Legislative Assembly of Alberta
  HOME > RETURN TO PREVIOUS PAGE
Help 


DOCUMENT VIEW
 

 
First Hit Back Next Download Search Results New Search


Province of Alberta

The 28th Legislature
First Session
Alberta Hansard

Monday, October 28, 2013

Issue 60

The Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Speaker


Legislative Assembly of Alberta
The 28th Legislature
First Session
Zwozdesky, Hon. Gene, Edmonton-Mill Creek (PC), Speaker
Rogers, George, Leduc-Beaumont (PC), Deputy Speaker and Chair of
Committees
Jablonski, Mary Anne, Red Deer-North (PC), Deputy Chair of Committees
Allen, Mike, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo (Ind)
Amery, Moe, Calgary-East (PC)
Anderson, Rob, Airdrie (W),
Official Opposition House Leader
Anglin, Joe, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre (W),
Official Opposition Whip
Barnes, Drew, Cypress-Medicine Hat (W)
Bhardwaj, Naresh, Edmonton-Ellerslie (PC)
Bhullar, Hon. Manmeet Singh, Calgary-Greenway (PC)
Bikman, Gary, Cardston-Taber-Warner (W)
Bilous, Deron, Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview (ND)
Blakeman, Laurie, Edmonton-Centre (AL),
Liberal Opposition House Leader
Brown, Dr. Neil, QC, Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill (PC)
Calahasen, Pearl, Lesser Slave Lake (PC)
Campbell, Hon. Robin, West Yellowhead (PC),
Deputy Government House Leader
Cao, Wayne C.N., Calgary-Fort (PC)
Casey, Ron, Banff-Cochrane (PC)
Cusanelli, Christine, Calgary-Currie (PC)
Dallas, Hon. Cal, Red Deer-South (PC)
DeLong, Alana, Calgary-Bow (PC)
Denis, Hon. Jonathan, QC, Calgary-Acadia (PC),
Deputy Government House Leader
Donovan, Ian, Little Bow (W)
Dorward, David C., Edmonton-Gold Bar (PC),
Deputy Government Whip
Drysdale, Hon. Wayne, Grande Prairie-Wapiti (PC)
Eggen, David, Edmonton-Calder (ND),
New Democrat Opposition Whip
Fawcett, Hon. Kyle, Calgary-Klein (PC)
Fenske, Jacquie, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (PC)
Forsyth, Heather, Calgary-Fish Creek (W)
Fox, Rodney M., Lacombe-Ponoka (W)
Fraser, Hon. Rick, Calgary-South East (PC)
Fritz, Yvonne, Calgary-Cross (PC)
Goudreau, Hector G., Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley (PC)
Griffiths, Hon. Doug, Battle River-Wainwright (PC)
Hale, Jason W., Strathmore-Brooks (W)
Hancock, Hon. Dave, QC, Edmonton-Whitemud (PC),
Government House Leader
Hehr, Kent, Calgary-Buffalo (AL)
Horne, Hon. Fred, Edmonton-Rutherford (PC)
Horner, Hon. Doug, Spruce Grove-St. Albert (PC)
Hughes, Hon. Ken, Calgary-West (PC)
Jansen, Hon. Sandra, Calgary-North West (PC)
Jeneroux, Matt, Edmonton-South West (PC)
Johnson, Hon. Jeff, Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater (PC)
Johnson, Linda, Calgary-Glenmore (PC)
Kang, Darshan S., Calgary-McCall (AL),
Liberal Opposition Whip Kennedy-Glans, Donna, Calgary-Varsity (PC)
Khan, Stephen, St. Albert (PC)
Klimchuk, Hon. Heather, Edmonton-Glenora (PC)
Kubinec, Maureen, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (PC)
Lemke, Ken, Stony Plain (PC)
Leskiw, Genia, Bonnyville-Cold Lake (PC)
Luan, Jason, Calgary-Hawkwood (PC)
Lukaszuk, Hon. Thomas A., Edmonton-Castle Downs (PC)
Mason, Brian, Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood (ND),
Leader of the New Democrat Opposition
McAllister, Bruce, Chestermere-Rocky View (W)
McDonald, Everett, Grande Prairie-Smoky (PC)
McIver, Hon. Ric, Calgary-Hays (PC),
Deputy Government House Leader
McQueen, Hon. Diana, Drayton Valley-Devon (PC)
Notley, Rachel, Edmonton-Strathcona (ND),
New Democrat Opposition House Leader
Oberle, Hon. Frank, Peace River (PC)
Olesen, Cathy, Sherwood Park (PC)
Olson, Hon. Verlyn, QC, Wetaskiwin-Camrose (PC)
Pastoor, Bridget Brennan, Lethbridge-East (PC)
Pedersen, Blake, Medicine Hat (W)
Quadri, Sohail, Edmonton-Mill Woods (PC)
Quest, Dave, Strathcona-Sherwood Park (PC)
Redford, Hon. Alison M., QC, Calgary-Elbow (PC),
Premier
Rodney, Hon. Dave, Calgary-Lougheed (PC)
Rowe, Bruce, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (W)
Sandhu, Peter, Edmonton-Manning (Ind)
Sarich, Janice, Edmonton-Decore (PC)
Saskiw, Shayne, Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills (W),
Official Opposition Deputy House Leader
Scott, Hon. Donald, QC, Fort McMurray-Conklin (PC)
Sherman, Dr. Raj, Edmonton-Meadowlark (AL),
Leader of the Liberal Opposition
Smith, Danielle, Highwood (W),
Leader of the Official Opposition
Starke, Hon. Dr. Richard, Vermilion-Lloydminster (PC)
Stier, Pat, Livingstone-Macleod (W)
Strankman, Rick, Drumheller-Stettler (W)
Swann, Dr. David, Calgary-Mountain View (AL)
Towle, Kerry, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (W),
Official Opposition Deputy Whip
VanderBurg, Hon. George, Whitecourt-Ste. Anne (PC)
Weadick, Hon. Greg, Lethbridge-West (PC)
Webber, Len, Calgary-Foothills (PC)
Wilson, Jeff, Calgary-Shaw (W)
Woo-Paw, Hon. Teresa, Calgary-Northern Hills (PC)
Xiao, David H., Edmonton-McClung (PC)
Young, Steve, Edmonton-Riverview (PC),
Government Whip

Party standings:
Progressive Conservative: 59 Wildrose: 17 Alberta Liberal: 5 New Democrat:
4 Independent: 2

Officers and Officials of the Legislative Assembly

W.J. David McNeil, Clerk

Robert H. Reynolds, QC, Law Clerk/
Director of Interparliamentary Relations

Shannon Dean, Senior Parliamentary
Counsel/Director of House Services Stephanie LeBlanc, Parliamentary
Counsel
and Legal Research Officer

Fiona Vance, Sessional Parliamentary
Counsel

Nancy Robert, Research Officer Philip Massolin, Manager of Research
Services

Brian G. Hodgson, Sergeant-at-Arms

Chris Caughell, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms

Gordon H. Munk, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms

Janet Schwegel, Managing Editor of Alberta Hansard


Executive Council

Alison Redford Premier, President of Executive Council
Thomas Lukaszuk Deputy Premier, Minister of Enterprise and Advanced
Education,
Ministerial Liaison to the Canadian Forces

Manmeet Singh Bhullar Minister of Service Alberta
Robin Campbell Minister of Aboriginal Relations
Cal Dallas Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations
Jonathan Denis Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Wayne Drysdale Minister of Infrastructure
Kyle Fawcett Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction
for Southwest
Alberta
Rick Fraser Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction for
High River
Doug Griffiths Minister of Municipal Affairs
Dave Hancock Minister of Human Services
Fred Horne Minister of Health
Doug Horner President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
Ken Hughes Minister of Energy
Sandra Jansen Associate Minister of Family and Community Safety
Jeff Johnson Minister of Education
Heather Klimchuk Minister of Culture
Ric McIver Minister of Transportation
Diana McQueen Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development
Frank Oberle Associate Minister of Services for Persons with Disabilities
Verlyn Olson Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Dave Rodney Associate Minister of Wellness
Donald Scott Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and
Transformation
Richard Starke Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
George VanderBurg Associate Minister of Seniors
Greg Weadick Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction
for Southeast
Alberta
Teresa Woo-Paw Associate Minister of International and Intergovernmental
Relations


STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA

Standing Committee on
Alberta's Economic Future
Chair: Mr. Amery
Deputy Chair: Mr. Fox

Bhardwaj
Cao
Donovan
Dorward
Eggen
Hehr
Luan
McDonald Olesen
Pastoor
Quadri
Rogers
Rowe
Sarich
Strankman
Xiao Standing Committee on the
Alberta Heritage Savings
Trust Fund
Chair: Mr. Khan
Deputy Chair: Mrs. Jablonski

Anderson
Casey
Dorward
Eggen
Kubinec
Sandhu
Sherman Select Special Chief Electoral
Officer Search Committee
Chair: Mr. Rogers
Deputy Chair: Mr. Quadri

Blakeman
Eggen
Goudreau
Lemke Leskiw
McDonald
Saskiw Select Special Conflicts of
Interest Act Review
Committee
Chair: Vacant
Deputy Chair: Mr. Luan

Blakeman
Dorward
Fenske
Johnson, L.
McDonald Notley
Saskiw
Wilson
Young

Standing Committee on
Families and Communities
Chair: Mr. Quest
Deputy Chair: Mrs. Forsyth

Brown
Cusanelli
DeLong
Fraser
Fritz
Goudreau
Jablonski
Jansen Jeneroux
Leskiw
Notley
Pedersen
Swann
Towle
Wilson
Young Standing Committee on
Legislative Offices
Chair: Mr. Cao
Deputy Chair: Mr. McDonald

Bikman
Blakeman
Brown
DeLong
Eggen Leskiw
Quadri
Rogers
Wilson Special Standing Committee
on Members' Services
Chair: Mr. Zwozdesky
Deputy Chair: Mr. Rogers

Casey
Forsyth
Fraser
KennedyGlans
Mason
McDonald
Quest
Sherman
Smith Standing Committee on
Private Bills
Chair: Mr. Xiao
Deputy Chair: Ms L. Johnson

Barnes
Bhardwaj
Brown
Cusanelli
DeLong
Fox
Fritz
Goudreau Jablonski
Leskiw
Notley
Olesen
Rowe
Strankman
Swann
Webber

Standing Committee on
Privileges and Elections,
Standing Orders and
Printing
Chair: Ms Olesen
Deputy Chair: Mr. Lemke

Calahasen
Cao
Casey
Hehr
Jansen
Kennedy-Glans
Kubinec
Luan McAllister
Notley
Pedersen
Rogers
Sandhu
Saskiw
Towle
Young Standing Committee on
Public Accounts
Chair: Mr. Anderson
Deputy Chair: Mr. Dorward

Amery
Anglin
Bilous
Donovan
Fenske
Goudreau
Hale
Hehr Jeneroux
Khan
Pastoor
Quadri
Quest
Sarich
Stier
Vacant Standing Committee on
Resource Stewardship
Chair: Ms Kennedy-Glans
Deputy Chair: Mr. Anglin

Barnes
Bikman
Bilous
Blakeman
Calahasen
Casey
Fenske
Hale Johnson, L.
Khan
Kubinec
Lemke
Sandhu
Stier
Webber
Vacant


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2479

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Title: Monday, October 28, 2013 1:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m. Monday, October 28, 2013

[The Speaker in the chair]

head: Prayers

The Speaker: Hon. members, welcome back.
Let us pray. Holy Creator, as we begin the fourth sitting of the
First Session of the 28th Legislature, we thank You for guiding us
safely back to the sanctity of this Chamber. We also pray for Your
guidance in fulfilling our duties for the enduring benefit of all
Albertans. Let us be reminded that we have all pledged to faithfully
serve the citizens we humbly represent and to do it to the best of our
abilities and that we have also pledged to do it in a manner
respectful to each other and to those whom we serve. Amen.
Hon. members, as is our custom, we pay tribute on our first day
to members and former members of this Assembly who have
passed away since we last met.

Mr. Edwin Albert Oman
August 31, 1930, to September 19, 2013

The Speaker: Mr. Ed Oman served this Assembly as the Member
for Calgary-North Hill for two terms from 1979 to 1986. He
served on many boards and committees during his career,
including the Calgary Police Commission, the Calgary Exhibition
& Stampede Board, and the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities. He was also involved in various Calgary Olympic
initiatives. Mr. Oman earned a master of divinity degree and
subsequently served as minister of the covenant church for 17
years. For 13 of those years he was also director of the church
choir. His long public service as a pastor, Calgary city alderman,
and MLA demonstrated his commitment to making the world a
better place.
Unfortunately we were unable to confirm the attendance today
of anyone from Mr. Oman's family. However, our condolences
and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

Mr. Richard Arthur Miller
July 23, 1960, to October 26, 2013

The Speaker: It is also with sadness that I inform you that this
past Saturday Mr. Rick Miller passed away after a long illness.
Mr. Miller served as the Member for Edmonton-Rutherford from
2004 until 2008. He was very passionate about representing his
constituency and worked hard to ensure that he was available for
all Albertans. He was an active volunteer and worked in a longestablished
family business. He was a sports enthusiast but really
excelled as a master-rated hang glider. His personable character
made him a very popular choice amongst his colleagues here in
the Legislature as well as outside.
An additional tribute will be offered for Mr. Miller on
November 4, 2013, at the request of his family since none of them
were available to attend today given that they are at their heaviest
time of bereavement with the sudden passing of Mr. Miller on
Saturday past.

Mr. Paul Joseph Lorieau
June 29, 1942, to July 2, 2013

The Speaker: In addition, I wish to acknowledge the passing of
another important person who graced our Assembly with his presence on a
regular basis every Monday or every start-up day, as
the case may have required. Mr. Paul Joseph Lorieau, who led this
Assembly in the singing of O Canada, passed away on July 2,
2013, at the age of 71. Born in Legal, Alberta, he established a
successful optical business on the University of Alberta campus.
He was best known for his stirring renditions of the national
anthems at Edmonton Oilers hockey games, where he first sang
the national anthem to the crowd 30 years ago, and then in this
Chamber only 15 years ago, on January 27, 1998. From February
2000 until May of this year Mr. Lorieau began our sitting with a
very inspirational rendition of O Canada. He instilled great
patriotic pride in our Assembly, and his powerful tenor voice
reminded all members of the reason we serve in this Assembly, to
make this country and this province the best place we possibly
can. As you know, he sang his last O Canada at the all-party MLA
hockey game in Leduc just a few short months ago and joined us
also for the Speaker's Cup.
I had the great privilege of knowing him then and of remembering
him now along with his family members who are in the
gallery. They are standing now: Danielle Lorieau-Peruch,
daughter; Ilyan Peruch, son-in-law; Matteo Lorieau-Peruch, nineyear-old
grandson; Alexa Lorieau-Peruch, seven-year-old granddaughter;
Camille Lorieau, daughter; Jocelyne Lorieau, daughter;
Mark Georgetti, eight-year-old grandson; Lisa Lorieau, daughter;
Daniel Ferguson, son-in-law; Alyssa Anne Knoop, granddaughter;
Brianna Marie Knoop, granddaughter.
Hon. members, ladies and gentlemen, in a moment of silent
prayer I ask you to remember Mr. Oman, Mr. Miller, and Mr.
Lorieau as you may have known them. And as you reflect on this
special gift that Mr. Lorieau gave – and it's addressed and
personally autographed to all members of this Assembly – please
reflect deeply.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light
shine upon them forever. Amen.
Please remain standing for the singing of O Canada, led by our
very own Colleen Vogel, a member of our Legislative Assembly
staff.

Hon. Members:
O Canada, our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

The Speaker: Thank you very much, hon. members. Thank you,
Ms Vogel.
Please be seated.

head: Introduction of Visitors

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Aboriginal Relations.

Mr. Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to introduce to you
and through you to all members of the Assembly Treaty 8 First
Nations of Alberta Grand Chief Richard Kappo, who is seated in
your gallery. Grand Chief Kappo was first elected as chief of
Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in 2004 and was named grand chief of
Treaty 8 this summer. I can tell you that Grand Chief Kappo has
been a very strong advocate of not only Sturgeon Lake Cree
Nation but all Treaty 8 First Nations in Alberta. I've spent many


2480 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

days in Treaty 8 territory and last month, Mr. Speaker, visited
Tallcree, Little Red River, and Little Buffalo. Today in the House
I'm honoured to be wearing moccasins that were given to me by
an elder from Beaver Lake First Nation. I look forward to our
continued work and dialogue together with Grand Chief Kappo
and all Treaty 8 First Nations. I'd ask that Grand Chief Richard
Kappo rise and receive the traditional warm welcome of this
Assembly.

1:40 head: Introduction of Guests

The Speaker: Hon. members, we have a large number of guest
groups and individuals to be introduced. Please keep your
introductions as brief as possible. Let us begin with school groups.
The hon. Member for Edmonton-Gold Bar.

Mr. Dorward: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's indeed a pleasure for
me to rise and introduce to you and through you to all members of
the Assembly two groups of students above us and behind me.
Seated in the gallery are 30 grade 5/6 students along with their
teacher, Don Douglas, and assistants from Waverley school in
Kenilworth, who just completed a tour of the Legislature Building.
Also above us in the members' gallery are 35 grade 6 students
from my alma mater, Avonmore elementary school, accompanied
by their teacher, May Louise Moskuwich, and assistants who are
here today and all week at the School at the Legislature. If both of
these groups could please rise and receive the warm welcome of
the Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Airdrie.

Mr. Anderson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to introduce to
you and through you to all members of this Assembly roughly 50
grade 9 students from George McDougall high school in Airdrie, a
school that I attended back when it was still a junior high, in the
early 1990s. I'd like their teachers and parent assistants to stand as
their names are called: my good friend Mr. Scott Sharun, Mr.
Erick Fisk, Mrs. Linda Stadnyk, and Mrs. Kathy Ritcher. If all of
the students could please rise and receive the warm welcome of
this Assembly.

The Speaker: Are there other school groups?
If not, let us move on, then, to the hon. Minister of Municipal
Affairs.

Mr. Griffiths: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's an honour
for me today to rise and introduce to you and through you to all
members of this Assembly an individual whose leadership has
been instrumental in our response to the southern Alberta floods.
Mr. Colin Lloyd is the managing director of the Alberta
Emergency Management Agency. Colin has been at my side from
the very first day of the floods and every day since, providing
advice and guidance as we visited the flood-affected areas to
ensure that we made decisions that would benefit Albertans in the
near term and in the long term. He's here on behalf of his team,
that is still working very hard at this very moment helping
Albertans get back on their feet and rebuild their homes and their
lives. He's also here to represent the public service, some very
dedicated members that worked around the clock and continue to
do so to assist flood victims and help in our recovery efforts. I'd
ask Mr. Colin Lloyd to rise on behalf of himself and all of them to
receive the warm welcome and thank you of this Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Riverview. Mr. Young: Thank you,
Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to rise
today to introduce to you and through you to all members of the
Assembly a group from the Public School Boards' Association of
Alberta, Mary Lynne Campbell and Patty Dittrick. They are seated
in the members' gallery, and I would ask the guests to please rise
and receive the traditional warm welcome of the Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. leader of the Liberal opposition.

