Thank you!

Thank you to the wonderful constituents of the now former riding of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater for allowing me the privilege of having been your representative in the Legislature. I have learnt so much and have gotten to know so many amazing people over the past four years! I am grateful beyond words for having had this opportunity and I know this is a chapter in my life I will always treasure. All the best! Love, Colin.

Orders in council

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Honourable Ms Notley

82/2019

PROCLAMATION – Declaring the Twenty-ninth Legislature of Alberta to be dissolved and the Members of the Legislative Assembly discharged from further meetings and attendance.

83/2019

ELECTION ACT (section 39) – Calls for a general election to be held on April 16, 2019.

Orders in Council can now be viewed on the Queen’s Printer website at: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/507.cfm

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Province increases oil production limits

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Alberta continues to increase the amount of oil production allowed. Limits are based on monitoring a number of indicators and recognizing that less diluent is needed in warmer weather for bitumen to flow in pipelines, meaning more capacity.

Production limits in May will increase by 25,000 barrels a day and 25,000 more in June – a 50,000 increase in total to 3.71 million barrels per day allowed, effective June 1. This represents a total increase of 150,000 barrels a day since the start of the production limit policy on Jan. 1.

“As we increase production, we’re providing even more certainty for producers who have been working with us to protect the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Alberta families and businesses. This temporary policy has been critical to reducing the oil price differential while we move ahead with our medium-term plan to ship more oil by rail and lead the long-term charge for new pipelines as we fight to get full value for the resources owned by all Albertans.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

Increasing production limits in May and June will help the province match production levels to what can be shipped using existing pipeline and rail capacity, while also addressing excess storage. The province’s crude-by-rail program is scheduled to begin initial shipments in July, ramping up to 120,000 barrel-a-day shipments by 2020. Alberta will also continue fighting for new pipeline construction both to the United States and Canada’s west coast.

The government will continue to monitor the market and its response to the increases and will work to provide information prior to trading periods for future months.

Background

The first 10,000 barrels per day a company produces remains exempt from any production limits, meaning only 28 of more than 300 producers in Alberta are subject to the production limits.

Monthly production limits, in million barrels per day:

  • January – 3.56
  • February – 3.63
  • March – 3.63
  • April – 3.66
  • May – 3.68
  • June – 3.71


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Workers and families focus of 2019 throne speech

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The throne speech marks the start of the spring session for the Alberta legislature and highlights the government’s ongoing commitment to building a province that works for all Albertans.

“Our government has kept the promises we made to Albertans over the last four years, fighting for what matters to everyday workers and families – good jobs, pipelines, a more diversified economy and strong schools and hospitals. There is more work to do, and this year’s throne speech lays out the work ahead.”

Premier Rachel Notley

 The 2019 throne speech details how the government:

  • Built 2,000 new long-term care and dementia-care beds.
  • Helped diversify the economy by attracting nearly $13 billion in new private-sector refining and upgrading investments.
  • Works towards the completion of 240 new or modernized schools.

Looking forward, the Premier is committed to defending the things that matter to all Albertans, like affordable child care and public health care, while working to diversify the economy.

That commitment to Alberta families was reinforced by the first bill tabled in the spring session, the Public Health Care Protection Act. The proposed bill would protect Albertans from two-tiered, American-style health care.

If passed, the legislation would prevent queue-jumping and preferential access to insured medical services available to all Albertans.

“Whether you come to a hospital with a fur coat or no coat, you deserve the same, world-class health care as everyone else. It’s a fundamental right of all Albertans.”

Premier Rachel Notley

The government committed in the throne speech to:

  • Defend Alberta’s public health care from an American-style system.
  • Keep building more schools, including a new high school in north Calgary.
  • Get more value from Alberta’s natural resources and continue to diversify the economy.
  • Bring forward an important new program to help mothers and families save thousands of dollars a year and rejoin the workforce.
  • Help more Albertans get the education and training they need to build great lives for themselves and their loved ones.

“With the course set in the throne speech, we are going to keep fighting for everyday workers and families. All the while, we will maintain stable, competent and honest government that has its priorities right.”

Premier Rachel Notley


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Updated guidelines for scattering cremated ashes

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The updated guidelines, drafted after extensive consultation, will be released later this spring. Cremated ashes may be scattered on unoccupied provincial government-owned Crown land or water, including provincial parks. Care must be taken to ensure that ashes are not scattered near water treatment intakes and facilities, or places where recreational water activities occur.

“Our government is committed to ensuring the law supports individuals who wish to express their religious freedom. These new guidelines provide clear direction of where ashes may be scattered and support the freedom of Albertans to honour religious expression.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour and MLA for Edmonton-Mill Woods

“I’d like to thank the government for taking action on this issue. For far too long, previous governments ignored the plea of many multicultural communities. These new guidelines will now allow us to honour our deceased in a culturally appropriate way while still respecting the rule of law.”

