Lethbridge has many amazing people

By MLA Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge-West. First published in the Lethbridge Herald Fri. Sept. 30, 2016

We have some amazing people in Lethbridge. It’s true. I know many of them and I’m sure you do, too. I am talking about youth who are passionate advocates on a social issue, seniors who volunteer for worthwhile organizations, businesspeople who serve the community and employ its members, academics who learn new things about our world and teach us how to think critically, new Canadians who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them to apply to our shared concerns, and on and on. Maybe you are one of these amazing people.

In the interest of an open and transparent government, the recruitment process to ABCs is now open to all Albertans, instead of just to friends and insiders.

One of my favourite parts about representing Lethbridge-West is when I get the chance to recognize the great work done by members of our community. The Alberta Order of Excellence is our province’s highest honour, and when the nominations opened earlier this year I knew exactly who I wanted to put forward: Dr. Leroy Little Bear, born and raised on the Kainai reserve near Lethbridge, and a highly regarded and influential scholar, lawyer and expert on Indigenous governance. The awards committee agreed, and Dr. Little Bear will be invested into the Alberta Order of Excellence in October. My heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Little Bear, we are fortunate to have him as a part of our shared community.

I also love it when I get the chance to promote Lethbridge residents, and ensure that their voices are heard. That’s why I am so excited about the Alberta Government‘s new approach to recruiting and appointing members to agencies, boards, and commissions (ABCs). These are the groups that operate at arms-length from the government and provide expertise and leadership on their area. Alberta Health Services and the Workers Compensation Board are two examples. Half of our entire government budget spending is directed by these ABCs.

In the interest of an open and transparent government, the recruitment process to ABCs is now open to all Albertans, instead of just to friends and insiders. We have a wealth of untapped talent and skills in our province, not to mention a number of unrepresented voices. Opening up ABC recruitment to everyone will ensure we get the best people from a variety of backgrounds in these important positions. There is now a one-stop shop to learn about Alberta‘s agencies, boards and commissions. At www.boards.alberta.ca you can learn about the work that boards do, the people currently serving on boards, and any remuneration that may apply. Boards do important work and I hope that members of our community will consider serving in this way to help shape Alberta.

In a similar vein, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the 2016 Child Development Professional Awards of Excellence, which is currently seeking nominations. Child development professionals are those resilient and hard-working people who care for kids at parent link centres, daycares, family dayhome agencies, pre-school programs and early childhood development programs. Their work contributes significantly to supporting parents and to the development of Alberta‘s children and families. The Alberta government supports quality, affordability and accessibility in child care, and we are thrilled to recognize the excellent work our child development professionals are doing. Nominate someone today at www.humanservices.aberta.ca/childdevelopmentawards.

Another exciting award is the 2016 Lethbridge Inclusion Awards which celebrate those businesses, individuals and groups who are working to make our community better for persons with disabilities. Find out more information at www.idpdlethbridge.ca.

Finally, nominations have closed but tickets are on sale for the 2016 Immigrant Achievement Awards gala on Wednesday Oct. 19 at the Galt Museum. This is always a fantastic and inspirational event, and I look forward to it every year. You can get tickets through Lethbridge Family Services.

As always, my staff and I are here to listen and to help. Call us at 403-329-4644, email us at Lethbridge.west@assembly.ab.ca, or stop by at 402 8 St. S. I look forward to hearing from you.