Athabasca Advocate – June 26, 2018 Making splash park dreams a reality

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Local officials and members of the Greater Athabasca Community Foundation (GACF) participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new splash park project in Boyle June 21. Front row L to R: GCAF treasurer Terryl Turner, GACF board member Terra Maloney, GACF board member Amy Boutette, GACF president Lindsey Stanton, Boyle Mayor Colin Derko, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette, GACF splash park president Olga Sehalin, AGLC director Sheena Clyburn. Back row L to R: Boyle Coun. Barbara Smith, Boyle chief administrative officer Charlie Ashbey, Boyle Counc. Patrick Ferguson, GACF splash park vice president David Splane.

The Free-Press – May 29, 2018 Fundraising continues for Gibbons playground being installed this summer

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During the Spring Concert on the evening May 24th, MLA Colin Piquette presented a cheque for $115,000 to the Gibbons School Parent Association to go towards our playground renovation. This generous donation allows the association to complete the construction of the new playground structure in August of this year. Left to right are: Parent Council Members Tracey Wessel, Lisa Hewitt, Eryn Davies and daughter Danika Kneller, MLA Colin Piquette, and Parent Council Member Susan McCann.
Story page A6. –photo by Lori Mellott, Office Clerk

Good news for Metis Crossing!

On May 14th I was honoured to represent Indigenous Affairs Minister Richard Feehan at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new 10,0000 square foot Cultural Gathering Centre planned for the site.

The new centre will be a boon not only to the Metis Nation but to the Smoky Lake region. As the only Metis interpretive site in Alberta, it is a boon to the whole province as well.

I am happy that the government of Alberta is contributing to this project and look forward to seeing the new facility in action!

(Photos courtesy of Dan Kotylak)

Question Period – May 8, 2018 Athabasca University – Keeping Jobs in Athabasca

Athabasca University – Keeping Jobs in Athabasca 

Mr. Piquette: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Athabasca University provides Albertans with a high-quality university education no matter where they live. In my riding it is also a pillar of our community, providing high-quality jobs and educational opportunities. The staff of AU and the greater Athabasca community are grateful for the support our government has provided to keep the university strong in Athabasca. However, recently there have been concerns over professional jobs being lost to big urban centres. What is the government doing to make sure that Athabasca University is sustainable and that jobs in Athabasca are protected?

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Advanced Education.

Mr. Schmidt: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member for the question. He’s been a powerful advocate for Athabasca University and the town of Athabasca. We’re proud of the work that we’ve done to put AU back on track and to keep it in the town of Athabasca. We commissioned a third-party review, written by Dr. Ken Coates, and we’ve been working with AU to implement its recommendations. We’ve made clear that as progress is being made, jobs in the town of Athabasca must be protected. The Coates report calls for enhancing the role of Athabasca University in Athabasca and states that “AU should be able to maintain if not expand the size of its operations in the Town of Athabasca.”

The Speaker: First supplemental.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that under the previous Conservative government there were grave concerns about roller coaster funding and the long-term financial sustainability of AU, what has the government done to provide financial stability?

Mr. Schmidt: Well, we know that one of the favourite Conservative pastimes was making cuts to postsecondary education, and that made the problems at Athabasca University worse. We’ve been proud to increase our funding by 2 per cent for our universities and colleges every year that we’ve been in government, including at Athabasca University. We were very pleased to see that the financial reports from AU last year were positive, and thanks to our support, they are now on much more stable financial footing. If the Conservatives ever got the chance again, they’d make more cuts and undo the progress that we’ve made at Athabasca University.

The Speaker: Second supplemental.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that the Coates report provides a way forward for Athabasca University to thrive in the years to come, what is the minister doing to make sure that the third-party report is being followed through on?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Schmidt: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. We’re working closely with Athabasca University’s new president and board chair to see this work through. AU has been consulting and recently presented a strategic plan, which outlines a path forward and clear goals and objectives through 2022. I’ll be visiting Athabasca in the coming weeks and providing further updates on our government’s support for Athabasca University, and I look forward to having the hon. member there with me.

Athabasca Advocate – May 8, 2018 – Local cooking program gets $10K

Money given to the Cooking Circles Program from provinces’s Community Initiatives Program 

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“The support we have from (MLA) Colin Piquette was very much appreciated,” she said. “We would also like to thank the numerous agencies who have helped out as well, including Healthy Families-Healthy Futures, the Words Work Society, the FCSS, THRIVE, the Native Friendship Centre, as well as all the volunteers who’ve helped out.”

Athabasca Advocate – April 10, 2018 Not ‘just a ploughboy’

Documentary on local author George Ryga screened at Nancy Appley

“Too often in our own history, we tend to see ourselves as not being worth talking outside of our little towns, that interesting things happen in other places,” Piquette said in his speech before the screening. “To have an amazing author like George Ryga come out authentically from our community shows we really underrate ourselves.”

MLA Piquette speaks before the screening of “Just a Ploughboy” on April 8, 2018 

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