Sustainable Rural Communities
PROMOTING RURAL INNOVATION
Having grown up in Camrose and now raising a daughter (and some cattle!) on a farm near Kingman, I have a passion for our rural ways of life and our rural communities. We rural folk have an independent streak in us, but also a real sense of caring for our neighbours and a willingness to work together. Long-term sustainability of our communities will require a strong connection to our roots and an embrace of innovation, both things that the Provincial government can strengthen.
Farmers are caretakers of the land, water and wildlife, and have always been adapting and innovating to new challenges. Climate change, soil health, pesticide residues, and animal welfare are all things farmers care about, not just city folks. If elected, I would work to strengthen the NDP’s consultations with farmers around how best to support innovative solutions to pressing issues. We need to listen, and not take our rural constituents for granted.
Connectivity to world markets and research are essential, and I strongly support the NDP’s proposals to properly fund rural broadband expansion. I would also work to reverse cuts to Alberta Agriculture, especially their research and extension capacities.
I am dismayed by the massive cuts to our Agricultural Societies in the 2022 budget. The Ag Society in Tofield, for example, is responsible for the arena and grounds that house the hockey and curling rinks, the alternative school, 4H, Gymkhana, and other community groups. All across our constituency, Ag Societies continue to play central roles in our rural community life and should be strengthened, not cut.
STOP DOWNLOADING COSTS
The UCP continues to cut rural municipal finances and capital funds, which pushes tax burdens onto rural property owners and/or decreases services. I support the NDP’s push for real partnership with municipalities with proper funding and long-term strategic planning.
Government also needs to ensure that industry fully funds orphan well remediation, and that energy companies pay fair rural taxes to support the very infrastructure they require.
I also support the NDP position to stop the UCP push for a costly provincial police force that no one wants.
A REAL STRATEGY FOR ENERGY TRANSITION
The transition away from fossil fuels is already starting, and it will impact rural communities in Alberta. We need to be prepared and have a solid plan in place that ensures we can all benefit from this transition. Such a plan can only be developed with meaningful consultation and partnership with rural communities, First Nations, the scientific community, and private sector employers. We need to take climate change seriously and get started now.
How would you want to see the Provincial government support rural communities?