This year has been a time of uncertainty and change, and I am grateful for the hard work and resilience that our community has shown. In August and September, I have been travelling around the constituency meeting with individuals and attending some socially distanced events. I look forward to returning to the Legislature in mid- October and continuing to represent Lacombe-Ponoka and Blackfalds residents.
On Aug. 27, the Minister of Finance provided an update to Albertans on the impact that COVID-19 had on the provincial budget and the economy overall. This update was a frank reminder of the impact that the public health crisis, economic downturn, and drop in oil prices has taken on our province. This also includes over $14 billion for COVID-19 relief programs for Albertan families, small businesses, and non-profits. As Alberta faces a record deficit, Alberta’s government is looking ahead to restoring our province’s economy and getting our community back to work.
The difficult part is, that by year end we will be burdened with nearly $1B of debt. But this is not a time to make things worse with drastic cuts. It is not possible to cut our way out of this difficult time. We can only grow our way out of it. We must grow our industry, our GDP and hence our provincial revenue. Therefore, your government is focused on growing and diversifying the economy.
Since re-opening our economy in May, Alberta has been investing energy and resources into the Alberta Recovery Plan, a bold course of action that creates jobs, builds important infrastructure, and diversifies the economy for the future. Investments in our schools, roadways, water systems, and more will provide a much-needed boost to the economy. In addition, Alberta’s recovery is focusing on lowering barriers to local job creators and building strength in new sectors like natural gas, aviation, and technology. As we weather the immediate effects of COVID-19 in our community, government is introducing programs that will strengthen the economy in the long-run.
A return to school has brought many mixed emotions. Some parents, students and teachers are very glad to be going back to school. Some are very anxious. And a few are going to try online learning and not go back at all. I salute our school officials and staff for the great effort that they have put in trying to accommodate everyone’s concerns – from one extreme to the other — and make everyone as safe as possible while providing a good education for our children.
We all wish COVID would just go away. Everyone is stressed with fear of infection or anger at protocols that restrict them. It will eventually go away when we all do our part to minimize its spread. In the mean time be patient, be considerate of people who think differently than you do. There are no perfect responses to the situation that we find ourselves in.
Don’t forget to enjoy the fall colours and hopefully all our farm people have good harvest days.
My office is here to support our community. As always, it is my honour to serve as your MLA. For assistance please phone 403-782-7725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.