For more information, or to purchase tickets, see the details below or download the attached flyer.
The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Neighbourhood Spirit Challenge is coming, May 26, 2013. The marathon offers an excellent opportunity to showcase your community, to volunteer and support runners, or to run for yourself–for health and wellness, for fun, and for your community.
For more information, please see the below attachments, or download the information sheet for details.
On Monday, October 1st, 2012 The Medicine Hat News published a letter to the editor from Don Weisbeck, the former mayor of Brooks and past president of the Wildrose Alliance Strathmore- Brooks constituency association.
“Around Alberta: MLAs have shown that intelligence does not come with the position. A few weeks back I mocked Alberta MLA David Swann for asking Frito-Lay (a division of PepsiCo) to boycott Alberta grown potatoes. Swann was reacting to left wing lobbyists who want child labour regulations applied to the family farm. It seems that Swann, the former provincial Liberal leader, was not aware that most of this so-called child labour was actually performed by members of the family that owned the farm.
Imposing regulations that would limit the hours that family members put in at planting and harvest time, in particular, would at least be ridiculous and at most jeopardize an entire way of life. Further, if one felt that some regulations should apply, why would you punish the farmer for the inaction of the provincial government?
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are unique in the predominance of non-thinkers at the political level.”
Mr. Weisback is intentionally misconstruing the issue and is also showing either ignorance or complete contempt for the real issues: paid farmworkers have no protection under Occupational Health and Safety, the Labour Code, and WCB and there are no child labour standards. We are not talking about family farms where members of the family work; Mr Weisback deliberately follows the government line on this. It is unfortunate indeed that after decades of pressing the government to enact these basic protections for paid farmworkers they continue to balk. Most Albertans want their food producers to protect human rights, the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Canadian Constitution as they apply to all employees. We are therefore forced to challenge Pepsi/Fritolay to abide by its own ethical procurement policy and not purchase products from operations that use child labour. If Mr Weisbeck has a better approach to getting the attention of this government on these 19thcentury labor standards I would welcome it.
What is inappropriate is the use of children as young as 8 in commercial or industrial agricultural operations completing tasks that are far more dangerous than those that would be completed by a child of similar age in a family farm environment. Since these large operations are subject to the same exemption that applies to family farms they do not need to abide by Occupational Health & Safety regulations that other commercial and industrial operations across the province must abide by.
I hope in the future Mr Weisbeck will make an attempt at accurately reflecting the comments of others, even if he personally disagrees with them.
Back in April of this year, the Falun Dafa Association of Calgary, presenters of Shen Yun Performing Arts wrote a letter to Heather Klimchuk, the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit. The letter outlined concerns over the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium’s attitude and behavior toward the performance group. They did not express concerns about the Northern Alberta Jubilee.
The group has felt hostility at past performances and feels like the conduct of the Jubilee staff and management has deteriorated year after year. In 2010, SAJA posted warnings on theatre entrances that the show was violent and not suitable for children.
This year an additional concern involved a Jubilee worker walking into the make shift change room for the female dancers. Though this incident was an accident, unfortunately the response from SAJA’s Production manager was one of laughter.
The performing group was also concerned about a severe technical error during one of their performances. The theatre production’s manager was unwilling to apologize for the error.
SAJA installed a safety net over the orchestra pit, which has been the critical point Minister Klimchuk has focused on. It is understood that the safety net is required, but the fact that the performing group wasn’t made aware of the net before they signed the contract, and were informed the day of their performance was troubling. The group requested a written apology and an invitation for Shen Yun to return to Calgary.
The overarching issue is the attitude of SAJA toward the performance group at least as experienced in Calgary. Feeling backed into a corner, the group has gone to their elected representatives and the media to try and find a resolution and repair their working relationship.
Minister Klimchuk’s response came on the 30th of April, stating that she feels that “by not contacting the manager of the Jubilee Auditoria directly to address the issues, nor giving [her] the opportunity to respond to [the group's] letter directly before sharing the information through the media and elected representatives, [they] may have missed an opportunity to resolve the issues.” The organization has tried repeatedly to deal with these concerns internally without satisfaction.