Dr. Sherman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to
introduce to you and through you to all members of this Assembly
three laboratory technologists: Joan Card, Shawna Gawreluck, and
Annette Tennison. I met with these three front-line health
professionals the other day to discuss the risks of privatizing
laboratory testing. The experience of previous privatization of
Alberta labs in the mid-90s compromised openness and accountability
and efficiency of lab testing; thus, at times putting patient
safety at risk. I would like to thank them for their service to
Albertans each and every day. I'd ask them to rise and receive the
traditional warm welcome of the Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.

Mr. Bilous: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to rise
today to introduce to you and through you my guests, who are
members of the Kids Not Cuts coalition. Kids Not Cuts is a
province-wide coalition of support staff working in our K to 12
education system. They represent staffing positions such as library
technicians, special-needs teaching assistants, aboriginal liaison
workers, facility operators, educational assistants, and custodians.
Members of the coalition who are here today include Mike Scott,
Don Boucher, Jody Carey, Gloria Lepine, Carol Chapman, Leanne
LaRocque, Lee-Ann Kalen, Rick Klimchuk, Wilma Ellenburgh,
Patricia Paulsen, Ishani Weera, Olav Rokne, and Ruth Shymka.
They're here because they're extremely concerned about what is
happening in our educational system as a result of last year's
spring budgets. Please join me in giving them the traditional warm
welcome of the Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Mill Woods.

Mr. Quadri: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Welcome back, everyone.
It's indeed my honour and pleasure to rise today to introduce to
you and to all members of this Assembly a very dear friend who is
visiting me from London, England, Andrea Lestar. I would ask her
to please rise and receive the warm traditional welcome of this
Assembly.

The Speaker: Hon. Member for Calgary-Fort, your guests will be
here after 2 p.m., I am told. We'll address them then.

Mr. Cao: They are here, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: They are here now? Please proceed, Calgary-Fort.

Mr. Cao: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased to
introduce to you and through you to all members of the Assembly
two distinguished gentlemen from our Calgary-Fort constituency,
Bob Gray and Gary Vegelis. Bob is president of our Calgary-Fort
PC Association and senator of the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of
Calgary. Formerly, Bob was also an RCMP officer, vice-president
of Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, and a
manager with the city of Calgary. Gary is the vice-president of our
Calgary-Fort PC Association and a former board member of the
Alberta Construction Safety Association. Both of these gentlemen
have contributed greatly to the constituency in many ways and


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2481

brighten our lives with their wonderful humour. It's thanks to the
leadership of these two gentlemen and the friendship of these two
persons that I have had the privilege of serving the constituency in
five elections so far.
Thank you.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain
House-Sundre.

Mr. Anglin: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's my pleasure to rise
today and introduce to you and through you to all members of the
Legislature the newly elected leader of the Alberta Party, Greg
Clark. Greg is deeply involved in his community and serves on
numerous boards and committees both locally and provincially. I
would also like to introduce to you Greg's assistant, Evan
Galbraith. I ask you both to please rise now and receive the warm
traditional welcome of this Assembly.

The Speaker: The hon. Associate Minister of Accountability,
Transparency and Transformation.

Mr. Scott: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased
to introduce to you and through you two very good friends of
mine, Sharon and Peter Clarkson, former residents of Fort
McMurray. Sharon is a very active community member. She was
a school board trustee and a municipal councillor. Peter is a very
active volunteer, and he's an amateur sports coach. Peter and
Sharon are seated in the members' gallery, and I'd like them to
rise and for all members to give them the traditional warm
welcome of the House.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Strathcona.

Ms Notley: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to introduce to
you and through you to all Members of the Legislative Assembly
Guy Smith, the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial
Employees. The AUPE represents over 80,000 workers in Alberta,
and their members have been on the front lines of this government's
broken promises for better health care, for supports for the
vulnerable in places like Michener Centre, and for stable,
predictable funding for our schools and our universities. I would
ask that Mr. Smith rise and receive the traditional warm welcome
of this Assembly.

The Speaker: Hon. members, we still have three more
introductions to do, and we'll have to hold that for a moment
because the clock dictates that we shall start Oral Question Period
momentarily.The hon. Government House Leader.

Mr. Hancock: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given it's the first day
back, I wonder if I might ask for unanimous consent of the House
to extend the Routine to continue introductions and Ministerial
Statements and then to extend past 3 p.m. so that we can complete
the Routine.

The Speaker: Hon. members, the request is in order. It requires
unanimous consent, in which case we would finish off three more
introductions briefly and proceed on with Ministerial Statements.

[Unanimous consent granted]

The Speaker: Hearing no objections, let us continue, then, with
the hon. Member for Chestermere-Rocky View with your introduction.
Mr. McAllister: Mr. Speaker, thank you. I'm happy to rise today
and introduce to you and through you to all members of the
Assembly – and I would like to ask them to rise as I introduce
them – four students at the University of Alberta. They are
Michael Stuart, Mark Jacka, Jeremy Gray, and Ross Hamilton.
While working toward their various degrees, they're also taking
the time to get involved in politics and the issues that matter to
Albertans. They are members of the Wildrose campus club at the
U of A. I know that regardless of our political stripes in here, we'll
be thrilled to see young people taking the initiative to get involved
in things that matter to Albertans. I would ask you all to join me in
giving them the traditional welcome of this Assembly.

1:50
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Mountain View.

Dr. Swann: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. A pleasure to
introduce to you and through you to all members of the Assembly
Agnieszka Frankiw and Keith Banner. Agnieszka is a laboratory
technologist in Edmonton; Keith Banner a concerned citizen. Both
want to see the province avoid a repeat of the costly and
destructive privatization of health care laboratory services in
Edmonton. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm
welcome of the Legislature.

The Speaker: Hon. Member for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, your
guests are not here yet? Thank you.

head: Ministerial Statements

The Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Flood in Southern Alberta

Ms Redford: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we begin the fall
session today, it's my privilege to rise to update Albertans on the
work that their government is doing to help communities recover
and rebuild. Only four months ago Alberta endured the worst
natural disaster to ever hit our province. Tens of thousands of
Albertans in dozens of communities were deeply affected,
including four people who lost their lives. Critical pieces of public
infrastructure, including hospitals, bridges, schools, highways, and
roads, were damaged, and thousands of homes and businesses
were damaged or completely destroyed.
But if anything matched the fury of the waters, it was the
courage and the compassion of Albertans themselves. The people
of this province responded in an incredible fashion by opening
their homes, their hearts, and their wallets to each other: friends,
neighbours, and strangers, Mr. Speaker. They showed the world
what Albertans are made of. In the face of flood waters they were
resilient.Within the first hours of the rainfall we mobilized the
government's
full capabilities to help, and I'm tremendously proud of
how fast we were able to move in getting assistance to those in
need. Within four days of the flood we allocated $1 million in
relief funding. Nearly $170 million in preliminary assistance has
gone to municipalities and to First Nations to allow them to begin
rebuilding. Seventy million dollars in immediate aid went to over
40,000 people forced from their homes, and we are providing
temporary housing to 1,300 Albertans who can't yet return.
Almost a thousand kilometres of provincial roads were washed
out or damaged. Fully 87 per cent have been reopened, Mr.
Speaker. All health facilities and services displaced by the
flooding have been restored. While more than 80 schools were
shut down, all but three opened their doors in time to start the


2482 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

school year. Schools matter to families. Temporary classrooms are
in place, and they're in the process of opening for the 950 students
at those three schools. Our government has also opened dedicated
disaster recovery offices in southern Alberta, helping victims to
get their claims processed quickly so that they can make decisions,
have information, and rebuild.
We've held dozens of information sessions in flood-stricken
neighbourhoods so that Albertans can understand what they're
eligible for, and government employees have been going door to
door to make sure that people are aware of the supports that are
available. Total costs arising from the floods, including those to
insurance and the government, will be more than $6 billion. The
federal government is working closely with us, and Ottawa will be
covering some of those disaster recovery expenses with us.
I know that there are families that are making decisions about
their future. I know that not everyone is through the disaster
recovery application process, but our government is moving as
fast as we possibly can on the biggest disaster recovery program
that Alberta has ever seen. We will continue to be there for
families and for communities, as I've said from day one, Mr.
Speaker, and we will continue to be responsible to taxpayers to
make sure that the dollars that we do spend are being spent
properly.We're working hard to prepare for the next disaster by
developing layers of readiness that are focused on people, the
environment, reconstruction, and the economy, and we will
introduce legislation in this sitting to ensure that Albertans and our
communities are safer than ever from floods. Additionally, we
expect to announce major erosion control programs on vulnerable
rivers. We've hired two engineering firms to assess proposals for
flood mitigation and to identify the best options. When we get the
answers we need, we will be acting.
Protecting Albertans is our highest priority, and the lessons that
we learned from the floods will ensure that we're able to help
Albertans keep their property and their homes safe. Healing will
take years. Much work remains. Our government will be there
with communities and with families every step of the way.
Physical rebuilding, health rebuilding, a commitment to mental
health response: that's what matters to us because it matters to
Albertans.I want to make it clear that our leadership for this recovery
effort will not deter us from building and rebuilding Alberta for
every Albertan. We will meet the challenges that come from
explosive growth head-on, from infrastructure investment to
market access to growing our savings for the future. We've
created a building Alberta plan that will address these challenges,
and we will meet that plan, Mr. Speaker. Quite simply, Albertans'
quality of life demands nothing less. [applause]

The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Official Opposition.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Premier, for that
statement. There is no doubt that serious questions remain about
how the flood response was handled and what we can do better in
the future, but now is not the time for that. Now is a time for
recognition and a time for mourning, a time to recognize the
incredible efforts that we witnessed from first responders, public
servants, service groups, and volunteers. In the immediate
aftermath of the floods we saw true heroism unfold in how police,
fire, and paramedic services got Albertans out of harm's way.
In the days and weeks that followed, Alberta's true character
shone brighter than ever before. The Mission Possible teams
deployed thousands of volunteers into our neighbourhoods, including 16,000
into High River alone, mucking out basements
and helping families clean up. Local officials worked tirelessly to
rebuild roads, sewage canals, and stormwater areas; Mormon
Helping Hands with 8,500 volunteers; Samaritan's Purse with
thousands more; Siksika pet rescuers; little girls selling lemonade
on the their front lawns to raise money to give to Red Cross.
I'd also like to recognize the Red Cross for their work giving
comfort at the evacuation centres, and I'd like to thank Human
Services ministry staff for giving compassionate and timely
support to flood victims when they needed it most. Alberta
stepped up in a way we had never seen, each example affirming to
the rest of the country and the rest of the world the excellence of
our people and the resiliency of our spirit.
But it's also a time to mourn. Five Albertans lost their lives in
the June floods. Let me tell you about three of them. Jacqui
Brocklebank was 33. She had cerebral palsy and died after taking
a cab to a friend's house to warn her about the flood. That was just
down the street from my house. Amber Rancourt was 35. She died
after being swept away by rushing flood waters while her husband
attempted to get their horse to safety. Rob Nelson was 42. He died
from injuries sustained when his ATV rolled over while he was
checking his neighbours' homes for flood damage. Two others, an
83-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man, also died. While we
celebrate the tales of bravery and heroism and while we embark
on a rebuilding process that will take years, let us never forget
those who perished and the broken family members and loved
ones that they left behind.
While devastating and tragic, I believe that the 2013 floods will
ultimately be remembered as a moment in time where Albertans
showed the world who we are. We are compassionate, we are
courageous, and we are confident that our best days, despite this
terrible tragedy, are still ahead.
Thank you.

2:00
The Speaker: Hon. members, I'm going to anticipate that the
House leader from the Liberal side wishes to seek unanimous
consent for their caucus to provide a brief statement. Am I
anticipating correctly?

Ms Blakeman: You indeed are.

The Speaker: I expect the same is being motioned my way by the
leader of the New Democratic opposition.
So let me ask one question, unanimous consent being required.
Does anyone object to allowing comments to be made on this
important subject from the Liberal caucus and from the New
Democratic caucus? If so, please say so now.

[Unanimous consent granted]

The Speaker: Hearing no objection, let us proceed, with the
Liberal caucus starting. The hon. leader.

Dr. Sherman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to
respond to the Premier. We had one of the most devastating
disasters in this country's history, and the true character of the
people of this province and the people of this country shone
through as neighbour helped neighbour in need. It took everyone's
effort in this province to get through this very difficult time, and I
was amazed at how that parade in Calgary went on. When the
going got tough, Albertans got going.
Mr. Speaker, I'm going to start by doing something that doesn't
happen often enough in the House. I'm going to give the
government credit for doing a good job. The government's


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2483

emergency response in the immediate aftermath of the flood was
very good. I'm happy to give the government credit for that. The
emergency plan was solid and executed well, and Albertans got
back to their lives regularly. Please, everyone, give the government
credit for this.
Mr. Speaker, one reason it's so rare for opposition leaders and
MLAs to give the government credit for doing a good job is
because it doesn't happen nearly enough in this province. Too
often the government falls down on the job and fails Albertans,
and a prime example of this comes in the area of flood mitigation.
The flood in June wasn't the first disaster of its kind in Alberta.
We all remember the devastating floods of 2005, and certainly
there have been other floods in the province's history. Given this,
one might think the government would have taken steps to
mitigate future flooding after 2005, but of course we know they
did not. This government completely failed in its duty to protect
the province from future flooding, even leaving millions and
millions of federal dollars on the table.
While the initial response to the flood was excellent, I can't
help but think that the damage caused by the flood was worse than
it needed to be. Given this government's record when it comes to
broken promises, secret dealings, and mismanagement, I have
serious concerns about what we will see moving forward when it
comes to the vital work of flood recovery and reconstruction. I
look forward to working with the government to get this done
right.Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: The hon. leader of the New Democratic opposition.

Mr. Mason: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of
myself and the entire NDP caucus I offer my sincere condolences
to all of those affected by June's flooding. In the immediate days
following the flooding, Albertans came together to help one
another alongside our hard-working first responders and service
providers. It was inspiring for all Albertans and especially
comforting for those in southern Alberta, and we commend all of
those hard-working Albertans for their generosity of spirit and
outstanding, ongoing efforts. I am so impressed and so proud to be
an Albertan. I witnessed the very same spirit after the Slave Lake
fire, and I know that Albertans in times of need do come together
and help.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the planning to mitigate the flood
damage fell short. The government ignored its own report
following the 2006 floods, and they did not apply for federal
funding for flood mitigation. It isn't fair to ask Albertans to pay
for the negligence of this government; nevertheless, Albertans are
on the hook for billions of dollars. When I was in High River, I
met small-business owners who had lost their life's work and
renters with nowhere to go.
We must do better to make sure that our response now and our
planning for the future take these people into account. Albertans
need a comprehensive strategy to help them plan for their homes,
families, and businesses in the event of other disasters. The NDP
opposition will give its support for government measures to
accomplish this goal.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

head: Statement by the Speaker

Oral Question Period and
Members' Statements Speaker Rotation

The Speaker: Hon. members, before we proceed with the Routine
and question period, I would like to make a brief statement about the
rotation of oral questions and members' statements. This
statement is further to my recent memorandum dated and sent to
each of you on October 18 of this year, which included the
projected sitting days calendar for the fall sitting.
As you are all well aware, there have been changes to caucus
membership over the last number of months, and the Member for
Edmonton-Manning and the Member for Fort McMurray-Wood
Buffalo are both now sitting as independent members. Although
the first change occurred on May 14, when the Assembly was in
fact sitting, this was only one day prior to the House concluding
the spring sitting, so there was little or no opportunity to make a
statement regarding the rotation at that time.
At the outset, however, I would like to point out to all members
that the change in caucus membership will not alter the rotation of
questions for today or tomorrow, which, as indicated on the
calendar, are so-called days 2 and 3 of the rotation sequence.
In reviewing the rotation for question period, I noted that the
current House standings are somewhat similar to those that existed
in both February 2011 and February 2012, where there was one
independent member and one member of the Alberta Party. It is
my view that the current rotation should parallel these circumstances,
which would result in each independent member having
one question every four days. Accordingly, the Member for
Edmonton-Manning will be entitled to a question this Wednesday,
should he wish to take it, since that will be day 4, and the Member
for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo will be entitled to a question
this coming Thursday, should he wish to take it, since that will be
day 1.
In other words, given that today is day 2 in the rotation, this
means that one independent member will have a question on day 4
and the second independent member will have a question on day
1, which follows day 4. As was the case in 2011 and 2012, the
independent members will be entitled to the sixth question slot on
each of these days, a slot which occurs after all four caucuses have
had the opportunity to ask at least one question during slots 1, 2,
3, 4, 5.
With respect to the rotation for members' statements, this has
also been modified to provide for one statement for each
independent member every two weeks. This was reflected on the
projected sitting days calendar that I sent you last week.
Hon. members, we're off to a very good start with some
wonderful statements. Let's see if we can continue on that high
level and that high plane.

head: Oral Question Period

The Speaker: Hon. member, question period has been called. Did
you have some urgent matter?

Ms Blakeman: I did, but I guess you didn't see me before
question period was called. I'll just send it in written form for you.

The Speaker: Okay. Let us proceed with the hon. Leader of her
Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Health Care Wait Times

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, today the Fraser Institute issued its latest
report on health care wait times across Canada. Despite spending
more than $17 billion, the total time a patient waits for health care
is now at an all-time high in Alberta. From the time their family
doctor recommends treatment to when they actually get a
procedure, Albertans have never waited longer. It is a scathing
indictment of the government and its failure to put patients first.


2484 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

To the Premier: when will her government start providing timely
access to health care for Albertans?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am so proud of the work that
our Health minister has done this summer with respect to
managing health care. This is a minister who has secured a sevenyear
deal for sustainable health care spending with doctors, he's
lowered the cost of generic drugs so that Albertans can get access
to medication, and he's driven the need for change at Alberta
Health Services, bringing our vice-presidents from 75 down to 10.
We will continue to ensure that we are providing effective health
care for Albertans in a timely fashion, the best health care in the
country.

Ms Smith: Maybe the Premier didn't hear the question. Waits
have never been longer, and the fact remains that far too many
Albertans are waiting far too long for health care. According to
the report, over the past three years this government has made no
progress on cutting wait times for how long it takes patients to get
in to see a specialist. In fact, last year alone this one measure
increased 24 per cent. To the Premier: when will her government
give Albertans timely access to the health care they need when
they need it?

2:10
Mr. Horne: Well, Mr. Speaker, our government uses the
Canadian Institute for Health Information, the nationally
recognized measurement body for health care system performance
in this country, to analyze our own wait times and to benchmark
ourselves against others. I'm not sure where the hon. member is
getting her information, but I'm very happy to tell the House that
we've achieved a 9 per cent reduction in hip surgery wait times, a
16 per cent reduction in knee replacement wait times, 22 per cent
lower wait times in cataract surgery, 10 per cent in bypass, and as
of last week we've taken the waiting time for cornea transplants in
this province from three years to three months.

