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Airdrie MLA shares 2014 New Year’s resolutions

By: Rob Anderson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:18 pm

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As we start a new year, many of us like to set goals we hope to accomplish during this fresh set of 365 days. Given I have roughly 55,000 bosses I report to (that would include you of course), I would like to share some of my work-related goals so you can hold me to them as we move through 2014.

24-Hour Health Care

I hope to help gather thousands of signatures for the Airdrie 24 Petition for presentation to the Legislature as well as continue to work as a board member on the Airdrie Health Foundation towards our goal of bringing 24-hour health care to Airdrie.

This year AHF will be unveiling its business plan and holding an inaugural fundraiser to begin raising the money needed for what we all hope will be a 24-hour health facility for our City.

Debt and Deficits

As Finance Critic for the Wildrose, I will ensure Albertans have an accurate understanding of Alberta’s Budget 2014, our rising provincial debt ($17 billion by 2016), and identify specific areas of wasteful spending that could be used for other priorities.

As has been widely reported, the Redford Government has altered its budget accounting rules so they no longer include what is spent on infrastructure as an expense for the purposes of calculating the deficit. This will likely turn what was a $4 billion deficit into a small surplus according to their new rules and ignores the $17 billion in borrowing they have planned through the next election.

Students with Special Needs

I will be focusing more attention on the need for additional and more effectively allocated resources for students with special needs.

Currently there is very good early intervention programming for kindergarten and pre-school age children struggling with Autism and other learning disabilities, however, those resources are severely restricted once the student reaches Grade 1 and it only gets worse from there.

I will be announcing several initiatives this year to bring awareness to this issue and will work with the Minister of Education on a process for improvement in this area.

Seniors Care

I intend to advocate for the reversal of changes made by the PCs to funding for seniors in long term care which has negatively impacted the care provided to our seniors in Airdrie – particularly at the Bethany Care Centre.

Essentially, the same pool of provincial dollars for seniors long term care is being deployed in a way which provides more dollars for facilities that rehabilitate seniors and less for those in end of life care facilities such as Bethany. This is unacceptable.

More dollars for rehabilitating seniors suffering from certain health issues where it is possible is certainly a good idea, however, that cannot mean taking away funding from other seniors nearing the end of their lives. This is not what a compassionate society does. Hopefully, I can have some sway in having such funding restored going forward.

PC Cronyism and Corruption

I will continue to hold the Redford PC government accountable for its ethical lapses, patronage appointments, bullying, and in some cases, outright corruption.

Whether it’s the Katz donation scandal, Tobacco-gate, the long list of political patronage in violation of ethics legislation, the awarding of billions in contracts to friends of the PC party, illegal donations, taxpayer funded promotional sign campaigns for the premier, and the unrelenting bullying of local communities, elected officials and health professionals, it has to be stopped.

As your MLA, as an Albertan and as a father four children, I will not turn a blind eye to what 45 years of one party rule is doing to this province. We all deserve better, and until the Redford PCs halt their misconduct or are replaced entirely, I will be unrelenting in holding them accountable for these and other misdeeds.

All the best in 2014; we’ll see you around the community!


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