In review of the past year I note as follows; I continue on the various committees I’ve been involved in for years i.e.
• Lethbridge Social Housing Leaders Committee and the city’s Affordable Housing Committee,
• Sik-ooh-kotoki Friendship Society - as Secretary, and the
• Aboriginal Housing Society of which I am Vice-chair. Though in existence only a few years, Aboriginal Housing has successfully completed its first development in housing. We’ve accommodated 30 families and we’re working frantically to get our next plans underway. It’s exciting to be involved with such dynamic people and in such rewarding work.
I’ve enjoyed many local events and meetings assisting in strategic and future plans and we foresee exciting times ahead for Sik-ooh-kotoki and Aboriginal Housing. In February we had a successful 40th Anniversary Gala for Sik-ooh-kotoki and in August I attended the annual Convention of Friendship Centers of Canada in Niagara Falls.
I also continue on the local Federal and Provincial Liberal Associations and the annual conventions as well as the National Liberal Convention in Vancouver in May. In June, with encouragement of my wife and friends, I treated myself by accepting an invitation to Ottawa. In addition to a tour of Parliament with our gracious and enthusiastic Senator Joyce Fairbairn, I met with some key Liberal politicians. For the reference and the record I presented in a brief outlining needs and issues that had been raised by various local political and community representatives in earlier contacts here. Hopefully in time and as the economy improves the effort will bring the desired results for the area. Unfortunately, Mr. Casson was busy and unable to meet with me. To assist them or anyone dealing with or visiting the area I also presented a profile I compiled of the area.
Throughout this past year, I devoted much time and energy on health care issues due to being elected chair of the Lethbridge Chapter of Friends of Medicare. Being the 40th Anniversary of Medicare in Alberta we planned to celebrate but had to return to our advocacy role when the Alberta government started major aggressive cuts and changes through its new organization, Alberta Health Services. Friends of Medicare which is a province-wide organization could not sit idly by.
We held rallies, information sessions, meetings and arranged for speakers to inform the public on the facts, and sustainability of Medicare. The fight continues. Not only should every Albertan be concerned but every Canadian should be concerned about the cuts and privatization the Alberta Government is implementing. They have totally demoralized the health workforce and ironically they are moving closer to privatized medicine just as the US moves closer to establishing what Canadians have enjoyed for 40 years!
In review, I must admit that we Liberals have had a tumultuous year; however; being an optimist, I foresee the outlook changing. We need to continue doing our best and what is right. Mr. Harper appears to be testing “the limits of tolerance”, especially with the issues concerning Afghan detainees, the environment and Canada’s representation in Copenhagen and now, the final insult, another prorogation of Parliament. If I can be of assistance please contact me by email email@example.com or phone at 403-381-7635.