Government of Alberta is tackling the big issue of climate change

By Denise Woollard, MLA for Edmonton - Mill Creek

Greetings everyone, and welcome to the chill of winter. After a busy fall, we are into the bustle of preparation for the upcoming holiday season. The activities which I have been involved in over the last few months were varied and interesting.

September saw me setting up a telephone town hall meeting to give Edmonton Mill Creek constituents a chance to talk with their MLA. I continued having Meet and Greet your MLA events in the Meadows Recreation Centre every second Saturday – a lovely way to get to know people in the constituency! Another event which took place at the Rec Centre was our first Annual Community Swim Event, a fun and very well-attended event! Finally, there were a number of Remembrance Day ceremonies in the constituency, and many meetings wit hhh constituents, which are always rewarding.

I visited the schools in the constituency during Read-In week, in which I read a variety of poetry to the students and shared a learning about your legislature activity book with Grade 6 students. A novel literacy event took place at Father Michael Troy School.  “Poetry Pathways in the Meadows” involved celebrating original poetry created by local writers, both students and adults, which was etched into the sidewalk in front of the school. I appreciated the talent shown by the writers, and the initiative shown by the poetry selecting and the etching organizing group.

The fall saw a number of cultural events, two of which were Diwali and Navaratri. Diwali is the festival of light and the Diwali celebrations I attended were full of joy and light. The Southeast Edmonton constituencies worked together to put on the first Southeast Edmonton Community Diwali Event which was very well received. After Diwali came Navaratri, a celebration of music and dance, which is a wonderful event to experience.

I attended several Habitat for Humanity celebrations of families taking possession of their new homes. An exciting Habitat for Humanity news release was made in October that a very large Habitat for Humanity build (Jimmy Carter Build – named for former president, Jimmy Carter) will be taking part in our constituency of Edmonton Mill Creek next summer! This is wonderful news for our community and the families who will be the recipients of new homes in the near future.

I was very privileged to be able to tour the Alberta Innovates facility in Vegreville where the tour attendees learned about some plant disease research, research into the use of parts of the hemp plant, and research to be undertaken next spring on ways of treating tailings ponds. I was also able to tour the MEG Energy site on Christina Lake to see a SAGD or Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage plant, which is an enhanced oil recovery technology for producing heavy crude oil and bitumen. It was very interesting to see an oil extraction process with so little disturbance of the surface environment.

The Legislature resumed sitting in November, with the focus of the business of the Legislature being on the Climate Change Initiatives. Albertans have varied opinions of the proposed changes, but many people have expressed gratitude that this government is tackling the big issue of climate change. People understand that in order for our economy to recover, countries who we want to buy our products need to know that we are working to reduce our environmental impact.

I had the good fortune to be one of the co-sponsors of a bill designed to improve childhood immunization rates in Alberta by reminding parents and guardians when immunizations had been missed. As well, the bill will permit public health workers to quickly identify students who have not been immunized in the event of a vaccine preventable disease outbreak, and send them home to prevent them contracting or spreading the disease.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic fall, and I would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday and best wishes for wonderful New Year!

First published in the Mill Woods Mosaic, Dec. 15, 2016