Posted on Apr 16, 2016

Minister's Visits and MSI Funding Information

It was great to have Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Brian Mason visit our constituency on Saturday April 30. He spoke at the Rural Transportation Information Day on the Augustana Campus in Camrose.  Last fall his ministry received 790 project submissions from all across Alberta, totaling $15 billion (well above the budget allotment for 2016 of $4.6 billion).  Twenty-one projects will be included in this year’s capital plan expenditures.  Other projects have received “unfunded” approval meaning they could go ahead once there is sufficient revenue to give the green light.  The Green Transit Initiatives program will receive $125 million for urban and rural transportation. 

On Wednesday, May 11, Finance Minister Joe Ceci will be the guest of the Camrose Chamber of Commerce luncheon being held at the Old Bailey Theatre on main street. Cost is $20, tickets can be obtained from the Chamber office.  Mr. Ceci will be providing information about the recent budget. 

Last month 19,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.1%; 93% of Albertans continue to work. Had there been massive public sector layoffs in addition to those in the private sector, we would have even worse unemployment and recession.  The so-called 247 hiring spree was new teachers – why would people be against new teachers for expanding student population?  Over 8,000 students will join the ranks in September 2016. 

Consultations with provincial farm associations are on-going to produce the best farm safety regulations in Canada. Despite fear mongering about the destruction of family farms by WCB and OH&S, not one single Alberta farm has gone under.  Not one!  No childrens’ 4-H has ended despite the dire predictions – not one!  Rather, 154 farmers and workers have received compensation for injuries and missed work in the first three months of this year compared to 62 in all of 2015.  Farm Safety Enhancement is working. 

The coal industry is diminishing across North America, but provincial solar organizations are predicting 145,000 jobs in green, renewable energy. 

Some additional budget benefits:

  • Over the current 2016-17 fiscal year, we will direct $131 million towards more than 520 health-facility maintenance and renewal projects across the province.
  • Funding available through the Land Stewardship Fund will be $15 million per year over the next five years to support public and private conservation projects. 

Here are the budget numbers for our constituency with regard to Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grants – good use of taxpayers’ money for local initiatives and improvements to roads, services, programs that we have come to expect:                                   

                    Camrose                         $4,427,481

                   Wetaskiwin                     $2,838,662

                   Millet                              $   596,889

                   Bittern Lake                    $   178,945

                   Camrose County             $3,278,375

                   Wetaskiwin County         $3,493,274

Every time we shop at a local gas station 5 cents per litre is returned to our community in the form of the shared federal /provincial Gas Tax Fund. Here is what our constituency will receive in 2016 to be used for roads, transit systems, and transportation projects: 

                   Camrose                         $972,483

                   Wetaskiwin                     $680,436

                   Millet                              $112,786

                   Bittern Lake                    $  50,000

                   Camrose County             $466,262

                   Wetaskiwin County         $585,819 

The Alberta Government Small Communities Fund will help with these projects: 

Ma-Me-O Beach               $4,180,591 (South side Pigeon Lake Regional Wastewater                                                                System – Phase 1)

Poplar Bay                      $3,609,423 (as above but Phase 2)

Ponoka County               $2,090,295 (Meniak Road)

Wetaskiwin County         $1,368,261 (Alder Flats Wastewater Expansion)