Orr: Thankful for ministerial visits to Lacombe-Ponoka

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, left, talks about Alberta Culture Days alongside Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Leela Aheer during her visit to the Lacombe Ag Grounds in Lacombe, Alta. during the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival on Sunday Sept. 29, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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On this last day of September, my heart goes out to the farmers whose harvest has been halted by this recent snowfall. As I write this, I see promising signs that operations will continue soon and my wish is that our farmers will be able to bring in their entire 2019 crop.

I am impressed by the dedication of our new UCP government ministers. They have been working hard all summer, touring the province and visiting ridings.

In Lacombe-Ponoka we have had four ministers visit in the last month and by next week it will be five. The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Devin Dreeshen, was here for a consultation with citizens on Aug. 8 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre. A strong representation of ag stakeholders registered to attend and express their thoughts on the proposed Farm Freedom and Safety Act.

The Minister of Service Alberta, Hon. Nate Glubish, was here Aug. 22. He made a dedicated stop in Blackfalds to talk with town council about their five-plus year efforts to get a registry located in the town to serve the needs of their citizens. He recognized their need and outlined his agenda to modernize the ministry to serve all communities better.

Then Minister Glubish met in Lacombe with stakeholders concerned about the future needs for better rural high speed connectivity. Attendees included local municipal officials and staff, business and not-for-profit agencies and citizens. The minister’s goal is to continue to upgrade Alberta’s capacity for high speed broadband service.

The Minister of Justice, Hon. Doug Schweitzer, was here Sept. 10 in Lacombe, to meet with stakeholders who registered to discuss the issues of rural crime, policing, courts, detention and parole. Again, a strong contingent of voices were heard from police, municipal officials, crime watch and victim services personnel as well as some citizens.

Then, the weekend of Alberta Culture Days, the Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Hon. Leela Aheer, made a two-hour stop at the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival, meeting with central Alberta officials, artisans and the public. She is a musician herself and affirmed that the government’s campaign commitments to culture and multiculturalism will guide her work going forward. The cultural industries are a strong growth segment worldwide and Alberta seeks to grow its culture industries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 25 per cent.

By the time you read this article, the Minister of Education, Hon. Adriana LaGrange, will have visited a school in Ponoka and met with the Wolf Creek Public School Board. She is also working hard to meet with local Albertans, build relationships with them, and take their concerns and needs seriously.

That is an impressive list of ministers from a new government who came to Lacombe-Ponoka to hear the concerns and ideas of local constituents. They had a busy summer and fall touring the entire province. Thank you ministers and thank you to all of you for your input during these tours.

The upcoming First Session of the 30th Legislature begins on Tuesday Oct. 8.

Budget Day is Oct. 24, which will be followed by two weeks of Budget Estimates Review – department by department – and then the Legislative debate and vote to pass the first budget by this government.

If you require information on this or any issue, feel free to contact my constituency office at (403)782-7725 or by email at lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or stop in at 101-4892 46 St., Lacombe, Alta., T4L 2B4.

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