Posted on Apr 29, 2016

Your Letter for April 2016

Dear Edmonton-Whitemud,

I have been busy meeting with and listening to your neighbours, and I know that Edmonton-Whitemud’s priorities remain the same: bettering education, healthcare, childcare, and seniors care. I am proud to say that our government is committed to those priorities.

Nellie Carlson School will open this fall in MacTaggart and accommodate 900 students from kindergarten to Grade 9. The school is named after aboriginal women’s rights advocate, Nellie Carlson, who lost her treaty rights when she married a non-Status Indian man. She fought for decades alongside Kathleen Steinhauer and others to change the Indian Act so that women who married non-Status Indian would continue to have treaty rights for themselves and their children. Their efforts came to fruition on June 28, 1985 when Bill C-31 brought the Indian Act into line with the equality guarantees in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you wish to learn more, I recommend reading Disinherited Generations edited by Linda Goyette and published by the University of Alberta in 2013.

In March, I had the pleasure of giving out grants to three schools in our area. The Community Facility Enhancement Program awarded $50,000 to both St. Monica Catholic School and St. Mary Catholic School to help them rebuild their playgrounds. The Community Initiatives Program awarded $10,000 to Monsignor William Irwin for new computers.

Beginning in July 2016, the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) will be given an additional $25 million to benefit working Alberta families with children. The program’s improvements include increasing the rate at which benefits are phased in from 8% to 11%, and the it increases the threshold at which benefits begin to be phased out from $36,778 to $41,250. Families qualify at different net income brackets depending upon how many children they have: $60,325 for one child; $77,675 for two children; $88,075 for three children; and $91,550 for four or more children. All told, the AFETC will provide $141 million in annual benefits to 290,000 in 143,000 families across the province.

Our government passed the Seniors’ Home Adaptation and Repair Act on April 13, 2016. In conjunction with programs like Planning for Aging in Place and Age-Friendly Alberta, we hope that as many seniors as possible are able to maintain their independence and access community supports. A great resource for our area is the Southwest Edmonton Seniors’ Association (SWESA), which can be found online at swedmontonseniors.ca.

Budget 2016 gives $33.5 million to Fort Edmonton Park to develop four key pieces to its capital plan: the expansion of the Johnny J Jones Midway; an expansion of the Hotel Selkirk; a new Guest Services and Admissions area; and, most importantly, the building of the Indigenous Peoples’ Experience. The latter exhibit is being developed in harmony with both the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta.

Other Budget 2016 highlights include our government’s stance on improving seniors’ care and healthcare. We have allocated $760 million over the next five years for healthcare maintenance projects with $131 committed for this year, and we will be funding $500 million for seniors’ housing and care over the next five years.

Finally, I would like to recognize the five Legislature Pages from Edmonton-Whitemud: Cara Au, Azan Esmail, Samir Esmail, Batul Gulamhusein and Marleina Schreiner. Your hard work is appreciated, and I am excited to see what you will accomplish in the future.

My office now holds public consultations on issues like physician-assisted death and seniors’ drug policies. Our next consultation will be occurring in late May around the topic of innovative environmental technologies. And as always, if you have any questions, ideas or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my office by e-mail at edmonton.whitemud@assembly.ab.ca or by phone at (780) 413-5970.

Sincerely,

Bob Turner

MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud