Our communities have received significant levels of investment and support from the Alberta government, and I am proud of the role I have been able to play in this. Alberta is leading the nation in job growth, which means our neighbours are going back to work and providing for their families again. And with investment pouring back into our province across a variety of sectors, I anticipate more growth ahead.
Our government is committed to tackling this affordability crisis, fixing our health-care system, maintaining our economic momentum and making life better for all Albertans.
Even though our economy is strong, far too many Alberta families are struggling to pay their bills right now due to inflation. To help families cope with these costs, we have passed a landmark inflation-relief package that will make life better for all Albertans, but particularly our most vulnerable.
This package includes targeted relief payments to seniors and families with dependent children under 18 whose household incomes are under $180,000 per year, as well as to Albertans receiving AISH, PDD and Income Support.
We have also introduced inflation relief that is non-targeted and benefits a wider segment of Albertans through making fuel and electricity more affordable.
We are cutting the full 13-cent fuel tax on gas and diesel between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2023, regardless of oil prices. This will ensure Albertans continue to pay among the lowest fuel prices in Canada.
In addition, we are providing $500 in electricity rebates for 1.9 million households, farms and small businesses. This will help Alberta households cope with high electricity prices at this challenging time of year.
We can provide this substantial relief because our budget is back in balance and our fiscal position is strong. Alberta is succeeding again, and our United Conservative government is committed to reinvesting that success into everyday Alberta families, so they can grow and thrive. Our government has continually prioritized a balanced budget and strong fiscal policy, which has led to our thriving economic position.
Additionally, we have continued to focus on our resources and the economic growth that comes from diversifying and supporting these large industries. I am proud that our government has embraced these industries that help make Alberta the wonderful and successful province we all know and love.
Another major focus of our government is health-care reform. We have heard repeatedly from people across our province that changes need to be made to our health-care system. This is one of the reasons that our government is working to take immediate action to have AHS improve EMS response times, decrease surgical backlogs and cut emergency room wait times.
Additionally, our government knows that rural health care is unique and requires a different approach. This is why we are working to address health-care staffing challenges, particularly in rural areas, through improving health workforce planning, evaluating retention policies, leveraging the scope of allied health professionals, streamlining immigration and certification processes, and further increasing the number of training seats for health-care professionals in Alberta.
We are also working with municipalities, doctors and allied health providers to identify strategies to attract and retain health-care workers in rural Alberta.
These steps are just a part of the more long-term changes that will strengthen our health-care system and ensure that everyone has access to timely high-quality care.
One of the steps we are taking to do this is looking into creating more spots in post-secondary institutions for health care related fields. This will help ensure that more Albertans are able to pursue this valuable education closer to home. We are also looking into continued long-term consultation with front-line workers to improve the decision-making processes in our health-care system.
I am hopeful that these steps will be the foundation of ensuring our province and our people continue to have world-class health care for generations to come.
These are just a few of our major government accomplishments this past year. Our government is committed to continually taking steps to improve life here in Alberta. We are doing this by introducing legislation that is beneficial to Albertans in the most valuable ways while maintaining a strong fiscal position.
These types of policies have helped to stimulate our economy, which has led to our continued economic success. I am proud to be a part of a government that prioritizes not only what is best for our province but what is best for our people.
I look forward to seeing the continued success of our wonderful province and communities over the upcoming year. I know that this success would not be possible without all the wonderful people who call our communities home, which is why I would like to extend my sincerest wishes of a happy holiday season to you and your families.
May 2023 be a year of health, happiness and prosperity for all!
MLA, Livingstone Macleod
Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff.