Posted on Dec 11, 2015

Legislature update and holiday greetings

Christmas lights at the Alberta Legislature

One of the challenges of being an MLA is finding a thoughtful and reasoned position on issues with diverse and strong views.

Most bills that come before our legislature have citizens taking differing positions. This is a good thing because it creates discussion and provides me the opportunity to read and research the bill and, perhaps more importantly, collect and consider constituent feedback. A number of bills – some more contentious than others – were put forward this month. I spoke to several of them.

Bill 204, which will help survivors of domestic violence to leave safely, was especially emotional for me. I spoke to it with a speech about my personal story of domestic violence. My story evoked responses from thousands of people in Lethbridge and across Canada. I hope that this speech and Bill 204 will be catalysts for change in societal attitudes within our community to reduce – if not end – domestic violence in our province.

Another recent example is Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. As you may know, this bill has been quite contentious, but it has also been an excellent opportunity for me to engage with many of you. On Dec. 3 we held an open consultation on this bill here in Lethbridge. About 800 people attended and the meeting was boisterous. I had the opportunity to speak with a number of participants after the formal portion of the meeting and these one-on-one conversations were very productive. I heard you and have taken all of your ideas back to the legislature, where they will inform this very important piece of worker protection legislation and help us to create the best law we can.

I wish you peace, health and happiness now and throughout the coming year.

The holiday season is upon us, and I hope all members of our community will find safety, peace, health and happiness. I hope you will help me to make this a Merry Christmas for everyone – including those for whom it may not be so merry – by volunteering with your church, community organization or neighbours to help those who may be homeless, in shelters or just need to be included in your Christmas celebration.

Our office will be hosting a holiday open house today from 3 until 6 p.m. In the spirit of the season, we will be collecting non-perishable food items for the local food banks at the event. Please drop by for a visit, a few holiday treats and some good conversation.

I am so thankful to live in this community and to have received the support of so many. My goal has been and will continue to be that I work to be the best possible representative I can be on your behalf. I wish you peace, health and happiness now and throughout the coming year.

This column originally appeared in the Lethbridge Herald on December 11, 2015.