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Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan strongly urges Central Albertans to participate in the upcoming Leadership Review


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Leadership Review of Jason Kenney in Red Deer

On Saturday, April 9, Alberta conservatives, of which there are many in Central Alberta, will have the opportunity to decide whether it is time to change the leader of the United Conservative Party. The vote will occur at the Cambridge Hotel in Red Deer.

What is the purpose of the leadership review?

Jason Kenney has been leader of the party for over 4 years, and to date, members have not yet had an opportunity to review his performance.

Several months ago, 22 local UCP constituency associations, passed resolutions requiring a review of the leader. Members have been waiting for a leadership review; it aligns with conservative principles of governance and accountability.

The United Conservative Party belongs to all Alberta conservatives, and it is the grassroots members who determine whether it is time to change our leader.

We have seen too much contention. It is not right to label men or women as “mainstream” or “extreme” depending on whether or not they want a change in leader. Our party has seen too much dividing, too much labelling, sometimes change is required to heal, to unite and move forward.

We will have a provincial election in the spring of 2023. Alberta is a conservative province, yet our party is not doing as well as it should in the polls.

We should always seek to put our best foot forward. This review will provide members of the party with the option to change the leader before the upcoming 2023 provincial election.

This is Your Time. You decide, not the leader, not the party.

Have you sometimes felt voiceless over the past two years? I understand that feeling. I have sometimes felt it myself. But this is your time. You can have a voice and it will be important. This is an opportunity for you to decide, not the leader, not the party.

Alberta conservatives will agree with many of policies of a conservative government. That is no surprise, conservative policies are very different from NDP policies. Conservative policies, regardless of the leader, increase economic prosperity and it is exciting to see this occurring.

But a leadership review is not about a comparison to the NDP. That will be the purpose of the election. Leadership reviews are about conservatives putting our best foot forward with the right leader for the right time.

All of us have strengths and weaknesses – some leaders are better suited for some times but not others. Sometimes a change in leader is simply a positive recognition of this truth.

How do I vote?

This is what you must do to vote. There are three steps.

First, if you need to, buy or renew your party membership by March 19. The cost of a membership is $10 for one year. If you have any doubts whether your membership is current, you may want to pay $10 to make sure.

If you need to, but do not buy or renew your party membership by March 19 you do not get to vote!

Party memberships can be purchased online at –

Second, register on-line to vote. If you do this prior to March 19, the cost is $99 if you are over 25. If you less than 26, the cost is $49 – so let’s involve our families and many young conservatives, giving them a unique opportunity to have a voice!

After March 19, unless the party extends early bird prices, on-line registration costs increase to $149.

Online registration is at –

Last step, come to our Cambridge Hotel on April 9, between noon and 6 PM and vote!

What happens if Alberta conservatives want to change in their leader?

If Alberta conservatives say it is time to change the leader, there will be a leadership race for a new leader.

To assume that any one person is the only person who would be a good leader for our party is a false assumption, disregarding the many wonderful men and women in our province.

Politics should not be a career. It is a special opportunity to serve and having contributed one’s unique experiences and talents for the public good, stepping aside and allowing others to do the same.

Great leaders lead in love and inspire the best in those they serve.

There are many honest and principled men and women with their own unique strengths and experiences to offer for this time, who could be great leaders of our party.

A massive vote that is a true representation of Alberta grassroots conservatives is the right outcome.

Your voice matters! This is an important opportunity, let your friends and family know, invite them to come and join you, to have fun together, to take action together, to have your say, and to be heard! Let’s do it! See you there!

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta announces combined $187 million in addictions and homelessness funding

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By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Alberta government has announced more than $124 million over two years for addiction and mental health services in Edmonton and Calgary, with another $63 million aimed at reducing homelessness in the province over the same period.

The funding for Edmonton and Calgary will go toward increasing treatment spaces while expanding addiction services, with $70 million earmarked for capital spending and $54 million to assist operations.

A 75-bed, co-ed long-term treatment facility is planned to be operational in Edmonton by the end of 2023, while a similar facility is to be built in Calgary by early 2024.

The $63 million is to support steps outlined in the government’s action plan on homelessness.

Premier Jason Kenney stressed his government’s recovery-based approach to the addictions issue when he announced the funding Saturday, calling British Columbia’s recent move to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs in January “reckless.”

“In the area of addressing addictions, there are many that believe recovery is a false hope. It’s not possible, and instead what we should do is actually to facilitate dangerous addictions rather than to offer an off-ramp to freedom from addiction,” Kenney said during the announcement at Edmonton’s Herb Jamieson Centre.

“The whole point is to give people a fighting chance to escape from the grips of addiction so they have the opportunity to build a new, safe fulfilling life.

“Recovery works. It’s not a new concept or an untested Utopian theory,” he said.

Under the Alberta plan, the number of winter shelter spaces will be expanded in communities like Edmonton, Wetaskiwin and Lethbridge, and in rural communities where there is an urgent and unmet need.

All provincially funded shelters will also provide round-the-clock access seven days a week, while funding will be equalized between community-based organizations in Edmonton and Calgary.

The funding will include $5 million to create up to 450 additional shelter spots in Edmonton, bringing the number of emergency spaces in the city to over 1,000.

The plan also includes $2.5 million in 2022-2023 to test the so-called service hub model in two pilot programs in Calgary and Edmonton. These six-month long programs will connect people directly with support and services such as addictions recovery, housing and emergency financial support, beginning this fall.

Meanwhile, the addictions funding will be used to increase the ability of direct outreach teams through Edmonton police and Alberta Health Services to provide support and overdose prevention services. The same expansion of services will also be carried out in Calgary.

Edmonton police chief Dale McFee lauded the fact that housing options include support for mental health and addictions as he personally thanked Kenney for the new funding.

“This is the biggest single investment that I’ve ever seen over the course of my career in actually addressing the system versus putting more money into silos that are actually generating a lot of the problem,” McFee said at the announcement.

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the funding would tackle the root causes of homelessness, and also praised the fact the province was delivering on a request to provide enhanced plans when prisoners are discharged from corrections facilities.

In July, the city requested a hub where social workers, firefighters and peace officers could work together to reduce crime and address a spike in violence downtown, in nearby Chinatown and and on the transit system.

“These investments show our collaborative approach is working, and together we are making life better for struggling Edmontonians,” Sohi said at the announcement.

But NDP Critic for Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson said in a news release that Kenney’s government has cut funding for housing, noting buildings that could have opened months ago are sitting empty because the government hasn’t provided operational funding.

“The money announced today does not even begin to address the deeper need for permanent supportive housing, social housing and affordable housing in this province,” she said.

According to the province, over 6,400 Albertans were experiencing homelessness— including nearly 4,000 using emergency shelters or on the streets — as of Jan. 31.

Alberta saw more than 1,600 opioid-related deaths in 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.

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Five years later: Waterton Lakes National Park plan considers fire recovery

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Waterton – Like the land itself, a new management plan for Waterton Lakes National Park is marked by a powerful wildfire that tore through the southern Alberta park five years ago.

The 2022 plan, tabled in Parliament this summer, sets the park’s direction for the next decade. It includes dealing with climate change and invasive species and considers ways to strengthen Indigenous relationships and connect with Canadians.

The Kenow Wildfire, however, led to a major change from the previous plan. The fire burned more than 19,000 hectares — approximately 39 per cent — of the mountainous park in September 2017 and damaged many popular picnic areas, campgrounds and hiking trails.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate,” Parks Canada’s Locke Marshall, who’s the superintendent in Waterton, said in a recent interview. “We’ve had a lot of support from the federal government.”

Marshall said some of the damaged infrastructure was already being replaced before the fire, but other areas required a complete rebuild.

“There’s been a lot of work that has been done,” he said. “Initially, when the fire went through, our parkways were not available, so we had to work on them to get them ready to go.

“We lost our visitor centre, but we were already in plans to build a new one. Many of our picnic areas got damaged. We’ve done a lot of work on our trails.”

Some areas, such as roads and bridges around Red Rock Canyon, are still being rebuilt and the Crandell Mountain campground is still under construction, he said.

Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at Thompson Rivers University in B.C. and Canada Wildfire’s scientific director, said the fire also affected a lot of the park’s natural landscape.

“It burned a good chunk of the park with high-intensity severity,” he said. “The effect on the vegetation and the soil was severe because it was hot and dry.”

Flannigan said he’s interested to learn more about how the ecosystem has recovered in the park in the five years since the fire.

“I’m hoping Waterton uses this as an educational opportunity to inform the public about fires and regeneration and biodiversity and wildlife,” he said, noting there can be positive changes.

Marshall said Parks Canada has learned a lot and will continue to learn from the wildfire through various research projects.

“This has probably been an opportunity that we really haven’t seen in the past — and that’s just to see what the effects of a widespread fire, a fairly intense fire, has on a landscape and how the landscape itself recovers from it,” he said. “And also how that recovery may be affected by changes to the climate that we’ve seen in the last several decades.

“So, it’s a really good opportunity for science.”

The research, he said, could take decades to complete. He noted there’s already some visible changes in the forests.

“There has been a bit of a transformation,” he said. “A lot of the forests were predominantly conifers — pine, spruce, Douglas fir. In some places … we’re seeing more aspen trees, shrubs and in some places … because of a drier, warmer climate, we may see areas that were once forested will be open meadows now.

“There’s definitely a change in the landscape.”

The plan notes the fire also revealed more than 70 new archeological sites and expanded 170 known sites in the area that burned.

“It was a really good opportunity for some of that archeological work to be done,” Marshall said.

“We’ve been able to involve our nearby Indigenous communities, in particular members of the Blackfoot Confederacy — the Kainai and Piikani — in looking at that landscape and seeing it in the context of their traditional knowledge of the use of the place.”

Marshall said they continue to work with the communities to document the sites, which the plan suggests will be complete by 2025.

Overall, he said, the new management plan shows the agency’s ongoing commitment to protecting the park.

“It deals with the fire,” said Marshall, “but it also deals with our day-to-day operations related to visitation and how we manage the ecological and cultural integrity of the place.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary. Follow @cderworiz on Twitter.

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