RMA convention a success, says president McLauchlin

By Laurie Tritschler
Shootin’ the Breeze Shootin’ the Breeze Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
March 28, 2023
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta’s membership came away from last week’s convention in Edmonton feeling heard and appreciated, according to president Paul McLauchlin.

Members generally approved of the province’s new funding formula for rural municipalities, although McLauchlin said there was room for improvement. 

Premier Danielle Smith, who addressed the convention March 22, was especially well received. 

“Her speech was very good. Our members were pleasantly surprised,” McLauchlin told Shootin’ the Breeze after the convention wrapped up. 

In her speech, Smith said the 2023 provincial budget would deliver over $2 billion in capital investments to rural municipalities over three years. Her government was working hard to cut ambulance wait times and had signed agreements to bring in doctors from outside Alberta, one of whom is now working full time in Blairmore, she said.

In particular, McLauchlin said budgetary adjustments to rural municipalities’ provincial funding streams show a more genuine partnership between RMA members and the province. 

If passed, budget 2023 will tweak Edmonton’s funding formula for rural municipalities by fully indexing rural funding in a given year to provincial revenue from three years earlier, whereas the outgoing formula had indexed funding to half of provincial revenue.   

“It’s pegging municipal funding to [Alberta’s] prosperity. We’re fully in agreement with the core concept,” McLauchlin said.


Hand touching bottom of purple Om Youth Infusion serum from Small Town Collective


In practice, the president said, baseline funding for rural municipalities under the outgoing Municipal Sustainability Initiative was much more robust three years ago than what members can initially expect from the incoming Local Government Fiscal Framework, which takes hold in 2024. 

The RMA remains at loggerheads with the province over the province’s recent “downloading” of financial obligations onto municipalities, including policing costs. Members also want to see orphaned oil and gas wells reclaimed at the industry’s expense, whereas the latest version of the province’s Liability Management Incentive Program (formerly RStar) would subtract companies’ reclamation costs from their provincial royalty payments on non-renewable resources. 

To that point, McLauchlin said Energy Minister Peter Guthrie assured RMA members at the convention that the province hopes to consult more with rural municipalities. 

“On the whole, this was probably one of the better conventions we’ve had in a while. We feel that we’re being heard,” McLauchlin said. 

Scott Johnston, press secretary for Alberta Health, later explained that the Blairmore doctor mentioned in Smith’s speech joined the Crowsnest Pass Health Clinic in late January, having signed a three-year service agreement under the province’s Rural Education Supplement and Integrated Doctor Experience program. The new doctor came from British Columbia and now runs a family practice at the health clinic.

Get more from your dentist at Ascent Dental
Care to leave a comment?
Scroll down!
Like this story?
Click a link to share on social!
// Code example
 <div id="myid" class="myclass" hidden> 
Lorem ipsum <strong>dolor</strong> sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
Leave a Reply
Young woman in blue vest and jeans holds her steer's halter while a man in a light-coloured cowboy hat examines the animal. In the background is a green field, mountains and a blue sky.

Current Issue

Print and Digital Subscriptions
Individual Digital Copies

Get more from your dentist at Ascent Dental
Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car
Group of people in orange T-shirts standing together on a poster seeking nominations for the Direct Energy Volunteer Citizen of the Year
Bride and groom gaze at one another standing in a green field with mountains in the background, in an ad promoting Amber MacKinnon as a wedding photographer
Logos for Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, News Media Canada and Government of Canada

News from southwestern Alberta and your local community connection

Office hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday
697A Main Street | PO Box 811, Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0


Copyright 2011–2023 Shootin’ the Breeze.
All materials on this website are protected by Canadian copyright law and may be used only with permission.