Tag Archives: spending

Call for Albertan’s to create and achieve (a new slogan…)

Word on the street (re: Twitter and CTV) is that Alberta’s new slogan will be “Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve”. This new string of words will cost taxpayers $25 million over three years to “re-brand Alberta”.

I heard this tasty tidbit a few hours ago and have been pondering since, is this truly fitting for the new Alberta? A vague and much less direct approach in comparison to the previous slogan “Alberta Advantage” which was ditched sometime after the price of oil dropped faster then Diplo’s beats, this new slogan was supposed to be more fitting to the current Alberta and the culture within. “Freedom to Create” begs some interesting interpretations. Is the AB government interested in calling attention to our incredible, although underfunded artist groups? Is Alberta looking to increase our cultural capitol instead of our resource capitol? “Spirit to Achieve” I feel much better about. Albertan’s do indeed have spirit, one watch of Question Period proves that. We are a feisty bunch and even if it takes a bit to rile us up, once were there, it sticks around (re: NEP hate, still going strong).

All in all, the new slogan means nothing to me. Which is a very bad thing. I am not inspired, I am not proud and I am not really sure what it means. I do not disagree that “Alberta Advantage” no longer suits, but if we are going to make a change, lets do it right.

“Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.”

Maybe this is a joke and the slogan is actually just a advertising ploy to “create and achieve” a real slogan. Fingers crossed.

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Where is Lethbridge’s homelessness plan?

The province of Alberta has announced a plan to “end” homelessness by 2019.With a price tag of 3.3 billion,

The plan calls for the development of 8,000 new housing units in Alberta, which could cost $1.3 billion, while operational costs are projected to hit $2.1 billion over the next decade. A major focus will be to quickly move homeless people out of shelters, and provide social supports once they are housed.

The issue of homelessness has become forefront for social activists in the last few years as Alberta’s oil boom has increased the cost of living so quickly and so astronomically that many who were scraping by before were no longer to house or feed themselves. Often the homeless are now called “the working poor”, a phrase which illustrates the lack of social housing and social support even to those who do contribute financially to our society.

While I am hopeful and commend Minister Fritz for this progressive plan of action, I am still hesitant to  give the Alberta Government a high five as the lack of action thus far has been indicative of the governments priority’s (that being said, there has been considerable amounts done to aid current homeless resource centers such as The Calgary Drop-In Center and the Invisible Project).

I echo Liberal MLA Taylor’s sentiments as reported in the Edmonton Journal:

“It’s a great plan in principle, but it all comes down to the level of commitment that is shown when Iris Evans brings down the budget on April 7,” said Dave Taylor, the Liberal party’s housing critic. “If the funding is there, I believe this is a plan that will end or dramatically reduce homelessness across the province over the next 10 years. If the funding isn’t there, it’s just a nice booklet.”

Lethbridge alone has seen an increase of 60% in our homelessness popualtion in the last year and although we are not reporting the numbers seen in Calgary and Edmonton, for a city of 70 000 people it is reasonable to think that the city of Lethbridge would see social housing as a priority and would thus create the spending to remedy this growing problem. With women being turned away from the YWCA due to lack of space and more and more families accessing resources or facing being split up among several short term and long term shelters I wonder where Lethbridge’s city council is on this issue.

Having been an invited participant in the city’s committee Social Housing in Action, I have seen the city’s lack of commitment to act and although there is a great deal of work being done to identify the problem of homelessness in Lethbridge I have been privy to the disappointment on behalf of agencies regarding the allocation of both municipal and provincial funds.

Direct action includes building more spaces for short and long term housing, resource centers for those who need access to education and living resources, greater funding to those agencies who work on the ground in Lethbridge to aid those homeless individuals, funding for emergency care and agencies such as the YWCA and Wood’s Homes which specifically offer help to high risk individuals. As citizens I believe we need to bring our concerns to the forefront and push the city council to act on this problem and demand accountablity of these committee’s and thier participants.

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Back pedaling like a duck in a tailing pond…

Yesterday Alberta papers reported on Stelmach’s hasty back pedaling away from the bad-news-bears momentum of his early 90’s spending strategy announcement. In most recent news Stelmach was reported as saying:

“I never used the word ‘cuts.. That doesn’t mean we won’t go through our budget and look at areas where we can be pragmatic and prudent in our budgeting. We’ll have to do that … but we’ll protect our health and education programs and the most vulnerable Albertans,”

This is much better news for Alberta and does a bit to ease the minds of more conscience Albertan’s who quailed at the memory of what 90’s spending strategy did to the province’s education and health care spending in it’s implementation. As Stelmach was a key player in that time, influencing spending decisions and creating policy to legitimize those decisions, it is not hard to think that he would indeed revert to the safety of what he knew, and what many believe worked so well in paying down the debt.

As the federal government of Canada projects a significant deficit within the upcoming budget announcement in order to continue supporting programs already in place and create economic stimulus, it would be nice to see Alberta follow suit with a commitment to uphold the fantastic things the province has done recently as far as investing in Alberta’s future.

(credit: Edmonton Journal)

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