Richard Gotfried

MLA Calgary-Fish Creek

December 2016 Newsletter

December 1, 2016

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary-Fish Creek

403-278-444 • calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.cawww.richardgotfried.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA

 

December is a busy and joyous time of year. The Fall Legislative session is set to conclude by mid-December and I will be grateful to return to my family and constituency!  The Government was planning debate on 17 pieces of legislation in a short time, so it will be interesting to see what Bills become law and which ones die on the order paper.

 

A highlight for me is visiting Grade 6 classes. In Grade 6 the curriculum has a section on democracy and government.  Here is a “Coles notes” version of the stages a Bill goes through to become law.  For a Bill to come into legislation it must first be presented in the Legislature by an MLA (Member).  This is called first reading.  It is during second reading that the merits and principles of the Bill are debated.  This is the opposition’s time to bring forward questions. The Speaker of the House’s job is to make sure that the debate is controlled and behaviour is civil.  Once debate has been closed a vote is taken and the Bill goes to committee.  It is here that amendments may be made to improve the legislation in the Legislature.   Once the committee work is complete, the Bill is brought before the Legislature again for a third reading.  Again members of all parties are able to speak to the Bill either in the positive or negative.  This is why your feedback helps me to better represent you in the Legislature.  Once complete, a vote is taken, the majority rules, and new law is enacted!

 

In Canada we practice a Westminster system of government, which has been adopted due to our British colonial roots. I mention this as I have often been asked why MLA’s tend to vote primarily along party lines. The other interesting feature is votes of confidence.  A vote of non-confidence is when the Government is deemed no longer fit to govern. Therefore, if a party wishes to remain in Government, it must have the confidence of the majority of the House on budgetary bills.  Votes of non-confidence are not common in majority governments but have happened frequently in minority governments when the two party coalition required breaks down, usually on the introduction of a Budget.

 

As many of you know, the holiday season can be a time of joy and difficulty. I hope that as we go forward this Christmas season we do so remembering that it is not the gifts under the tree that matter most, rather the gifts of the heart.  When we give of ourselves in the service of others we discover ourselves and what matters most, people.  I constantly remind myself that in Government we are in the business of people.  Stephen R. Covey said that “selfless service has always been one of the most powerful methods of influence.”  Treating others with kindness costs nothing and yet its influence permeates our homes, communities, province, and country.  Let us remember tolerance, kindness, and respect for others this holiday season.

 

Please come by my office on December 19th for seasonal celebration from 4-7pm. We will have good food and share some holiday cheer in thanks of your support.  A reminder my office will be closed from Dec 23 – Jan 2 with an emergency number on the answering machine and on the door with emails being checked for urgency.  Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 2016 Newsletter

November 1, 2016

Legislative Session started October 31st with an orange Halloween hue.  Session will see me in Edmonton from Monday – Thursday until mid-December, however my Calgary Team is always pleased to serve you.  I am also available by appointment most Friday’s for constituency business, so please do not hesitate to contact us.  Session will be busy and I am sure that the Climate/Carbon Tax file and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) issues will take centre stage.  I have regularly spoken out on these issues and will continue to do so on your behalf.  Please visit my Question Period and Member Statement playlist on YouTube at youtube.com/user/mypcmla.

Another item that will not be debated, but that will impact Alberta’s youngest demographic, is Alberta Education’s curriculum redevelopment. As a parent of three children, I have many questions.  I am a firm believer that our educational systems should primarily encourage fundamental skills and critical thinking, while also encouraging innovation and creativity.   Teaching children how to think, not what to think allows them the opportunity to formulate their own ideas based on personal inquiry and research.  Although considerable work was done in this area by the previous government, much of that work will not carry forward.  There are currently no public engagement sessions scheduled, but I would encourage you to voice your opinion around the potential impact of curriculum redesign and how it might impact you, your children or grandchildren.  If you would like to provide input I would encourage you to contact my office or your local school trustee.

November provides an opportunity for all to remember and reflect on those who have and who continue to make sacrifices for their country and others in need around the globe. It is a privilege and an honour to give thanks to our veterans across the country on November 11th.  I will be marking the day with veterans in the community and wearing my poppy with pride.  The history of the poppy as the universal symbol of Remembrance Day is an example of one woman’s commitment to honouring the courage and sacrifice of WWI veterans.  Moina Michael diligently lobbied the US War Department, individual congressmen, veterans, and the general public for two years.  In September 1920 the American Legion adopted the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy as the United States’ national emblem of Remembrance.  Over the next few years the message of remembrance spread to other countries.  I am thankful for Ms. Michael’s efforts and persistence in recognizing these champions of liberty and freedom around the world.  Remembering selfless sacrifice of generations past gives each of us courage to face our own daily challenges.

