by Lucie Roy
More than 60 people were registered for the Morinville & District Chamber Luncheon held Wednesday at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The Keynote Speaker for the event was Honourable Dale Nally, MLA Morinville-St Albert.
Nally told attendees the first 100 days in office were a whirlwind and spoke about what he and the UCP have done thus far, including the spring of repeal and the summer of consultations.
The MLA said the Premier directed MLAs to reach out to as many of the farming community as they possibly could. The last farm safety consultation was at a farm in his riding, just outside Bon Accord.
“They can speak and engage directly with the Minister and share their ideas on farm legislation,” Nally said.
The day before Nally’s Chamber talk, the government held a consultation with Service Alberta. At that event, the Minister spoke about rural internet speeds and the need for highspeed internet.
Nally also spoke of upcoming consultations with 100s of stakeholders about natural gas and Trans Canada Energy.
“This is all that the government has been focusing on this summer, on the consultation piece and that will form basis of legislation moving forward,” Nally said.
Red Tape Reduction
Nally said they passed Bill 4—The Red Tape Reduction Ac, something important to his government.
“It is not a goal of 30% [reduction],” Nally said.” It is a mandate. We will eliminate 30% of red tape out there.”
Nally said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has looked at red tape across Canada and given Alberta a failing grade on red tape. CFIB determine that red tape in Alberta costs small business $6500 per employee.
“We want to be about job creation, not about filling out forms,” Nally said. “We don’t want job creators on the Internet looking for forms to fill out. We want them doing what they do best, which is focusing on their business, expanding their business and creating new jobs. So we are in the process of doing these round table talks.”
A Red Tape Reduction Roundtable is scheduled for Oct. 4 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club.
Those interested can register at stalbertchamber.com or by calling 780-458-2833.
Nally said his government has focused on stakeholder relations with Indigenous communities and that he was extremely proud of a meeting with the Premier, cabinet and approximately 48 First Nation Chiefs.
“This is something that hasn’t happened in four years in this province- to bring in every Chief,” Nally said. “This is important because we believe in reconciliation, but we take a different perspective. We don’t think that it is important to stand up here and say the words we are standing on Treaty 6 Land. We have no problem saying it but think it should be optional, not going to mandate it. For us, what is important about reconciliation is real action. Inviting all the Chiefs into the Cabinet for the first time in four years was a wonderful first step, and there is more to come.”
Nally said the Premier has said the current administration is going to be an ally to Indigenous people of Alberta.
“We want to do more than just have words. We want to back it with action.”
Nally also spoke of the passing of Bill 1- Act to Repeal Carbon Act, Bill 2 Alberta Open for Business Act, and Bill 3- Job Creation Tax Cut.
“When year four comes, we will have not just the lowest taxes in Canada but one of the lowest in North America,” Nally said. “It will go a long way to attract some of that investment back.”
One bill, Nally is proud of had support throughout the Legislature.
The Bill 201, a Private Members’ Bill by Armstrong-Homeniuk covers Protection of Students with Life-Threatening Allergies. As a result, you will now see Epipens in all schools. The Bill was so successful a follow up is suggested to put Epipens in all places, arenas, recreation centres and more.
Released the day before Nally’s appearance was the MacKinnon Report. The report outlines a number of recommendations to the government to curb spending, including making changes in education and health care.
“It is a work in progress, and we are using that right now to begin our budget deliberations,” Nally said. “Conservatives in Alberta have a long history of taking care of the most vulnerable and the MacKinnon Report is not going to change that. The AISH payouts in Alberta are the highest in the country.”
The MacKinnon Report identified spending as a significant contributor to the province’s debt picture. Nally said the UCP intend to balance the budget during their first term.
Nally said the UCP are committed to maintaining spending in health care and education, but was also committed to funding enrollment growth.
“We have a 65 billion dollar problem, and it is on its way to 100 Billion,” he said. “This Government is committed to balancing the budget in four years. We are not going to pay off the 65 billion in four years, but we are going to balance the budget.”
Nally concluded by saying that his government had 374 campaign promises and had achieved 14 per cent of them in just five per cent of their term.
Nally received questions from Chamber members on funding domestic abuse shelters, the impact of changes to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative on municipalities, and potential cuts to soft services.