Opening the Lines of Communications
MLAs Meet the Public at the Leduc Recreation Centre
Vol 15. Issue 7, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer
The Leduc Recreation Centre was host facility to a Meet and Greet social gathering of political dignitaries, business owners, and local and rural community members on Monday, February 7. MLA for Leduc-Beaumont-Devon, George Rogers addressed the full room, explaining that the purpose of coming together was to enjoy an informal atmosphere where issues, concerns, and questions can be asked and answered. There were twelve MLAs present ready to listen, talk and discuss matters of concern, problems, and suggestions from the public community.
With beverages and light snacks provided, the room sipped coffee and enjoyed cookies as greetings, introductions, and welcoming took place.
George Rogers first introduced the Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premiere of Alberta, followed by introductions of each MLA in attendance, all received with great applause. They were:
- The Hon. Ed Stelmach, Premier
- The Hon. Ray Danyluk, Minister of Infrastructure
- The Hon. Mel Knight, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
- The Hon. Dave Hancock, Minister of Education
- The Hon. Alison Redford, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
- The Hon. Rob Renner, Minister of Environment
- The Hon. Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Health and Wellness
- The Hon. Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister of Seniors and Community Supports
- The Hon. Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
- The Hon. Hector Goudreau, Minister of Municipal Affairs
- The Hon. Jonathon Denis, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs
- Mr. Fred Horne, MLA Edmonton-Rutherford.
The Premier's Address
Premier Stelmach addressed the the room speaking on the economy, Alberta's position in it, and areas we need to look at to keep our province growing.
"Those to the south are going through some difficulty. The economy will take many years to recover, but one thing I strongly suggest to everyone is that a population of 300 million used to sustain our quality of life and standard of living, but it won't anymore, and that's why we have to look more to the west," said the Premier. We also have to look to our skies in the sense of opening up our airports in Alberta, to flights from other countries and other carriers so that we can do the interaction necessary to grow the economy.
Premier Stelmach acknowledged that we do, indeed, have some challenges. We have an aging population, he said, and statistics showing that 2000 Albertans are turning 65 years old every month. "When I get there," said the Premier, "it will be 5000. Five thousand people, that's 60,000 a year. Are they all going to leave the workforce? I don't know." But it is a possibility, and if that happens, he continued, we need to be prepared as we are already going into a labour shortage. "To keep the economy going, we're going to need to deal with that one significant issue."
Alberta will continue to support the Canadian economy, said Stelmach, citing that twenty percent of Canada's exports are crude oil. Export of parts and the automobile industry has dropped now to fourteen percent.
"That industry is not going to grow. If we're going to have another, at least, million Americans lose their homes, they are not going to go out and buy another car. We think we're going to be selling cars into China, where you can buy a car for $3500 Canadian, a very good car." And by the way, the Premier added, if you think your plates are expensive here, in Shang Hai they are $6,000 a year.
The world is changing, so we have to look to the future and see what decisions we have to make today, to make sure that we are prepared.
Alberta Out in Front
Ending on a positive note, Premier Stelmach pointed out that we have the people skills, the population is forward-looking, we've come through one of the worst recessions, we have cash in the bank.
"We'll continue to invest in infrastructure and I feel very good about the position the province is in," said the Premier,going on to mention the New West Parntership between Saskatchewan and B.C. which is going to create harmonization. Thanking everyone for coming out, the Premier encouraged people to go to and speak with the variety of ministers present with issues and concerns, stressing the importance of communication and hearing the words of the people.
The room buzzed with conversation, questions, and sharing of ideas and information between community members and the MLAs.
As the event wound down, George Rogers invited the crowd to tour the Leduc Recreation Centre, "which we are very proud of." The facility has recently gained a fifty million dollar upgrade, said Rogers, "It's not only a great place for keeping our population healthy, it also draws a lot of economic activity in terms of sports tourism."
"And we'll be back here next week for the Special Olympics," he announced, to another round of applause.