For all communities within Calgary-Fish Creek upcoming by-elections will be held to replace Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper and Hon. Jason Kenney. Both have recently stepped down as MP’s for Calgary Heritage and Calgary Midnapore respectively, and I humbly thank them for their service.  Nominations will be held by each party to select a candidate, and I would encourage all of you to exercise your democratic privilege by participating in both party nominations and Federal by-elections.

MLA Cafés will be hosted on Friday, October 28th & November 4th at my office from 10am-12pm.  I would encourage you, as always, to have your voice heard.  If you are unable to visit the office and would like to connect, I am happy to schedule a phone call and encourage you to reach out with respect to issues of importance to you.

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary – Fish Creek

403-278-4444calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.cawww.richardgotfried.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA

 

October 2016 Newsletter

October 1, 2016

October is a time to reflect with gratitude on the people and good in our life. This October I have much to be thankful for, family, friends, and a love of serving the people and province of Alberta.

Legislative Session will be starting at the end of October and I expect some lively debate! When we are not in session, the business of the Legislature of Alberta still goes on.  Committees have met throughout the summer and will continue to do so through the fall.  There are currently 10 committees for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, which comprise of standing committees, special committees, and legislative policy committees.  I hold a position on both the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future and Standing Committee on Public Accounts.  The mandate of the Standing Committee on Alberta´s Economic Future relates to the areas of Agriculture and Forestry, Advanced Education, Infrastructure, Economic Development and Trade, Culture and Tourism, and Labour.   The Standing Committee for Public Account’s mandate is to review the reports of the Auditor General of Alberta and the public accounts of the province.  It is an honour to serve on both of these committees and represent not just the constituents of Calgary-Fish Creek but the interests of Albertans at this critical time of financial instability.

Currently two of the Standing Committees are inviting public input to review two pieces of legislation: Child and Youth Advocate Act and the Lobbyists Act. The Child and Youth Advocates responsibility is to represent the rights and interests of youth and children who are involved in the youth justice system or who are receiving interventional services. As the role of the Lobbyist has evolved, a review of the act is an opportunity to ensure the legislation is more current with new mediums of communication and connecting with politicians. I would encourage you all to visit the assembly website www.assembly.ab.ca to access both of these surveys.

It was a pleasure for the office to be represented at Andrew Sibbald School’s new playground opening. It is a beautiful new playground and will be well used by the school and community for generations to come.  I commend their efforts to enhance the children’s school experience as well as benefitting the community.  The parent group at Andrew Sibbald was able to access Alberta grants available to not-for profit community groups through Alberta Culture.  Since 1998 Community Initiatives Program (CIP) and Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) has distributed more than 1.1 Billion to not-for profit community groups across Alberta.  The funding for CIP/CFEP grants are unique as the money does not come from general revenue/taxes but is sourced through lottery revenues.

Our next MLA Café sessions will be Friday October 28th 10-11am and Saturday November 5th 9-11am.  I will continue to vary the times and days to allow for all to attend.  I would encourage you to come out to meet me and my staff to share your thoughts on the legislative process and current government policy.  Your engagement with me and my office ensures I can effectively represent you in Edmonton.

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary – Fish Creek

403-278-4444calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.cawww.richardgotfried.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA

August 2016 Newsletter

August 1, 2016

Summer truly flies by as we usher in the glorious month of August. The weeks ahead are for appreciating long summer days, warm evenings and creating special memories with family and friends.  Pancakes were a daily staple before and during Stampede and it was great to connect at many events across the constituency.  I hope you had as much fun as I did!  This year marked my first Stampede BBQ in Bonavista Downs and included games, food (sizzling Spolumbo’s!), and music.  Mark Saturday, July 8 on your calendar now for 2017!

In my last newsletter I noted great stay-cation opportunities right here in Calgary. One of my Festival-Faves is GlobalFest, which runs from August 18th to 27th, where I will be thrilled to host a booth with my Calgary Caucus colleagues.  Please stop by and say “Hi” if GlobalFest is in your calendar.  GlobalFest offers world-class pyro-musical entertainment while celebrating and showcasing culture, art and food from around the globe. On a starry summer night, the spectacular fireworks are a perfect back-drop for a fun and economical family night out…creating memories to cherish for years to come.

