Richard Gotfried

MLA Calgary-Fish Creek

January 2017 Newsletter

January 1, 2017

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary-Fish Creek

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

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA

 

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!


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


September 2016 Newsletter

September 1, 2016

What an eventful summer this was! Calgary was bustling with excitement and life during perennial favourites such as The Calgary Stampede, FolkFest, GlobalFest and many amazing community events hosted in Calgary-Fish Creek. One thing I learned from attending all of these events is that rain does not dampen the spirits of Calgarians. It was great to see intrepid volunteers and participants enjoying the sights, sounds and community spirit that helps make such events a success – rain or shine – thank you!

For many of you, September is about transitions. Kids are back to school and resuming many of their favourite extra-circular activities. Others shift from summer recreation to organized fall activities. And autumn brings brilliant colours to Fish Creek! In addition, the Friends of Fish Creek Park are extremely active during the fall season including the Paint What You See – painting with Jim Pescott event on September 24th and A Taste of Autumn on September 16th. Check out Friends of Fish Creek Facebook page for more information about these great events or contact my office.

Did you know September 1 is Alberta’s 111th Birthday? This year kicks off with a special event at the Bow Valley Ranche. Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor, Lois Mitchell, will announce the winner of the “Birthday Banner” contest and the banner will fly for Alberta’s birthday celebrations every year going forward. Our roots are deep and unique and set us apart from all other places In Canada. As a proud Albertan, I am committed to ensuring that our heritage continues to be honoured and celebrated.

Many of you have contacted my office regarding the state of our economy and concerns over the policy direction of the NDP government. Thank you for your thoughts and please continue to email, call, visit the office, or write to us on any matters of interest, as I need to hear from you to ensure effective representation. One issue that I have received feedback on is the court application brought forward by the NDP regarding Power Purchase Arrangements or PPA’s. I feel these actions have damaged the trust of investors and is an affront to all who do business in Alberta. I will continue to speak out on items that I feel hurt the economy or are not in the best interest of Albertans.

MLA Cafés will resume in September with the first one being September 16 from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Many of you have expressed to me that an evening session will benefit many schedules too. Therefore, I am hosting another MLA Café on Monday, September 19 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. This is a great way for people to come, meet me and my staff, become familiar with our location, and casually engage on policies and shared visions for a better province.

Do you enjoy social media? Me too! I welcome you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, or to call and schedule a meeting. To join our e-newsletter, please send us an email.  And know that I take the honour and privilege of representing you in the Legislature very seriously!

Thank you.

Richard Gotfried

MLA, Calgary – Fish Creek

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

Facebook: facebook.com/richardgotfried4fishcreek

Twitter: @GotfriedMLA