Op-ed: An update from Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Travis Toews

Travis Toews, MLA GP-Wapiti Constituency Submitted

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Just over one year ago, my wife Kim and I were about to undertake a life-changing challenge. I decided to put my name forward as a UCP candidate in the provincial election as we believed we could contribute to a region and province that have provided so well for us and our family. While we committed to throwing all of our energy into the job, we could not have known just how challenging this would be.

I was humbled to be elected your MLA, and honoured further by my appointment as Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

2019 was challenging, but as we look forward to introducing our second budget on Feb. 27, I can see the progress that has been made and I have confidence in Albertans and that we will persevere through these times. Albertans are strong, resourceful and resilient.

Local farmers have experienced a year almost unparalleled in challenges and a high percentage of crop remains unharvested. We hosted the Honourable Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry several times and he is very aware of these difficulties. While there is no magic bullet, there was an announcement last week that will help farmers with expenses related to grain drying equipment upgrades. It’s important to note that this program is retroactive to 2018. For more information, please go to the link below, or call 310-FARM (3276). https://cap.alberta.ca/CAP/program/EFFICIENT_GRAIN_DRYER

This was an important week for Alberta energy. I support the action that our government has taken to reverse the previous government’s decision to purchase crude-by-rail contracts. By transferring the crude-by-rail contracts to the private sector, the government is saving Alberta taxpayers $500 million. The private sector, not the government, is in the best position to manage the financial risks associated with shipping crude-by-rail. By divesting the contracts to the private sector our government is acting in the best interest of Albertans.

The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital is more than 85 per cent complete. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year. Just last week, I was given a tour of the new hospital as well as the Beaverlodge Hospital, and the QEII. It was informative to understand how the area can use different facilities to provide synergistic health care in an effective and efficient way. There are opportunities for Beaverlodge to find a fit within this system and I encourage the town to continue to work with this government and AHS to find a way forward for the facility.

Finally, I continue to work within government to seek cooperative approaches to complex issues. We must work together to build our province. I have said before that government doesn’t always have all the answers. We are strongest when we work together to build capacity for job creators in our province creating a sustainable environment that will continue to thrive and grow.

Please continue to write, email, visit and phone the Grande Prairie-Wapiti Constituency Office. Our commitment is to continue to serve our constituents to the best of our ability. Finally, the Beaverlodge Chamber of Commerce has invited me to a Town Hall at St. Luke’s Anglican Church Hall on March 12 at 7 p.m.  Please come out and ask your questions!

—Travis Toews,
MLA, GP-Wapiti Constituency