January 2017 Newsletter
January 1, 2017
Richard Gotfried 高 飛
MLA, Calgary-Fish Creek
January is a time of new beginnings and a fresh outlook for the coming year. Resolutions and reflections are on the mind of many. For me, January provides an opportunity to look back over the previous year, evaluate, and set or reset my course and goals for the year ahead. One of my goals is to connect with more of you and to hear your stories. As we go through the year, I would also like to take a moment to spotlight our communities and some of the amazing individuals that live in our neighbourhoods.
Along with the great residents, many animal species make their home in or near Deer Ridge, while proximity to Fish Creek Park ensures easy access to many recreational activities. The Deer Ridge Board were founding members of the Trico Centre and still enjoy an association with them, while using the facility for their board meetings. They have an amazing Movie in the Park series, community gardens and enjoy outdoor skating in the winter. While I know many in the community and on the board, a special shout out to Bob Hall, who has been a tireless volunteer in the community for many years. When someone needs a hand, Bob is there to lend it. Many times, I have seen him go above and beyond the call of duty to help the community, a neighbour or stranger. Bob, you have my gratitude and thanks for making Deer Ridge and Calgary-Fish Creek a better place.
I feel a need to comment on the Carbon Tax, as it takes effect January 1st. The Tax is set at $20/tonne for fuels going up to $30/tonne January 1st 2018. All fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, diesel, propane, etc. are included in the levy. The one exemption will be for those fuels marked for agricultural distribution. What this means is that your gasoline will be taxed another 4.49 cents/liter at the pump. It also means that to heat our homes, natural gas will be increased $1.011/GJ. In addition to the increase being felt at both the pump and on our energy bills, there will also be indirect or soft costs that will accrue to almost everything we consume. All the goods we buy, even if produced locally, must be transported to stores or even local farmer’s markets, all of which contribute to increased costs to Albertans. In short, the Carbon Tax will impact us all. With many unemployed through no fault of their own, or scraping by on reduced incomes, the tax is sure to be felt across the province. It is estimated that 2/3 of Albertans will receive some form of rebate. Concerns I have heard from constituents range from: “It is just a redistribution of wealth.” “I have more than four children, who will not qualify.” “I have adult dependent children at home who are not eligible.” “Even though I qualify for a rebate, I will still be out of pocket for a few months.” “I am new to Alberta and will not qualify.” “I work for a not-for-profit that will most likely have to cut staff because of the tax.” These concerns are real and impactful for individuals and families.
I will be pleased to continue my MLA Café’s and MLA Youth Café’s in the new year, so call my office or check my Facebook page or website for dates and information. I hope that you can join us for coffee and snacks while sharing your thoughts and discussing issues facing Albertans. Your feedback is always welcome. My resolve and commitment to you for 2017 is to continue to be your humble representative and outspoken voice in Edmonton. Wishing you all the best for 2017, Happy New Year, Gung Hei Fat Choi and Chuc Mun Nam Moi!