Throne speech focuses on health care and economy

The 27th Alberta Legislature was opened with the throne speech on April 15 delivered by Lt.-Gov Norman Kwong.

  • Apr. 23, 2008 12:00 p.m.

The 27th Alberta Legislature was opened with the throne speech on April 15 delivered by Lt.-Gov Norman Kwong. This was the second throne speech for Premier Ed Stelmach in a little over two months, the throne speech on Feb.3 laid out the government plans and an election was immediately called.

Stelmach was returned to office with an overwhelming majority winning 72 of 83 seats.

“I think it is a very aggressive agenda based on the fact that we have such a strong mandate. The government has a fair amount of confidence to go ahead with an aggressive agenda that was outlined in the throne speech Such as the economy, health care, infrastructure, stainable recourses and building strong, safe and secure communities,” said Ponoka-Lacombe MLA Ray Prins.

The speech focused on five main priorities for the government including; broadening Alberta’s economy, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery, providing roads, schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing province, developing the provinces energy resources in a responsible and sustainable way and ensuring strong and safe communities.

Prins feels that health care is very important and that there needs to be some changes to the system.

“I think if your are going to improve the system you have to start with an effective governance structure. Currently, we have nine health regions each one almost running their own system, we need to have a more unified approach,” said Prins. “A lot of people will enter in one region and get treatment in another, we need to have a more efficient system which will improve access and ultimately could save us money.”

Prins also says that we need to make more openings so more people can get into health care fields.

“You need to ensure we have enough health care professionals; you have to increase opportunities for students and young people to pursue health care careers. That goes from RNs to doctors and everyone in the health care profession,” said Prins. “We want to open up the possibilities for people in our country and internationally and recognizing skills that people bring with them”

Prins will be sitting on a number of caucus and legislative committees, some which are not yet officially announced.

He is the chair of Legislative Offices Committee, which is an all party committee to review the legislative offices such as ethic commission, auditor general and chief electoral officer.

He was also appointed by Premier Stelmach to chair the rural caucus.

“As the chair of the committee I can determine the agenda and I can involve stakeholders that are relevant to rural Alberta,” said Prins. “There are a lot of agriculture issues right now and I am sure that some of the ag interest groups would like to present to rural caucuses and they would be contacting me to get on that agenda.”

The Alberta government announced their budget on April 22.