May – MLA Richard Gotfried’s Report

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By May your Legislature is in full swing and I am knee deep in budget deliberations. The Provincial budget affects us all, so please take the time to understand the impact on you and your family. At the end of March a mailer went out to all Fish Creek area residents. If you have not had the opportunity to fill out the survey, please do so, as it gives me a clear indication of key issues and concerns in the community.

May long weekend is the unofficial start to the summer camping season.  Although camping is definitely on the minds of many, snow is always a possibility in the mountains, so please plan ahead. The Boy Scout motto “BE PREPARED” still rings in my head after many years as a volunteer Scouter. Alberta Parks has many resources on their website, so please do not hesitate to take a look at www.albertaparks.ca. This year is also Canada’s 150 and if you have not already picked up your complimentary pass for the National Parks I would encourage you to do so. Alberta enjoys Parks Canada’s most popular national park – Banff National Park, but there are many national parks across our great country to explore and appreciate how blessed we are to enjoy nature’s pristine beauty.

With Canada’s 150 and a recent citizenship ceremony at a local school, I have reflected on what citizenship means to me and what it means to be a Canadian. Being born in Calgary and having lived in Africa as a young child taught me at a young age the blessings of democracy, rule of law, and good governance. Judge Joseph Woodard, who presided over the ceremony, spoke about what our duties and obligations are as Canadians – to give. To give of ourselves; our time and energy to our families, communities, cities, provinces, and country. The value our volunteer contributions make in supporting the fabric of society cannot be underestimated. Each of us can do something. For some it will be coaching soccer, for others volunteering at the local library or like Parkland and Bonavista Cares, making sandwiches for the Drop-In Centre or creating Birthday bags for the Food Bank. So, I will be continuing to shout out small and simple acts of kindness and contributions that make Calgary-Fish Creek better.

One huge act of goodness that happens seamlessly in Fish Creek every year are the Rink Rats. Hopefully we see no freezing weather and the white stuff until next winter, but I wanted to do a special shout out to volunteers that kept outdoor rinks in the community up and running smoothly this winter with some of the best ice in the city. The community outdoor rinks are all volunteer driven and the collective effort has not gone unnoticed. These amazing volunteers could be your next-door neighbour, long term community resident or someone who just moved in and wanted to get involved. Volunteering is good for the soul, so next winter when you are at the rink, please take a moment to say thank you!

Lastly, I would like to make a comment on appointments to government agencies, boards and commissions. While I am all for open competition for these positions, I do feel there is a level of skill, experience, and expertise that is meant to guide and protect sustainable organizations. Much of governments’ role is to put in place the structure of good governance and with appropriate expectations, let the people govern themselves. Government boards and commissions’ purpose is to work within their mandate in an arm’s length manner, free from political interference. Unfortunately, much has been done recently that contravenes these principles of independence, transparency, and accountability and I would encourage all of you, as I commit to do the same on your behalf, to be mindful and outspoken in protecting the best interests of Albertans.

As always, your contributions to the conversation help me to effectively represent your interests. So please join me for another MLA Café on Saturday May 13th from 10-12 noon at the office. Please contact the office should you require any assistance at either 403.278.4444 or Calgary.FishCreek@assembly.ab.ca.

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