“Alberta municipalities need reassurance they can plan, grow and change with our changing province and Albertans’ needs,” said Interim PC Leader Ric McIver, the Municipal Affairs Critic and MLA for Calgary-Hays. “The review of the Municipal Government Act was intended to do just that. We are pleased to see the review will continue, but we are concerned that bringing in a new Minister at this time will delay this government’s ability to complete the review. The MGA review is very important to Alberta municipalities and needs to be finished before the next municipal elections in 2017.”
“Re-structuring of innovation into strictly economic development terms jeopardizes Alberta’s support for basic science research that does not have immediate commercial application,” said Dave Rodney, the PC Innovation and Advanced Education Critic and MLA for Calgary-Lougheed. “Social science and humanities research in particular will have to struggle harder for research funding. In the past, a framework was established to support a balanced, long-term program of research and innovation focused on new discoveries and applying those discoveries to make life better for Albertans.”
“Discovery research has been a cornerstone of Alberta’s economic success in the past four decades, in areas like education, social work, biotechnology life sciences, nanotechnology, clean energy, agriculture, telecommunications and materials engineering,” added Rodney.
“Alberta has had an economic development function within government for years, and it was formalized under economic development departments from 1979-2006,” said Richard Gotfried, the PC Critic for International and Intergovernmental Relations and MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek. “They focused on economic diversification, investment attraction, opening and maintaining new markets for our products and promoting tourism here at home and worldwide.”
“We notice that none of the municipal or regional economic development authorities and international trade associations in Alberta who are doing excellent work have been mentioned in today’s announcement,” Gotfried added. “We hope the new Economic Development and Trade department will work very closely with them to ensure they coordinate economic diversification initiatives, rather than just adding another layer of bureaucracy.”