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Area MLAs discuss 2020 plans

Carstairs school expansion, improving economy eyed
0401 legislation file
The Alberta Legislature.

Area UPC MLAs Nathan Cooper and Jason Nixon say they plan to move forward with various projects and plans in 2020, both at the constituency and provincial levels.

Cooper is the MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills and the house Speaker, while Nixon is MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, minister of environment and parks and house leader.

Cooper says on the local level he plans to continue to work with area councils over the next 12 months.

“I will continue to work with local municipalities and constituents in the new year to do what we can, and get out to as many events as possible,” said Cooper.

“I renew my commitment to seeing those councils at least once during the year in the official capacity and on other occasions.”

He also plans to work with various community groups, including those representing seniors.

“I hope to have the minister for seniors in and around the constituency, and a number of other ministers to come to the constituency so they can hear about our needs,” he said.

“Obviously there will be some excitement in Carstairs as educational infrastructure gets to the initial stages of the Carstairs Elementary School expansion. I look forward to working closely with all the relative departments to see that project stay on time and on budget."

At the provincial level, he says the government will continue work on the economic front.

“There are going to be a number of significant items the government will need to deal with, both internally and externally, as we continue to advocate for Alberta’s interests,” he said.

“I think we will continue to see the government remain steadfast in a commitment to fiscal accountability and restraint. That is going to make the budgeting process difficult.

“Obviously we would like to see the economy charging ahead at a quicker pace or quicker recovery than we’ve seen.”

As well, the government will be continuing with its "Fair Deal" initiative aimed at promoting Alberta’s interests, he said.

“I continue to hear from many people who have concerns with Ottawa,” he said.

For his part, MLA Nixon says working to improve the economy will be his top priority in 2020.

“I think what the riding and all of Alberta is looking for is the big issue, which is to turn the economy around and get Albertans back to work,” said Nixon.

“That has been our priority since before we took government and we are going to continue to be focused like a laser on jobs and the economy and getting our economy back on track.

“We see some positives coming into the new year, so that excites us, but we also know that we have a long way to go.”

Nixon also plans to work with municipal councils in the district to address local and regional issues, he said.

“We will continue to partner with other municipalities and with other stakeholder groups across the riding to really provide the social safety net for our province, such as our women’s shelters, our FCSS offices and other types of organizations like that,” he said.

“It will be a focus of mine to make sure they are getting the resources they need to be able to serve our community.”

There will be challenges in the new year, he said.

“We are in a situation where there are negotiations going on right now,” he said. “Albertans elected a government that is focused on getting the budget balanced, which is what we promised Albertans we would do. With that we see teachers and nurses and other front-line workers as our partners in that work.

“We will continue to maintain our promise to protect front-line health-care service and education services, but at the same time we will do what needs to be done to be able to get the budget balanced.

"We hope that front-line workers will work with us in partnership to do that. That will be our focus going into the next couple of months.”

In a media release, Nixon added some further comments on his plans to work to improve the economy, both regionally and across the province.

“I’m not going to paint an overly rosy picture here,” he said. “Many Albertans are still suffering. The number 1 goal of our government has been getting Albertans back to work, but it’s been a slow process.

“I want constituents to know that the commitment to bring jobs back to our struggling communities underpins everything our government does.

“We’ve also taken action on reducing red tape and improving many of our practices as a government in order to fast-track business development to get folks back to work as soon as possible.”

Dan Singleton

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