July 15th, 2024

The gift of life is worth celebrating


By Lethbridge Herald on June 11, 2022.

AT THE LEGISLATURE
Nathan Neudorf – UCP MLA for Lethbridge East

As always, there are many things that give us cause for celebration. How often do we give pause and simply reflect on the most profound gifts? Life is a gift; and that alone is worth celebrating. 

The recent passing of Bill 205, the Human Organ and Tissue Donation (Mandatory Referral) Amendment Act, has highlighted the privilege and gift of life, as well as the opportunity to share that privilege with others, when we can. 

Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson began working on the development of this legislation in 2019, roughly a year after the Humboldt Broncos crash in 2018 and Logan Boulet’s heroic donation, which saved six lives. Logan’s father, Toby Boulet, has become an advocate and champion for organ donation in Alberta and has expressed thanks to Sigurdson for his “tireless work and passion in developing, listening, adjusting and completing” Bill 205. 

“I am well aware that many faces were behind this effort and I would be absolutely remiss not to thank my MLA Shannon Phillips and the MLA from Lethbridge East, Nathan Neudorf for not only their support of Private Members Bill 205, but their unwavering support of our family both before and after Logan’s passing,” said Mr. Boulet.

In return, I wish to thank Toby Boulet for all the work he and his wife, Bernadine Boulet, have done in raising awareness around the subject of organ donation in Alberta. I also want to thank my colleague, MLA Sigurdson, for his diligent work of drafting and refining this legislation over the past three years. I feel privileged to have been able to support this bill and see a foundation built for improving the human tissue and organ donation system in Alberta. We haven’t arrived at a complete solution – but we have laid the foundation and paved the way for further progress. 

While I believe there are many Albertans ready and willing to join the cause and sign up as organ donors, changes were direly needed to improve the processes surrounding donation. Tissue and organ donation in Alberta lags behind many neighbouring provinces, with over 700 Albertans currently on transplant waitlists. 

The change in Bill 205 to mandatory referral requires physicians to refer a patient to the appropriate organ donation organization when death is imminent. This will create a streamlined notification system for organ donation, ensuring improved timelines for assessing the viability of potential donors.

This legislation will improve education and awareness, streamline accessibility and enhance the legal and ethical standards. It will help close the gap between organ donors and organ recipients; it’s one thing to have willing donors and another to successfully connect them in time, to those in need. 

I think it’s important to highlight the results of unified, conjoined efforts, when we let less important disagreements fall to the side and embrace our common humanity. We all bleed the same; and when we act in full recognition of our common-ground, incredible things happen. 

On another note, our government recently announced funding for targeted enrollment in high-demand post-secondary programs across the province. We are investing $171 million over the next three years, creating nearly 10,000 additional seats – the largest targeted enrolment expansion in Alberta’s history! 

All 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions were invited to submit proposals to expand capacity in their high-demand programs, resulting in more than 120 proposals from 23 institutions. Each proposal was scored against a rigorous evaluation method that considered alignment with workforce and regional needs, learner demand, financial implications, cost per seat, work-integrated learning pathways and the ability to get students into seats this fall.

These programs include: Agriculture, Airline/Aviation Management, Animal Health, Business Administration and Management, Computer Engineering Technology, Early Childhood Education, Film Production, Health Care Aide, Mechanical engineering, Nursing, Paramedicine, Physical Sciences, Social Work, Technology and Veterinary Medicine.

The Lethbridge College has received $1.2 million, funding 55 new seats; and the University of Lethbridge has received $1.7 million, funding a total of 118 new seats. 

We are ensuring that students have the skills and knowledge they need to meet the labour market demands of tomorrow and enter Alberta’s workforce. These targeted investments will help address our structural unemployment issues in Alberta and make sure students can be accepted into their preferred programs.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate Paula Burns, former president of the Lethbridge College. She has worked in her role with excellence and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors. 

I’d also like to extend my warmest congratulations to all the graduates at Lethbridge high schools, the Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge. It was my privilege to attend the graduation ceremonies at both the College and the University. All these students have been through a tough season – and to witness them stand and celebrate the completed results of their perseverance was both a pleasure and an inspiration. As summer nears, I hope everyone can get outside and enjoy some time with family and friends. Well done!

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IMO

How much is the UCP government planning on investing in the Liberal (General) Arts programs at both the college and university levels?

passengerneighbor

It inspired me a lot, thank you for sharing!