Ms Smith: I'll table the report, Mr. Speaker, but they're not even
meeting their own wait time targets. Our Wildrose wait time
guarantee offers an affordable and practical approach to cut wait
times across the board within a publicly funded health care
system, and it would do so by increasing the number of patients
who can access the out-of-province fund. [interjections] Will the
Premier commit today to showing that she cares about the long
delays faced by Alberta patients and implement our wait time
guarantee?

Mr. Horne: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's very interesting that the
Official Opposition would present itself as a government whose
answer to reducing wait times in our vastly growing province is to
export health care to other jurisdictions. [interjections] That's not
what this government stands for. This government recognizes that
we are the province with the best funded public health care system
in the country. In fact, we exceed many developed countries in
terms of our per capita funding. We have measurable success in
many areas, and we continue to deliver quality health care and to
support front-line workers in their efforts to reduce wait times.

The Speaker: No interjections, please. That's the only warning
I'll give.
The hon. Member for Highwood, Leader of the Official
Opposition. Flood Recovery Contracts

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, we're going to have a lot of questions
about the flood for the Premier over the next several weeks, and I
have three to start with that have had the most impact on those
dealing with the flood. Hundreds of students are waiting for
portables because the government awarded a sole source $19
million contract to a company called Enzo Developments and they
haven't met a single one of their deadlines to deliver. How is it
that a company that has never built school portables was handed
this contract, and is the Premier happy with their performance?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, as I said in my statement earlier,
there are some incredible challenges that we face as a province,
and I think all leaders in this House stood up and talked about the
fact that we had to make and did make exceptional decisions to
ensure that we could enhance people's quality of life and give
them certainty. I want to congratulate our Minister of Education
for the hard work that he and his department did over the summer.
As we said, there were over 80 schools that were impacted, and
only three didn't open, because we took bold decisions. So I
congratulate the minister on that. I'm pleased to know that
students will be getting back into schools tomorrow in High River,
and that's good news.

Ms Smith: I can see the Premier doesn't want to defend that
contract, so how about this one? The government awarded
another, larger $45 million sole source contract to a company
called Tervita to help the town clean up flooded public areas but
also to do some work on High River homes. In the process dozens
of other companies that could have also helped speed up the
recovery process were shut out of the work. Can the Premier tell
us: how is it that Tervita was selected to do this work alone, and is
she happy with their performance?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, in the first few weeks of the disaster
we knew we had to make a lot of very immediate decisions, and
we dealt with the situation as best we could. Some of the decisions
were based on limited information, but we tried to make sure that
we made quick decisions and that we had companies in place to
help with clean up and such like that. Tervita demonstrated in our
quick analysis the most capacity, the best background. It was very
evident, clearly, at the Calgary Stampede the incredible work that
they did to clean that up in such short order, and that's why they
were awarded the contract.

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, I think we're seeing a pattern here. This
government has also awarded a sole source contract for the
administration of disaster recovery payouts to a company called
LandLink. This contract has itself been a disaster. KPMG found
all sorts of deficiencies in their handling of the disaster recovery
program for the 2010 Medicine Hat floods. Many of those victims
still have not had their claims dealt with. Can the Premier tell us
why LandLink still has this contract, or is she happy with their
performance?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, LandLink has had that contract for 17
years. They've delivered some exceptional services to Albertans,
and every time we find ourselves in a disaster where LandLink has
provided those services, we do an evaluation so that we and
LandLink and every other municipality can work on providing
better services to the people that they serve. They continue to
improve. But the point to note about every one of those contacts is
that this was the most unprecedented disaster we have ever seen


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2485

and the largest in Canadian history. We're bound to make a couple
of mistakes, but the fact that we have responded so quickly and so
soundly to so many Albertans in 30 communities means that
we've done an exceptional job.

The Speaker: Hon. members, it was refreshing to hear three good
questions with three good answers without interjection. Thank
you. Keep it up.
Let me move on. Third main set of questions. The hon. Leader
of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Provincial Debt

Ms Smith: In Medicine Hat earlier this month the Premier said
this about debt: it's not debt; it's hope. So let's take some of the
Premier's other quotes and sub in hope for debt to see if that
sentence makes sense. First: Alberta does not have hope, and we
will not incur hope. Then there's this: we cannot come out of the
current fiscal situation with hope. And a PC campaign ad:
Albertans want to know that we're not going to have hope. To the
Premier: if debt is hope, when can we once again expect to be
hope free?

Ms Redford: You know what, Mr. Speaker? There are incredibly
important issues that we need to talk about in this House, and it's
a shame that the opposition won't take them seriously. I stand by
what I said. What we build in Alberta by putting in place infrastructure
is schools and roads and health care facilities that matter
to the quality of life for Albertans. We have a plan to build
Alberta, to rebuild Alberta. We are committed to that, and that is
what matters to Albertans, not this.

Ms Smith: The Premier saw it was so ridiculous. She has since
changed her tune a bit, now saying, and I quote: we don't have
debt in this province; we have infrastructure in this province.
Well, Alberta was debt free for nearly 10 years, and in that time
capital spending hit record levels. If debt is now infrastructure
instead of hope, how does the Premier explain all those schools
and hospitals and roads that were built when Alberta didn't have a
penny of outstanding debt?

Ms Redford: You know, Mr. Speaker, this is an exciting year for
Alberta. You will have heard that we are over 4 million people
now. The one thing that Albertans told us in the last election was
to keep building infrastructure. The opposition can go back to the
days where they talk about infrastructure being built and no debt,
but you know, we had an infrastructure deficit. We didn't have
enough schools. We didn't have enough hospitals. We weren't
investing in communities, and that's what we're doing today.

Ms Smith: While the Premier's team struggles to come up with
new metaphors for debt, here are the cold, hard facts. We will
have at least $17 billion worth of debt by the time of the next
election. At the current repayment rate it will take more than 80
years to pay back all of that debt, and in that time Albertans are
going to have to pay $25 billion in interest payments just to keep
the creditors off our backs. Will the Premier stop the spin, look
Albertans square in the eye, and just admit it? Debt is debt.

The Speaker: The hon. President of Treasury Board.

Mr. Horner: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's nice to see that
nothing has changed in their policy on that basis. There are a
number of other policies that have changed, but that one hasn't. It's
interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the sophistication of the
financial analysis that's over there doesn't match any of the
sophistication of the Albertans that I saw and talked to around this
province in 14 open houses this year, where I asked them the
question: should we be borrowing for the life of the assets for your
school, for your hospital, and your road? The resounding answer:
yes; build it.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Meadowlark,
leader of the Liberal opposition, followed by EdmontonHighlands-Norwood.


2:20 Minister of Municipal Affairs

Dr. Sherman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Toronto, Montreal,
Vancouver: all three have big-city charters which give them the
autonomy and powers they need to meet their unique challenges.
Meanwhile Edmonton and Calgary do not. Municipal elections
have just been held, and I'm reminded of the fact that the
Municipal Affairs minister has not met his commitment to get
these charters done. To the Premier: are you satisfied with the fact
that your minister has failed to keep this important promise?

Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, it was wonderful on Saturday morning
in this building to sit down with Mayor Iveson and Mayor Nenshi
to talk about the importance of building our cities. In fact, one of
the things we talked about – I'm surprised the hon. member didn't
see it in the news – is the fact that both mayors are very excited
that we are very close to completing those charters. In fact, one of
the things that Mayor Iveson asked for – and I just spoke to him
today at the chamber of commerce – was some time to work with
his new, young council to make sure that we're ready to proceed
with the charters. We're very excited about that, and we're glad to
have kept the commitment.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Dr. Sherman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the Premier: given
that the minister called the mayor of Calgary a puffed-up peacock
and dismissed millions of Edmontonians and Calgarians as lattesipping
condo dwellers, aren't you at least a little bit concerned
that your Minister of Municipal Affairs doesn't seem to be very
fond of the majority of Albertans that he's supposed to be
helping?

Ms Redford: Wow, Mr. Speaker. I've got to tell you: I don't
know where this member has been for the past six months, but
I've seen a Minister of Municipal Affairs and emergency response
who has demonstrated very clearly how much he cares about
Albertans, and he has demonstrated that in Calgary, in High River,
in Medicine Hat, in Fort McMurray, and also in a lot of areas that
perhaps were not impacted by flood. We know that every single
Albertan matters. We know that we can work with municipal
councils and large cities to get this done, and we will.

Dr. Sherman: Mr. Speaker, “wow” is what we said when he
called them latte-sipping condo dwellers in the big cities and when
he referred to the mayor of Calgary with those derogatory terms.
To the Premier: given that the mayor of Calgary has expressed a
very low opinion of how your minister is handling big-city
charters and given that columnists of the Calgary Herald have
called for that same minister to be assigned a new portfolio, will
you finally admit that he is not fit for the job?


2486 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it's going to be a surprise
to anyone in Alberta that the columnists at the Calgary Herald
probably are not the people that I listen to for advice for this
government. I listen to the people of Alberta, who 18 months ago
elected this government to manage the important affairs of the
province. I'll tell you that on Saturday morning, even well before I
had the opportunity to sit down with both mayors, Mayor Nenshi
and I travelled together at 6 o'clock in the morning from Calgary.
We had a very good talk with respect to how we will work
together, how mayors and the municipal government minister will
work together, and it's going to be fine.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-HighlandsNorwood,
the leader of the New Democrat opposition.

Flood Mitigation

Mr. Mason: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Tragically, after
the floods this June, Albertans now know what it takes to get this
PC government to act, a natural disaster that's projected to cost
billions of dollars. They not only ignored the advice of their own
report following the floods in 2006, but they didn't even bother to
apply for millions in federal funding that would have covered
some of the costs of flood mitigation. My question is to the
Premier. Why not?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, it's a misnomer to suggest that we
didn't follow the recommendations of the Groeneveld flood
mitigation report. In fact, all of the recommendations were
implemented or a majority followed except for two. We're going
to be tabling legislation to deal with those. We spent $82 million
in the last few years, helping with mitigation. In fact, we have
several communities that said that that investment that the
province made in partnership with municipalities helped save their
communities. The fact is that that program was opened up at the
very last minute to other jurisdictions like Alberta, and we weren't
prepared to meet the criteria of that program, but I just met with
the federal minister in the last couple of months, and we're
continuing to advocate for a national disaster mitigation program
so that we can serve Alberta's communities.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mr. Mason: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. While there were
short timelines involved in that getting that money, Alberta was
the only one that didn't get it.
This government's own report on the 2006 flood was only
released this year. Just one of its common-sense recommendations
was that the province prohibit development on flood plains, but
the government failed to take action on this obvious measure and
put thousands of Albertan homes and families at risk. To the
Premier: why?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that when I became
minister, the Premier and I discussed the report and released it as
soon as we were aware that it hadn't been released so that all
Albertans could see it. We did discuss – and it happened to
coincide with this flood event – the two recommendations dealing
with preventing development in the floodway. As I said, I don't
want to pre-empt the discussion that's going to happen today or
the legislation that I'm going to introduce, so the member should
just wait a little bit longer, and he'll be happy.

The Speaker: The hon. member. Mr. Mason: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker.
Well, the Premier is
taking a page from the Prime Minister on how to answer
questions.This government didn't implement recommendations to provide
up-to-date flood maps and a registry so that potential homebuyers
could avoid risking catastrophic loss. To the Premier: why not?

Mr. Griffiths: In fact, Mr. Speaker, we have implemented that
recommendation. I'm sure that the Minister of Environment and
Sustainable Resource Development may want to supplement, but
we've worked with municipalities to update that information. The
fact is that most of those maps are incredibly accurate. The
floodways and the flood fringes in those zones don't change year
to year. They change after substantial events like we saw in High
River. We're updating our maps as we proceed.

The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon. members, that concludes the leaders asking their
questions. We're now going to proceed with question 6. I would
remind you of the ruling I made earlier, and that was that the issue
of supplementary questions is a good one. We all know that there
should be no preamble that precedes them. I'll be clamping down
on that starting today, and you are hereby reminded to review your
questions, those of you who have questions coming up, to try and
follow suit. We will allow a little bit of it, but I don't want it to get
carried away. I have almost 20 people on the speaking roster who
have questions, all of them just as important as your own.
Let's go. Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills.

Ethics Investigations

Mr. Saskiw: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Albertans can't trust this
PC government after scandal upon scandal. Instead of beefing up
legislation to keep MLAs in line, PC MLAs are more interested in
protecting the government family. They brush off disturbing
rulings by the Ethics Commissioner that absolve PC MLAs of
fundamentally unethical conduct. Can the current chair of the
Conflicts of Interest Act committee, the Member for Fort
McMurray-Wood Buffalo, who's in charge of ethics, let us know
if the replacement of the Ethics Commissioner is on the
committee's agenda?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think . . .

Mr. Saskiw: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Ms Redford: I think, Mr. Speaker, that it's going to be very
important for the committee work of this House to happen. One of
the things that I find rather ironic is that we seem to be in this
political era that whenever the opposition likes the Ethics
Commissioner's decision, they support the Ethics Commissioner.
Whenever they don't like the Ethics Commissioner's decision,
they don't support him. Some inconsistency, perhaps not a
surprise from the opposition. No doubt the work of this House will
continue. Important committee work will happen. I'm sure that the
minister will be very happy to answer the question in the supplemental.


The Speaker: Hon. member, your point of order has been noted at
2:27.

Mr. Saskiw: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that the Premier is
currently under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner, can
someone from the government please give Albertans an answer as
to why PC MLAs voted to maintain the Alberta-only gag order


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2487

that restricts us as MLAs from asking questions in question period
about the Premier's ongoing ethics investigation. What does she
have to hide?

The Speaker: Hon. members, I think I've commented on this
before. Hon. Government House Leader, if you wish to, answer
the question. You're certainly not obliged to because there is an
investigation that was referred to. That investigation is under way.
So I'll leave it to your discretion.

Mr. Hancock: Well, Mr. Speaker, rather than raising a point of
order, I was simply going to answer the question by saying that
that hon. member should know, particularly as he is a deputy
House leader who was looking for more resources to fund him in
that position, that it's entirely inappropriate to ask a question in
the House about the activity of a committee of the House.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mr. Saskiw: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that an MLA has
been found to be in direct violation of the Conflicts of Interest Act
legislation six times and lobbied on an issue that would benefit
him personally, is it not clear that this piece of junk ethics
legislation only serves to protect the Premier and her own MLAs?

The Speaker: Hon. Government House Leader, if you wish to
comment. I may have a comment after this.

Mr. Hancock: Mr. Speaker, what this hon. member ought to
know and realize is that the Ethics Commissioner is an officer of
the Assembly, and when there are issues with respect to the
Conflicts of Interest Act, this officer of the Legislative Assembly
does an appropriate investigation, comes to conclusions, and
makes recommendations with respect to carrying out those
conclusions. That's exactly what happened with respect to this
case in the report that I assume you will table today. It's not in the
mouths of us as legislators to come back at the end of the day and
say that the Ethics Commissioner should be overruled in his
determination. That's why we have independent officers of the
Legislature.

The Speaker: Thank you.

Speaker's Ruling
Parliamentary Language

The Speaker: Hon. members, let me just remind you of a little
peace, order, decorum, and respect not only for ourselves but also
for the laws that govern this province. I just don't find it
appropriate to refer to a piece of legislation that has come before
this Assembly, been debated, as a piece of junk.

2:30
Mr. Saskiw: We can't question legislation?

The Speaker: Hon. member, please. I have the floor. I didn't
interrupt you, and I don't expect you to interrupt me. Am I clear?
Am I clear, sir? Yes? Thank you.
Now, please be reminded that there are legislative pieces that
come before you. There are motions, there are bills that each one
of you as members brings forward, and none of them are to be
considered or referred to as a piece of junk. I will not tolerate that.
So clean up your act, hon. member. Clean up your act, hon.
member, or we will deal with the consequences of your not doing
so. I'm not in a good mood on this point just now, as you can
probably tell. Hon. Member for Airdrie, you rose on a point of order at
2:32,
and it has been noted.
Let us move on. Calgary-Glenmore.

Government Policies

Ms L. Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While the party across
the way was busy this weekend revisiting issues the rest of the
world decided 25 years ago, Premier, you had a busy week
focusing on the issues that matter to Albertans. Can you update us
on what else was accomplished in your meeting with the mayors
of Calgary and Edmonton?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, it was a very important meeting
because, of course, we see a new mayor in Edmonton, and there's
a real buzz in Edmonton right now about Mayor Iveson and some
of the very exciting work that we're going to be able to do
together with respect to building community. There's no doubt
that as we move forward and we take a look at things such as
public transit, ring roads, infrastructure, partnerships on social
policy issues, the social policy framework, this will be very
important.In addition to that, I am very excited to talk to both mayors
about working on trade missions together to make sure that we're
telling Alberta's story and continuing to open new markets, Mr.
Speaker.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Ms L. Johnson: Thank you. Premier, you were also focusing on
building for the future and announced the tentative agreement on
the Calgary ring road. What does this agreement mean for all of
Alberta?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, when I was a community
volunteer living in Lakeview, I remember sitting with people
talking about the dream of having a highway that would allow
traffic to travel from northern Alberta to southern Alberta with no
traffic lights and no interruptions. Of course, the ring roads that
have been put in place are an important part of that.
When I ran in 2008, Mr. Speaker, I made a commitment to my
constituents that we would pursue the ring road and try to get it
done. The southwest ring road in Calgary: the agreement with
Tsuu T'ina allows us to complete the Calgary ring road. We're
completing the Edmonton ring road. That's infrastructure that
matters to the future of this province.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Ms L. Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As well, this week
Premier Wynne has pledged her support to you and our
government on the Canadian energy strategy. Can you outline the
impact on Alberta?

Ms Redford: Well, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity on Friday
morning to meet with Premier Wynne, and we talked about a
number of issues. But as soon as we sat down, the first thing that
she talked about was the importance of the Canadian energy
strategy because it allows us all as Canadians to understand and
talk about how we benefit from Alberta's incredible economic
growth.The second thing she said, Mr. Speaker, is that by understanding
a Canadian energy strategy, it makes it easy for her to
talk to people in Ontario about why the Energy East pipeline


2488 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

matters. She's committed to it. That's good for Alberta, Ontario,
and Canada.

The Speaker: Thank you.
The hon. Member for Chestermere-Rocky View, followed by
Edmonton-McClung.

Mr. McAllister: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll try and strike a
balance in between the last two presenters.

School Construction

Mr. McAllister: You know, I might be partial, but to me one of
the most important things that government can do is build schools
for our kids, and that's why it's so troubling to hear today that the
province is not going to deliver on a promise to build 19 schools
within three years because of a contract agreement. Now, let's
remember that the government already reneged on the election
promise to build 50 and renovate 70 during this term. We are in
desperate need of schools for our kids. To the Minister of
Infrastructure: how in the world did this happen, and can
government not find a way to prioritize the building of schools?

