Celebrating local diversity and MLA update

By Annie McKitrick, MLA for Sherwood Park

In this week’s column, I would like to take the opportunity to thank community members who initiated the writing of welcome messages on the fence of the construction site of Masjid in the Park following the St. Foy Mosque shooting.

As I have discussed in past columns, the issue of diversity in our community, and how we treat and work with each other, is very important to me. Our community is diverse - linguistically, ethnically, culturally and in the faiths in which we believe. We see this not only in the vast diversity of foods our supermarkets carry, but increasingly in the businesses and community organizations we support. Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in worship services in two new churches: City Church for All Nations that has a large Caribbean and African congregation; and Jesus is Lord Church which has a mainly Filipino congregation. Both of these groups have already contributed much to our community.

Premier Notley reaffirmed the government‘s welcome of refugees in a recent Facebook post: "Alberta has always been a welcoming, new home to those seeking refuge, and that will not change. As refugees seek a home, where they can enrich our society, making positive contributions to our communities, economy and vibrant cultural fabric, Alberta will welcome you with open arms. All people deserve to live in peace and security. These things, which we are so fortunate to enjoy in Alberta, are what we wish for all people, no matter where they live, all over the world." On Holocaust Remembrance Day, she said: "Lies, hatred and intolerance are only a threat to our way of life if we lose sight of truth, love and justice. In remembrance of those who perished in the Holocaust, let us revere and protect human rights here in Alberta and around the world."

As I have discussed in past columns, the issue of diversity in our community, and how we treat and work with each other, is very important to me.

Thank you to those of you who have provided feedback on the budget through online submission or by participating in a telephone town hall meeting. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to provide feedback, I will be holding an Open House focused on budget feedback in our Constituency Office on Monday, Feb. 20 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.. Everyone is welcome, and I look forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas.

I hope many of you have had the opportunity to visit www.alberta.ca/energy-efficiency-alberta.aspx to learn about programs for both individual homes, and commercial and not-for-profit organizations, to help Albertans protect their pocketbooks and lower their carbon footprints. Energy Efficiency Alberta was established as part of the Climate Leadership Plan, and is funded by carbon levy revenue. Energy efficiency is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also saving consumers money. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you learn more about these programs.

Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival was celebrated over the weekend. This is a world-class, cross-country skiing event that involves many volunteers from Strathcona County and showcases the Blackfoot Cooking Lake Provincial Park. I hope all those who participated had a great Birkie! 

Annie McKitrick is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Sherwood Park Constituency. If you have any questions or comments about this column or any other provincial government issues, she would like to hear from you. Please contact McKitrick’s constituency office at 780-417-4747 or by e-mail: sherwood.park@assembly.ab.ca.

First printed in the Sherwood Park News, February 13, 2017.