An update from the area’s MLAs.
The spring legislative session has come to an end and September is quickly approaching. As members of Alberta’s Official Opposition, MLA Lori Sigurdson and I have been fighting hard against cuts to services and advocating for jobs and programs to grow and diversify our economy. As the NDP Opposition critic for Education, my office has received countless calls and correspondence from concerned families, teachers, and staff about the Government of Alberta’s dangerous decision to reopen schools this fall with no additional support.
Pediatricians and school health specialists are describing the plan put forward by Jason Kenney and the UCP to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic as ‘dangerous’. After a series of deep cuts to the education budget, the UCP is now asking schools to implement safety measures in schools that have fewer resources. While proper cleaning, more hand washing, daily screening and physical distancing are all necessary measures, this government has chosen not to invest in meaningful measures to improve school safety. At the end of July, we released Safe Schools, Successful Students: An Alternative Relaunch Plan for Alberta Schools. Our report includes 15 recommendations, and the first is to cap class size at 15 students like many other jurisdictions that have had a successful reopening. The UCP’s reopening plan includes no class size limit, no additional supports to distance on buses, and no new funding for increased cleaning. This plan puts our students, staff, families, and communities at greater risk.
Premier Kenney and the UCP are using this pandemic to ram through American-style health care and American-style labour laws too. They have an extreme agenda of cuts, undermining doctors, cutting public services, privatizing healthcare, eroding public education, privatizing parks, and the attacking the environment. Bill 30 pushes more American-style healthcare on Alberta. The UCP is deliberately weakening the public healthcare system that we rely on by privatizing surgeries, tests, and other procedures. This is not “patient-centred” or “person-centred” care. This is “profit-centred.” We have seen throughout the pandemic that private long-term care prioritized profit, and that seniors and their families often paid the price.
Albertans deserve a government that has their backs, that will invest in people and will build an economic recovery for every Albertan. We need bold, creative solutions to get people back to work and set our economy up for a strong recovery that builds our province by investing in our people. We are fighting for a diversified economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
It’s our honour to fight for you in the legislature. Lori and I encourage you to reach out to our offices to discuss these or other issues that are important to you.MLA Lori Sigurdson
Official Opposition Critic for Seniors and Housing
9202B – 149 Street
Edmonton, T5R 1C3 MLA Sarah Hoffman
Official Opposition Critic for Education
#201, 12408 – 108 Avenue
Edmonton, T5M 0H3