NDP taking steps on education and health care

by Morinville News Staff

The new government has taken steps to ensure Alberta families have the access to the essential services upon which they rely, the NDP government said Thursday.

Bill 3 – the Appropriation (Interim Supply) Act – reverses what the NDP call reckless cuts to healthcare and invests in what they see as stable, predictable funding for vital public services.

If passed, Bill 3 would reverse proposed cuts to the health budget, including cutting more than 1,500 nursing and health-care positions.

“At some point, every family relies on the health-care system and deserves the best quality care our providers can offer, said Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman in a press release Thursday. “Stable and predictable funding assures Albertans that the health professionals, hospitals, clinics and services they depend on will be there when needed.”

The Bill also deals with education funding for Kindergarten through Grade 12 that the government says will “ensure that 12,000 new students will have the tools they need to get the education they deserve.” Bill 3 covers all regular operations, including school capital commitments, the Teachers’ Agreement, and the NDP’s May commitment to reverse grant cuts and fully fund enrolment.

“Our focus is to provide students with the best possible education. Bill 3 provides school boards with financial stability so they can focus on meeting the needs of students – including English Language Learners and First Nations, Metis and Inuit students,” said Education Minister David Eggen in the same news release.

The Bill also calls for an immediate tuition freeze at post-secondary institutions across the province, as well as the rolling back of market modifier increases introduced to 25 programs in December 2014.

“Stabilizing government’s investment in post-secondary education means educators can focus on delivering some of Canada’s best education and training to more than a quarter of a million full- and part-time learners,” said Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education. “Our government is committed to helping students develop the skills they need to enter our diverse workforce.”

Human Services will also see increased funding under the proposed Bill 3, funding the government sees as strengthening services for 7,100 children in care. It will also support an initiative to help aboriginal children live in culturally appropriate homes. The Interim supply funding will also expand the Family Community Support Services program and add beds in second stage women’s shelters.

“We believe that every Alberta family should be able to live in a safe, stable and secure home,” said Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services, in Thursday’s release. “We are taking steps towards this goal by putting resources into programs that directly affect the quality of life of vulnerable families and support children in our communities.”

The government intends to introduce a full budget in the fall sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

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