Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. This week the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, or AAMD and C, is meeting here in Edmonton. It’s been a pleasure to reconnect with these hard-working mayors, reeves, and councillors, that truly have the pulse of the people.
But I must say that I’ve never seen this group of otherwise optimistic and hopeful people so discouraged, anxious, and angry. Why? It’s because they feel that this government isn’t listening to them or simply doesn’t care. They see a government that has forged ahead with farm safety legislation without consulting farmers. They see a government that promised a robust consultation process to develop workable safety regulations and then scheduled the meetings during calving, seeding, and harvest. They see a government that rejected a plan to improve local input into health care in their communities. They see a government that has rejected a strategic plan to promote rural economic development. They see a government that won’t give them a straight answer on linear assessment. They see a government that refuses to acknowledge that a carbon tax disproportionately penalizes rural Albertans. And to make matters worse, they know that electoral boundary redistribution is coming and that this government will in all likelihood reduce the number of rural constituencies.
Now, last year the AAMD and C adopted the motto Where It All Starts: Rural Alberta. This government would do well to remember that motto. It would do well to remember that rural Alberta is the source of much of Alberta’s prosperity. Farming, ranching, mining, oil and gas production, forestry, and tourism all occur in rural Alberta. It would do well to remember that rural Albertans deserve fair treatment and respect from this government and that they don’t appreciate being treated like second-class citizens. And it would do well to remember that it was the election of 12 rural MLAs that gave them their majority.
Rural Alberta is truly where it all starts. The AAMD and C municipal leaders will continue to put the needs of rural Alberta in front of this government. It’s high time that you paid them some respect and paid them some attention.
On March 16, 2016, Richard Starke drew attention to concerns of Alberta's rural municipalities.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.