It has been just over four months since the launch of Fairness Alberta, a non-partisan Proudly Canadian, Fiercely Albertan organization, in May 2020. Fairness Alberta promotes education and discussion to combat biased government policies and regulations that restrict Alberta’s economic growth and prosperity. By highlighting Alberta’s $324 billion net contribution to the Canadian economy from 2000 to 2019, FA’s mandate is to “inform Canadians about the magnitude of the contributions Albertans make to Canada, while educating Canadian’s about the damaging fiscal, trade, energy, procurement, and infrastructure policies that chronically undermine Alberta’s – and Canada’s – potential.”
The public response to the organization throughout Alberta and across Canada has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Bill Bewick, Executive Director of Fairness Alberta. “Our factual approach is agreeable,” he says, “and even people who are skeptical of Alberta demanding more from the country are willing to listen and learn.”
On September 21, Fairness Alberta expanded into eastern Canada with the launch of their Fall 2020 Campaign in Ontario. The two-part billboard series in Toronto and Ottawa is designed to illustrate just how much Albertans have helped Ontarians carry the fiscal load in the federation over the last decade. “Many people are surprised by the fiscal contributions of each province given the size difference,” says Bewick, “people assume Ontario makes the biggest contribution, but that’s just not the case.”
From 2007-2018, Ontario contributed $98 billion net and Alberta contributed $240 billion net to the country, while the remainder of the provinces have received a combined total of $370 billion.
As all Canadian provinces face the daunting road to recovery following the destructive economic impacts of COVID-19, the dissemination of accurate information regarding the crucial role of Alberta in the nation’s recovery remains crucial. Arguably even more so since the recent Throne Speech, delivered by Governor General Julie Payette on September 23, has been widely criticized for once again ignoring the contributions and needs of Albertans in favor of new policies that will further restrict productivity in Alberta by targeting natural gas.
Premiere Jason Kenney openly criticized the Throne Speech and the clean-fuel standard, stating, “We got a litany of policies that would strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs when we most need the industry that generates 20 percent of government revenues in Canada” (1).
Fairness Alberta has responded similarly to developments from the recent Throne Speech, arguing that Alberta’s role in national recovery cannot be overstated or ignored. “Alberta is an engine in the fragile Canadian economy,” says Bewick, “If that productivity is hindered by the new clean fuel standards, no other province will be able to pick up the slack.”
The Ontario campaign is set to continue into the month of November, paired with online advertising that draws targeted audiences to their website, and the remainder of 2020 will see an expansion into British Columbia as Fairness Alberta continues to grow and fight for a fair deal for Alberta within Canada. Bewick believes that “there are millions of fair-minded Canadians out there and showing them the importance of Alberta’s economy is critical right now to ensure the federal government works with Alberta, not against it.”
For more information on Fairness Alberta, visit fairnessalberta.ca.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Post-secondary schools must report on free speech efforts on campus, minister says
Edmonton – The Alberta government says it will require post-secondary institutions to report annually on their efforts to protect free speech on campus.
A news release from the Department of Advanced Education does not detail exactly what must be included in these reports, or say what the consequences would be if the requirements are not met.
Minister Demetrios Nicolaides signalled changes were coming earlier this week after the University of Lethbridge reversed its decision to host a speech by a former Mount Royal University professor whose comments on residential schools have drawn fierce criticism.
Frances Widdowson was fired from Mount Royal in late 2021 after she spoke of the educational benefits of residential schools while questioning whether abuses at the institutions amounted to cultural genocide.
Widdowson’s campus speech this week was to centre on concerns that a mob mentality and “woke policies” increasingly threaten academic freedom.
The Alberta government says the latest move builds on its earlier work in 2019, when it required all 26 publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Alberta to either endorse the Chicago Principles on free expression, or develop a policy consistent with them.
“It is abundantly clear that more needs to be done to ensure our institutions are adequately protecting free speech,” Nicolaides said in a written statement Friday.
Alberta’s post-secondary institutions should be bastions of free speech and academic freedom that promote critical thinking. I will continue to explore greater steps we can take to strengthen free speech on campus.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.
Overdose prevention services in Red Deer will soon transition to a mobile site operated by Alberta Health Services
Next steps for Red Deer overdose prevention site
Alberta’s government continues to make overdose prevention services available across the province while also ensuring the safety of communities and neighbourhoods is a top priority. Alberta’s government will be working in partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Turning Point over the next three to six months to implement the transition to a mobile overdose prevention site operated by AHS.
This transition is necessary to respond to the changing needs in Red Deer while improving the standard of service delivery at the overdose prevention site. Alberta’s government will continue working closely with the City of Red Deer and the broader community to put the safety and security of the community first while continuing to provide overdose prevention services in a professional manner.
“Overdose prevention services are healthcare services that must meet quality standards to ensure the safety of the community and a high-standard of care. Alberta Health Services is an accountable and proven operator that has experience managing these services across Alberta. My ministry will be working closely with AHS and the current operator over the next few months to smoothly transition these operations, ensuring there are no gaps in service for clients of the services.”
“We appreciate the leadership of the government of Alberta in this area. We thank Turning Point for their service and the lives saved over the past several years. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Red Deerians is a top priority, and we are confident this new AHS-operated mobile site will continue to meet the needs of our residents.”
Once the transition occurs, the new AHS-operated mobile unit will initially operate at the same location as the current overdose prevention site. Alberta’s government will continue to work with the City of Red Deer, and may change the location of the service within Red Deer based on input from the municipality and the changing needs of the community.
As with all overdose prevention services in the province, this mobile unit will be regulated and be required to meet the quality standards outlined in the Recovery-oriented Supervised Consumption Standards in order to be licensed. Overdose prevention site service providers must also demonstrate clearly defined referral pathways to detox, treatment and recovery services, as well as primary health-care services.
Alberta’s government is continuing to build a recovery-oriented system of care, where everyone struggling with addiction and mental health challenges is supported in their pursuit of recovery. This includes adding more than 9,000 new publicly funded treatment spaces, eliminating fees for residential addiction treatment, launching the Digital Overdose Response System (DORS) app and expanding opioid agonist treatment.
- To be licensed, supervised consumption site service providers need to follow requirements related to:
- the safety and security of clients, employees and the surrounding community
- standardized data collection
- staff qualifications and training
- clinical practice standards
- good neighbour agreements
- physical site requirements, such as having access to washrooms for clients
- Health Canada is responsible for granting exemptions under Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow supervised consumption sites to operate. Overdose prevention sites require a similar exemption under Section 56(1) of the act or a letter of authorization from the Government of Alberta under the authority of the province’s class exemption.
- Alberta spends more than $1 billion annually on addiction and mental health care and supports, including prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.
- Any Albertan struggling with addiction can contact 211 Alberta to connect with local services and virtual supports. 211 is free, confidential and available 24-7.
- The Virtual Opioid Dependency Program provides same-day access to addiction medicine physicians and life-saving medications to Albertans across the province. Albertans can call 1-844-383-7688 seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
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