Updated: Jul 30
Alberta is open! It is encouraging to see our province move forward and to finally start putting COVID behind us. There seems to be a palpable optimism as vaccination numbers continue to rise, cases & hospitalizations fall, and folks are out and about enjoying the weather. It’s also been very encouraging to visit dozens of communities, speak with thousands of you in person, and see public events taking place. Each day, I am encouraged by the resilience, fortitude, and optimism shown by the people of Battle River—Crowfoot.
That is not to diminish the concerns that continue to exist. Moisture levels and drought conditions locally, the ongoing challenges in our economy, the ongoing national unity crisis, and the frustration as the Liberal Government in Ottawa becomes increasingly out of touch, corrupt, and dysfunctional. It is, however, the people of this region that give me confidence that, amid these hardships, we will see a recovery.
As the countdown to Parliament rising for the summer began at the beginning of June, there seemed to be a realization that the Government had accomplished very little in terms of their legislative agenda. In fact, they saw much of the legislation they deemed a priority stagnating without being debated fully on the Order Paper. Parliament's job is to thoughtfully and actively ensure that there is thorough debate on everything that goes before it. Yet, increasingly we have seen the Liberals treat our democracy as an inconvenience rather than a place to ensure Canadians’ perspectives are represented. This was emphasized when the Liberals were only able to bring their budget bill to vote the day that Parliament was scheduled to adjourn.
While this Government has one of the least productive Parliamentary sessions in Canadian history, the Official Opposition were hard at work. We saw a record number of Private Member’s Bills passed that include changes to tax rules to help farm succession, extended bereavement care, and easing the barriers to register for organ donations. Further, a bill that would provide farmers relief from the carbon tax is very close to passing the final reading in the Senate.
Then, there is the extensive work being done to hold the Government to account. This includes committee work, holding officials and departments accountable for COVID failings, exposing unprecedented scandals, and fighting to ensure that Canadian democracy remains strong. I will write more on this in the following columns, as there is much to cover.
Finally, you have likely heard talk of a summer federal election. Thus far, the Liberal Government has not yet lost a confidence vote and are being supported by the NDP. However, contrary to Prime Minister Trudeau’s promises, he seems to be intent on calling an election before many of the investigations into his and his government's conduct are finished. Locally, I have heard from some of you that would welcome another election and others who would not. However, as this speculation continues you can be assured that I remain undeterred as your voice in Ottawa and am prepared for the possibility of an election.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780.608.4600, text 403.575.5625, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay up to date with what Damien is up to by following him on social media @dckurek.