Submitted by Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan
Today the United Nurses of Alberta (“Union”) held a protest at my MLA constituency office.
Protests should be honest; without disingenuous distortions of facts, or attacks on persons instead of policies where genuine differences of opinion may exist.
In the recent salary arbitration, the Union asked for a 3% increase. The independent arbitrator stated “no change in wage rates is justified … particularly given the prevailing general economic conditions in the Province.”
The arbitrator was right. Out of Government, Alberta businesses and families must limit spending to their incomes; in Government, public sector salaries should respect taxpayers and not impose structural billion-dollar debts and deficits upon our children. That is in the public interest.
In the recent ‘MacKinnon Report’ and supporting documents (collectively, “Report”), there is a comparison of registered nurse compensation to other provinces. Alberta nurse compensation is significantly higher than the Report’s comparator provinces: BC, Ontario and Quebec. The Report is available to all Albertans for viewing at:www.alberta.ca/mackinnon-report-on-finances.aspx
The Report also identifies that Alberta nurses receive taxpayer funded benefits more generous than comparator provinces, and certainly not available in the private sector.
As an example, I received a letter from a nurse describing how some Union members may be choosing to work part time hours in order to leverage automatic double time pay once their part time, not full time, hours were exceeded, or with work falling on “designated days of rest” or “X days”. The concerned taxpayer stated ours is “a system ripe for abuse”.
The Union appears to disagree with our Government taking steps to confront outlier benefits or restrain salaries which exceed provincial counterparts.
Our Government was elected to restore fiscal accountability and sustainability in the face of structural billion-dollar Government deficits. On the strength of the Report, our focus is on reducing the cost of services, as opposed the services themselves.
We would invite all nurses, including our nurses in Central Alberta, to ensure their Union avoids taking unreasonable positions which disrespect taxpayers or undermine a sustainable health care system. That is in the public interest.
Southern Alberta hailstorm caused almost $1.2B in damage: insurance bureau
EDMONTON — The powerful hail storm that pounded homes, vehicles and crops across parts of southern Alberta last month caused almost $1.2 billion in insured damage.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says the hail, rain and wind that hit Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky View County on June 13 were part of the costliest hailstorm and the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in Canadian history.
Hail as big as tennis balls shredded vinyl siding, pounded roofs, smashed windows and flattened crops.
Celyeste Power, a vice-president with the bureau, says insurers are still processing claims.
The bureau says damage caused by hail and wind is typically covered by home, commercial and comprehensive auto insurance policies.
It notes that the Alberta government is offering some support for people who experienced overland flooding in flood-prone areas.
“Albertans know too well the stress, turmoil and financial hardships that severe weather events can cause,” she said Wednesday in a release.
“Of the 10 most costly disasters in Canada, six of these have hit Alberta. Fortunately, Albertans are resilient and continue to come together in difficult times like these.”
The most expensive insured natural catastrophe on record is the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, which cost almost $4 billion.
The next highest loss was the 2013 flooding in southern Alberta at $3.5 billion.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020
The Canadian Press
Alberta RCMP Officer attacked with own baton
From Cold Lake RCMP
Cold Lake RCMP officer recovering after aggravated assault
A 44-year-old male is in custody in Cold Lake following yesterday’s violent attack on the RCMP officer trying to effect his arrest.
At 5:30 p.m., Cold Lake RCMP located a stolen vehicle in the Walmart parking lot and the responding officer made an effort to deal with the vehicle and arrest the male who was believed to be responsible. The male allegedly assaulted the RCMP member by punching the member in the head. The RCMP member’s baton was taken by the male and the member was struck in the head numerous times with the baton.
The male fled on foot with the RCMP baton. The male smashed the window of a different, occupied vehicle in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it. He then threatened another driver with a knife and the baton and fled southbound on Highway 28 in the newly stolen Trailblazer.
Cold Lake RCMP initiated a pursuit and managed to cause the stolen Trailblazer to become disabled. The male was arrested on scene without further incident. The RCMP baton was recovered in the vehicle.
The RCMP member has been treated at the hospital for non life-threatening, but serious injuries and is recovering at home.
The male remains in police custody and will be facing charges as this investigation continues. An update will be provided when available.
“I want to thank the community members who came forward to assist our RCMP member and to provide valuable witness evidence in relation to this terrible incident” says Sergeant Ryan Howrish of the Cold Lake RCMP. “An incident like this highlights the unpredictable and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis.”
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