Mr. Drysdale: Mr. Speaker, our government knows how important
it is to build schools for our children and for our families in
this province. It's very important, and we will deliver on these
promises. The member is saying that we've reneged. We haven't
reneged on anything. We will build 50 new schools and modernize
70. This P3 contract is not done. We've saved a lot of money for
the province of Alberta by building P3s, and I will not apologize
for that.

Mr. McAllister: Forgive me for not being convinced.
Mr. Speaker, our schools are bursting at the seams. Many of
them look like modular factories, when you can find the modulars,
that is. Given that and given that if these commitments are not
met, we're going to have an incredibly large list of communities
that will be unable to provide classrooms for our kids, I'll ask the
Education minister: can you not work with your Infrastructure
minister and government to make sure that government delivers
on the promises that it makes to Albertans?

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, we are delivering on the promises
we made to Albertans, and our Infrastructure minister is a big part
of that. His department and my ministry are doing incredible
work. As of right now there are about a hundred projects that have
either just been completed or are under way and announced in this
province. That's going to give us an incredible increased capacity
in terms of desks and capacity for our students. Obviously, this
tendering situation is not ideal, but as the minister said, he's able
to move forward, and we're still going to be able to announce 50
new schools and 70 modernizations and even more on that.

Mr. McAllister: Mr. Speaker, our kids are in hallways, they're on
stages, they are in gymnasiums, and they are in community halls.
Again to the Minister of Infrastructure: given the obvious problem
here, couldn't the government spend less time putting up signs all
over the province telling everybody what it intends on doing and
then taking pictures in front of them and maybe more time
walking the walk and building the schools that the kids in this
province so desperately need?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, in answering this question, I'll
strongly recommend that this member pick up his leader's speech
of this morning and try to correlate his request for additional schools,
for additional trailers with her promise of not having any
more debt and extinguishing Albertans' debt. You can't have both.
This government has made a promise to deliver, to build for the
growth in this province, to provide children with classrooms, to
provide seniors with housing, to provide patients with hospital
space, not based on the notes from the leader of extinguishing
hope and not building anymore and not to incur any debt, as she
tends to call it. Get your story straight.

The Speaker: Hon. Member for Airdrie, your point of order at
2:38 has been noted.
Let us move on. Keep the preambles to those sups as short as
you can. As I indicated earlier, I appreciate your co-operation.
Edmonton-McClung, followed by Edmonton-Centre.

Postsecondary Education Funding

Mr. Xiao: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recent budget changes at the
University of Alberta have some of my constituents worried that
the quality of education will be adversely affected and will further
impact the quality of postsecondary education in our province. My
question is to the Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education.
How can I assure my constituents that this budget change will not
affect the quality of the University of Alberta's excellent student
education, that Albertans have come to expect?

The Speaker: The hon. Deputy Premier.

Mr. Lukaszuk: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest to
the member that first he assure his constituents that in Campus
Alberta we have very committed chairs, very committed boards,
and definitely very committed presidents and administrators to
deal with whatever budgetary situation they are faced with in a
manner that least affects the students. Actually, all of them
deserve our gratitude for doing just so. They have made very
difficult decisions in view of the budget, just like this government
had to make some very difficult decisions, but being very student
focused.

Mr. Xiao: To the same minister: given that as a result of the
budget shortfall the University of Alberta suspended 20 arts
programs this fall, why was there such an overwhelming amount
of arts programs suspended versus other programs?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Well, Mr. Speaker, all schools have made
decisions based on their priorities, based on enrolment, based on
participation. No matter what the budget is, every year new
programs get put on, and old ones get eliminated. That simply
happens.I have to assure you of one thing, Mr. Speaker. This government
knows the importance of arts. We know that if we are to
grow, if we are to attract high-calibre Albertans, and if we are to
retain Albertans in this province, we not only need a strong
economy, but we need the quality of life that we get through
culture and in arts.

2:40
Mr. Xiao: Again, Mr. Speaker, to the same minister: given that
recent reports have top-tier executive salaries at the postsecondary
institutions reaching upward of $500,000 plus, are there any plans
to review executive pay at universities?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I have been meeting with chairs of
all postsecondary schools, not only in groups at the table, but I
have actually travelled to most if not all of the schools and met
with them individually. My message to them has been always very


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2489

clear. We are dealing with a very difficult financial situation, and
in view of some of the unprecedented drop in revenue and the
disaster expenditures, we have taken very difficult but necessary
steps, and I expect those chairs to make similar decisions.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Centre, followed
by Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.

Municipal Charters

Ms Blakeman: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. To the Minister
of Municipal Affairs: is the reason the minister has reneged on or
postponed or perhaps misplaced his promise and that of the
Premier for city charters for both Edmonton and Calgary because
it could affect the province's taxation powers? In the end, is this
all about keeping the cities starved for resources and under the
government's thumb?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, in fact, I would have to admit that the
flood pushed us a little bit behind on the work on the civic
charters, but the work on the charter is a three-way partnership.
It's not up to just the Minister of Municipal Affairs to impose a
charter. We're working on a collective three-way agreement. We
got very, very close before the municipal election because we
restarted the discussions about a month ago, but the mayor of
Edmonton at that time said that he thought it was a prerogative of
the new mayor and council to sign on it. So we have most of the
work completed and carry on from there.

Ms Blakeman: Oh. Well, a change in tune. Thanks very much,
Mr. Minister.
Given that he was talking about not big-city charters but civic
charters a month ago and that the cities have been consistent in
talking about big-city charters, can he explain why he's insisted on
dumping these cities of hundreds of thousands of people in the
same pot with towns and villages? I know he likes to talk about
going to 343 of them, but do you not recognize the difference, or
is this an attempt to minimize their influence on the life of the
province?

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, in fact, I completely recognize the
difference, but I also respect every single one of the 349
municipalities in this province. To say that they're big-city
charters leaves out Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and Red Deer
and other municipalities which also might want to assume new
responsibilities to serve their citizens, which is why – I don't care
what they call them; I refer to it as a civic charter – it's going to be
a charter about the new, invigorated relationship between our
municipalities and this province.

Ms Blakeman: Well, given that both cities elected young,
progressive, popular mayors and popularity is really attractive,
why doesn't the minister just ride on their coattails and bring in
the big-city charter they campaigned for? Go ahead.

Mr. Griffiths: Mr. Speaker, I see it's comedy hour already on the
first day.
Mr. Speaker, given the fact that the minister himself and the
mayors are all young, we're going to sit down, as I've said
already, and start from an agreement that's 95 per cent in place
and continue to work there to make sure that we have something
in place that other municipalities will be able to adopt and work
towards if they want to so that every single level of government in
this province is able to best serve their municipalities. Period.
Education Funding

Mr. Bilous: Mr. Speaker, students, support staff, and teachers
across the province came back to schools and classrooms this fall
and immediately felt the effects of this government's broken
promises to education. You can't put 11,000 more kids into a
system while slashing $14.5 million from the Education budget
without negative consequences. Simply put, more students with
fewer dollars equals less learning. To the Education minister: why
won't the minister admit that this PC government's cuts are
hurting kids, support staff, and teachers?

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, what I will admit is that this
member needs to do better homework. If you look at the budget,
I'm not sure where this $14 million cut comes from. As a matter
of fact, I've got the budget in front of me, and the estimates for
2013-14 are $6.13 million, up from $6.085 million, and that's just
the operations. If you include the incremental enrolment and the
promise that we have to fund those incremental students in the
system and the capital, there's approximately $300 million more
in the budget this year than there was last year. I don't know how
the math works over there, but in anybody's books that's an
increase, not a cut.

Mr. Bilous: Promise made, promise broken.
Mr. Speaker, given that a typical classroom today is not only
larger but is made up of an increasing number of students with
special needs, including behavioural issues – there are English
language learners and many others – and given that 500 positions
were cut out of the education system due to this PC government's
broken-promises budget, when will the minister realize that this
government's short-sighted budget cuts to education have failed
Alberta students?

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, this certainly is a challenging
budget, and school boards are going to have challenges with any
budget. Obviously, one of the things people look at is class size,
but I would agree with the member that one of the things we look
at very closely – and it is one the more important things going
forward – is the quality of the teacher in the classroom and the
supports they have and what we're putting toward inclusion.
That's another area of the budget that we increased this last year. I
know this is his first day in question period as the Education critic,
but if he did his homework, he would know that the class size
initiative and the special-needs funding both went up last year.

Mr. Bilous: Mr. Speaker, given that there was already a funding
shortfall prior to Budget 2013, it's simply misleading to say that
per-student funding is enough to make up for that shortfall. To the
Minister of Education: are Alberta's staff, teachers, and kids really
such a low priority for this PC government?

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, you know, he may not be a math
teacher, but he does know the answer to that question. Through
Inspiring Ed and other things we've shown and we have proven
that we're putting kids first, and we're investing an incredible
amount of money into education, more than any other province or
jurisdiction virtually in North America.
Now, we can be very proud of our system. Coming back from
OECD meetings with 43 other Education ministers from across
the globe, we learned that Canada scored extremely well on some
of the international tests that were done over the last decade and
Alberta scored top of all of the Canadian jurisdictions in all three
categories.


2490 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Fish Creek, followed
by Edmonton-Riverview.

Health Care Wait Times
(continued)

Mrs. Forsyth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Wildrose cares about
patients who are suffering with long wait times in our province,
but no matter who this government puts in charge, things are just
not getting better. The problem isn't new. It has existed for years,
and this government has been told over and over and over. We can
only be thankful for the heroic work of our health care
professionals, who are keeping our health care system together.
Can the Minister of Health tell Albertans why he is failing to put a
stop to growing wait times, leaving Albertans to suffer?

Mr. Horne: Well, Mr. Speaker, this government takes the issue of
wait times very seriously. In answer to the earlier question asked
by the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition, I talked about some
of our successes in reducing hip and knee surgery wait times, in
reducing cataract surgeries, in reducing the wait for bypass
surgeries. There is much work to be done right across the country,
including here in Alberta. The answers to this in many cases are
found in innovation. If we look to central assessment and central
intake of patients as we are doing in the case of hip and knee
surgery, we see amazing results, and the hon. member is right to
credit front-line workers for its success.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mrs. Forsyth: Thank you. Given that this is impacting real people
and that they expect real answers and that today's report shows
that Albertans are waiting an astonishing 128 weeks for cornea
transplants while people in Nova Scotia only have to wait 24
weeks, will the minister explain why he waited until last Friday, to
do a press release, to buy more transplant tissues while Albertans
have been left suffering?

Mr. Horne: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the hon. member
recognizes the initiative that has been undertaken to reduce
waiting times for cornea transplants. As the hon. member probably
knows, there is a growing demand for this procedure. It's often
conducted in connection with cataract surgery. Last week we
showed that Alberta once again leads the country. Our plan to
import additional cornea tissue from B.C. and the United States
will allow us to do an additional 500 surgeries between now and
Christmas and reduce the waiting time from three years in the past
to three months.

2:50
Mrs. Forsyth: Minister, you should have done it earlier.
You know what is extreme, Mr. Speaker? Albertans waiting
three weeks for a pacemaker when the Canadian average is three
and a half days. Why, Minister? Why?

Mr. Horne: Mr. Speaker, what is extreme is the notion put
forward earlier this afternoon in question period by the Leader of
the Official Opposition that the solution to reducing wait times in
our province should be to send patients outside of our jurisdiction
and perhaps outside of the country, for all we know, in order to
receive services that are here and available in Alberta. We are
leading the country in terms of innovation to reduce waiting times
in many, many areas. It's a testament to the innovation and hard
work of front-line staff in Alberta Health Services, and I thank
them for it. The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-Riverview,
followed by Livingstone-Macleod.

Firearm Collection by Emergency Responders

Mr. Young: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This summer saw an
unprecedented flood and an equally unprecedented response: our
front-line responders of emergency management, police, fire,
EMS, utility companies, and the Red Cross, to name a few, as well
as the individual Albertans that helped out in heroic ways. Some
of the front-line responders, the men and women of the RCMP,
have been unfairly accused of inappropriately seizing firearms
from homes. To the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General:
were the men and women of the RCMP that were dealing with the
emergency response directed in any way to search for firearms?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Denis: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure this
member, being a former staff sergeant with the Edmonton Police
Service, knows full well that police do not take orders from
politicians in Alberta or anywhere else in the country. To answer
his question, there was no such order from my office or anyone in
this government. I would refer him to section 117.04(2) of the
federal Criminal Code and section 19 of the Emergency
Management Act, both of which give the authority for police
officers to enter businesses or private homes to save lives and
protect property. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our first
responders.

Mr. Young: To the minister: when did you first hear about the
seizure of firearms, and what was your response?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Denis: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I was there firsthand,
and I saw cars floating everywhere. I saw absolute
destruction everywhere. One of the first things I did was go to the
RCMP detachment on June 26. On June 27 I sent a letter to
Deputy Commissioner Dale McGowan, which I will table later
today, confirming that law-abiding firearms owners' rights would
be respected just like this government has done for the last 20
years.

Mr. Young: Are the firearms that were seized for safekeeping
going to be returned to their owners?

Mr. Denis: Well, Mr. Speaker, my department has advised me
today that approximately 95 per cent of the firearms that were
stored actually have been returned. It's over 500 that have been
collected and returned. On top of that, the RCMP executed 600
rooftop rescues and saved 650 pets. This government is proud to
stand up for the RCMP, unlike the Leader of the Opposition, who
didn't even thank the RCMP today in her statement.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Livingstone-Macleod,
followed by Cypress-Medicine Hat.

Emergency Medical Service Response Times

Mr. Stier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Southern Alberta is in a crisis
due to shortages. Rural ambulance wait times are often up to 45
minutes after years of tinkering with this by government, and it is
putting residents at risk. For a farmer who collapses in his field, a
gardener experiencing sudden chest pain, or a senior in a facility a


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2491

half hour truly means the difference between life and death. To the
Minister of Health: what are you doing to address this
unacceptable government failure within Alberta's ambulance
system?

Mr. Horne: Well, Mr. Speaker, a few years ago the government
made a policy decision, and in my view it is completely in line
with what Albertans expect. We recognize the fact that EMS is
health care. We have a proud tradition of some EMS services
continuing today to be offered by municipalities across the
province, but we recognize that for many Albertans the front door
to the health system is often that emergency medical services
worker that responds to them when they're in need. As the hon.
member knows, we've taken initiatives to centralize dispatch
across the province. We continue to work with municipalities on
other measures to improve the service.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mr. Stier: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that more than 14
reeves and mayors from across rural Alberta wrote the minister a
letter, which I'll be tabling, by the way, here in a few minutes,
requesting that he reconsider plans to consolidate ambulance
services, can the minister say now whether or not he plans on
finally meeting with these community leaders and working with
them, not against them, to fix these EMS wait times?

Mr. Horne: Mr. Speaker, I know the letter very well, and if the
hon. member has studied the letter, he will also know that the
majority of mayors who signed it have already consolidated their
local dispatch service with the Alberta Health Services central
dispatch system. We continue to work with municipalities in the
case of cities such as Red Deer and Lethbridge. We're working
very closely with elected officials there to time the consolidation
of dispatch in a way that will be streamlined and seamless from
the point of view of people who use the service. This is a vast
improvement in Canada in the delivery of EMS, and we continue
to see it through.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mr. Stier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I'm not sure if that's
exactly true, but given that Albertans' lives depend on immediate
response times, can the minister explain how centralizing
ambulance services to Alberta's two major cities serves our rural
municipalities better, or is this due to become just another failed
policy on this minister's record?

Mr. Horne: Mr. Speaker, the initiative is around the
centralization of the dispatch function, not all of the EMS
services. As the hon. member will know, there are multiple areas
in the province still today – they are dwindling in number – where
the dispatch services cannot be looked at and managed on a
provincial basis. The result – and it might be the case in the hon.
member's own constituency – is that entire areas of the province
appear dark when it comes to organization and deployment of
emergency medical services resources. This is an issue the hon.
member should be concerned about because it will result in his
ambulances being available to people when he needs them most.

The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon. Member for Airdrie, you rose on a point of order during
the minister's first answer, at 2:55, and it was noted.
Calgary-Hawkwood, followed by Cypress-Medicine Hat. Trade with China

Mr. Luan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Alberta's strong trade
relationship with China continues to grow. Last month our
Premier went on a 12-day trade mission to China, which is the
third visit since she became Premier. As globalization continues,
countries will inevitably become interconnected and also, in the
meantime, compete to access emerging markets like China. My
question is to the Minister of International and Intergovernmental
Relations. What was the outcome of those trips that we made, and
can you comment specifically on how we are attracting Chinese
foreign investment?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Dallas: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. A pillar of the building
Alberta plan, a top priority for the government is opening up new
markets. It's about realizing fair prices, and it's about getting
optimum access for our products and services. The Premier's
recent mission to China really introduced potential investors and
buyers to opportunities that exist right here in Alberta, and it
provided support to those businesses and investors that grows their
business.

Mr. Luan: Given the subsequent trip, where I think the Minister
of Energy went to China and signed an agreement with the
President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, my question to the same
minister is: what's the significance of this agreement?

Mr. Dallas: Well, Mr. Speaker, energy security is a key driver for
Chinese energy policy. This historic agreement, signed by my
colleague the Minister of Energy, recognizes that there are mutual
benefits and opportunities in energy collaboration to work on. In
particular, that framework allows for co-operation on policy and
regulatory best practices in unconventional resource development,
collaboration on integrated resource management, sharing of
knowledge on carbon capture and storage, and the implementation
of a technical series for our industry leaders.

Mr. Luan: My last supplemental question to the same minister.
Given all those opportunities we have for working with China, can
you help us to understand: will those opportunities translate into
any tangible gains for Alberta?

Mr. Dallas: Yes. Mr. Speaker, these opportunities are very
significant. I mean, Asia is expected to account for around 60 per
cent of global middle-class consumption by 2030. Our plan is to
capitalize on this opportunity. It's part of our renewed international
strategy. We'll work closely with partners in the region,
we'll identify and advance areas of mutual interest, we'll develop
strategic relationships, and we'll address barriers to diversification
for world markets.

3:00
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon. Member for Airdrie, you actually rose on a point of order
in response to the second response given by the Minister of
Justice, not the one by the Minister of Health, and I've been
informed of that, so that has been corrected. Thank you very
much.

head: Members' Statements

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Edmonton-South West.


