Policy Statements for consideration by members at the policy session of the Alberta Party Annual General meeting, February 22, 2015.
All statements will begin with The Alberta Party will:
- In consultation with Aboriginal people, undertake a comprehensive review of the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations to provide integrated services and recognition of constitutional and legal rights for all aboriginal people across government agencies and throughout the diverse Aboriginal communities.
- Make urban and industrial growth more responsible in regard to planning and use.
- As part of the land use planning, develop a process that recognizes the declining agricultural land base by industrial and urban development and develop strategies to minimize the growth impact.
- Complete an inventory of the land base required to sustain production of food products that feed our population and is a source of export based income, and develop a strategy and plan to retain land for agricultural production.
ARTS AND CREATIVE INDUSTRIES POLICY
- Recognize the video game industry as a creative industry as listed in the current policy.
- Pursue a provincial incubator or studio incubation model to promote, foster growth, and attract small studios to expand creative industries in Alberta.
- Implement a process of accountability to ensure that this industry continually works to produce a quality product that leads it to achieving self-sufficiency.
- Increase promotion and development of the Arts to future generations through the education curriculum.
- Develop a streamlined accreditation process for artists and performers to become teachers, leading to an enriched arts curriculum and learning experience for students.
- Increase autonomy at the municipal level to fund artists and artistic professionals.
DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL POLICY
- Make all public information accessible to Albertans through an “open-data” framework. It is the government’s responsibility to provide access to all information pertinent to the province’s governance. It is the government’s responsibility to prove when data needs to remain confidential.
- Ensure that government departments are appropriately funded to support ‘open-data’ processes.
- Implement a policy that all surveys, reports or research paid for by the Government of Alberta will be made public by placing them on the Government’s website with a hard copy available upon request.
- Ensure that meetings between Government and Lobbyists are public and transparent.
- On important issues, provide a mechanism to call a “Citizens Assembly” made of everyday Albertans from across the province to consult with experts in various fields to ensure decisions are based on a wide range of values and ideas.
- Convene a “Citizens’ Assembly” to work with experts to create an Alberta-specific option on List Voting, which would be put to Albertans in a provincial plebiscite at the following general election.
- Cap donations to a provincial party to $1,000 per individual per year.
- No longer allow corporations and unions to make donations to a provincial party.
- Lower the limits for donations to $1,500 to an individual candidate and an additional $1,500 to a party (amounts doubling in an election period). These donation limits would apply to individuals, corporations, unions and associations.
- Legislate fixed election dates in order to reduce uncertainty in the Legislature, Alberta Public Service and other organizations that work with government.
- Implement “Recall Policy” to allow a percentage of voters in any constituency to recall an MLA.
- Ensure that if there is no MLA Recall Act in place, any Alberta Party MLA shall agree to step down and trigger a by-election should 30% of voters in the constituency in which they are elected lose confidence in them.
- Require unelected cabinet ministers to seek election to the legislative assembly within 40 days of their appointment through a by-election.
- Legislate that MLAs can no longer cross the floor to another political party. MLAs who wish to leave their party must sit as an independent MLA until the next general election.
- Establish a referendum law in Alberta to allow the public to make direct choices on important policy matters.
- Lower the voting age from 18 years to 16 years.
- Offer income tax incentives for all eligible voters who vote in a general provincial election and by-election.
- Immediately after the next election, Alberta Party MLAs shall request an all-party committee be formed in order to report to the Legislature within 12 months, with recommendations for reform to a system by which Albertan’s select members of the Legislative Assembly. The committee shall solicit expert advice, significant citizen input, and shall consider all possible reforms including, without limitation, a preferential balloting system and/or forms of proportional representation, with the overall goal of increasing voter participation and more fairly representing the electoral preferences of Albertans.
- Change the way we vote to a proportional representational system.
- Change the way we vote to a preferential balloting system.
- Introduce legislation to regulate the use of “robocalls” or high volume or other automated calling by political parties, or agents, surrogates or volunteers.
- Introduce legislation to place a publication and advertising ban on the government prior to and during a general election or by-election.
- Set limits on the placement of election signs on public property.
- Field a minimum of 30% female candidates in all Alberta provincial general elections.
- Be an open, democratic, and consultative government in Alberta.
- Legislate a “Guideline for MLAs” that encourages stronger engagement with constituents, including an annual citizens’ forum in every constituency where MLAs answer directly to their constituents. This will result in a more authentic representation of constituent views and a touchstone to the real power behind a working democracy.
- Implement a “Leadership Review” policy that would allow a percentage of MLAs within the governing caucus to call a leadership vote.
- Mandate an annual live, televised forum for the premier to respond to citizen questions and concerns.
- Support term limits of a maximum of 3 terms for Premier and a maximum of 4 terms for MLAs.
- Institute a progressive personal income tax in Alberta.
- Increase the current amount of the Alberta carbon tax.
- Ensure market access for Alberta’s resources by supporting pipeline projects such as Energy East and Keystone XL.
- Institute a provincial sales tax of 2%.
- Re-introduce health care premiums for Alberta individuals and families whose annual income is over $75,000.
- Investigate all models for alternate sources for government revenue, including provincial sales tax, carbon tax, toll roads, gas tax, etc.
- Diversify Alberta’s economy through tourism, green energy, and other economic growth factors.
- Eliminate, over time, Alberta’s small business tax.
End mandatory school fees, making schools more accessible for all Albertans, and reduce administrative burden on school staff.
Provide sustainable, consistent, adequate funding for optimum class sizes and the best possible teachers and resources to meet the needs of all of Alberta’s students.
End funding to for-profit schools and schools that selectively admit students. Public schools, Catholic schools and private and charter schools with inclusive admittance practices will be funded 100%.
Increase annual, guaranteed funding proportionate with population growth and inflation. Funding must be stable to allow for long-term planning.
Provide targeted funding for educational assistants to increase the human supports for students with special needs.
Build new schools. This includes a plan for 100 new schools over the next five years as needed, over and above those that are already planned.
Depoliticize building decisions by funding new schools according to enrolment numbers.
Build new schools with daycare space and allow for certified daycare workers, employed by the school district, to accommodate siblings of registered students. This would initiate the process of making schools, community-centered facilities, while improving the quality of life for working parents and their children.
Allocate a capital budget to boards to maintain aging school buildings.
Encourage the sharing of resources, such as bussing, between overlapping school districts to reduce duplication of services.
Restructure the current curriculum redesign to include systematic review, research, consultation and subsequent updates. Current processes are too rushed, and run the risk of turning students into test subjects.
Build Arts and CTS into the requirements of an Alberta High School Diploma. This will recognize the Arts and CTS as essential to the development of well-rounded lifelong learning Albertans.
Reduce the weighting of Diploma examinations to 30% of a students’ final grade.
Continue the Student Learning Assessment initiative, removing obstacles to its success, and commit to the complete phase-out of Provincial Achievement Tests.
Fund mentorship strategies for new teachers and increase supports for ongoing professional development for all teachers.
Establish a committee consisting of Alberta Education, Alberta Teachers’ Association and Alberta School Boards Association members to examine ways of improving teacher discipline processes.
The public and Catholic school boards should be merged into a single public school system accessible to all Albertans with governance and accountability promoting diversity of programs and experimentation within the public system.
- Keep Alberta jobs in Alberta. Any project to be built in Alberta will use Alberta engineering and design, Alberta fabrication shops, Alberta labour and, in the event of shortages, we will go to other Canadian provinces to import the people and expertise needed. Only after all Canadian options are exhausted, will we look beyond Canada’s borders.
- Create and support legislative improvements, government policy and economic environment for green energy within the Province.
- Capitalize on existing innovation technology and develop new innovative technology.
- Investigate the possibility of nuclear power generation in Alberta.
- Gradually increase royalties paid to the Alberta government by resource development companies.
- Provide increased access to solar energy technology by providing financial support to homeowners and municipalities considering this option.
- Investigate and consider an increase on vehicle registration based on the make, model, year and consumption of fuel of the vehicle being registered.
- In conjunction with industry experts and using global best practices: revise the existing Alberta Climate Change Strategy; adjust the overall criteria for selecting climate change actions; reset targets for emission reduction; set up interim measurements for longer term plan; identify, analyze and report on results.
- Complete a comprehensive review of the threatened species, trapping, wildlife management, biodiversity and fish management programs to identify deficiencies, areas of improvement, policy gaps and new legislation required.
- Complete a comprehensive review of the current aggregate process focusing on the royalty structure, reclamation liability and the allocation process to meet concerns identified in the Auditor General's report.
- Work with the Forest Industry to identify potential areas for new markets, enhanced use of bio-mass for energy production and ensure the industry is meeting sustainability outcomes.
- Align the grazing on public land policy with the Agricultural policy and ensure Albertans are getting fair and reasonable royalties from the use of public land.
- Complete a comprehensive review of all lands held under the Parks Act to determine current status, identify tourism opportunities and enhance economic benefits and alternate service delivery models for residence use.
- As part of the water policy, complete an extensive review of Alberta lakes to determine current bed and shore status and develop policy and strategies to ensure sustainable use by Albertans.
- Introduce appropriate flood legislation and policy that protects all Albertans and will address monitoring, emergency response, mitigation and recovery.
- In consultation with Albertans, develop strategies on hydro-electric development, review inter-basin water transfers and inter-provincial water agreements to reflect the current needs of Albertans.
- Develop a comprehensive policy for the development of wind power both on private and public land within Alberta.
- Support a change in philosophy to 100% publicly funded Health Care, taking the necessary steps to achieve this gradually over a period of time.
- Integrate non-primary care services such as dentistry, physiotherapy, etc., into the public health care system.
- Assert that all social programs such as, Health, Education, Post-Secondary Education, Law Enforcement, Ambulance Services and Fire Services are to be maintained as social programs under government responsibility and no corporations or individuals may profit financially by these services.
- Support implementing changes to the Patient Information System so that all patient information will be accessible anywhere in the province when a patient needs care.
- Implement Alberta Health Services funded Primary Care Centers in every region of the province where doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, massage therapists, laboratory work and X-rays will be available in one location to be more efficient for patients and medical personnel.
- Fund research to investigate the safety of chemicals used in our foods and other products used daily.
- Investigate, before any changes are made, to determine which health management structure will best serve Albertans.
- Increase resources to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in youth.
- Review the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program to find much needed improvements.
- Review the People with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program and community supports for PDD.
- Establish a program to assist doctors and nurses with their education costs if they agree to work in smaller or remote Alberta communities where they are needed.
- Improve assistance to foreign doctors and nurses in acquiring their educational equivalencies and receiving their Canadian certification as quickly as possible.
- Defend the rights of all Albertans regardless of race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation of that person or class of persons.
- Research the benefits of a provincial police force for the province of Alberta replacing the reliance on contracted RCMP services for policing needs in small municipalities and rural communities.
- Restore and increase funding for Legal Aid to ensure Albertans have access to legal representation. Increased support for Legal Aid will ensure Albertans are not being led to self-represent, and will improve the timeliness of the judicial process.
- Work with the federal government to prosecute environmental crimes in Canada.
LAND USE POLICY
- Ensure municipalities would have on-going input into regional plans and opportunity to deliver various components of programs on behalf of the Provincial Government.
- Create a land classification system into various categories with a focus on agricultural production and other beneficial productive uses.
- Evaluate the current level of funding for Family and Community Support Services (FCSS).
POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION POLICY
- See that academic standards are strictly maintained and measures put in place to protect staff and institutions from pressure to inflate grades.
- Attract the best educators and researchers in each field to Alberta post-secondary institutions.
- Provide stable funding to each post-secondary institution to enable long-range planning to support success.
- Hold post-secondary institutions accountable for use of public funds received from the government.
- Support ease of information sharing and co-operation between institutions.
- Recognize the multi-faceted benefits of supporting seniors through a community-focused model including aging-in-place and will seek to increase support for services related to this model of care.
- Explore financial support mechanisms such as subsidies for seniors who choose to renovate or retrofit their homes to improve the accessibility and ‘livability’ of their homes.
- Explore financial support mechanisms such as subsidies for families who choose to renovate or retrofit their homes to improve the accessibility of their homes for a senior family member (e.g.: ‘mother-in-law suites’).
- Explore offering financial incentives to family members who act as a senior’s principle caregiver.
- Explore mechanisms to adjust or preserve property tax rates for seniors effective at the age of eligibility/set criteria/means testing.
- Immediately restore government funding for Employment and Income Supplement, Early Intervention for Children and Youth and Prevention of Family Violence.