Last week, the second session of the 30th Legislature of Alberta concluded. During this session, the Alberta legislature was the busiest in Canada, working hard to honour the commitments we made to Albertans during the election while protecting lives and livelihoods amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From introducing legislation and updating programs to developing a safe school re-entry plan, Alberta’s government has worked tirelessly this legislative session.
In October, we acted to protect construction jobs in the province. We heard loudly from contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry that they were struggling financially because they were not being paid on time. Through amendments made to the Builders’ Lien Act, we are ensuring that they receive timely payments for their work, allowing them to support their families.
In November, as part of an ongoing review of the Police Act, we acted to address the concerns raised around policing in Alberta and banned carding. We believe in improving policing, not defunding. However, we also recognize the concerns that exist in our communities, and that is why after years of inaction by the NDP, we announced this ban. By making this long-overdue change, Alberta’s government is correcting a mistake from the past and ensuring the public knows that the police are there to serve and protect them.
We have also been hard at work to protect lives and livelihoods as we continue to respond to the rapidly evolving pandemic. Fall 2020 saw our kids return to school after months of at-home learning and the summer break. To support a safe school year, Alberta’s government provided school authorities with access to nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in taxpayer funding, including funding for masks and capital upgrades. This funding, coupled with other health measures, has helped keep our kids safe since the school year began.
We quickly recognized the impact that COVID-19 was having on faith-based and cultural organizations. These organizations play important roles in the lives of Albertans, and they swiftly adapted to continue bringing hope, support and connection to their communities from a distance. These organizations needed assistance to help them support their communities during this period of increased stress. That is why, as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, we established the new Faith-based and Cultural Facility Relaunch Grant to help ensure that cultural and religious communities can safely meet.
We have also introduced strong new public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our health care system. In the wake of these new measures, we are providing affected businesses with historic support through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant by tripling the funding in the second round of the benefit. We know the new measures won’t be welcomed by all, but the number one duty of any government is to protect its people, and that’s what we’re doing.
This Christmas season, I want to encourage everyone to shop local and support local businesses. By continuing to support each other in the year ahead, we will get through this pandemic together.
I am continuing to work hard representing the constituency of Camrose and will keep doing so in the new year. My fellow MLAs and I will keep fighting to ensure Alberta’s economy recovers while protecting your lives and livelihoods.