2492 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

Official Opposition and Government Policies

Mr. Jeneroux: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me take you back.
We all remember the debacle that was Coke classic. It was
supposed to be an improvement on the original Coke, but it was
widely rejected by consumers because it was a pale imitation of
the real thing. The Official Opposition has now embarked on their
own new-Coke debacle, having added heaping doses of artificial
sweetener to try to make their extreme policies more politically
palatable.Mr. Speaker, they claim to believe in climate change. They
claim to believe in equality. They claim to believe in all sorts of
things, but these are not the same claims they have made in the
past. These are not even the same claims they made last Thursday.
It's just fake sweetness to mask the bitter taste of intolerance and
extremism.While they claim all these things, Mr. Speaker, this government
actually believes in climate change. We believe in equality. We
believe in dignity and human rights, and we believe in building
Alberta. We believe in making this Alberta the best place to live
for the 4 million Albertans of today and the million more who will
make this province their home in the next decade.
They want to pretend they're progressive conservatives, Mr.
Speaker, but they're not. They are new Coke. They're still the
same old party. They're still extreme and intolerant. As new Coke
was full of empty calories, the party across the way is full of
empty promises. Albertans deserve better.

Speaker's Ruling
Members' Statements

The Speaker: Hon. members, there's a long-standing tradition in
this House that we do not interrupt members when they're giving
a private member's statement. Now, over 20 years, believe me,
I've heard many private members' statements, and some have
been humorous, some have been poisonous, some have been off
the wall, and some have actually been right on topic. I would ask
again, House leaders: please review this matter. I ignored two or
three people who were thinking of raising a point of order during
this last exchange, and I would ask also that all of you review the
courtesy of not interrupting another member when he or she is
giving a private member's statement.
In the end, I would ask all of you to please review your private
members' statements and be careful of no personal attacks, no
personality attacks, and so on. I'm not saying that one was. I'm
just saying: please, let's review this. We're off to a reasonably
good day given one or two little faltering. Let's please try and stay
at the highest level possible here, I ask, please.
Let us move on, then, to the hon. Member for Airdrie.

Official Opposition Policies

Mr. Anderson: Mr. Speaker, this past weekend our Wildrose
caucus attended our party's AGM in Red Deer to discuss and
debate policy. We passed policies on fiscal responsibility, government
transparency, funding for students with special needs,
protection for seniors and the vulnerable, and lowering our
province's emissions, just to name a few. We also rescinded
several policies that were confusing and outdated. Our entire
membership and caucus also unanimously passed a powerful
statement affirming what we've always believed, that all men and
women are and must be treated as equal by their government
regardless of who they are or where they come from. I'd also like to thank
the minister of sightseeing and five-star
hotels for attending our AGM and affirming for all Albertans how
utterly terrified this PC government is of losing power in 2016.
Well done, sir, and well done, Mr. Baranski, wherever you are.
The PCs will continue to use fearmongering and smear tactics to
attack the Wildrose because that's all they've got left, but as
we've seen in federal politics, the fear card doesn't work more
than once. Eventually people just stop believing you, and when
they do, they'll look at your record, and your record stinks. It's a
record of debt and deficits. It's a record of scandal and ethical
failures. It's a record of cuts to the vulnerable and pay raises for
MLAs and golden handshakes for your buddies. It's a record of
bullying, intimidation, and of total, utter incompetence. It's a
record that will come to an end in 2016.
The Wildrose is ready to lead. We are ready to balance the
budget, end the days of debt. We are ready to clean out and
disinfect these halls of cronyism and backroom dealing. We are
ready to empower local communities to govern themselves, to axe
corporate subsidies and executive perks for government and health
executives, and to instead spend tax dollars on what matters:
caring for the vulnerable and the sick, educating our children, and
building core infrastructure. The Wildrose is here to give Alberta
back to Albertans, Mr. Speaker, and we aren't going anywhere
until that happens.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Banff-Cochrane.

Flood Recovery

Mr. Casey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The events of June 20
changed the lives of thousands of Albertans and the ways we think
about ourselves, our community, and our government. It was a
terrifying example of the powers of nature and has resulted in a
renewed appreciation and respect for the watersheds in which we
live.In my constituency of Banff-Cochrane the communities of
Canmore, Exshaw, Lac des Arcs, Benchlands, and Bragg Creek all
sustained significant damage. As well, much of the infrastructure
in Kananaskis Country was destroyed, and businesses like
TransAlta, Lafarge, and Sunshine Village sustained millions of
dollars of damage, not to mention the hundreds of small
businesses that were affected by the flooding.
Mr. Speaker, the common thread among all affected communities
was the strength, resilience, and compassion of otherwise
ordinary Albertans that stepped to the aid of their neighbours and
their communities, many without a thought to their own personal
risk. They are truly heroes, each and every one, in their own right.
We all have the right to be very proud as Albertans for the way in
which we have dealt with this disaster.
The government has demonstrated amazing leadership from the
first minutes of this disaster, and the co-operation and responsiveness
of all ministries is greatly appreciated by everyone affected. I
would like to personally thank, though, Associate Minister
Fawcett and his staff, who have worked tirelessly for our
communities.Mr. Speaker, when we elect our leaders, we do so on the basis
of those qualities that we associate with leadership – strength,
integrity, knowledge, and so on – but seldom do we ever really
have an opportunity to see if those qualities translate into a leader.
We are indeed fortunate in Alberta that the leadership qualities we
saw in Premier Redford two years ago did in fact lead to the
emergence of a compassionate, strong, and insightful leader at a
time when we needed one the most. To the Premier: thank you.


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2493

The Speaker: Remember, hon. members, that we do not use first
names or surnames in the Assembly. I know you all know that, but
it's just a reminder.
Let us move on, then, to Calgary-Glenmore, followed by
Calgary-Fort.

Calgary Southwest Ring Road

Ms L. Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On October 25, 2013,
an important announcement was made by the Premier and the
Minister of Transportation, and that was the tentative agreement
between the province of Alberta and the Tsuu T'ina Nation
regarding the southwest portion of the Calgary ring road. This
road has been shown in transportation plans for over 60 years and
has been and will continue to be a major concern to my
constituents for, you see, the southwest ring road path runs
parallel to the entire west boundary of my constituency. A northsouth
roadway between Anderson Road and Glenmore Trail has
long been considered, and the announcement indicates to residents
of Cedarbrae, Oakridge, and Lakeview that the section of 37th
Street west of their homes will not be part of the road. I want to
sincerely thank the residents of Calgary-Glenmore who have kept
this issue front and centre for many years. This is a first step, and I
will continue to work with them to make this road a reality.

3:10
Unfortunately, the plan does mean that several important
buildings such as the Sarcee Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, the Chief
Joseph Big Plume Building, the Tsuu T'ina Nation Culture
Museum, and the Buffalo Run Golf Course along with several
houses will have to be moved. These buildings are homes,
employment places, and recreational centres for nation residents
and Calgarians. To quote Chief Whitney: my heart, my
compassion goes to the residents who will have to relocate and
accommodate this project.
Completing the Calgary ring road is an investment in building
Alberta, and it will bring benefits for the safety, prosperity, and
success of Calgarians, the Tsuu T'ina, and all Albertans as it will
dramatically improve traffic flows in, through, and around the
Calgary region. My heartfelt appreciation to the Premier, the
Minister of Transportation, Chief Whitney, and the people of Tsuu
T'ina, who have been working together to achieve this agreement.
I would also like to acknowledge the city of Calgary for their
support of the project. Thank you, colleagues, for this is another
example of promises made, promises kept.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Fort.

Calgary Zoo Flood Recovery

Mr. Cao: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last spring everyone
witnessed damaging, devastating images of flooding in southern
Alberta. Communities along the Bow and Elbow rivers in my
constituency were hit but through their own strength made a quick
recovery.Today I wish to talk about the Calgary Zoo, one of the areas
totally hit by the flood. Many vulnerable and extremely frightened
animals were impacted at the zoo as the flood waters rose. Zoo
employees risked their lives countless times through chest-deep
water to ensure animals were safely evacuated. Unfortunately,
several animals perished during the flood, including many tropical
fish and a peacock.
I had the opportunity to visit the mud-covered zoo right after the
water had receded and the cleanup got started. In addition to the
animals' displacement and loss of life, the estimated financial cost to
the zoo was $60 million, including $50 million in damages and
$10 million in lost revenue.
Now, several months later, the Calgary Zoo is closer to getting
back on its feet thanks to the hard work of the zoo employees,
volunteers, and many ordinary Calgarians. Within a month's time
all employees, volunteers, and sponsors will see their months of
hard work come to fruition. The Calgary Zoo is scheduled to
reopen on November 28. I'm proud to live in a city where
generosity runs high and where citizens demonstrate so much
tenacity in getting the city back on its feet. Because of their hard
work the Calgary Zoo once again will prosper and be restored to
its place as the best in the province and the best zoo in the world.
Our thanks go to the Calgary Zoo leadership, led by Dr.
Clément Lanthier, and many dedicated staff and volunteers and
donors. Alberta is simply the place for people with the spirit to
achieve.

The Speaker: Thank you.
The hon. Member for Edmonton-Centre.

Mr. Richard Arthur Miller

Ms Blakeman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise today
to remember Rick Miller, who died of prostate cancer on Saturday
at the age of 53. [applause] Thank you. Rick served as MLA for
Edmonton-Rutherford from 2004 to '08 and as finance critic and
caucus whip for the Liberals. Later he worked as chief of staff for
the official Liberal caucus.
In addition to his public life, Rick was a committed Rotarian,
always volunteering time for projects. He was a successful owner of
a family business, Alberta Stamp and Marking, and an avid hangglider.
He was proud of his family and brought his kids to the
Legislature and to political functions whenever he could. He had a
great extended family and somehow managed to spend time with
them and carry out all of his caucus, constituency, and party duties.
It was Rick's tireless work – sorry, fellas – not the Wildrose's,
which uncovered the donations from the municipalities to the
governing party, resulting in the warlords of Alberta series of
releases. Rick was an honourable politician, who preserved the
integrity of our democratic institutions. He was easy to work with
no matter which side of the House you were on. He brought a
steady, practical, and warm presence to whatever he did.
I have two favourite Assembly stories about Rick. In the spring
of 2005 Reverend Abbott, then the Member for Drayton ValleyCalmar,
described a federal MP, Belinda Stronach, as whoring
herself out for power. The next day Rick used his private
member's statement to talk about how important it was for
everyone, but especially men, to mentor and encourage young
women to participate fully in democratic society. He was clearly
thinking about his own daughter, but I was struck by how forward
thinking and positive Rick's response to Reverend Abbott's
terrible comments was.
Rick loved being a politician and was fond of saying: “We have
the best job in the world. We get paid to try and overthrow the
government.”But one last quote. Rick was once accused of falling asleep in
this Chamber. When questioned, he retorted that he wasn't
sleeping; he was merely resting.
Thank you.

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. member, and may he continue his
rest in peace.
May we revert to the introduction of visitors?

[Unanimous consent granted]


2494 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

head: Introduction of Visitors
(continued)

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Environment and Sustainable
Resource Development.

Mrs. McQueen: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's a
real pleasure for me to rise today to introduce to you and through
you to all members of this Assembly guests that we have here in
the gallery today from the Alberta Environmental Monitoring
Management Board, that are seated in our members' gallery. I am
so proud to introduce them here as part of this monumental day. I
would like to recognize the outstanding work these individuals
have put forward in the legislation that I'll table later on this
afternoon.We have joining us Dr. Gregory Taylor from the University of
Alberta. I also want to congratulate Dr. Taylor on receiving the
outstanding contribution to the Alberta science and technology
community award this weekend, including a $10,000 prize.
Congratulations to Dr. Howard Tennant, our chair of our advisory
board; Dr. Arlene Ponting, CEO of the science Alberta foundation;
Dr. Ron Wallace, a former board member of Wildlife Habitat
Canada and former executive director of the Northwest Territories
Water Board; Mr. Doug Tupper, who is the former assistant
deputy minister in the department of environment; Mr. Paul Clark,
a board member of the National Research Council Canada and the
Alberta Science and Research Authority; and Mr. Neil McCrank,
who is with us here as well, a former ERCB CEO.
Special thank you to two of our outstanding staff with Alberta
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, our CEO
and the CEO of monitoring, Ernie Hui, and someone who is very
dear to our hearts, who couldn't join us here today but is in our
thoughts and prayers, Mr. Bob Barraclough, the ADM of
monitoring transition.
I want to thank all of you for the outstanding work. What we
table today is from the efforts of you and so many people, so
thank you very much for being with us here today. Please, if you
can, rise and receive the traditional warm welcome of this
Assembly.

head: Presenting Reports by
head: Standing and Special Committees

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Strathcona-Sherwood Park.

Mr. Quest: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As chair of the Standing
Committee on Families and Communities I'm pleased to table
copies of the committee's report on Bill 204, the Irlen Syndrome
Testing Act, sponsored by the hon. Member for Red Deer-North
and referred to the committee on April 22, 2013.
I'd like to acknowledge the support provided by the staff of the
Legislative Assembly Office. A sincere appreciation is also
extended to the organizations and individuals who contributed
written submissions and made oral presentations as part of our
review of the process. I'd also like to thank my fellow committee
members, representing all parties in the Assembly, who worked
together to ensure that a thorough, co-operative review was done
of this bill.
Mr. Speaker, the report includes the committee's recommendations
to the ministries of Education and Health to ensure that
children throughout Alberta who suffer from visual challenges are
accommodated appropriately so they may reach their full academic potential.
The report also includes the committee's
recommendation that Bill 204 not proceed.
I request the concurrence of the Assembly with respect to the
report on Bill 204, the Irlen Syndrome Testing Act.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

3:20
The Speaker: The hon. Member for Red Deer-North.

Mrs. Jablonski: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Pursuant to Standing
Order 78.4(b) I stand to speak to the concurrence motion
regarding the referral of Bill 204.

Speaker's Ruling
Debate on Private Members' Public Bills

The Speaker: Hon. member, I hesitate to interrupt, but I must
because we have a very unique situation that has arisen here on
which I need to make a few brief comments.
As members have just heard, the chair of the Standing
Committee on Families and Communities has just presented a
report from that committee on Bill 204, known as the Irlen
Syndrome Testing Act. The chair moved that the Assembly
concur in that report. This follows the usual practice when this
type of committee reports on a bill that has been referred to it by
this Assembly. The unique part here, however, is that motions for
concurrence from this type of committee have not been debated in
the past once they have been presented and a motion for
concurrence has been uttered.
At this time the Assembly is still considering items in the daily
Routine, which is not the usual time for debating motions. In fact,
Standing Order 2 states in part that “In all contingencies
unprovided for, the question shall be decided by the Speaker,” and
it continues on. In this case the committee's report concerns a
private member's public bill. Therefore, it would be inappropriate
in the chair's view to ask the Government House Leader and other
members to find time to schedule a debate on the motion for
concurrence during government business since it is a private
member's public bill.
Accordingly, it also seems to me that the more logical time to
debate this motion for concurrence or otherwise is during the item
known as Public Bills and Orders Other than Government Bills
and Orders. This item of business, as you all know, occurs on
Monday afternoons, which means that our Assembly will have an
opportunity to debate this motion further, in fact, today, this
afternoon to be exact, immediately after the items of business
called Written Questions and Motions for Returns. My
understanding is that there is only one written question for
consideration today, which means that we should have ample time
for the said debate to carry on.
Furthermore and in keeping with the time limits for private
members' public bills found in Standing Order 29(3), members
who wish to participate in the debate on the concurrence motion
will be limited to 10 minutes each in their speaking time. The
mover of the motion will of course have five minutes to close
debate thereafter. As I've said, there should be lots of time to do
that this afternoon. At least, we hope so.
So thank you for your attention and providing me with this
opportunity to provide some direction on this unique situation. As
always, I am interested in any comments that you might have
regarding what I've just said, in particular from the House leaders
but also from members in general, outside of the proceedings of


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2495

the Assembly in this regard. If you wish to write to me, please let
me know.
Thank you.

head: Presenting Reports by
head: Standing and Special Committees
(continued)

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Varsity.

Ms Kennedy-Glans: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As chair of the
Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship I'm pleased to
table copies of a report on Bill 205, Fisheries (Alberta)
Amendment Act, 2012, sponsored by the hon. Member for Lesser
Slave Lake and referred to the committee on April 22, 2013.
I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the Legislative Assembly
Office staff for their always excellent work on this report, and I'd
also like to thank the presenters from the Ministry of Environment
and Sustainable Resource Development for their presentation and
subsequent written submission to the committee on the issues
raised on this bill. Finally, I'd like to thank my fellow committee
members for their ongoing dedication to all matters examined by
our committee and for their endorsement of a very practical
solution here.
Mr. Speaker, the report recommends that the committee shall
request an annual update from Alberta Environment and
Sustainable Resource Development for up to three years on the
department's commercial fishing consultation practices, including
any recommendations for improvement. The report also includes
the committee's recommendation that the bill not proceed.
I request the concurrence of the Assembly with respect to the
report on Bill 205, Fisheries (Alberta) Amendment Act, 2012.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms Calahasen: I also want to rise today to speak under Standing
Order 78.4(b), to talk about this, to debate this.

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. member. As I just indicated to the
Member for Red Deer-North and to all members, the most
appropriate time for the debate on this matter and other such
committee motions for concurrence would be this afternoon once
we get to that stage. It'll take place prior to 5 o'clock. That having
been said, we'll proceed on that basis.

head: Notices of Motions

The Speaker: Hon. Member for Edmonton-Calder, you have a
notice of motion?

Mr. Eggen: Yes. Thanks, Mr. Speaker. Pursuant to Standing
Order 30 and after providing your office with the appropriate
notice this morning, I wish to inform you that on the completion
of the daily Routine I move to adjourn the ordinary business of the
Assembly to hold an emergency debate on a matter of urgent
public importance; namely, the negative impacts on patient care
and safety resulting from Alberta Health Services' decision in
June 2013 to significantly reduce the number of home-care
providers in Edmonton and in Calgary by cancelling contracts
with existing providers.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

head: Introduction of Bills

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs. Bill 27
Flood Recovery and Reconstruction Act

Mr. Griffiths: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I request
leave to introduce Bill 27, the Flood Recovery and Reconstruction
Act. The intent of this legislation is to improve the safety of
Albertans and help municipalities develop stronger and more
resilient communities. The act will help address challenges
stemming from the recent and unprecedented flooding in several
ways. It will protect potential buyers of properties in flood hazard
areas by giving the government authority to place notices on land
titles that indicate whether a property is eligible for disaster
assistance in the event of another flood. It will also help to reduce
and prevent the building within floodways. It will make flood
mitigation funding available for funding applicants by establishing
authority for this funding under the Emergency Management Act
as a standard item of disaster recovery programs and give us the
option to extend the duration of a provincial state of emergency
from 14 to 28 days without having to return to the Legislature,
thereby reducing the amount of time government officials spend
on administrative and legislative tasks during an emergency so we
can focus on the task at hand.
Mr. Speaker, I look forward to speaking more about the benefits
of this legislation in the days and weeks to come. I'm confident
that this will result in enhanced safety for all Albertans and
Alberta communities. I'm proud to table Bill 27, the Flood
Recovery and Reconstruction Act, and move that this bill be read
for the first time.

