Alberta Minute: Learning Supports, Parks Fees, and AHS Board Fired
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature remains prorogued and there are no committee meetings this week. The Session begins on November 29th with a new Speech from the Throne.
Voting continues this week for members of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) on a constitution that would allow the MNA to govern according to its own rules, laws, and traditions. Those in favour of the official partnership with the Canadian government say that the constitution will finally allow Métis to be recognized as a distinct Indigenous peoples with an inherent right to self-government, while opponents say the rights of individual Métis communities would be in jeopardy, particularly rural and remote communities. MNA citizens can vote online or in person until the end of the month. Details - and the proposed constitution - are available online.
- Across Alberta, respiratory illnesses in children are on the rise, resulting in long wait times for pediatric hospital care. Wait times were over 16 hours at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary and the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. Extended COVID-related public health measures that left children without exposure to viruses could be making children more susceptible to current outbreaks, according to an infectious disease specialist at the Alberta Children's Hospital. Shortages of medications, thanks to government red tape around imports, are complicating matters.
Last Week In Alberta:
Premier Danielle Smith fired the Alberta Health Services’ board. Dr. John Cowell was named the sole administrator, replacing the 12-person board. Cowell will work to reduce wait times for EMS, emergency departments, and surgeries. Smith said she’s confident that he can deliver needed changes in an expedient way. He will report directly to the Premier and Minister of Health Jason Copping. This is a temporary move - the Board will be restored once pressing issues are resolved.
The Province announced $40 million in funding for mental health and learning supports in Alberta schools. This funding will go towards more than 60 pilot projects. One such project involves having a registered psychiatric nurse, a teacher with additional training in supporting mental health and behaviour, and a social worker available to classrooms. Other projects include providing space for students experiencing issues regulating their feelings and appointing a mental health navigator for families who are seeking extra support.
- A mandate letter was issued to Forestry, Parks and Tourism Minister Todd Loewen, directing him to work with his federal counterparts to keep fees from Alberta’s national parks in the province. Premier Danielle Smith wants to reinvest the revenue in infrastructure in Alberta. The five national parks within Alberta's borders are funded and operated federally. Parks Canada doesn't provide a park-by-park breakdown of just how much money is generated from user fees in its annual reports.
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