Gulzar Singh Nirman, president, Gurudwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha

While it has never been against the law to scatter ashes, the new guidelines will provide clarity to families who, in keeping with their cultural heritage and spiritual beliefs, wish to honour their deceased family members lawfully and respectfully. The new Alberta guidelines are similar to policies already in place in Manitoba and Ontario.

People are encouraged to consult a licensed funeral director about cremation options and acceptable methods of handling cremated remains. Options include:

  • Buying a compartment (niche) in a cemetery columbarium.
  • Buying a cemetery plot for burial of cremated remains.
  • Scattering cremated remains in a cemetery with the cemetery operator’s approval.
  • Scattering cremated remains on private land with a landowner’s permission.
  • Scattering cremated remains on unoccupied, provincial government-owned Crown land or water (including provincial parks) with no need for government consent.

The new guidelines only apply to provincially owned lands and waterways. Families wishing to scatter cremated remains on federal or municipal land or water should first consult their local governments.


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New life-saving helicopter for Alberta patients

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Minister Hoffman with Andrea Robertson and other staff from STARS.

STARS has launched an effort to replace its aging fleet, as the organization’s BK117s have been designated legacy aircraft. It is difficult to find replacement parts for them and keep them maintained. A new $13-million Airbus H145 will reduce training and maintenance costs and enhance pilot, patient and practitioner safety.

“STARS has a long history performing thousands of life-saving missions across our province. We’re glad to partner with an organization essential to emergency care in Alberta. These funds, along with the generosity of donors, will ensure that helicopter-based emergency medical services are there when Albertans need them the most.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

The first chopper in the new medically equipped Airbus H145 fleet is expected to arrive this spring and will be staffed by critical care paramedics, nurse paramedics and emergency physicians. 

“We are very excited by this funding announcement from the Government of Alberta to support the next generation of our helicopter air ambulance fleet. This new aircraft will make a significant impact on the lives of countless Albertans who rely on STARs for critical care and transport.”

Andrea Robertson, president and CEO, STARS

In Alberta, STARS flew more than 1,450 missions last year from bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie. 

Quick facts

  • STARS has flown more than 40,000 missions since 1985.
  • STARS operates under an affiliation agreement with Alberta Health Services.


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Alberta launches MyHealth Records

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“MyHealth Records is about supporting patients in being partners in their own health and wellness. It means having your personal health information in the palm of your hand, when and where you need it.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

MyHealth Records is accessible through any computer, tablet or smartphone. After getting a secure digital ID, Albertans will be able to:

  • View medications dispensed from community pharmacies;
  • View immunizations administered in Alberta;
  • View the results of 59 common lab tests;
  • Keep journals to track mood, sleep, weight and fitness goals;
  • Upload and track information from personal health devices, including supported blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters and fitness trackers;
  • Print reports from MyHealth Records to share with health-care providers.

More features will be added to MyHealth Records in the future. 

To sign up or to find out more about MyHealth Records, visit Alberta.ca/MyHealthRecords. A support phone line (1-844-401-4016) is also available to help users sign up and use the service. Users will also have the option to connect with Health Link (811) to speak with a registered nurse should they have any questions about the health information found on MyHealth Records.

Research points to a variety of benefits when patients have electronic access to health information. Studies report improvements in the quality of patient-physician interactions, with patients indicating they are better informed about their own health and better prepared for visits with their doctor.

MyHealth Records is designed with the security of Albertans’ private health information in mind and the system has undergone rigorous testing. Users are required to have a MyAlberta Digital ID, a secure form of identification that verifies who you are online.

As required by the Health Information Act, Alberta Health has completed a privacy impact assessment which has been accepted by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC).


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Provincial Hate Crimes Unit coming

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This unit will work with police and law enforcement, including Crown prosecutors, to improve the specialized training they receive to fight hate crimes and extremism in Alberta.

“Together, we must continue the fight against racism, hate, intolerance and religious persecution in all forms, including Islamophobia. Two years ago, our government stood in solidarity with all Muslim Canadians in grieving the shooting at a mosque in Quebec. Today, we stand in solidarity with Muslims in Alberta, in Canada and all across the world. And we recommit ourselves to end this hate wherever it is found.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

The Provincial Hate Crimes Unit will assemble specialists from various police forces with the mandate to focus exclusively on investigating the proliferation of hate groups and hate crimes in Alberta.

The Provincial Hate Crimes Unit was one of the recommendations in government’s Taking Action Against Racism report, released in June 2018. The report was created after Education Minister David Eggen met 100 community groups that offered their expertise on how the Government of Alberta could best support diversity and inclusion.

Since the launch of the report, ministers and MLAs have met with hundreds of community groups across the province to hear their feedback.

