

Sphincter says what?

johnny57

Great come-back! for a brain water-logged moron!

Southern Albertan

My Saskatchewan acquaintances are clear on their upset with the SK Conservative Devine fraud scandal. Some of them came to Alberta then, as well. Many of them also came to go to the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College. At the time of the fraud scandal, folks there were so disgusted they voted the NDP back in. All, politics, have had their waterloos, and certainly the SK right wing is not the savior for purity or good financial management. We only need to look to, again, the 40+ years of financial bungling by right wing politics in Alberta.

johnny57

Please elaborate twit! That is if you can!

DougCameron

Shannon: Well written opinion piece today with a softer tone than some of your submissions in the past. In my humble opinion, it’s important to get your points across but it has to be done with some diplomacy. The person that comes to mind when I think of someone that was a great leader but also handled everything in a non-confrontational manner, was the late Jack Layton and look what he accomplished in the all to short time he had as leader of the federal NDP!

Dakota

Shannon Phillps should acquire another speech writer because the same old rhetoric is just that, old, outdated and irrelevant. The same old, monthly, “UCP bad” – “NDP good” propaganda banter is getting tiresome and predictable. Interesting that Phillips could not even be bothered to sign her name to this propaganda hit piece. She is likely too embarrassed of the same old intellectually lazy content month after month.

Last edited 14 days ago by Dakota
Dennis Bremner

So to summarize what you are saying, the NDP when elected will create the Largest possible Alberta Government and the largest Unions in Canada as quickly as possible so they can get re-elected based on Government Jobs. Sounds about the same thing as what the UCP are doing but just with a different group, right? The magic is, when its NDP debt, its never a burden to the children of Alberta, only OTHER party provincial debt is a problem, never theirs!
If the NDP have been working so hard to defend Albertan’s then they must know by now how many Union Jobs will be created as soon as they are back in power, why don’t we have that number Shannon?
Its good to know that we can move from the failure of the UCP into another failed Government seamlessly, Albertans love consistency!

Last edited 13 days ago by Dennis Bremner


17
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x