Week in Review - August 7, 2015
Posted on August 07, 2015 by Greg Clark
I’ve been on the road this week travelling to Red Deer and Edmonton, before returning home for the weekend to take part in Marda Gras this Sunday. I hope you can make it down to say hi and join us at our booth on 33rd Avenue between 10:00 and 5:00 on August 9th.
The focus of my time in Red Deer was poverty reduction. I met with both the United Way and the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA), who have both done remarkable work advocating and providing services for those in need.
United Way Central Alberta operates the Central Alberta 211 service, a one-stop service for access to community, health, government and social services. Red Deer and Central Alberta are some of the communities lucky enough to have access to 211 service. This past spring I advocated for province-wide 211 in the Legislature.
CAPRA has done great work advocating for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy in Central Alberta. This strategy has several aspects, including an emphasis on early childhood development, education and literacy for kids and adults, housing, health and wellness, and economic security in the form of tighter restrictions on payday lenders and a living wage.
Interestingly, a minimum wage and a living wage are different things. A living wage varies depending on where you live and your life circumstances. For example, a single parent with one child living in Red Deer needs a $14.75 to make ends meet. A single person needs $10.21 in Red Deer but over $16 in Rimbey.
As our government implements a $15 minimum wage this provides an interesting example of the nuance I believe is required in the debate. Income security must be part of a poverty reduction strategy, but is isn’t the only (or perhaps even the most important) part of that strategy, and income needs vary by situation and by geography. It makes me question again whether the drive toward a $15 minimum wage will help or hurt.
In Edmonton I was honoured to attend the opening of the 87th Annual General Assembly of the Metis Nation of Alberta and met many people, including President Audrey Poitras. As a new MLA it was a good opportunity to start the process of building a relationship based on open dialogue, cooperation and respect.
Finally, we learned this week that a byelection has been called for Calgary-Foothills for September 3rd. While I’m disappointed the NDs chose to hold the byelection in the summer, during a federal election and before three of the five main parties have nominated a candidate, I can assure you that the Alberta Party will run a strong campaign and put forward a great candidate. Stay tuned early next week for an announcement.
Have a safe and fun Alberta weekend!