[Motion carried; Bill 27 read a first time]

The Speaker: Hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs, you have
another bill?

Bill 28
Modernizing Regional Governance Act

Mr. Griffiths: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm also
pleased to introduce Bill 28, the Modernizing Regional
Governance Act, which involves amendments to the Municipal
Government Act, commonly referred to as the MGA. The
amendments will formally legislate the Capital Region Board and
enable the creation of other growth-management boards in
Alberta. The Capital Region Board is a 24-member intermunicipal
organization responsible for co-ordinating development between
municipal jurisdictions, including land-use planning, interregional
transit planning, and land, air, and water considerations, for
integration into plans. These amendments will result in a more
proactive approach to managing development in high-growth
areas of our province. I look forward in the weeks and months
ahead to debating this bill as we move forward.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[Motion carried; Bill 28 read a first time]

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health.

Bill 29
Pharmacy and Drug Amendment Act, 2013

Mr. Horne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I request leave
to introduce Bill 29, the Pharmacy and Drug Amendment Act,
2013. Bill 29 would ensure that Alberta's drug list is accurate and
enforceable and reflects changes at Health Canada as they move to
an online prescription drug list that will be easier for Alberta's


2496 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

pharmacists to access and understand. This amendment to the
Pharmacy and Drug Act will replace all references to schedule F
with references to the prescription drug list which takes effect this
December. As such, these amendments are administrative in
nature, and I request the support of the House for first reading.

[Motion carried; Bill 29 read a first time]

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Environment and Sustainable
Resource Development.

3:30 Bill 31
Protecting Alberta's Environment Act

Mrs. McQueen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I request leave to
introduce Bill 31, the Protecting Alberta's Environment Act. This
being a money bill, His Honour the Honourable the Lieutenant
Governor, having been informed of the contents of this bill,
recommends the same to the Assembly.
Bill 31 will establish the Alberta environmental monitoring,
evaluation, and reporting agency. It will be the first of its kind in
Canada and will fundamentally change the way Alberta's
environment is monitored. This arm's-length, open, and
transparent public agency will lead environmental monitoring in
Alberta. Its focus will be on sound science, a comprehensive, coordinated
monitoring and reporting of land, air, water, and
biodiversity, beginning in the oil sands area. The work of this
agency will provide the best possible data that will be used to
make the best possible decisions when it comes to responsible
development of the province's natural resources.
This bill also creates a science advisory panel, that will oversee
the scientific work of the agency to ensure integrity is maintained.
This is yet another step, Mr. Speaker, that this government has
taken to demonstrate to Albertans and to the world that we are
committed to environmental stewardship and responsible resource
development.Again, Mr. Speaker, I am so grateful to my guests that are in
the
House today for all the excellent work and advice they have given
to provide for this bill.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Motion carried; Bill 31 read a first time]

head: Tabling Returns and Reports

The Speaker: Hon. Member for Edmonton-Centre, do you have a
tabling?

Ms Blakeman: I do indeed, Mr. Speaker. I have two tablings
today, both of them, interestingly, on the same subject. The first is
an e-mail that I received from Garrick Burron over the summer,
who wanted to bring to my attention and asked me to work toward
a change in legislation regarding the number of properties that are
available for rent that would allow people to have small pets. He
notes that given the amount of academic literature supporting
companion animal benefits, “having animals available for renters
will improve the lives and health of a sizeable percentage of
Albertans.”The second e-mail is also from a constituent, Diana Sully. She
brings the same argument forward but specific to seniors and is
trying to get people to support her and others in the ability of
seniors to be renting or having affordable units to live in that
would allow them to keep a small pet.
Thank you.

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. Mr.
Denis: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have two
tablings for you today, five copies of each. The first one is a letter
that I wrote to Dale McGowan, the deputy commissioner of
RCMP K Division, on June 27 asking to confirm that the firearms
in High River were stored and not confiscated or seized.
The second item was the response on June 28, indicating,
among other things, that these items are temporarily stored by the
RCMP in anticipation of their safe return to lawful owners.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: Thank you.
Livingstone-Macleod, did you have a tabling?

Mr. Stier: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm just going to table
today five copies of the letter I made reference to earlier from the
city of Lethbridge with regard to the request to reconsider the
decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services.
Thank you.

The Speaker: Are there others? The hon. Member for InnisfailSylvan
Lake.

Mrs. Towle: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of the hon.
Member for Highwood I'd like to table today Studies in Health
Policy dated October 2013 and entitled Waiting Your Turn: Wait
Times for Health Care in Canada, 2013 Report, that she referred to
in her questions with regard to wait times.

The Speaker: Are there others? The hon. Member for EdmontonCalder.


Mr. Eggen: Yes. On behalf of the hon. Member for EdmontonBeverly-Clareview
I'd like to table the appropriate number of
copies of a letter sent to Mr. Johnson by Frank Bruseker, president
of ATA local 38. Mr. Bruseker's letter raises alarming concerns
about teacher burnout in Calgary public schools due to larger class
sizes that they're experiencing this year, a direct result of the cuts
to Education. This letter was sent on September 27, 2013, yet a
month later, till this date, Mr. Bruseker has yet to receive a
response to these concerns.
Thank you.

The Speaker: Are there others?
If not, then I will take the liberty to also make three tablings,
with the requisite number of copies being provided in each case.
First, a letter, dated August 29, from the hon. Member for Fort
McMurray-Wood Buffalo indicating his resignation from the
following three committees: the Standing Committee on Public
Accounts, the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship, and
the Select Special Conflicts of Interest Act Review Committee.
Secondly, pursuant to the Legislative Assembly Act I would
like to table with members copies of Members' Services
Committee Order 07/13, entitled Members' Allowances Amendment
Order (No. 27), dealing with members' temporary residence
allowance, deemed effective September 1, 2013.
Thirdly, two reports, dated October 16, 2013, from the office of
the Ethics Commissioner regarding the hon. Member for
Edmonton-Manning which, as required, were made public and
distributed to members on the same day received, which was
October 16, 2013.
Let's deal with the points of order. I think we have four.
The first point of order that I have was from the hon. Member
for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills. Would you like to proceed,
sir?


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2497

Point of Order
Questions to Committee Chairmen

Mr. Saskiw: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise according to
Standing Order 23(l), a relatively rarely used section in the
standing orders. It relates to introducing any matter in debate that
offends practices and precedents in this Assembly. Actually, this
was with respect to a question that was asked to a chair of a
current committee, and that's the Conflicts of Interest Act Review
Committee. Subsequently the Premier, or the government in a
sense, answered it. According to House of Commons Procedure
and Practice it states that “questions seeking information about
the schedule and agenda of committees may be directed to Chairs
of committees.” I had asked a question with respect to the agenda
of the Conflicts of Interest Act Review Committee.
In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, I would refer you to a ruling
dated May 1, 1997, as well as a ruling on April 24, 1997, which
highlight the ability of members in this Assembly to ask questions
to chairs of respective committees provided that the scope is
limited to procedural matters such as agendas and other procedural
issues. Specifically, it states that
questions may be put to members who chair statutorily created
boards, committees, or commissions but must relate directly to
their responsibilities as an executive of that body. Once again,
[obviously the chairs] cannot speak for the government, so
questions of policy must go to a member of Executive Council.
3:40
In this circumstance, Mr. Speaker, I had asked a question
directly to a chair with respect to an agenda of the committee, and
in this instance the Premier interrupted, which is contrary to the
practices and precedents of this Assembly, as is outlined both in
House of Commons Procedure and Practice as well as the rulings
of this Assembly. I'm not 100 per cent certain what the effective
remedy is here, but I guess just a reiteration that we are allowed to
ask chairs of committees and that subsequently we can ask this
question again and that it not be answered by the government but,
rather, the respective chair.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: The hon. Government House Leader.

Mr. Hancock: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the hon. member
knows that what he was trying to do with his question was to get
up to some mischief. He knows that the chair of that committee
has tendered a letter of resignation and that there's a motion on the
Order Paper, which will be dealt with tomorrow, with respect to
changing membership on committees.
He also knows, if he reads the sections that he referred to, that
the footnote on page 506, footnote 90, indicates that the Speaker
may recognize whomever rises to answer the question. In fact, the
only person who rose to answer the question was the Premier, and
it was quite within her purview to do so, recognizing the mischief
that the hon. member was up to. Subsequently I rose to answer the
follow-up question and indicated that it's not actually the normal
practice of this House, notwithstanding House of Commons
Procedure and Practice, to actually ask questions of the chairs of
committees because there is a forum for those questions to be
asked with respect to the agenda, and that is in the committees.
The question that was asked was actually bordering on a
question of whether or not – in fact, I think the preamble to the
question indicated some discussion about the proceedings in the
committee. In fact, the question that the Premier responded to, as I
recall, dealt more with what members of the committee had done or not done
in the committee, which is clearly outside appropriate
question processes.

The Speaker: This is a relatively straightforward matter, and we
can clarify it very quickly, I believe. In actual fact, you are both
right to an extent. I note on page 506 that questions can be posed
to a committee chair, as was explained by the Member for Lac La
Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, and it gives examples of what may or
may not be appropriate in that regard. I'll just note that for the
record.However, there is also a notation in House of Commons
Procedure and Practice on page 506, which I might refer you all
to, where under footnote 90 it states the following:
See also Debates, February 8, 2008, p. 2834 where a question
was addressed to the Chair of a standing committee who [in that
case] was an opposition Member. During one Question Period
in 2008, opposition Members twice addressed questions to the
Chair of a standing committee and the Government House
Leader responded. The following day, the Liberal House Leader
rose on a point of order and asked the Speaker if someone other
than the Chair of a committee could respond to a question
concerning the agenda of a committee. The Speaker advised that
his role is to “take a look at those who are standing to answer
and choose who is going to answer”. He indicated that he had
recognized the Government House Leader because he was the
only Member rising to respond (Debates, February 7, 2008, p.
2743; February 8, 2008, pp. 2835-7).
As such, there is no point of order there, but it's a good point of
clarification. Thank you to both members for participating in that
exchange.Let's go on to the second point of order. I believe it was raised
by the Member for Airdrie.

Point of Order
Explanation of Speaker's Ruling

Mr. Anderson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is referring to
section 13(2) of the standing orders. I understand completely, as is
your purview and as is appropriate, that you are trying to keep
honour and decorum in this House, and good on you for doing so.
I'm referring in this instance to the Member for Lac La Biche-St.
Paul-Two Hills, who referred to a piece of government legislation
that's currently in place as a “piece of junk.” I've looked through
Beauchesne's, the Standing Orders. I cannot find anywhere where
criticizing a piece of government legislation, referring to it as a
piece of junk, is out of order. I just would like to understand.
Please instruct us on how we as members can criticize legislation
of the government appropriately. If we want to refer to it as
incorrect or junk, I think that's our purview, and I don't see any
precedent in the orders or any book that says that we can't refer to
government legislation as a piece of junk.

The Speaker: Thank you. I'm more than happy to instruct in this
regard. I'm going to take a few minutes to do this, and I hope I
will have everyone's rapt attention. The part that caught my
attention was when the Member for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two
Hills said – I could stand corrected if the Blues come out
differently in Hansard, but here's what I have from the Blues
from the Member for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills. He says:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that an MLA has been found to
be in direct violation of the Conflicts of Interest Act legislation
six times and lobbied on an issue that would benefit him
personally, is it not clear that this piece of junk ethics legislation
only serves to protect the Premier and her own MLAs?


2498 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

Now, the words uttered one day in a particular context may or
may not be parliamentary. They may or may not be unparliamentary.
It depends on things I have reminded you of before and I'm
going to be very happy to remind you all of yet again.
I'm going to go to House of Commons Procedure and Practice,
page 618, line 2, where it says some wonderful things. With
respect to the title, Unparliamentary Language, where this is
found, line 2 talks about “offensive, provocative or threatening
language” and so on. Let me quote to you that passage.
The proceedings of the House are based on a long-standing
tradition of respect for the integrity of all Members. Thus, the
use of offensive, provocative or threatening language in the
House is strictly forbidden.
It goes on to talk about personal attacks, which was not the case
here.However, it then goes on in the second paragraph to say:
If language used in debate appears questionable to the Speaker,
he or she will intervene.
And it goes on to say:
However, the Speaker may address a matter of unparliamentary
language at once if he or she believes the matter to be
sufficiently serious to merit immediate attention,
which I certainly did.
Normally, the matter is dealt with at the conclusion of Question
Period. Since the Speaker must rule on the basis of the context
in which the language was used, points of order raised in regard
to questionable language must be raised as soon as possible
after the alleged irregularity has occurred.
Let me go on to page 619, where it further states:
In dealing with unparliamentary language, the Speaker takes
into account the tone, manner and intention of the Member
speaking; the person to whom the words at issue were directed;
the degree of provocation; and, most importantly, whether or
not the remarks created disorder in the Chamber. Thus,
language deemed unparliamentary one day may not necessarily
be deemed unparliamentary the following day.
And it goes on to talk a little bit more about that.
Now, I indicated very shortly thereafter that I thought, hon.
members, that the use of the term “junk legislation” was offensive
to the proprieties of this House, would be offensive if it was used
against any one of the members of government or opposition; it
matters not one iota to me. It is offensive. I found it to be rude,
inappropriate. It did cause some disorder, and now it's causing us
to take up additional time.

3:50
So I would ask all hon. members, not just this one – I know you
spend time crafting your questions; you don't oftentimes stand in
here and wing them – to please review what you're saying and,
furthermore, the manner and the tone and the timbre with which
you intend to deliver it and the intention behind it. You may
disagree with legislation. You may disagree with the ethics report.
You may disagree with your own colleagues or your own caucus.
That's up to you. But how you do it, and when you bring it into
this House, for heaven's sake, let us all strive to present it in a
manner that does not violate the tradition for which we were all
standing here a year and a half ago and pledging we would
uphold.In my view, operating within the confines of what I just read to
you from House of Commons procedure, I interjected on that
basis. I will not stand here and allow that kind of disorder and
disruption to be created in reference to anyone's particular bill or
motion. It's simply inappropriate. As such, I hope that clarifies
that matter, and I hope we won't see a repeat of that. Let us move on to
item 3. It is a point of order. I think it was the
hon. Member for Airdrie.

Point of Order
Factual Accuracy

Mr. Anderson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I refer to Standing
Order 23(h), (i), and (j), specifically the first of two. The first one
is regarding the comments by the Deputy Premier – is he the
Deputy Premier still? Yeah, I think he might be. Who knows, eh?
The Deputy Premier commented that the Wildrose is proposing
that we don't build anything anymore. Again, I guess maybe this
is a point of clarification.
It's certainly not a truthful statement. We obviously have tabled
a plan in this Legislature. Our 10-year capital plan said that if in
government this year we would spend just over $4 billion on
infrastructure, which is roughly a billion dollars less than the
government over there. Indeed, it would be correct to say that we
would spend a billion dollars less on infrastructure this year, but to
say that we would spend nothing, of course, is untrue.
Would you like me to move to the second one, too, and get
them over with in one shot?

The Speaker: Well, let's deal with this one and see where it goes.

Mr. Anderson: I would ask him to withdraw that. Thank you.

Mr. Lukaszuk: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I won't preamble my
comments with snide remarks like the Member for Airdrie has.
You can rewrite your policies, but you cannot change your
personality or your character. I have merely pointed out to the
member the contrast and the juxtaposition between the rather
eloquent speech delivered by the leader of the Wildrose in which
she tried to equate hope to debt and how she firmly believes that
this government should not be borrowing money, should not be
leveraging money, should not be entering into alternative
financing arrangements on construction of schools. [interjection]
As you can see, Mr. Speaker, my interpretation is correct because
they are applauding that.
We shouldn't be doing any of that. We shouldn't then by de
facto be building all the schools that we're building. We shouldn't
by de facto be building all the seniors' homes that we're building.
We shouldn't by de facto, Mr. Speaker, be building all the
hospitals that we're building. We shouldn't be building laboratories,
university buildings – and the list goes on and on – to the
extent that we're building. We all know and Albertans are quite
astute in knowing that if we were to build only what we can pay
for, cash up front, like they would like us to do, we would be
building merely a fraction of what it is that Albertans want us to
build.Mr. Speaker, we know that they want us to build schools for
kids today, not in 30 years, hospitals for patients today, not in 30
years, and seniors' homes for our seniors while they are still alive,
not for the next generation of seniors. So the juxtaposition
between the leader's speech and then the whole list of requests for
additional infrastructure was so stark that it would be difficult for
one not to point that out. I have nothing to apologize for and
nothing to withdraw.
Thank you.

The Speaker: Thank you.
I don't see any others who wish to speak, so let me comment on
this matter. I believe the hon. Member for Airdrie was correct
when he started out by saying this may be a point of clarification.


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2499

Having reviewed the Blues, unless I'm missing something, I
would certainly agree with you in the surmising that you did.
In fact, the Deputy Premier in response to a question at
approximately 2:37 or 2:38 this afternoon, a question posed by I
think it was Chestermere-Rocky View, according to the Blues said
the following:Mr. Speaker, in answering this question, I'll strongly
recommend that this member pick up his leader's speech of this
morning and try to correlate his request for additional schools,
for additional trailers with her promise of not having any more
debt and extinguishing Albertans' debt. You can't have both.
This government has made a promise to deliver, to build for the
growth in this province, to provide children with classrooms, to
provide seniors with housing, to provide patients with hospital
space, not based on the notes from the leader of extinguishing
hope and not building anymore and not to incur any debt, as she
tends to call it. Get your story straight.
He stopped there, and the point of order was thereafter issued.
I think that we would all understand that there are oftentimes
different interpretations of what we all say or what we all mean
and what we all do. This would be one of those cases in my
opinion. I believe both sides have had a chance to clarify their
comments, and undoubtedly there may be further opportunities
coming up shortly. So I do not find there to be a point of order this
time, but it is a good point of clarification.
Point 4. The hon. Member for Airdrie.

Point of Order
Factual Accuracy

Mr. Anderson: Also 23(h), (i), and (j), Mr. Speaker, referring to
the Justice minister's inaccurate comment that the Leader of the
Official Opposition in her comments in her response to the
Premier's ministerial statement about the floods did not thank the
police. That is inaccurate. She did. It's clearly in the statement,
third paragraph, fifth or sixth word. So, sorry, you're going to
have to withdraw that because you've misled the House in that
regard.

Mr. Denis: Mr. Speaker, misleading the House is a very serious
allegation. I know this member in his vast legal practice knows
this. First off, I refer you to Beauchesne's 319, which indicates
that promptness is necessary in making a point of order. This point
of order was not made until the next group of questions.
More importantly, my comment was that the Leader of the
Opposition didn't say RCMP. She did not. She referenced first
responders, she referenced police, and that's great. I'm very happy
that she is onside with everyone because that's not a partisan
issue. But she didn't say the RCMP. My point was that the RCMP
deserve our thanks. People may want to run and hide from things
that they have said or haven't said, but I bring this up to you, an
old legal maxim, Mr. Speaker: truth is an absolute defence. If I
misheard – I don't think I did because I've talked to four other
members, and they did not hear the word “RCMP.” I'd be very
happy if she had said RCMP because we do owe them a debt of
gratitude.

The Speaker: Is there anybody else on this point?
Well, this is an interesting notation here. I believe that there's
an issue here about the facts which aren't all at the Speaker's
disposal, so in fact this may wind up being a matter of a dispute
between two members or two caucuses or two parties or whatever
you want to call it with regard to the facts. But there's an
interesting twist here, and the twist is that you may or may not
make a comment on what someone did or didn't say. The twist is that it's a
little bit unusual in that sometimes you can say something
by saying a member didn't say something. You can infer
something, and I think that's sort of at the heart of what is being
driven at here by the Member for Airdrie.
Let me go into what was said here by the hon. Minister of
Justice and Solicitor General at 2:52, who was responding to a
question, I believe, from Livingstone-Macleod who had asked –
was it Livingstone-Macleod? I don't have the question, but I do
have the answer which prompted the point of order. The Minister
of Justice said this.
Well, Mr. Speaker, my department has advised me today that
approximately 95 per cent of the firearms that were stored
actually have been returned. It's over 500 that have been
collected and returned. On top of that, the RCMP executed 600
rooftop rescues and saved 650 pets. This government is proud to
stand up for the RCMP, unlike the Leader of the Opposition,
who didn't even thank the RCMP today in her statement.
On reflection, one would look at this and perhaps some will read
into it that someone doesn't like the RCMP, which I'm sure is not
the case.

4:00
I could go on and explain more. But I think we need to be very
careful about such statements, and I say this in this instance to the
Minister of Justice. What a member does not say doesn't
necessarily and shouldn't necessarily lead us to the conclusion by
innuendo or otherwise that that person doesn't support what was
intended. We all have limited speaking times in this House, we all
are bound by those rules, and sometimes you can't just cover
every single point or thank every single person that you would like
to. I would like to feel, think, and believe that that is what the
Leader of the Official Opposition might have had in mind. I don't
know what she had in mind, but I would like to think that that was
probably the case.
Let's leave that as a point of clarification for today, but let us all
be reminded to again be very careful, particularly when you're
winging a question or winging an answer or winging a point in
debate. We can sometimes get caught up with ourselves. All of us
have done it, and if you haven't yet, I assure you that before your
term is done, you probably will as well.
So let's be very careful, and on that note let's conclude this
issue and move on.

head: Request for Emergency Debate

The Speaker: Hon. members, we have a Standing Order 30, and
I'm going to ask the Member for Edmonton-Calder to please lead
off in that regard. Remember, we're now talking about the
urgency.

Home Care Services

Mr. Eggen: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the motion has
been circulated. It reads, in essence, as follows:
Be it resolved that the ordinary business of the Legislative
Assembly be adjourned to discuss a matter of urgent public
importance; namely, the negative impacts on patient care and
safety resulting from Alberta Health Services' decision in June
2013 to significantly reduce the number of home-care providers
in Edmonton and Calgary by cancelling contracts with existing
providers and awarding multimillion-dollar, multiyear contracts
to for-profit corporations.
So, Mr. Speaker, I will argue the urgency of this situation, the
fact that this is the first and only opportunity to debate, the fact of
the genuine nature of the emergency, the fact that this is a concern


2500 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

throughout the province, that this SO 30 is in the public interest,
that it is a very specific question, that it talks about administrative
competence, and that it will hopefully be the general wish of this
House to debate further this afternoon.
On the first point of urgency, Mr. Speaker, this is in reference to
Standing Orders 30(1) and 30(7) as well as from House of
Commons Procedure and Practice from page 689, from
Beauchesne's paragraph 390, and from the Hansard of your own
words on March 14 of this year talking about the fundamental
question of urgency.
Mr. Speaker, we know that the ramifications and the repercussions
for patient care and safety continue to be felt to this day
from this decision to corporatize our home care here in the
Edmonton area especially. This initial decision may have been
taken on May 31, but new impacts have unfolded every month
since, right up to this present day. The latest development of note
was the fact that one of these corporate contract holders, Revera,
gave up part of their contract in southwest Edmonton because they
could not meet patient needs. I would suggest that Revera at least
had the guts to realize and to know that their contract was
untenable. Probably many others of these corporate contracts are
untenable, too.
A matter of urgent debate today are the negative impacts on
patient care and safety as a result of the series of decisions taken
by this government and various corporations. Mr. Speaker, this is
the first and only opportunity to debate this. Again, I'm referring
to House of Commons Procedure and Practice page 693 and
Beauchesne's paragraph 387. We all know that this House did
adjourn on May 15 and that no item on the agenda now is to deal
with this issue. The Order Paper does not contain a government
bill, a member's bill, or a motion to address this issue. Question
period, I think, is clearly not a place to permit a fulsome and
substantive debate on this very important concern. An emergency
motion thus is the only mechanism that I see available.
Further to that, the fact is that this is a genuine emergency, as
referenced by Standing Order 30(7)(a) and House of Commons
Procedure and Practice on pages 689, 693, and 695, which I think
clearly open up the idea that this is a genuine emergency for over
6,000 home-care clients in Edmonton and in Calgary who
transitioned from one provider to another provider over the past
several months. They have experienced – and we all have had
examples of this come to our constituency offices and to the
minister's office – missed and delayed visits, disruption in care
and routine, and disruption in the relationship with the care
provider, which is very considerable. The fact is that they've now
ended up with staff without experience or knowledge of the
specific needs of home-care patients. In fact, Mr. Speaker,
companies readily admit that they could not meet the needs of the
patients and the requirements of the contract. I find this very
disturbing to hear from the corporate side as well.
It's an emergency for staff in regard to underpay and overwork.
Hundreds have been forced to leave their employment with
nonprofit co-operatives and work to gain employment with nonunionized
corporate providers. This is in fact an emergency for
families as well. They can't count on the system to deliver the care
that their loved ones need, and many have had to step in and
provide care themselves or through the family, causing great
inconvenience and compromising the health of patients.
Mr. Speaker, this is a concern throughout Alberta, as referenced
in House of Commons Procedure and Practice pages 690 and 694.
Certainly, this is taking place in Edmonton, it's taking place in
Strathcona, in Calgary. And I would venture to say that the fact
that there's an intention to expand the same failed model of
corporatization of home care in the Lethbridge and Medicine Hat areas also,
I think, adds to the urgency of this debate, that in fact
we need to put a stop or some modification to this immediately.
Mr. Speaker, this emergency submission of mine is certainly in
the public interest, as referenced from Beauchesne's 389 and 390,
just talking about the public interest demands that we address
patient concern about care and safety, of which this is self-evident.
The Health minister himself has called this whole thing a failure,
yet we've not done anything to address that failure. Days go by,
and people are still in the same compromised situations. New
revelations are appearing every month about problems with care.
If we don't take the time to debate what is happening in the homecare
system, the public interest does in fact suffer.
We also must maintain the legitimacy of this Assembly, Mr.
Speaker, and not do a disservice to the authority of this institution
that provides public health care to Albertans. We cannot neglect
our duty as representatives to debate and reflect on this most
important issue of the day.
I have, of course, referenced this into a very specific question,
as stated in Beauchesne's paragraph 387 and in the description of
a SO 30 as well. I'm stating a specific question, which is in
essence the negative impact on patient care and safety right here
and right now.

4:10
A couple of final things, Mr. Speaker, in regard to administrative
competence. This government is responsible for our public
health system and must be held accountable. We cannot defer or
put layers of excuses between that responsibility, and giving these
corporate contracts away does not diminish that responsibility. As
well, this debate is necessary to achieve a better understanding of
what went wrong, where mistakes were made, so that we might be
able to minimize negative impacts and, as I say, to seek better
resolution in the future, when we might seek modification of home
care in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and other places in the
province.Finally, number eight, that there is a general wish for debate in
this House. I trust that we might find that wish amongst a majority
of members here today. Certainly, many of us have had to deal
with this. In my experience there's been an unprecedented amount
of anecdotal evidence that would suggest that our home care in the
Edmonton area is in a state of failure. We have many, many, many
people not getting the care that they had before. I think this opens
the door to more private home care, which I suspect is part of the
reason that this did in fact happen in the first place. When you
have somebody you look after and you need to care for and that
has to happen tomorrow, not next month or in February, when the
Health Quality Council comes through, then you just buy that
service.I think that Albertans expect better, that we need public delivery
of our home care, and that we do not need to wait another four
months for another inquiry. The last inquiry did not satisfy any of
the immediate concerns that I have here today, and I think it's the
duty and the responsibility of this House to deal with this this
afternoon.Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health.

Mr. Horne: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the
opportunity to rise and to speak to the motion under Standing
Order 30. After consideration of the arguments I'm going to
present, my request will be that you not allow this motion to
proceed, and there are a number of reasons for that. Of course, I
will attempt to confine my comments specifically to the question


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2501

of urgency that you pointed out prior to the motion being
introduced.Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would draw hon. members' attention
to the motion itself. I would assume that for a motion of this
nature to be considered, it needs to be factually correct in order to
meet the test of being considered an urgent issue of public interest.
The motion refers in its last sentence to
the negative impacts on patient care and safety resulting from
Alberta Health Services' decision in June 2013 to significantly
reduce the number of home-care providers in Edmonton and
Calgary by cancelling contracts with existing providers and
awarding multimillion-dollar, multiyear contracts to for-profit
corporations.
Mr. Speaker, in the first instance, the hon. member proposing
the motion has stated something that is not an accurate
representation of the facts. The contracts that preceded the ones
that are in place today were in fact not cancelled by Alberta
Health Services. These were contracts that expired. They were
term-limited contracts, as are many of the contracts that Alberta
Health Services enters into in order to provide us with health care
services. In fact, these contracts expired some time ago, and it was
as long ago as February 2013 that Alberta Health Services issued a
request for proposals to which all of the previous providers were
free to apply and new providers who had not provided home-care
services up to that point in time were also free to apply.
Mr. Speaker, what's referred to here as a deliberate action to
cancel the provision of home-care services by certain providers is
not that. In fact, the events that took place follow the normal
course of business in Alberta Health Services in the delivery of
care. So I would offer that as a first argument as to some of the
factual inaccuracies contained in the motion.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I'd respectfully point out that the
motion implies, at least as I read it, that contracts were awarded to
for-profit corporations solely and for the first time. Of course,
many hon. members will be aware that Alberta through its service
delivery model has worked collaboratively and entered into
contracts with public providers, not-for-profit providers, and forprofit
providers for the provision not only of home-care services
but many other services that we offer in our health care system.
To attempt to make part of the argument for an urgent debate
the basis that; at least, as I said, in my reading of this, we are
somehow newly entering into contracts with for-profit providers
for the provision of home care is factually inaccurate. Those two
points taken together, Mr. Speaker, would provide me with a basis
to respectfully ask in the first instance that this motion not be
allowed to proceed.
Mr. Speaker, the other evidence that was presented by the hon.
member: I take issue with a number of those arguments as well as
they pertain to the urgency, the request for this debate on a matter
of urgency, and specifically with respect to the argument
presented that this House has not had an opportunity and will not
have another opportunity to debate this issue.
As I just pointed out, Mr. Speaker, the previous contracts for
home-care services that were held by Alberta Health Services with
a number of providers expired sometime ago. The expiration of
those contracts prompted the issuance of a request for proposal.
That is a public process as are all procurement processes that are
undertaken by Alberta Health Services or by government itself.
The fact was well known as long ago as February of 2013 that
those contracts had expired, that there would be an RFP process,
and that in all possibility home-care providers could change, could
be realigned.
As we all know, and as the hon. member pointed out in his
remarks, AHS was clear that there were two goals with respect to the RFP
process. There was an objective to reduce the total
number of providers in Alberta. Secondly, and I think most
importantly, the other goal of the RFP process was to ensure a
more consistent level of service across the province to all citizens.
Mr. Speaker, the fact that this was not a cancellation of
contracts, that it was in fact a normal business process, that it was
a public process and the fact that the hon. member and all other
members of this House either were aware that or had the ability to
be aware that former home-care contracts had expired gave
everyone in this House the opportunity to raise questions about
that process. Whether the concern was, as it appears to be on the
part of the hon. member, with the provision of these services by
for-profit providers or whether the concern was with other aspects
of the RFP or the delivery of home care generally, the opportunity
to present those arguments existed as long ago as February 2013.
As well, Mr. Speaker, since that time we had the opportunity as
members to talk about health care issues, including home care, in
the spring session of this House. Members had the opportunity to
raise questions if they were concerned with the procurement
practices. There were opportunities in Public Accounts, where
both Alberta Health Services and my department appear on a
regular basis, and, of course, up to the end of the spring session.
So to suggest in any way that there was not an opportunity for this
matter to be considered earlier is simply not accurate.
Finally, Mr. Speaker – and I'll be very brief on this – again
sticking to the question of urgency, the hon. member in his
remarks implied that none of the concerns since contracts have
been awarded have in fact been addressed and that that contributes
to the emergency nature of the debate which he's requesting. As
most of us, I think, are aware, Janet Davidson, at the time the
official administrator of Alberta Health Services, conducted an
extensive review of the RFP process. Alberta Health Services
made her report public. The conclusions of the report are perhaps
not germane to the question of urgency, Mr. Speaker, but there
was a very thorough and a very publicly visible exercise to review
the RFP process. I'll note that it did result in some changes to the
awarding of contracts, changes that were inspired by the desire to
maintain the highest possible level of quality.

4:20
Again, to the hon. member's comments most recently about the
decision of one of the providers to reduce the number of homecare
clients that that provider would serve, Mr. Speaker, that
situation was well publicized. The process was not an emergency
as the hon. member would suggest. In fact, I don't remember at
any time describing the entire exercise as a failure. What we did
discuss at length and in the public realm was the work that was
done by both AHS and this particular provider to identify areas
where it may not be able to deliver the level of quality that is
expected.Mr. Speaker, the last thing I'd point to is again on the question
of urgency. The hon. member is citing patient safety and quality
and his concerns about those as the basis for an emergency debate.
If the hon. member doesn't know – and I'm sure most would agree
that he should know it – in fact, Alberta's continuing care health
service standards apply to the provision of all home-care services
in our province. Whether the contract is with a private provider, a
for-profit provider, or a public provider, the standards are the
same for all.
As he mentioned, I've asked the Health Quality Council not to
conduct a review of the contracts for private providers but to
review and to make recommendations to update the quality
assurance framework for home care in this province. That report is
coming in February. But by no means, Mr. Speaker, does the


2502 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

existence of that review suggest at all that patient safety and
quality of home care are in question in this province.
For those reasons, Mr. Speaker, I would respectfully submit that
this motion, first of all, factually does not represent accurately the
circumstances surrounding the provision of home care in this
province and, secondly, that it does not meet the required test of
urgency nor does it answer the fact that there have been ample
opportunities for members of this House to debate this issue in
multiple forums as long ago as February 2013.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake,
followed by the Member for Calgary-Mountain View.

Mrs. Towle: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you to the Member
for Edmonton-Calder for bringing this emergency motion forward.
Under Standing Order 30(7) there are six conditions a motion
must meet. Clauses (b) through (f) are pretty straightforward. As
far as I can tell, there is no debate on whether this motion meets
them. It does. It comes down only to meeting the first requirement;
namely, that “the matter proposed for discussion must relate
to a genuine emergency, calling for immediate and urgent
consideration.” As I will explain, the failure to deliver care that
has arisen by the government's decision has already generated an
emergency that this House must address urgently.
When people receive home-care services, it's not because they
simply want them. People receive home care because, quite
frankly, they're not able to provide their own services in their own
home by themselves. So when stories emerge of missed
appointments, it's not just a bad-news day; it's a failure to provide
the necessities of life. This government was warned repeatedly
that centralizing so many home-care providers in such a short
period of time was not just unwise but, frankly, was dangerous.
Sadly, the government did not heed this warning, and some of the
most vulnerable people in our province are now paying that price.
Mr. Speaker, this is an emergency requiring immediate debate
because the government's actions are seriously endangering
people. They may try to say that the problems are limited to one
single home-care provider, but the stories that I'm about to tell
you show that that's simply not the case. The Minister of Health
would have us believe that this was limited to one company by the
name of Revera; however, that's not realistic because we've seen
story after story about We Care, CBI, and many others.
On October 10, 2013, the Health minister stated that he regrets
the inconvenience caused by service disruptions to 300 home-care
patients in Edmonton. In Edmonton the system failed, said the
Minister of Health, adding that Alberta Health Services' apology
earlier that day for the disruptions was appropriate and that he
holds them responsible. One has to wonder what Alberta Health
Services was doing in all of these conversations they were having
if they couldn't see this coming down the track.
If we go even further, we know the story of the Edmonton
woman who was left alone on the floor of her seniors' residence
for nine hours after her home-care worker did not show up. She's
87 and has lung cancer and failing eyesight. Her health care
worker was from CBI Home Health. Over the Labour Day
weekend she failed to show. That 87-year-old woman was on the
floor. She yelled a few times, she couldn't move, and she didn't
know what she was going to do. Her family, her friends checked
on her the next day. Her daughter said: when I saw my mother on
the floor all soiled, I started to cry because I thought how
undignified it was for this poor lady to have to be in her soiled
clothing all that time. One would say that if that doesn't sound to
you like it's an urgent need or an emergency, then I wonder what is. This
woman's experience illustrates that the province's process
of selecting a new agency to provide home care earlier this year
was flawed right from the start.
I know the Health minister would have us believe that
everybody had lots of time and everybody participated. However,
even their own report, that was posted by AHS, showed that
agencies competing for home-care contracts complained about a
lack of transparency in the selection process. If the Health minister
would have us believe that these companies all had fair access but
the companies are telling you that there was a lack of transparency
in the process, then clearly this was not an open and transparent
process. Now we have a very serious and dangerous problem
facing our vulnerable Albertans in this province. Even AHS
spokesperson Carol Anderson said that missed visits by home-care
providers are an issue.
Mr. Speaker, Cam Tait, who many of us know, from Creekside
co-op was told by the Premier that these issues would be
addressed many months ago. He blogged about some of the
shocking and the extremely sad situations that home-care patients
were forced into. One of the things he said was that “more than 30
people scheduled for home care services in Leduc did not have
their shifts covered” just in September. And that was from We
Care. The situation at the Leduc centre was posted online.
Previous staff at We Care said that this never used to be a
problem, but because of the shift to the way the government
wanted to go, forcing them to take on so many clients in so little
time, they did not have enough staff.
One of their regular clients recently went an entire weekend
without getting help for a bowel routine. Now, I don't know if
many of you know what a bowel routine is, and I'm sure not going
to go into too much detail because it's not very pretty, but as
somebody who was a caregiver, I can tell you that my brother had
a bowel routine, and when you go a whole weekend without
having somebody assist you with removing necessary bodily
fluids from your skin, from your body, that is an emergency, and
that is urgent.
Mr. Tait goes on to say:
“Because she went all weekend without [a bowel routine] she
became very incontinent in her bed and she was deeply
embarrassed. Poor woman.”
The blog goes on about:
the mental anguish of people with disability being uncertain of
personal care attendants not coming. Wondering if you will get
help or not can grind a person down. It can dampen one's
confidence to live in the community . . . independently. The sad
thing here is the provincial government is not paying much
respect to personal care attendants.
It goes on to say:
“AHS needs to understand the rights of the ones who are
disabled and or elderly. I help people with their daily living. I
hope I give them dignity and self-respect . . . People that are
going through issues, whether it's having a hard time growing
old and all the complications that go with it. Or, ones suffering
from disabilities and all the things they go through in a daily
manner” [deserve respect].
Now, Mr. Speaker, the Health minister tells us that there was a
review done on this exact issue way back in July. He mentioned
Janet Davidson, who did that review. One can only imagine that
either the review was done inadequately, or it wasn't done at all.
These care providers have been telling this government, have been
telling opposition, have been writing letters, and have been in the
media saying that the problems with home care are rampant and
that going from 35 providers to 10 providers was going to be
dangerous and cause serious issues for people receiving that care.


