To say that 2020 has been a tough year would be a supreme understatement.
The triple black swan events of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian- Saudi oil price war and the biggest economic contraction since the 1930’s have put our province and our people in some historically tough times.
I speak to and hear from Albertans everyday who are looking for answers and understanding, feel they’ve hit rock bottom or know someone who has.
The pain and suffering of the people of Alberta is great and it is not lost on this government.
I’m extremely proud of the people of Drumheller-Stettler. We have collectively had as much or more success as any area of the province in slowing and stopping the spread of the virus.
When public health restrictions were increased on Nov, 24, there were 86 active cases in the riding, on Dec, 7 when further restrictions were put in place by the province our riding had 62 active cases.
It’s important to keep in mind that our riding encompasses nine regions used by AHS and the footprint is bigger than Belgium.
We have some natural advantages when it comes to this pandemic. We are few by most comparisons and well spread out. Few better places to ride out a pandemic better than Craigmyle, Hemaruka or Metiskow.
Over the last year I have been a vocal supporter and advocate for regionally-based, targeted approaches to the pandemic, and for these very reasons.
Life is far different in remote rural Alberta, compared to a small city and certainly different from a dense metro environment.
Unfortunately, almost no areas in the province have shared our success and the growing case rate and hospitalization rate have forced the emergency cabinet committee to pursue province-wide restrictions coming into Christmas.
I know this has been a disappointment for many and for me as well as your representative, but I understand and respect the circumstance that we find ourselves in collectively as a province.
Our business community has done an amazing job mitigating risks of the virus and deserve extreme credit and our loyal, local support.
I know our restaurants, hair salons, gyms and massage parlours to name a few, have gone out of their way to keep their doors open and provide great services for our people.
I encourage any of these operators who have been forced to shut down before Christmas to reach out to our office if they have any issues whatsoever accessing the small and medium enterprise relaunch grant.
We want to ensure all eligible businesses in the riding receive every support available.
So, as we approach the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. As I write this, health care workers are receiving first doses of the vaccine, our ridings cases continue to be stable or dropping and there is good economic news on the horizon.
I will continue to push for regional, targeted approaches and need everyone’s help to make the case obvious, by continuing to keep our active cases low.
So, please people of Drumheller-Stettler have the best Christmas possible, take care of each other and know better times are around the bend.
It continues to be an honour to be your representative.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.