Since the report’s release, two actions were taken immediately:

  • An Anti-Racism Advisory Council was established. It is imperative that people most affected by racism guide government’s work. The council shapes how government tackles discrimination. It is the first government organization dedicated to fighting racism in Alberta.
  • A Community Anti-Racism Grants program was started to fund community initiatives to fight racism. Grants will fund better training and support services, and there is a dedicated stream for funding groups led by Indigenous peoples.

Quick facts

  • A police-reported hate crime happens in Alberta about once every three days.
  • Nearly 2,000 Albertans and 100 community groups offered their expertise on how the Government of Alberta can support diversity and inclusion.
  • Alberta is a diverse province, and becoming more diverse every day. Census figures over the last 20 years show the share of Albertans from different racial backgrounds has more than doubled. In 1996, it was about one in 10. Today, it’s about one in four.


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Supporting affordable housing in Stony Plain

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(L to R) Lori-Anne St. Arnault, Stony Plain MLA Erin Babcock, Mayor William Choy and Meridian Housing Foundation vice chair Judy Bennett at Whispering Waters Manor in Stony Plain.

The $14-million affordable housing project includes 63 one- and two?bedroom units to meet the needs of adults aged 55 or over with low income. The province is contributing $6 million to the project to help address the demand for affordable housing in the Stony Plain area.

“All Albertans need a safe and affordable place to call home. We heard from Albertans that more affordable housing is needed in smaller and rural communities like Stony Plain. Our government is helping ensure people with low income do not have to leave the community they love to find housing they can afford.”

Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“The residents of Stony Plain and surrounding region will benefit tremendously from the addition of this much-needed new housing facility. The Meridian Housing Foundation continues to provide valuable support, care and accommodations to enhance our community. We appreciate the Government of Alberta’s commitment and contribution to this critical project.”

William Choy, mayor, Town of Stony Plain

Meridian Housing Foundation, the local housing provider, will manage the units. Commercial space will also be available in the new four-storey complex to generate additional income, resulting in a sustainable operating model. 

“We welcome the news of the province’s commitment of funding contribution towards affordable housing in the Town of Stony Plain. This funding demonstrates the Government of Alberta’s support for affordable housing and will address the shortage of appropriate housing for our communities. When partners come together, we can go far and make housing possible to meet the needs of our residents and provide them a home of choice.”

Lori-Anne St. Arnault, executive director, Meridian Housing Foundation

The affordable apartments are expected to welcome tenants in 2020.

Supporting this project is part of government’s commitment to build and restore 4,100 affordable housing units through the Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy.


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First Nations getting new water systems

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Minister Feehan, First Nations leaders and members of West Interlake Water Commission celebrate progress on First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-in Program.

In 2017, Premier Rachel Notley committed $100 million to deliver clean drinking water to the boundaries of First Nations. Ten projects are now underway that will benefit 14 First Nations across the province.

Alberta’s First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program is a collaboration between First Nations, the Alberta government, municipalities or water commissions and the federal government.

The program supports the elimination of long-term drinking water advisories, while making sure there is sustainable drinking water on reserves.

Grants are given to local water commissions or water supply municipalities to extend their service to First Nations.

“As Alberta continues on the journey of reconciliation, it is of the utmost importance that Indigenous people have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. Building up capability and ensuring water sovereignty for First Nations is my top priority.”

Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“We’re very pleased to have concluded an agreement with Alberta in December of 2018 that both respects and protects our treaty rights and self-government and, at the same time, is a key part of securing an abundant, safe and reliable water supply for decades to come. We are hopeful the agreement will also serve as a model for resolving future water disputes between Alberta and other First Nations. This is a positive development.”

Chief Craig Makinaw, Ermineskin First Nation

“I want to commend the province on the work they’ve completed over the past four years – and specifically their commitment to making a positive impact in Indigenous communities. Our members have experienced the direct benefits of provincial programs that are aimed at improving the community’s overall safety, health and well-being, and the First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program is one such example.”

Chief Bernice Martial, Cold Lake First Nation

“Projects that create the ability for First Nation communities to access potable water and wastewater infrastructure, which helps to build capacity to serve their communities, are truth and reconciliation in action. I applaud the efforts Alberta and the federal government are taking, by providing funds directly earmarked to insure full inclusion and full partnership at the decision-making table.”

Lorne Olsvik, West Interlake Water Commission

Quick facts

  • The First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program invests roughly $100 million over six years:
    • 2017-18: $14.5 million
    • 2018-19: $24.4 million
    • 2019-20: $24.4 million
    • 2020-21: $12.8 million
    • 2021-22: $12.2 million
    • 2022-23: $9.6 million
  • Current funded projects:
    • Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation
    • Paul First Nation
    • Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation
    • Cold Lake First Nations
    • Frog Lake First Nation
    • Dene Tha’ First Nation
    • Alexander First Nation
    • Beaver Lake Cree Nation
    • Ermineskin Cree Nation
    • Mikisew Cree First Nation


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