January – MLA Prasad Panda’s Report

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I was fortunate enough to be selected by the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature to attend the annual Westminster Seminar in November. Elected officials from all over the Commonwealth gathered at the birthplace of parliamentary democracy in London, England. It was a great opportunity for us all to explore different approaches to parliamentary democracy, practice and procedure in the context of the Westminster System and other Commonwealth parliamentary structures.

While there, at my personal expense, I also undertook a mini-trade mission to London, Dublin, and Hamburg. My focus was on growing Alberta’s exports abroad and learning about the local market. I visited with:

London – Alberta International Office

Dublin –Trade Commissioners at the Canadian Embassy

Hamburg – Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Hamburg, and members of the Hamburgische Burgerschaft (German Provincial Parliament).

The legislature recently passed Bill 23, a bill to eliminate age discrimination, particularly when it comes to housing. We believe that the bill is a good compromise in that it still allows for +55 housing, yet it phases out other adult-only housing over a 15-year period. Benefits offered exclusively to select age groups, such as discounts for seniors and children, will still be allowed. We will watch carefully how the regulations are applied to things like auto insurance; car rentals; and mandatory retirements.

At the time of this writing, we are debating Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans and also the Electoral Boundary Commission recommendations. I will provide an update on both of those next month.

I trust that all of you will soon make great progress on your fresh goals for the New Year!

Prasad Panda, MLA Calgary-Foothills

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