Leader###Proud Albertan, husband, father & grandfather.

Barry Morishita's activity stream

  • Albertans Want Healthcare Done Right

    Ill-informed and reckless upheaval of our healthcare system, as the Premier is proposing, will only drive up costs and decrease the care Albertans need. There are 2 factors we must consider: 

    1. Quality

    Quality healthcare is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centred.

    Team-based care, with interdisciplinary primary care teams working together, can deliver effective care and treatment in a wider variety of sites outside a hospital setting - providing better outcomes, lower costs and greater patient satisfaction.

    Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide high-quality care in an environment where those on the front lines feel unwell, unsafe or have consistently negative experiences in their work environment. This needs to change.

    Some services, although proven to be effective and provide good value for money, are not publicly funded, like dental care and eye care, and we should be looking at this carefully. 

    To improve the quality and affordability of healthcare, the Alberta Party will partner with health professionals, associations, and patients to raise awareness of evidence-based best practices and put them in action.

    2. Cost

    The biggest cost drivers in the health system are hospitals, pharmaceuticals and physician services. The costs of pharmaceuticals continue to rise.

    The establishment of a national pharmacare program could bring substantial benefits for health outcomes and reduce national spending on drugs.

    Another way to reduce costs is in the investment of wellness programs that help Albertans get, and stay, healthy - reducing the need for costly, critical care services. The Alberta Party will create a Wellness Foundation to support wellness initiatives. 

    The people of Brooks-Medicine Hat, and all Albertans, deserve representation that brings a pragmatic approach to these crucial issues. I and the Alberta Party can do exactly this.

  • Rural Healthcare is a Real Issue

    In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, healthcare workers are tired, burnt out and assessing their future in their field. Many have already left the profession, or the province.

    This is not an Alberta-only crisis, it is occurring all over Canada. A StatsCan survey suggests 1 in 4 workers are considering a change of career. And many provinces are wooing health care professionals to come and work for them. 

    The statements made by the UCP leader and Brooks-Medicine Hat candidate about our healthcare system and its workers will do nothing but push more workers out, not bring in the nurses, doctors and other skilled health care workers to meet our province’s needs.

    We are already seeing other health regions actively recruiting Alberta health professionals, like the President of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario who tweeted to AHS workers… “If you feel discouraged because you're being blamed for healthcare problems rather than being thanked for 2 ½ years of tireless work... We'd welcome your dedication and expertise.”

    In my travels across the province, I have heard from municipal leaders that this is an urgent priority - in fact many are working directly with local health facilities to try to recruit workers with incentives to move to their community. 

    Healthcare workers want better working conditions, job opportunities for their spouse or partner, good schools for their children and better quality of life. Financial incentives are not enough. 

    The crisis in accessing primary care in Medicine Hat has become so urgent that Mayor Linnsie Clark and City Council have recently spoken out with a statement regarding the ‘dire need’ for action on recruiting and retaining doctors.

    There are great examples of how municipalities, health facilities and professionals and others have worked together to attract new healthcare professionals to the region - we did in Newell County with Brooks, Bassano, Duchess and Rosemary. 

    Collaboration and partnerships are the key to gaining and keeping needed medical professions in rural areas. But it has to be supported by a provincial government that isn’t belittling healthcare workers.

    A lack of skilled healthcare professionals in the region is causing impacts throughout the system.

    • The list of temporary bed and facility closures in rural Alberta due to short staffing is a continuing issue.
    • There are currently no physicians accepting new patients in Medicine Hat.
    • Bassano emergency department experienced repeated temporary closures throughout the summer months. The closure of this ER has meant folks had to travel more than 50km to the Brooks Health Centre for emergency care, creating added pressures in that facility.
    • Earlier this year the Medicine Hat community lab services experienced temporary reduced hours due to lab staff shortages.

    I am committed to tackling these issues as your MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat. I hope to earn your vote so I can represent your issues in the Legislature. 

    You can follow the campaign here.

  • Response to Recent Acts of Political Harassment

    The recent vitriolic, discriminatory and disgusting attacks on Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, and Leela Aheer and Janis Irwin, elected members of the Legislature of Alberta, along with Jyoti Gondek, Mayor of Calgary, should motivate all of us to be better.  

    It is simply not enough to call out this behaviour publicly, although at a minimum every politician in Alberta should have done this and I commend all of you who did. If we are to truly be leaders in Alberta, we must be the models of behaviour we hope to achieve in our political discourse.   

