Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Throne speech - check against delivery

My fellow Albertans,

Since it has come to the government's attention that we allegedly don't like Alberta all that much, we're going to go out of our way to give Albertans outside of southern rural Alberta exactly what they want - a Liberal government, but without the name, the doctor, or the tax increases. Well, no new taxes for now at least. We'll have a chat about that later.

We're going to keep the promises to liberal-minded voters we made in our platform. Don't worry that our platform doesn't mention climate change or publicly delivered health care. Past PC governments have shown we can be trusted on those fronts.

• Follow a renewed fiscal policy and savings strategy to reduce dependence on non-renewable resource revenue and seek Albertans’ input on the future of the Alberta heritage savings trust fund.

• Identify strategies to expand the recruitment of post-secondary students in rural areas, including those within M├ętis and first nations communities.

• Serve as the catalyst for a pan-Canadian Energy Strategy that promotes inter-jurisdictional collaboration to develop a sustainable energy roadmap based on common goals and priorities.

• Implement Alberta’s International Strategy, including the negotiation of “externships” – competitive placements for talented Albertans in international organizations, foundations, multilateral institutions and the private sector.

• Implement increases to the monthly living allowance and the employment income exemptions for participants of the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program, as outlined in budget 2012.

• We will build a network of up to 140 Family Care Clinics based on the pilots in calgary, edmonton and slave lake.

• Alternative medicine plays an increasingly important role in preventative health, and needs to be considered in a holistic approach to wellness – especially in cases where naturopathic, homeopathic, chiropractic and other therapies help patients attain personal health goals. Qualified patients will be able to claim up to $500 per year for these treatments starting in 2013.

• A new PC government will increase the number of long-term care spaces by 1,000 per year over the next five years and meet the needs of Alberta’s aging population and changing demographic profile.

• A new PC government will implement a province-wide ‘After School Recreation Strategy’. the ‘After school recreation strategy’ is supported by evidence that unsupervised children, between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., are more vulnerable to anti-social and other behaviours that lead them into trouble with the law. we would spend an estimated $1.5 million to develop the program, with an ongoing operational budget of between $3 and $5 million per year. funding for the program would come from the Alberta lottery fund.

• A new PC government will build an additional 50 new schools and renovate 70 more over the next 4 years in the communities that need them most

• The Canadian Energy Strategy will help provinces and territories understand how all of canada benefits from resources in Alberta. (along with our plan for Securing expanded pipeline capacity to Eastern Canada)

• This year, agencies contracted by Seniors and Human Services received an additional $62 million – the equivalent of a five per cent wage increase and a $1,500 lump sum payment for an estimated 17,000 agency workers.

• A new PC government is committed to strengthening supports for Albertans in their time of need. our Plan for Poverty reduction will focus on a 5-year plan to eliminate child poverty and a 10-year plan to reduce overall poverty.

• To help keep traffic moving, our water clean and expand transit we will renew our ongoing commitment to fund cities through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI). A new Progressive Conservative government will commit an additional $600 million a year to Msi in 2014/15 and guarantee yearly funding of $1.6 billion a year through 2023.

So, Albertans outside of southern rural Alberta, take us at our word - we've got the change you want. Go ahead, hold us to it.

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