We have plenty to be thank­ful for

Lethbridge Herald - - READER’S FORUM -

Happy be­lated Thanks­giv­ing!

We have a lot to be thank­ful for in Al­berta and Canada. De­spite the drum­beat of neg­a­tive in­to­na­tions on the news of right wing ex­trem­ism on the rise, our sit­u­a­tion here in south­ern Al­berta is one of sta­ble growth and pros­per­ity. Our econ­omy in the Leth­bridge area is more di­ver­si­fied than it is the far­ther north you go, and this in­su­lated us some­what from the 2014-16 oil price crash. Our agri­cul­ture sec­tor has been strong all the way through and that helped keep our em­ploy­ment lev­els sta­ble.

I’m thank­ful that our area farm­ers have worked very hard to get as much of the har­vest in to the ex­tent that they have be­fore the last few weeks of un­sea­son­ably cold, damp and snowy weather ar­rived. And, we can be thank­ful for those three or four days of au­tumn we ex­pe­ri­enced! Those sev­eral hours of lovely weather re­ally were won­der­ful.

Tra­di­tion­ally, Thanks­giv­ing is about fam­ily and friends, break­ing bread with neigh­bours, and gath­er­ing to cel­e­brate the hard work that led to a boun­ti­ful har­vest. I’m thank­ful to have been able to cel­e­brate with my fam­ily, and I am al­ways struck with grat­i­tude, be­cause in my life, there wasn’t al­ways plenty, and there wasn’t al­ways sta­bil­ity to en­joy the sea­son. And we rec­og­nize many peo­ple suf­fer now, and strug­gle with hav­ing enough to eat and to sup­port their fam­i­lies. And then there are peo­ple strug­gling with home­less­ness, the rea­sons for which are many, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial col­lapse, ad­dic­tion, men­tal ill­ness and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

I’m thank­ful to be a mem­ber of a gov­ern­ment cau­cus that has taken steps to try and al­le­vi­ate some of the prob­lems in our so­ci­ety. For in­stance, Rachel Not­ley pledged dur­ing the last elec­tion cam­paign to raise the min­i­mum wage to $15 per hour — a goal that was met on Oct. 1.

Many min­i­mum-wage earn­ers are sin­gle par­ents, mostly women, strug­gling to raise kids while earn­ing the low­est wage al­lowed by law. Rais­ing this wage and elim­i­nat­ing even lower server wages has im­proved the lot of many of those peo­ple. Our econ­omy is see­ing strong ev­i­dence of spend­ing at the low­est lev­els of the earn­ing spec­trum, in­di­cat­ing the wage in­crease is ben­e­fit­ing those who earn it and those who see these peo­ple spend­ing more in their stores and shops. Al­berta this year set records for strong­est re­tail sales and strong­est restau­rant sales, in­di­cat­ing more Al­ber­tans had a bit more money to spend, help­ing those busi­nesses who rely on foot traf­fic. We rec­og­nize this has chal­lenged busi­ness own­ers, and I cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts our lo­cal em­ploy­ers have made to ad­just into this new wage spec­trum.

I’m also thank­ful our gov­ern­ment took ac­tion on Hen­son Trusts, help­ing the par­ents of peo­ple on AISH by al­low­ing bet­ter es­tate plan­ning. I’m thank­ful Min­is­ter Ma­son last week an­nounced a re­turn to gov­ern­ment driv­ing in­struc­tors and stan­dard­ized test­ing pro­to­cols, with more to come on the truck­ing front. Our roads and high­ways are busier than ever and the traf­fic on them ever faster. We need to be sure new driv­ers are prop­erly trained and tested, to pro­tect them and all other trav­ellers.

I’m es­pe­cially thank­ful our gov­ern­ment val­ues and in­vested in ed­u­ca­tion: 144 projects we’ve com­pleted since 2015, thereby cre­at­ing or mod­ern­iz­ing an­other 94,000 stu­dent spa­ces. This year, we ex­pect to com­plete 37 school projects.

That in­cludes 15 new schools, seven re­place­ments, 12 mod­ern­iza­tions, and three additions over the course of the 2018-19 school year. These projects will cre­ate about 32,000 new and mod­ern­ized spa­ces this school year, in­clud­ing the newly opened west­side Sen­a­tor Joyce Fair­bairn Mid­dle School, and in our ru­ral area the ren­o­vated Warner School and Noble Cen­tral School, both K-12 fa­cil­i­ties ready to boldly face the fu­ture. Still to come: the un­der con­struc­tion new south­side 43 Street ele­men­tary school, the first new pub­lic school in south Leth­bridge since the So­cial Credit Era ended in 1971. That’s right: the en­tire 44year PC dy­nasty passed with­out a sin­gle pub­lic school in south Leth­bridge. I’m es­pe­cially thank­ful we have changed that! An ob­vi­ous next step is a pub­lic school in the north­side Legacy-Up­lands-Black­wolf area, and I con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for this project.

The Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly fall ses­sion be­gins Oct. 29. All who par­tic­i­pate in our demo­cratic process should re­flect on how we want our democ­racy to work: do we want to sub­mit to the ris­ing tide of an­gry voices of in­tol­er­ance and di­vi­sion, or con­tinue on Al­berta’s tra­di­tional open and wel­com­ing path to pros­per­ity and growth?

Hate, dem­a­goguery, eth­nic in­tol­er­ance, and na­tion­al­ism have cat­a­strophic con­se­quences: On June 28 1914, Arch­duke Fer­di­nand, heir to the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian throne, was as­sas­si­nated by Ser­bian na­tion­al­ists. The Great War had be­gun, soon en­gulf­ing Europe’s great pow­ers. At the be­gin­ning of March 1915, the lead­ers of the “Young Turks,” had al­ready set in mo­tion their plan to com­mit geno­cide against the Ot­toman Em­pire’s Ar­me­nian sub­jects. By the time of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, 17 mil­lion peo­ple had died, in­clud­ing 59,544 en­listed Cana­dian Ex­pe­di­tionary Forces and 1,305 from the Do­min­ion of New­found­land. Con­tin­u­ing racial & eth­nic ten­sions from the First World War led 21 years later to the out­break of the Sec­ond World War.

Re­mem­brance Day is fast ap­proach­ing, and this year the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion is mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War with a Bells of Peace cer­e­mony. Go to to find out about the event. I am thank­ful for our soldiers and vet­er­ans, their ser­vice, past and present. Lest We For­get.

Leth­bridge-East Con­stituency Of­fice is open Mon­day-Thurs­day, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 403-320-1011 for ap­point­ments at all other times. Note: Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter David Eggen in­vites you to reg­is­ter to par­tic­i­pate in the South­ern Al­berta Tele­phone Town Hall on the K-4 cur­ricu­lum re­lease at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17th. You can reg­is­ter at

le­gion.ca Ed­u­ca­tion.al­berta.ca.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.