As the MLAs representing Red Deer-North and Red Deer-South we were not surprised by MLA Don MacIntyre’s article or the tone of personal attack. We don’t agree that using unfounded smears is a good way to carry on political debate. We do, however, want to respond by pointing out exactly what we as your MLAs and the government are doing to bring hope and change to the province and to advance Alberta’s interests.
Oil and Gas
Premier Notley was pushing for support for enhanced pipeline capacity in the Yukon in July at the First Ministers’ Conference. The TransMountain pipeline expansion to B.C. has been approved by the National Energy Board with conditions, and the Federal Government now has until December to make a final decision. The Energy East pipeline, which will extend Alberta’s oil market reach into Eastern Canada and into Atlantic ports, is starting public hearings in New Brunswick.
Our Petrochemicals Diversification Program received twice as many applications as expected, and the announcement of the successful applicants in September will see between $3 and $5 Billion in new investment in the province.
Modernizing our royalty framework with the support and input of industry partners has cleared the way for expansion when the oil price recovers. Two new royalty programs announced in July will encourage oil and gas producers to explore new areas and boost production in other areas of Alberta.
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Governments across Canada and most countries around the world are acting to deal with climate change and GHGs. Alberta should be a leader in this area, and not be playing catchup to others. The Climate Leadership Plan will move us in the right direction by accomplishing four key goals:
- Protecting our health and our environment by speeding up the end of coal pollution, transitioning to cleaner sources of power and capping oil sands emissions
- Supporting Alberta families by providing rebates for the costs of the carbon levy
- Reinvesting the balance of the carbon levy into renewable energy projects and green infrastructure
- Promoting and supporting energy efficiency and small generation projects
Red Deer is a great economic hub, and we recognized that by investing $100M in the Gaetz Avenue/QE II interchange to improve traffic congestion and to keep 100s of jobs in the area. Construction has also begun on an expansion to the Red Deer Airport, which will again improve access for Red Deer citizens and businesses.
The G.W. Harris Centre for Health and Wellness [at Red Deer College] received provincial funding. Inglewood Elementary School and Points West Supportive Living Facility are infrastructure projects that will keep Red Deer workers employed.
We are investing in infrastructure – roads, schools, hospitals and affordable housing – at the right time: when the economy is slow, people need work and prices are lower.
The government is implementing an Alberta Investor Tax Credit of $90 Million over 2 years that will support local small and medium sized businesses.
We increased access to capital by making $2 billion available through ATB Financial and AIMCo. Already ATB has increased its loans to small and medium businesses by over $335 million.
We cut the small business tax rate from 3% to 2%.
Families and Seniors
The Alberta Child Benefit provides direct financial assistance to lower-income families with children under 18 who have a family net income less than $41,220 per year. With the first payment in August of 2016, the ACB will provide $195 million in annual benefits to 235,000 children in 130,000 families across the province.
The Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit will provide up to an additional $145 million in annual benefits to an additional 145,000 children in 69,000 families across Alberta. These benefits are based on filed tax returns.
We are investing heavily in housing for seniors, such as the recently completed addition to the Rosealta Lodge in Camrose, the newly undertaken Beaverhill Pioneer Lodge in Lamont and the Points West Supportive Living facility right here in Red Deer.
We are providing low-interest home-equity loans to seniors who want to make changes so they can stay in their homes and in their communities longer.
The continued slump in oil revenues is affecting us all, and affecting countless other jurisdictions in the world as well. Our government made a conscious choice to continue to fund front-line services like education and health care during this revenue crunch instead of making massive cuts. The programs outlined above are concrete, positive steps we are taking to keep Alberta a great place to live, work, and raise a family. If other MLAs choose to spend their time casting slurs and making disparaging attacks, that is their choice.
Kim Schreiner, MLA Red Deer North
Barb Miller, MLA Red Deer South
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