Tags: Building Strong Communities , Providing Leadership & Accountability , Supporting Families

Posted on Oct 14, 2016

MLA Update Lethbridge-East

MLA Fitzpatrick speaking at an event.

By Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA Lethbridge-East. First published in the Lethbridge Herald Oct. 14 2016.

This month, there were many things to talk about in my column but events over the last couple of weeks call on me to focus on a few critical items.

On Sept. 30 an awful event happened in Lethbridge. A young woman was brutally beaten and still remains in critical but stable condition. The family is deeply devastated and worried about their loved one. I offer any support I can provide to this young woman and her family to get through this very difficult time. This was really a terrifying event for this family and our community.

What followed was also frightening. Hateful comments were spewed over and over again about the person arrested and charged with this assault. The victim’s father-in-law has spoken out against this anger and hatred, and it’s important to note a conviction for this heinous offence has not yet been rendered. There is a process to be followed in law.

I believe with all my heart that our community is not a community of hate and anger. Our community is one that is caring, understanding and progressive. I truly hope that those who express that anger and hate in social or other forms of media will reach out to someone to help them deal with the anger in their hearts and replace it with peace and understanding. This is a time when our community needs to pull together and offer our strength to the victim and resist fearful, hateful reactions.

There were several trips to Edmonton this past month for all-party committee meetings, a special International Day of the Older Persons’ seniors reception and caucus meetings and the commencement of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conference. I was very pleased to attend a couple of events during AUMA. One event in particular was a luncheon with a panel discussion on Women in Leadership. The panellists included two female mayors, an associate professor of women’s studies and two other panellists. There was a very interesting discussion about how the conversation and direction at council meetings had changed, or is changing, in a very positive way with the inclusion of women at the table. We are obviously a very fortunate province to have such knowledgeable and forward thinking women actively participating in municipal politics.

Back in Lethbridge, I attended, among other events, the announcement of CIP grant funding to the Nikka Yuko Garden Society to support the garden’s first "Festival of Lights." The opening date announcement for this festival will be made very soon. I am always delighted and refreshed to visit this place of reflection and spend an hour or so in some of Lethbridge East‘s most beautiful scenery.

Our community is one that is caring, understanding and progressive.

The month culminated with a special Persons Day breakfast hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) in partnership with the Lethbridge Regional Women’s Committee of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) on Oct. 12 with a presentation by Rachel Herbert on the impact and contributions that farm and ranch women have made to southern Alberta and its history. It was a fantastic presentation that provided a wonderful perspective from someone who has lived this experience personally as well as through her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

The work assigned to the two all-party committees of which I am a member (Standing Committee on Alberta‘s Economic Future and the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing), during the last session is wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, and our reports are to be tabled prior to the beginning of the next seating of the Legislative Assembly which begins Oct. 31.

Some constituents couldn’t wait until I came to their door so they came to the office for a visit and to share concerns and kudos. I was very pleased to see everyone that came. I was also very happy to hear back from some constituents whose issues have been already resolved positively. I continue to pursue answers for those who have expressed concerns.

I will continue to do some canvassing during the upcoming month and continue to be interested in learning about your concerns about our constituency, Alberta as a whole or any issues for which my office may be able to provide assistance. My constituency office is located at 543 13 St. S. and we can be reached by phone at 403-320-1011 or by email at lethbridge.east@assembly.ab.ca.