Klimchuk feels that “the relationship has deteriorated to the point that [she] doesn’t believe it can be resolved.” She then requests that the group “find other venues for future bookings, including [their] 2013 dates in the Northern and Southern Jubilee Auditoria.”
Without meeting the group to try and facilitate a resolution, the Minister has effectively kicked the performing arts group out of the province because they voiced their concerns to their elected official and the media. Clearly, the Redford government hasn’t changed, still not allowing dissent and punishing those who dare to criticize them. This ousting of the performance group does not support diverse arts in this province.
The Minister should follow through with a meeting with Shen Yun officials and repair this blight on our cultural and human rights reputation.
August 20th is Farmworker Day in Alberta. This day is one to remember farmworkers who have been killed on the job, including many children. These workers do not enjoy the same protection under the law that every other Albertan worker enjoys. Farmworkers are not eligible for workers compensation and their employers are not subject to occupational health and safety protocols. This leads inevitably to an unsafe work environment. These are protections that Albertans take for granted in their workplaces. Why have these protections not been afforded to farmworkers?
For years now the Official Opposition and I have worked with Alberta’s farmworkers to afford them these protections and fight for equal rights. As a part of this fight and to commemorate those farmworkers who died while working, my office and those of my colleagues Laurie Blakeman and Kevin Taft will be accepting food bank donations from August 16-30 in the name of Alberta’s farmworkers.
I would like to challenge all MLAs of all political stripes to accept food donations to commemorate Farmworker Day and to join our call for equal protection and rights for all of Alberta’s workers.
The Alberta Liberal Caucus has enjoyed several victories in the legislature this session.
Healthcare dominated the fall session of the legislature, led by our call for a much needed emergency debate on healthcare. The government, continuing to be out of touch with issues of importance to Albertans, limited debate to 75 minutes. It was only after Dr. Sherman was kicked out of the PC caucus for speaking his mind and his proposal of an amendment to Bill 17 that enabled the Liberal Caucus to push for adequate debate. Debate lasted 25 hours, none of which the Premier chose to attend. With Albertans waiting 18 hours in emergency rooms for care, the Premier showed disinterest and contempt towards Albertans accessing the healthcare system and to medical staff who are working diligently to make a broken system function.
The Alberta government backed off from park legislation. The proposed bill put too much power into the hands of the minister. Without rules backed by legislation, the door was left open for more development in Alberta’s parks. Local and national conservation groups have campaigned against Bill 29 since it was tabled on November 4th. They called it one of the worst pieces of conservation legislation to come forward anywhere in Canada.
Our efforts helped kill the bill. The entire Liberal caucus opposed the bill and Tourism, Parks and Recreation Critic Harry Chase presented letter after letter from concerned Albertans who opposed the bill. This public backlash along with continued efforts forced the government’s hand. The bill was withdrawn.
The Alberta Liberal Caucus released two major policies during the fall session. One policy focused on the environment and the other focused on the crisis we are facing in healthcare. The environmental policy provides a strong balance between maintaining Alberta’s natural beauty while not compromising economic development. The health policy provides real world solutions and a concrete plan towards solving the ER crisis and ensuring that Albertans are never put into this situation again.
This contrasts with the government, which has announced and re-announced the same plans, with no real action ever taken. This government has a fixation on central control of all decisions across the province in healthcare delivery. This is a major part of the bottleneck that needs to be opened up to more regional control and decision-making. I am continuing to push for changes that will improve the regional delivery system. I have no confidence that this government understands how to improve the effectiveness of our services, and more and more Albertans and health professionals are saying the same thing. A poll done before Duckett’s dismissal and the ER crisis revealed less than 25% confidence in the government’s ability to manage the healthcare system. It is time for Albertans to become more involved in political change for Alberta. There’s a better way.
I am very interested in hearing your feedback on both the environment and healthcare policies. Please read them here:
Recent days in the legislature have focused on health care, and rightly so. We are facing a longstanding crisis in the area of Emergency Rooms. The current system is making the lives of our doctors, nurses, and medical staff extremely stressful. Medical staff has lost confidence in the government and AHS’s ability to run the health system adequately. Obviously this problem does not just affect physicians and medical practitioners. This very real emergency has caused additional injury and even the deaths of Albertans seeking out medical care.
Imagine waiting an average of 18 hours with an injury in emergency to be seen along with a senior experiencing chest pains, a young woman with bleeding, an intoxicated man, and a family grieving the death of a loved one. This is a daily experience for many of our ER’s in the larger centers and cannot be allowed to go on.
We keep hearing that the Health minister has a plan to tackle ER wait times and other crises being faced in the health sector. We never hear any specifics beyond the shell game being played with hospital beds and staff. We hear about 5 year funding commitments but no targets are set to show that this money is delivering results and is being well spent. How can we believe in our health system if the government does not reveal timely, accurate numbers?
We are now in one of the highest usage seasons for our Emergency Rooms. We must provide front-line staff with adequate support to get them through the times of increased stress. This government has failed to properly support frontline medical staff. The Alberta Liberal Caucus has a plan to tackle this issue and solve these problems. Please visit here to view our plan.
Tonight Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett offered a bizarre and bewildering response to reporters asking for his comments on the growing emergency room crisis.
You can view the video here: http://bit.ly/9exJ5I
I was frankly shocked to see this kind of behaviour coming from a high-ranking official. I absolutely condemn his disrespectful treatment of the media and by extension the people of Alberta. This crisis is far too important to deflect with, of all things, a cookie.
This video is already a media sensation, spreading like wildfire across social networks, and it’s going to completely destroy whatever tiny sliver of confidence Albertans had left in the people managing our public health care system. Dr. Duckett’s behaviour tonight is an appalling insult to patients and their families and to health care professionals.
The Stelmach administration has already done incalculable damage to Alberta’s reputation. This incident further tarnishes our good name.
People are dying under the watch of the Stelmach administration and the people they’ve chosen to manage our health care system. It’s time for heads to roll. Dr. Duckett should be the first to go.
Albertans are lucky to live in a province filled with such natural beauty. Our lakes, rivers, and streams along with the mountains and prairie grasslands make this a stunning place to live and for people to visit. We must ensure that our land, water, and air are healthy for our own benefit and for the benefit of future generations.
We all acknowledge that economic development is tremendously important, there is no question. It cannot occur unfettered and we must work with our industries to develop plans that benefit all Albertans. Our new environment policy respects economic growth while ensuring that Alberta remains a great place to live and raise a family.
This policy released by my Caucus and Laurie Blakeman, our Environment Critic sets real goals to achieve and not just empty platitudes. It promises to involve industry in the decision making process. It ensures that water remains of the highest importance and the property of all Albertans. It implements a hard cap on carbon emissions by 2017. Finally, it commits to growing the renewable energy sector and finding cleaner ways to provide power to all Albertans.
I am very interested to hear your feedback on this policy. You can find the whole document as well as a brief video at: http://tiny.cc/rwv59. Please contact my office with your feedback at 403-216-5445 or Calgary.email@example.com.
The Stelmach government is pushing through the sale of 16,000 acres of provincial land without a shred of concern for the environmental impact or for the people who live nearby. The buyer of this land has donated to a Conservative candidate and constituency association and is now buying the land for pennies on the dollar. This area of land near Bow Island and Taber is one of the most drought-ridden in the province, yet a large-scale potato farming company is looking to purchase it. This will put a lot of strain on several federally protected species that call the grasslands home as well as strain the already low water table.
The area for sale has not been subject to a land use plan which means the government is selling this land without an understanding of what it might be best used for. Alberta Liberals have, for a very long time, called for a moratorium on the sale of public lands. At the very least, this administration should have an open process that engages all stakeholders and addresses their concerns through an honest and transparent approach.