    The language and emotion we use in our everyday conversations must be respectful and inclusive. Too often we see politics reduced to name calling and demeaning rhetoric with a goal to embarrass or hurt people and/or communities. This must stop now.   

    I call on every elected official at every level to first denounce this behavior now.

    I am also calling on all provincial party Leaders, Presidents, and Executive Directors to join me and the Alberta Party leaders for a joint conduct conversation.

    We are leaders, and we need to lead by example.  

    More importantly I am challenging every Albertan to respectfully engage one another. To debate issues, not people. To be passionate, but also to be inclusive. I am pledging today to be a better example and I invite each and every one of you to do the same. The people of Alberta are diverse, and that diversity is powerful and full of opportunities. Let’s stop putting others down for personal benefit! Together, let’s do the much harder work of raising others up for the benefit of all Albertans!  

  • published Taking a Stand on Insurance Affordability in News 2022-05-12 15:49:05 -0600

    Taking a Stand on Insurance Affordability

    It is no secret that the cost of auto insurance has spiked over recent years since the UCP Government removed the five percent cap on base premiums. Not only has insurance become increasingly less affordable, but many Albertans are also struggling to attain insurance due to its availability. While Alberta’s government is allowing Albertans to be gouged by large increases in their vehicle insurance, our neighbour Saskatchewan is providing residents with their second yearly rebate in insurance fees.

    The NDP have claimed that a needed freeze on premiums is the solution, but we have seen the long-term challenges of freezes in other sectors such as post-secondary funding. Universities are now facing significant tuition increases from freezes that expired in years past, and a freeze on auto insurance premiums lacks long-term fiscal sense. The NDP is only proposing a band-aid solution to a problem that deserves well thought-out solutions.

    The Alberta Party intends to address our province’s insurance issues by undertaking a comprehensive review of the insurance system, identifying areas to increase efficiency and reduce the costs to Albertans. This review will look at models from neighbouring provinces in a cross-jurisdictional analysis to learn from the systems that provide affordability in vehicle insurance for all types of vehicles. 

    From introducing a taxpayer-owned model like Saskatchewan, to allowing for greater market competition that can help lower prices, there are options that neither the UCP nor NDP want to consider. The Alberta Party is ready to tackle these major challenges to make life more affordable for Albertans.

    We will get to the root of the problems with our province’s insurance system and learn from other provinces. Band-aid solutions will not cut it, Albertans deserve better, we will deliver.

  • Statement on Giving Teachers Input on Curriculum

    On this Teachers Appreciation Day, the Alberta Party wants to discuss how teachers have unfortunately been treated by the UCP government when it comes to the development of the new curriculum. Teachers have a vested interest in the wellbeing of our education system and their students, and are in the classrooms seeing first-hand how our children learn. 

    When the UCP excludes teachers from helping shape the very material they will be teaching they turn their backs on experience and common sense that is applied every day in the classroom.

    If in government, the Alberta Party would engage in a transparent, public process and work with the people that have to deliver the curriculum - teachers, school board officials, and parents, to redesign the curriculum and how it is implemented. There also must be far less political interference in how a curriculum is designed and examining options such as an independent agency or commission should be on the table. 

    The world is also moving faster than ever before, so Alberta can no longer afford to wait 10+ years between curriculum changes. Teachers will need better resources and training to teach an evolving curriculum that sets our students up for success. The Alberta Party is committed to working with the Alberta Teachers Association, school boards, parent groups, and other stakeholders to bring about learning materials and resources that prepare us for an unpredictable future; one where the ingenuity of those coming out of Alberta’s schools is needed for the success companies, government, and not-for-profit employers. 

    Teachers: we hear you, we value you, and we welcome you to join the Alberta Party to help shape the future of Alberta’s education. 

  • published Moving Alberta's Cannabis Industry Forward in News 2022-04-20 12:32:24 -0600

    Moving Alberta's Cannabis Industry Forward

    Alberta, along with the rest of Canada, welcomed recreational cannabis into society for adult use. Now five years post-legalization, we are beginning to better understand the economic impacts the industry has had and the opportunities to support the industry through the regulations. Alberta is poised to be a national leader in cannabis, but we need to focus on improving the industrys accessibility, safety, and trust.

    As the consumer uptake for recreational cannabis continues to grow and become more competitive to combat the illicit market, the Alberta government needs to ensure that its regulations on cannabis do not hinder the hard work of the industry. This starts with safety. Window coverings on cannabis retail stores create an unsafe environment for employees and consumers, leading to a series of robberies at cannabis retail locations across the province. The equitable solution that targets the health and safety of Albertans is to remove the window coverings and treat cannabis retailers like any other retail stores.

    As Alberta continues working toward economic recovery from the pandemic, the Alberta Party sees great potential in using cannabis as an economic catalyst particularly in tourism and hospitality. Alberta has pioneered cannabis gardens at live events that allow for non-combustible cannabis products to be ordered to and consumed at the event in designated zones, but that is only the beginning for the potential that Alberta holds in cannabis tourism and hospitality. Careful and responsible visionary policy changes such as the legalization and regulation of cannabis consumption lounges and pop-up cannabis retail outlets will create entirely new revenue streams tied to domestic and international cannabis tourism. Amending existing cannabis retail applications, and using existing municipal zoning bylaws, cannabis consumption lounges and guided culinary experiences can be operationalized in very little time.

    Albertans use cannabis in a myriad of different ways, and for different reasons. In order to properly educate the public on cannabis use, the Alberta government needs to better understand how our population uses cannabis and its impact on society. The Alberta Party plans to use the tax dollars generated from the excise fees to undertake research on cannabis use in Alberta and identify the best ways to educate the public and continue growing trust in the industry. Part of the excise fees will also go to supporting municipalities in their efforts to work with the cannabis industry.

    Lastly, The Alberta Party will be a voice to reduce red tape for medical cannabis. Albertans who are prescribed medical cannabis from a doctor are subject to a 10% tax and subject to GST/HST at the point of sale when picking up their prescriptions. While these taxes are claimed and refunded during tax season, this additional step is not necessary. Medical cannabis should not be subject to additional taxes and should be GST/HST zero-rated, the same as other prescription drugs. While this lays in the hands of the Federal government, the Alberta government should be a voice for change on this issue.

    The goal is to move forward in a thoughtful, responsible manner to prioritize safety, accessibility, consumer choice and market competitiveness to further generate public confidence in the industry.

  • published Standing with Albertans on Coal Mining in News 2022-04-12 15:24:13 -0600

    Standing with Albertans on Coal Mining

    In meetings and online, Albertans have been asking for our stance on coal mining. So, let’s get to the answer: the Alberta Party stands with conservationists, ranchers, Indigenous peoples, tourism operators, and most Albertans to say NO to any new coal mining in the eastern slopes.  

    The Alberta Party is aware that there was support for this project from some people in the eastern slopes because they wanted to see jobs created - we understand that. What this means is that we can be innovative and ask what other ways can bring jobs to the region without causing long-term harm to the local environment and communities. Let’s ask what else then: how can we better leverage other industries in the region to bring prosperity? 

    As we develop our 2023 election platform, the Alberta Party wants to engage people from across the province in how to create good jobs and leverage what makes each region of our province amazing. For communities around the eastern slopes, this can include the tourism, film, and agriculture industries, among others. 

    When 85% of Albertans show concern with how safe and environmentally responsible coal mining is in that region, their message is clear and the Alberta Party supports it. It was reckless and irresponsible for the UCP to rescind the 1976 Lougheed coal policy without any adequate consultation with the regions and communities being impacted by the decision. To make matters worse, the policy was rescinded on June 1, 2020 and was reinstated 8 months later; Albertans should not have had to wait that long to convince the UCP that this was a bad idea. 

    One amazing thing to come of this unfortunate situation was the unity of the voices of Albertans, through social media, protests, and music. This may be a divided province on some issues, but on this one we could come together and protect our beautiful province. 

    Reports from both the University of Calgary and the Alces Group showed that approving these projects would create more economic and environmental damage than benefits. 

    To those Albertans who are opposed to coal development and want to see this region of our province succeed both economically and environmentally, join the Alberta Party and be a part of developing solutions! 

  • donated 2023-01-23 13:01:38 -0700
  • published MGA Amendments in News 2022-03-01 14:38:21 -0700

    Proposed MGA amendments Hurt Local Autonomy

    The Alberta government announced the intention of  legislation that “will restrict the ability of municipalities to pass bylaws that contradict public health policies and rules enacted by the province”. This decision imposed without any consultation is another example of this government’s desire to remove more local levels of autonomy.

    As both a former Mayor and former Alberta Municipalities President, I experienced repeated instances during the pandemic when this provincial government relied on municipalities to make decisions regarding the protection of public health when the province would not step up to enact necessary restrictions. They offloaded responsibilities to municipalities to protect Albertans, and suddenly, they want to take this away because it is now politically expedient for them.

    This proposed legislation creates inconsistencies in jurisdictional autonomy and responsibility, as well as inconsistencies in actual responses seen in the past two years. The UCP is taking away a vital tool that municipalities have to serve the needs of their communities, acting locally. 

    The Alberta Party values a more decentralized government that empowers local communities to make the best decisions for themselves. There is a role for the provincial government in ensuring broad public safety, but this should not come at the expense and confusion of municipal responsibilities. The Alberta Party would implement legislation to ensure that the province cannot usurp municipal authority that deserved to be protected and respected. 

    - Barry Morishita, Alberta Party Leader

  • published ABP Speech from the Throne 2022 in News 2022-02-22 09:51:02 -0700

    Your Alberta Party Throne Speech — The Right Choice for Albertans

    Albertans have faced significant adversity over the last five to six years, and many challenges remain to be dealt with. 

    A Speech from the Throne is meant to set the priorities of the government for the upcoming session in the Legislature. These priorities should reflect the collective goals of Albertans, not the narrow focus of a government hoping to gain political favour. 

    The past two years have tested Albertans, and Canadians, in a number of ways — from health and safety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, to economic from increased costs of food, heating, gasoline, and providing for their families, and societal — the deep divisions and aggressiveness that were brought to light in the recent protests and blockades, and the cries of those marginalized by isolation and diminishing supports for mental health, addictions, and domestic violence. 

    Your Alberta Party is listening to these very serious concerns about health care and education, the rising costs of living, and the need for leadership that brings people together to solve our challenges; not fanning the flames of division and politics. 

    That is why we present what our Speech from the Throne would be, to show Albertans where your Alberta Party priorities are and how we would do things differently.

    Governments around the globe are grappling with how to transition out of this pandemic. Alberta has inherent opportunities to show a different kind of leadership that can be the envy of other provinces and countries — by focusing on the pillars of people, productivity, planet, and the prosperity of Albertans. This is your Alberta Party’s purpose.

    The time is now to thoughtfully consider these needs to bring a practical and transparent plan to securing the future for Alberta. This plan will be based on the best professional information. We will support business and people in ways that reflect data and expert advice, with measures that will be practical, efficient, and effective.

    Your Alberta Party will propose measures that mitigate the high costs of electricity and home heating. We will determine a better solution to the high costs of insurance.  

    Albertans want affordability and fairness when it comes to their basic costs and your Alberta Party will be making proper financial plans to ensure we can accomplish this.

    Your Alberta Party recognizes that if those in need succeed, we all succeed. Services to the most vulnerable of our society must be realigned with the goal to achieve success, not prove their need. This would include a full review and accounting of current social programs in an integrated way — housing, homelessness, addictions counselling and treatment, employment strategies, living wages for all — including those on AISH and other social supports. We will support partnerships with all stakeholders and collaborate to enact policy and actions that create positive waves of success to lift all up. Indexing AISH and simplifying the associated application and registration processes are a starting point to greater action.  

    The good fortune of rising energy prices is a benefit to government finances. Your Alberta Party believes we must wisely consider how to use our non-renewable resource revenue to benefit us for years to come. We must follow through and make prudent investments in the future — resisting the siren call of using these one-time, non-renewable resource windfalls to make the current account look better. 

    This includes new yearly investments in the Alberta Heritage Fund, something that has not been done since the late 1980s. We must resist the temptation to draw down the interest earned to fund general government expenditures. This poor fiscal policy has removed nearly $30 billion from Albertan’s rainy-day fund. We will review and redefine our required revenue and its sources. We must look at both sides of the ledger.

    Your Alberta Party will use innovative fiscal planning logic to consider government services, with a focus on best value for money and thoughtful investments in both debt reduction and future needs in healthcare and education. The important issue of fiscal management includes an evaluation of changes to revenue and shall consider a modernization of our tax system to provide both business and personal advantages to Alberta for generations to come. The Alberta Party commits to removing barriers to business and entrepreneurship including the gradual elimination of the business tax and returning to a progressive income tax system that will allow Alberta to grow and prosper. 

    The government must encourage our economy to take advantage of the future. For example, big and small solutions to combat climate change are enabled by innovation and new ideas that take advantage of our wealth of natural resources. But sometimes creating opportunities requires the government to step aside and deregulate or simplify. Only using one of these approaches will not make us more prosperous. We need both, while being thoughtful and smart within our approach. 

    Your Alberta Party is committed to investments in our colleges, universities, technical and trade schools to enhance our position as a world leader in post-secondary education, and equipping our students to lead the world to a better future. We will rebuild Alberta’s post-secondary system into one that provides a future of opportunity, starting with investments in affordability, innovation, and quality education now. 

    Considering the needs of teachers and students in our K-12 schools is of utmost importance.  Building a curriculum of critical thinking and global awareness is an exercise we must do collaboratively with educators, parents, thought leaders, and other stakeholders. We must strive to have a world class education system once again.   

    Your Alberta Party has heard the need to work with local communities to fix the issues which are creating much chaos in emergency situations. These include dispatch and ambulance services, funding for infrastructure and human services, and enhancing quality of service along with quality of community. Many municipalities are willing to work with us to provide better services. The best solutions will be found in local communities to address these particular needs. 

    Your Alberta Party recognizes the need to do more in reconciliation and advancing the prosperity of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples. We will listen first, understand, and then act cooperatively. Solutions exist and we are committed to moving forward together. 

    Health care workers, teachers, small business people, parents, and many other Albertans have been burdened by poor policy and political expediency. As we chart our transition, they not only need but deserve our support and appreciation. Your Alberta Party will demonstrate this through collective agreements, effective policy decisions, and actions that will help all to reclaim these leadership positions.

    While the history of our recent governments leads us to believe otherwise, your Alberta Party will continue to advocate for collaboration and cooperation, for setting aside political gain to make decisions that benefit Albertans. We will use the best of our government to move Albertans and Alberta forward. 

    We love Alberta!

    Together, everything is possible.

  • Post-Secondary Strikes: Uncertain Futures for Students and Staff Unacceptable

    Post-Secondary Strikes: Uncertain Futures for Students and Staff

    Barry Morishita, Leader

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  • published Leader’s Statement on Blockades in News 2022-02-14 21:49:31 -0700

    Leader’s Statement on Blockades

    Statement on Blockades at the Coutts Border Crossing, and Elsewhere in Alberta

    Barry Morishita, Alberta Party Leader 

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  • donated 2022-01-28 23:03:40 -0700
  • published EMS issues must be a priority to solve in News 2022-01-27 14:41:49 -0700

    EMS Issues Must be a Priority to Solve

    The Alberta government has, through inaction, created a crisis in emergency medical service. Code Reds – where there are no ambulances or paramedics available to respond to an emergency – continue to rise across the province, to the point where recently a young boy with a seriously fractured leg was taken to hospital by a fire truck because there was not an ambulance available! Albertans deserve better.

    Addressing and resolving EMS issues has been ignored by the provincial government for years, and I saw those negative effects first-hand as a Mayor in Alberta. And yes, COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem, but it could have been addressed before the pandemic. Municipalities, paramedics, and other health care workers have been ringing the warning bells for years.

    The recently announced government advisory committee is too little, too late. 

    The government had the ability to address these issues long before they hit this crisis level, they chose not to. 

    In 2018 the Alberta Party adopted a policy resolution that “An Alberta Party Government would empower Alberta Health Services and emergency departments to ensure that ambulance paramedics would not be required to wait with patients for longer than 30 minutes.”

    There needs to be serious thought and significant responses to meet these challenges. 

    Yes, training and hiring more paramedics is needed. Appropriate support for all first responders for their mental and physical well-being are also required.  There must be significant structural and procedural changes to the way ambulances and the paramedic service operates. It begins with the dispatch service. We must also review how we transfer  non-emergency patients between health facilities and change the transfer of responsibility for patients from ambulance to the health care facility in the shortest time possible – allowing paramedics to get back into service quickly to support healthy, safe communities. 

    The Alberta Party is committed to learning from, and working with, all those involved in providing EMS in the province. We will work with health care providers, paramedics, EMS staff, their associations, college, and union representatives, Albertans and others that are interested, to develop and implement a thoughtful plan that will  remedy this dire situation and create a better system to protect Albertans.

    I welcome your ideas – our party wants to create policy and actions that work FOR Albertans.

    Connect with me here to continue the conversation. 

    - Barry Morishita, Alberta Party Leader 

  • published COVID Announcement a Slap in the Face in News 2021-09-07 07:55:38 -0600

    COVID Announcement a Slap in the Face

    The announcement made by Jason Kenney on Friday was a slap in the face to the 2.6 million Albertans who are already fully vaccinated. It was also an unwarranted blow to the food and beverage industry which is struggling to recover. Attempted bribery and actions without supporting evidence is not practical policy and does little to improve our current situation.

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