In conjunction with MLA Todd Loewen, here are some highlights of our past year in the Legislature as Independents- serving our consituents and all Albertans.
There is no question that 2021 has been a year of tremendous upheaval for the vast majority of Albertans.
The past 365 days saw us take on numerous and significant challenges, everything from a drought to the continuation of a pandemic.
As always, Albertans have risen to meet these challenges. This should come as no surprise; Albertans have a long and storied history of doing so. Over the past century we have faced everything from fires to floods, pandemics to depressions, and always found a way to weather such storms and come back stronger.
Albertans are doing their part, once again, to overcome the unforeseeable. The real danger at this time, however, is the entirely predictable mistakes and unforced errors of our own governments.
There is no question that rising inflation, high unemployment and under-employment, out of control public debt, and ever-increasing taxes are directly linked to federal and provincial policy.
Pandemic mismanagement has resulted in thousands of job losses and significant disruptions to our economy’s supply chains, while misguided energy policies have left our province importing power and exporting jobs.
For the thousands of Alberta’s families struggling to keep heads above water, these are the issues that matter most. They are also the issues that the Kenney government works hardest to avoid addressing.
We have and will continue to call on this government to take real action to fight for a fair deal from Ottawa. In the 2019 provincial election and the 2021 equalization referendum, our will was clearly and democratically expressed. Alberta’s resources belong to Albertans, and Ottawa has no businesses restricting the development of our resources.
We have and will continue to fight for an end to restrictive vaccine mandates and unnecessary vaccine passports. Every step of the way the government’s approach to these issues has been unnecessarily coercive, divisive, and shortsighted.
We have, and will continue to oppose Kenney’s decision to spend billions on corporate welfare, picking winners and loser in the market. We need economic policies that benefit Albertans, not foreign interests or Bay Street bankers. We need to get government out of the way and let Albertans do what they do best.
We have, and will continue to demand accountability, transparency, and meaningful democratic reform from the most autocratic government Albertans have ever seen. We opposed Bill 81, which takes Alberta back to the corrupt Toryland era of rigged party elections and influence peddling.
We have, and will continue to fight for better rural healthcare. Repeatedly, over the past year AHS has temporarily closed rural emergency room and other facilities due to a lack of physician capacity. Meanwhile, rural ambulance wait times remain unacceptably long.
We have, and will continue to shine a light on this government’s blatant hypocrisy when it comes to pandemic restrictions. Whether it was Aloha-gate, the Premier’s patio party, or the UCP Christmas party in Edmonton, this government has repeatedly ignored its own rules. Meanwhile the government continues to prosecute pastors and small business owners. These are shameful, banana Republic tactics that have no place in Alberta.
It has been said that Albertans don’t succeed because of government. We succeed in spite of government. That has never been more true than today.
It has been the honor of our lives to stand up to this government on your behalf, and we promise to continue to put your families, your communities, and your interests first.
Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes