With the 2023 provincial election campaign on the horizon, sitting Alberta MLAs may be tempted over the coming weeks to spend their valuable time currying favour with voters in the hope of making early headway in the electoral process.
And while Albertans, including in this district, will of course be very interested in hearing the promises and plans of the UCP, NDP and other parties for the post-election period, there are important and pressing issues those same politicians should focus on first.
For example, food bank use in the province continues to increase, with many, many families struggling to get enough food to eat.
“It's disheartening to see that our food bank use is the highest across Canada, but I think it sheds light on just how much people are struggling,” said Arianna Scott, Food Banks Alberta chief executive officer.
“Twenty per cent of food bank users are employed, up five per cent since 2021. That is an indicator in itself. People are working, and they still aren't able to make ends meet. This is an Alberta problem. It's not isolated. It's impacting all of us, in communities across our province.”
The number one job of the MLAs elected in 2019 remains the same in 2023: to serve the needs of residents and their communities by promoting and supporting the province’s education, health, social and economic well-being.
Whether those same MLAs are prepared to put aside the temptation to start making promises in hopes of getting votes in the May election remains to be seen.
What is known is that Albertans expected every MLA, no matter which party he or she belongs to, to focus first and foremost on addressing the issues facing the province right now, including doing more, much more, to address the cost-of-living crisis.
And for what it’s worth, here’s a New Year’s prediction for the 2023 provincial election: the Rachel Notley NDP will defeat the Danielle Smith UCP to win a majority government.
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.