Another great stay-cation is Alberta Farm Days.  Launched four years ago, this provincial initiative highlights the great work and contribution of farmers and ranchers across Alberta.  Did you know that 1 in 8 jobs in Canada and over 80,000 jobs in Alberta are agriculture based?  Agriculture contributes over 100 billion dollars annually to Canada’s GDP.  Here in Alberta, we are blessed with rich farmland, sprawling ranchlands, and what I believe is the best beef in the world!  This year farmers and ranchers will open their doors to the public on August 20th and 21st.  If you want to see how honey is made, visit a bison ranch, or meet an alpaca, here is your chance to get up close and personal.  There are unique opportunities for both young and old and I welcome you to visit www.albertafarmdays.com for locations, times and details.

If you wish to venture outside of Calgary please visit www.TravelAlberta.com for a complete listing of events and attractions across our province. As I often say, we are truly blessed to enjoy such rich natural resources, scenic beauty and friendly, industrious and hospitable people across our great province.

MLA Gone Walkabout” is what I will be doing over much of the rest of the summer and fall to connect with as many businesses, community organizations and people in Calgary–Fish Creek.  I have already heard from many regarding the impact of government policies and legislation on you, your businesses and personal finances.  Nonetheless, I want to hear from as many constituents as possible to ensure I fully understand and appreciate the struggles you and your family currently face as I share my vision for a brighter future.  As always, my office and I are ready, willing, and able to connect and assist in any way we can with community issues. My MLA Cafés will re-commence in September, so keep an eye out for future dates and join me for a chat and a coffee!

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary – Fish Creek

403-278-4444calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.cawww.richardgotfried.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA

Newsletter July 2016

July 1, 2016

Summer brings quality family time, beautiful weather and many community-spirited events, festivals, and activities across our province. I am excited to spend even more time in my home constituency now that Spring Session of the Legislature has concluded.

I want to thank everyone who sent their thoughts and concerns to my office regarding the economy, fiscal responsibility and the now legislated Carbon Tax. This Tax is NOT revenue neutral, as many of us tried to achieve through amendment, and although an estimated 60% of households may receive rebates, there will be out of pocket expense for all Albertans that many will have difficulties paying while still making ends meet.  Essentially, Albertans will be paying more for less while our government, and you the taxpayer, go further into debt. Albertans do not run their homes like this, and our government should not either. As many of us are tightening our belts in a responsible manner, I ask the Premier to direct her cabinet to do the same.

Many Albertans are experiencing financial challenges; why not consider a “staycation” this season. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or visit a nearby park to enjoy free activities that will benefit you and your family physically and emotionally. For me, I have numerous annual events that I seldom miss. Pick your favourites or join me at FolkFest, Dragon Boat Races and GlobalFest to name a few.

Tourism Calgary’s website: www.visitcalgary.com offers a wealth of resources, upcoming events, tickets, and unexplored opportunities here in Calgary. We are blessed to have Fish Creek Park and Lake Sikome within walking and biking distance from our homes.  Lake Sikome opened for the season on June 25 from 10:00 am-7:30pm daily.  There are also many scheduled activities at Fish Creek Park! In addition, Creekfest is an outside event for the entire family on July 17th at the Park’s information centre near the Bow Valley Ranche.  For more information on activities within the park please visit www.friendsoffishcreek.org/ or www.bowvalleyranche.com .

A “staycation” can be just stepping out the front door for a block party or our back door for a new playground. Right behind my office is the Bonavista Downs Community’s new playground.  Playground building binds communities together and builds lasting friendships.  It was a pleasure to visit the build site on a rainy day and see the progress in action.  Thanks to the association and volunteers in their efforts to strengthen our community.

I am looking forward to hosting you all this summer at my First Annual Stampede BBQ Lunch. Please join me at the Bonavista Downs Mall on Lake Sylvan Drive for food, music, and activities for children Saturday July 9th 11-2pm. Although RSVP’s are not required, please give us a call or send an email if you plan to attend to help us plan more effectively.

As always, your feedback is important to me. I welcome you to visit me at a future “MLA Café” or to follow me Facebook or Twitter for further constituency or event information. You can also email or call me to schedule a meeting at your convenience.

Thank you and enjoy a great summer!

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary – Fish Creek

403-278-4444calgary.fishcreek@assembly.ab.cawww.richardgotfried.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA