A bridge in a Japanese garden.

By Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA for Lethbridge-East.

In this column, I would like to do several things: acknowledge three significant December dates; give you an update on the government business over the past month; and give you my holiday greeting and invite you to our annual open house.

We are moving in a positive direction - a direction which will provide good mortgage-paying jobs for Albertans, a better climate and will have good returns for our economy.

The first date I want to highlight is Dec. 3, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which I’d like to note as recognition of the challenges of many of my constituents face on a daily basis.

The second is Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. A date when we remember the deaths of 14 young women at L’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. They were murdered solely because they were women, women in the faculty of engineering. The perpetrator apparently felt that he was entitled to be in that program but the women were not. Violence is an issue on which I have taken a stand to do what I can to protect the hundreds of residents in our community who are faced with this possibility every day.

The third date is Dec. 10, the International Day for Human Rights. This day is celebrated on Dec. 10, internationally, to honour the date when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Palais de Challoit, Paris after the experience of the Second World War. This is the crux of why I do this work as your MLA.

Now as we move into the end of the fall session, here is a mini-review of the business of the legislature.

A number of things happened in Alberta over which none of us had control. However, what we could control was changing course so we could move forward. Our government, with the help of forward-thinking Albertans, has been moving forward with new initiatives to diversify our economy. Since August, 25,000 jobs have been added in this province. We are not out of the woods yet but we have turned the corner.

Prime Minister Trudeau approved two pipeline expansions and explicitly credited the leadership of Premier Notley and Alberta‘s Climate Leadership Plan as the reasons why he was able to give the projects the go-ahead. Breaking Alberta‘s land-lock means our world-class energy producers can get a world-class price for their products by expanding into new markets. We are choosing a different path, and our plan is getting results. We are moving in a positive direction - a direction which will provide good mortgage-paying jobs for Albertans, a better climate and, will have good returns for our economy.

The following bills are waiting to be debated in second reading:

- Bill 22 An Act to Provide for the Repatriation of Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Ceremonial Objects.

Currently in Committee of the Whole:

- Bill 25 Oil Sands Emissions Limit Act;

- Bill 27 Renewable Electricity Act;

- Bill 35 Fair Elections Financing Act;

- Bill 34 Electric Utilities Amendment Act, 2016 ($).

Awaiting third reading:

- Bill 37 Appropriation (Supplementary Supply) Act, 2016 (no 2);

- Bill 32 Credit Union Amendment Act 2016;

Bills Awaiting Royal Assent:

- Bill 21 Modernized Municipal Government Act;

- Bill 24 Forest and Prairie Protection Amendment Act;

- Bill 26 Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day Act;

- Bill 28 Public Health Amendment Act 2016;

- Bill 29 Vital Statistics and Life Events Modernization Act;

- Bill 30 Investing in a Diversified Alberta Economy Act ($);

- Bill 31 Agencies, Boards and Commissions Review Statutes Amendment Act 2016;

- Bill 37 Appropriation (Supplementary Supply) Act, 2016 (no 2).

You can learn more about these bills and keep up to date with all of the happenings at the Legislature by visiting the Legislative Assembly website at (www.assembly.ab.ca)

The Lethbridge East Constituency office will be closed for the Christmas season from Friday, Dec. 23 until Tuesday Jan. 3, 2017 in order to allow staff to enjoy the holiday season with their families. We look forward to serving you in 2017.

My staff and I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and every greeting which touches you this holiday season. We wish you a New Year filled with peace, health and joy which I hope you will share with others as I plan to do.

Please join us on Dec. 16 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Lethbridge East constituency office for our Holiday Open House. Come down for some good conversation and some holiday treats. Our office is located at 543 13 St. S.

First published on Dec. 9, 2016 in the Lethbridge Herald.