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25 November 2013

Redford responsible for culture of secrecy surrounding children in care

What sort of province do we want Alberta to be? Are we a compassionate, caring people or do we try to keep problems hidden and let our most vulnerable citizens suffer in silence? 

Reading about the deaths of so many children in our foster care system, and the associated cover up, makes me sad and angry. The story, which only came to light as a result of tireless work --and a four year legal battle-- by Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald reporters Karen Kleiss and Darcy Henton, tells of the tragic deaths of 145 children in Alberta's foster care system from 1999 to 2009. 

This is nearly triple the number reported by our provincial government. 

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08 November 2013

Politics: Too important to be left to the professionals

This hasn't exactly been the best week for politics in Canada (and if there's a bigger understatement out there please let me know). The evidence before us is pretty damning: Rob Ford. Three suspended senators. Some pretty nasty and very personal exchanges in the Alberta Legislature. 

It's no wonder voter turnout is at its lowest level in history and fewer people every day seem to care about politics. The question is, why has politics come to this and what can we do about it? Who are these professional politicians who run our governments?

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15 October 2013

Post-secondary education cuts - What sort of Alberta do we want?

"Alberta finds itself at a crossroads. Our ability to continue to seize the opportunities that abound here is dependent on a population that can participate fully in the economy. So is our ability to continue building a strong supportive society that’s attractive to those who are already here and that can attract those who will help build Alberta’s future. We have the resources. We have a motivated workforce. What we need is an enhanced learning system that supports all of our aspirations."

These words were written in 2006 in the Learning Alberta report, which is the last time our province had a formal strategy for post-secondary education. They're powerful words. They're accurate words. They're words I wish I had written myself.

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10 October 2013

More Input, Better Decisions

Re: Edmonton Journal, GrahamThomson: Redford government ducking a legal broadside, October 8

“A direct apprehension of bias.”

For the non-lawyers among us that's legalese for "you can't pick and choose who you want to listen to based on what they might say." Sadly the Redford government has been caught red-handed doing just that when Court of Queen's Bench Justice Marceau ruled they broke their own rules by not allowing environmental groups to comment on oilsands projects. Regardless of your position on oilsands development, it is a fundamental principle of democracy that the people have a say.

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02 October 2013

An Alternative History of Alberta, 2004 - 2013

It's October 2nd, 2013. Our strong energy sector has been the envy of the world ever since Greenpeace used our province as an example of responsible resource development because we've reduced our net carbon emissions every year since 2010, in spite of increased production from our oilsands. The Keystone XL pipeline is nearing completion and the Enbridge / First Nations Pipeline Corp. joint venture to build a bitumen pipeline that terminates at an upgrader on the BC coast is expected to start construction next summer.

There's a hard cap of 30 kids per class in high school, 25 in junior high and 20 in elementary school, although most schools are well under those numbers. Our healthcare system is the envy of the rest of Canada and is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. Social indicators like child poverty and suicide rates are dropping. Our universities and colleges turn out graduates ready to participate in the workforce and make a difference in a changing world.

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10 September 2013

Alberta Health Care review - Better Later than Never

In the wake of the new governance review study released today, we have to say that most of these conclusions have been fairly obvious for some time, but better late than never. At least the government seems to have admitted that their management has been largely ineffective, and that that huge expense of the system is not reflected in the quality of patient care and outcomes.

It’s hard to argue that the Health Care budget should be applied more directly to the front lines, since the very top heavy management that hasn’t seemed to work very well.

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