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2503

Mr. Speaker, these people cannot afford to wait for the
government to come back with yet another report on home-care
services next year. They cannot afford to have another six months
of missed appointments. They cannot afford to spend one minute,
one hour, one day, or one weekend sitting in their own waste.
These are vulnerable Albertans not getting the care they need from
the government.

4:30
Now, I understand that the Minister of Health doesn't want to
talk about this. I understand that the Minister of Health finds this
conversation a bit uncomfortable. I also understand that even the
Minister of Health knows that in Edmonton especially and in
Calgary this process is failing Albertans and putting them in a
dangerous situation. I would suggest to all members of this House
that it's not an Edmonton or Calgary issue, folks. It's going to
happen in Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Balzac, Innisfail,
Trochu, Fort McMurray, and many other places across this
province.It is the agenda of this government to roll out centralized home
care. Many of your constituents may just be calling you and
explaining to you that their home-care worker did not show up to
give them a bath for a month. We thought a bath a week was
terrible. Imagine going without a bath for a month.
When you sit there and you actually put it into perspective,
there is absolutely no harm in having this debate today. If
anything, we would be doing our jobs today as legislators to
understand that any time we leave a vulnerable Albertan laying on
the floor and we don't address it in this House at the first
opportunity – that is our job. That's why our constituents put us
here, and it's our job to fight for every single Albertan in this
province who can't be heard. I implore each and every one of you
to put the party lines aside and have an emergency debate on
home care.
Thank you.

The Speaker: The hon. Member for Calgary-Mountain View.

Dr. Swann: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, rise in support of this
motion for emergency debate on home care services and how they
have been co-opted by an agenda that is driven largely by
ideology and by a budget problem that this government has gotten
itself into. It's hard to view this in any other way when so much
has happened since the deficit budget was tabled in this House.
Indeed, there has not been adequate discussion and debate in this
House on the progressive privatization of our health care system
by stealth.
This government reassured the entire electorate before the last
election that they had no interest in privatizing health care. That is
exactly what they've been doing for the last year and a half. Not
only are there now boutique clinics for those who can afford
special treatment, but there's private wait-list insurance. No, you
can't jump the queue in Alberta, but you can pay $50 a month and
go to Vancouver and jump their queue or go to Toronto and jump
their queue. This is privatization and queue-jumping by stealth,
and this government has taken no initiative. It has obviously had
this agenda since Ralph Klein was here. I've watched it evolve
over 12 years.
There is no hiding the fact that it's time to have a public debate
about why this government continues to privatize health care
without acknowledging it and without public debate. These two
values of the Progressive Conservative Party, none of them
overtly expressed – one based on support for private, two-tiered
health care and the second based on the terror of showing themselves to
have a budget deficit and an unwillingness to look
at a fair tax system in this province – have left them with no
options. They're simply going ahead and privatizing our health
care system under our noses, and it's taking this kind of
underhanded approach to make it impossible for Albertans or even
the Legislature to have an honest debate about where the health
care system is going.
Is it urgent, Mr. Speaker, to debate home care? Well, it depends
on where you sit. Where the minister sits, there's nothing urgent
about home care. He sits in a very comfortable spot as Minister of
Health in his own home, in his own community. Is it urgent for
many people in this Legislature? No, it's not urgent for any of us
unless we have loved ones that are being dismissed, not visited
appropriately, not getting the quality of care they deserve, and not
identified as appropriate for home care at all because of the
shortage of home-care services. It depends on where you stand,
whether this is urgent or not.
We are progressively losing the public health care system that
we have all supported over decades in this country, and this
government is leading the charge in Canada to privatize our health
care right under our noses. No, it's not violating the letter of the
Canada Health Act; it's violating the very fundamental spirit of
the Canada Health Act.
Mr. Speaker, the privatization of home care that has significantly
happened over this past year is consistent with now the
move to privatize laboratories after a totally failed experiment in
the '90s, in which the government had to buy back the laboratories
in Calgary, Calgary Lab Services, because they were losing 30 per
cent – 30 per cent – more on lab service than they had before. So
we spent millions and millions buying back the lab service after a
failed experiment in privatization in Calgary. Now they're doing it
in Edmonton and saying: “No, no. We're not privatizing anything.”
This is all about smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker.
Private home care will do several things to home care. It will
weaken the standards, notwithstanding this minister's last-minute
appeal to the Health Quality Council to ensure that we have those
standards in home care. Where is the monitoring? Where is the
enforcement in our long-term care centres now? Now he's going
to add another layer, ostensibly, of monitoring and enforcement of
standards in home care. We already hear stories of people,
especially new Canadians, being taken off the street and trained in
the homes of people to do the home-care services without
appropriate standards, without appropriate care, and in many cases
with serious consequences such that either the families themselves
step in and boot out the home-care service or they somehow
endure half the quality in home-care services that they need.
It means a high turnover rate in home-care staff. It means less
income for home-care staff. We've already heard many who are
not getting travel expenses as a result of this new privatization.
Their salaries are decreased. Their security, their pension funds,
all kinds of benefits that were there before are now in question.
This is going to create another level of instability in a health
system that is longing for some stability, longing for some
commitment, longing for leadership, and they're not getting it
from this minister. It's one after the other of chaos, poor decisions,
reversal of decisions, firing and hiring.
It's clear that this government doesn't know where it's going in
health care, and the health care professionals tell me on a daily
basis that the morale is continuing to slide into the basement. This
is unacceptable. If there's ever a time to debate our creeping
privatizing, now overt privatization, it's here in this House now.
Have the courage, Mr. Minister, to stand up here and defend what
you're doing in the health care system today.


2504 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

The quality, the access, and the affordability of our health care
system all have been shown in studies to be worsening under a
private-option health care. What do insurance companies do for
health care? Tell me, do you see any benefits by adding a middle
man between the patient and the doctor? How do we deal with
double-dipping, doctors who bill both the public and the private
system? How do we deal with cherry-picking, companies that
decide, “Oh, we won't take you because you're too complicated;
you're going to cost too much”? I don't see any ability to deal
with that.
I think we need to stand up and have this debate and ensure that
we don't make another botched-up job of change in this province
when there's already so much demoralization in the health care
system with all the changes that continue to be made. Show some
consistency, some leadership, and have the courage to debate
these issues.
With a high turnover in home care we're going to get a progressive
loss in quality of care in home care. When you have many
people that are coming in and out of home care because they're
not happy with the work, they're dissatisfied with the quality they
can give, they're rushing around from place to place, not getting
the appropriate financial support or moral support – in many cases
I know the home-care providers of the past. They're largely a
voluntary organization. They support one another. They're there
because they love their work, they care for people, and they want
to be consistently there, week after week, month after month,
especially in the last years of life for these people. You're going to
disrupt all of that again.
Surely you can see what a cost this is, not a monetary cost. I'm
talking about a human cost and a spiritual cost. This is another
example of a government that simply does not know where it's
going in health care, except that it wants to privatize, and it wants
to balance its budget.
It's time to debate, Mr. Speaker.

4:40
The Speaker: Are there others? Calgary-Fort, your side has
already spoken, but if you have something very brief that's
different from what we've heard, please proceed quickly.

Mr. Cao: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to join in here on
the notion of emergency and the opportunity to debate. In fact,
every day we have about a hundred Albertans become seniors, and
planning ahead, we know that there are about half a million
seniors today, but in 20 years it will be 1 million. So these data
have been collected, and we have planned to address that. Of those
half a million Albertans today 100,000 receive assistance and care
in the comfort of their own homes. Personally, I have visited the
care centres. In fact, the Associate Minister of Seniors was with
me in my riding, and we visited a few seniors' homes with home
care. We found that this thing is working as it is.
The population is increasing, and I note that since 2009 the
funding for home care has increased by 33 per cent. We are now
spending $507 million, more than half a billion dollars, I should
say, to ensure that Albertans receive the best care possible in their
own home.
Now, I just want to emphasize that those are the efforts that our
government is doing, and it's going well out there. Also, AHS has
an organization that provides health care, and to me everything is
going – of course, there are problems, cases, individual issues,
accidents. It happens, but to me that's part of the operational. We
look at the big picture. Things are moving, I feel, and my
constituents acknowledge that when I visit newly built home care.
Thank you very much. The Speaker: I think we're going to have to stop
there and deal
with this matter. Oh, where to begin. Hon. members, this is a very
difficult issue as much for the chair as it is for all of you, including
everyone who has already spoken. Nonetheless, Standing Order
30 does provide that “the Member may briefly state the arguments
in favour of the request for leave and the Speaker may allow such
debate as he . . . considers relevant to the question of urgency” and
that it is the role of the chair to “rule on whether or not the request
for leave is in order.”
The most awkward thing about a Standing Order 30, regardless
of the subject matter, is to understand the term “urgency.” The
term “urgency” as we use it in normal day-to-day parlance is
completely different than the way it is used here under Standing
Order 30. I have wrestled with this for two decades. Let me just
remind you of what Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules & Forms,
sixth edition, says on page 113, and this is in the context of
motions to adjourn the House under Standing Order 52 to discuss
an important matter. In this instance for Standing Order 52 you
can substitute our local Assembly's Standing Order 30. I'll quote
Beauchesne 390.
'Urgency' within this rule does not apply to the matter itself, but
means 'urgency of debate', when the ordinary opportunities
provided by the rules of the House do not permit the subject to
be brought on early enough and the public interest demands that
discussion take place immediately.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is as succinct a definition of urgency
with respect to Standing Order 30 as we can find for you right at
this moment. I would ask you to reflect on it because it's a
difficult one for people who are not in this Assembly and have not
experienced this kind of debate to fully grasp and understand.
There's no question in anyone's mind in this Assembly – and
certainly there's no question in the Speaker's mind either –
whether or not home care is important or, for that matter, that any
aspect of health care delivery is important. Clearly, it is.
In any event, I have listened carefully and very attentively to
comments made by the five members who spoke in request to this
request for leave to adjourn the ordinary business of the
Assembly. I am prepared to rule, as a result, on whether the
request for leave for this motion to proceed is in order under
Standing Order 30. The Member for Edmonton-Calder did meet
the requirement of providing at least two hours' notice to the
Speaker's office. He provided the required notice at 10:38 a.m.
today. His motion reads as follows.
Pursuant to Standing Order 30 be it resolved that the ordinary
business of the Legislative Assembly be adjourned to discuss a
matter of urgent public importance; namely, the negative
impacts on patient care and safety resulting from Alberta Health
Services' decision in June 2013 to significantly reduce the
number of home care providers in Edmonton and Calgary by
cancelling contracts with existing providers and awarding
multimillion-dollar, multiyear contracts to for-profit
corporations.
Now, I'm not going to comment on the wording used in the
motion. That is up to the member to explain, and he has done so.
However, members will recall that the relevant parliamentary
authorities on this subject are also included in House of Commons
Procedure and Practice on pages 689 through 696. I've already
cited the Beauchesne reference.
Now, in listening to the hon. member who proposed the motion
and to others who commented on it, I'm sure you would all agree
that I did allow considerable latitude. Members who have been
here for several SO 30s know that I and previous Speakers have
interjected very quickly on matters that strayed from the points
about urgency of debate. Today, however, I allowed a little bit
more to go on because I recognize how serious the issue is, I


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2505

recognize that this is our first day back, but I also recognize that
when this issue arose, some immediate action was in fact taken.
Now, I listened very attentively to all the speakers. In fact, the
hon. Member for Edmonton-Calder rose at approximately 4:02
and concluded his remarks just before 4:13. Then the Minister of
Health spoke from the government side from 4:13 to approximately
4:23. Coincidentally, the Member for Innisfail-Sylvan
Lake rose at 4:23 and spoke until 4:33. Quadruply coincidentally,
the Member for Calgary-Mountain View rose at 4:33 and spoke
until approximately 4:43. So we've had 10, 20, 30, 40 good
minutes, which were then augmented with two or three minutes
from Calgary-Fort, and a number of important points were made
even though they weren't necessarily germane to the issue of
urgency as defined by Beauchesne and HOC, House of Commons
Procedure and Practice. But I did let points get said and get made
so that we would get the full grasp and gravity from all four
parties of the importance of this matter.
Now, before the question as to whether this motion should
proceed to be put to the Assembly, I have to determine where the
motion meets the requirements of Standing Order 30(7)(a), which
requires that “the matter proposed for discussion [is related] to a
genuine emergency, calling for immediate and urgent consideration.”
As I've said, there's no question that the matter, the issue,
is important and, in the mind of anyone who spoke on either side
of it, constitutes some form of genuine emergent response or
emergency action.

4:50
Hon. members, I want to go on briefly and just acknowledge
that I have been there, and I have seen home care delivered to
patients in need during my time in a particular portfolio. I know
where you are all coming from because I have been there and I
have seen it. I know how serious the families take this matter
when one of their members winds up in a position of being, to
quote the Member for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, soiled all weekend,
or words to that effect. Obviously it's serious to sit in your own
waste for any seconds or minutes of time. It's awkward,
uncomfortable, and ought to be corrected as quickly as possible.
I also noted other comments by the Member for CalgaryMountain
View, whom I did let go on a little further than I would
normally have let go on on this portion. He was into turnover rates
and salaries and pension funds and creeping privatization and so
on. Nonetheless, in fairness to that member and his caucus I
allowed that to go on so that those comments could be on the
record, which, as I had said earlier, was probably more what all of
you were after at the very minimum.
I also was keen on the comments made by the hon. Minister of
Health, wherein he indicated that the contracts were not cancelled,
they were term-limited, they expired some time ago, an RFP was
issued, there were, perhaps, some factual inaccuracies, but most
importantly, that the Alberta Health Services folks and their new
head, which I think he mentioned was Janet Davidson, was doing
their utmost to review this and have already taken some very
specific action. Clearly, it has caught the attention of the upper
echelon in Alberta Health Services, and that's a very good thing.
I want to reiterate that I take this as a very serious matter. I
know all of you do, too, because it affects and it impacts literally
thousands of Albertans. I don't have the latest number at hand, but
I would venture to guess that it's 40,000 or 50,000 or thereabouts,
perhaps even more. So the gravity of the situation is certainly not
lost on me.
Now, I want to also point out for members here that if I were to
allow the debate to proceed for the remainder of the day, it would
not culminate in a decision by this Assembly. It might point out a
direction for some people who want to take it, but it does not culminate
in a decision in and of itself, so please be reminded of that.
Finally, I'll just state that while I would be very prepared to
allow the debate to take place for the remaining hour, we've had
about 45 minutes of what I would call debate already. All four
parties are on record now stating what they wish to state and what
they feel about this matter, and as such I will not rule in favour of
the leave to have an emergency debate for the remaining hour.
That concludes that matter, and I would ask for your understanding
and your rereview of everything that I just said so that
you will be able to guide yourselves accordingly. Thank you.
Hon. members, just before we start the formal proceedings for
Orders of the Day, the hon. Associate Minister of Recovery and
Reconstruction for High River wishes to make a comment.
I'll recognize you, sir.

Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At this time I would like to
request unanimous consent of the Assembly to transfer the
sponsorship of Bill 206, Tobacco Reduction (Flavoured Tobacco
Products) Amendment Act, 2012, to my colleague the hon.
Member for Calgary-Currie.

The Speaker: Hon. members, the hon. minister has requested
unanimous consent of the Assembly.

[Unanimous consent granted]

The Speaker: Excellent. We didn't hear any objection to that, so
we can proceed with your request.
Thank you, hon. members, for that understanding. That has
been granted. The Order Paper will now show the name of the
new sponsor for this bill, and the bill will be reprinted.

head: Orders of the Day

head: Written Questions

[The Clerk read the following written question, which had been
accepted]

Legal Actions against the Ministry of Energy

Q41. Mr. Bikman:
What are the amounts for which the Crown has settled legal
actions for each fiscal year commencing April 1, 2008, and
ending March 31, 2012, where the Minister or Ministry of
Energy is the defendant, and what were the causes of action
in those legal actions?

The Speaker: Hon. members, we're now on private members'
bills, so let us continue on with the hon. Member for Red DeerNorth
with respect to the concurrence motion.

Mrs. Jablonski: Mr. Speaker, I know that according to the clock
it's two minutes to 5. I have a 10-minute response to the concurrence
motion. As well, a few other speakers will speak to it. I would
ask, because I don't see any point in speaking for one minute, that
we move directly to our private member's motion today rather than
just speaking for a minute and then coming back to it, sir.

The Speaker: I think that would be acceptable. Hon. member,
you were asking for unanimous consent? I didn't hear that.

Mrs. Jablonski: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: Could you please rephrase your unanimous consent
motion in its totality, then, just so we're clear?


2506 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

Mrs. Jablonski: Mr. Speaker, as it is one minute to 5, I am requesting
unanimous consent to move directly to our motion for today.

The Speaker: Hon. members, the Member for Red Deer-North
has requested your unanimous consent, as uttered.

[Unanimous consent granted]

The Speaker: I don't believe I hear any objections, so that has
been granted.
The hon. Member for Calgary-Hawkwood.

Mr. Luan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before I begin, I do have 10
guests sitting in the members' gallery. If I could ask your
permission to introduce them to the House.

The Speaker: Hon. members, the member for Calgary-Hawkwood
has requested that we revert to Introduction of Guests.

[Unanimous consent granted]

The Speaker: Please proceed with your introduction, and as soon
as you're finished, go on with your motion.

head: Introduction of Guests
(reversion)

Mr. Luan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thanks to my House
colleagues. It is my honour to rise to introduce you to 10 guests
that are sitting in the members' gallery. They're representing
members throughout the province who have under two umbrella
organizations provided guidance to heritage language education in
our province.
The first on the list is the Southern Alberta Heritage Language
Association, or SAHLA. The next one is the International and
Heritage Languages Association of Alberta, IHLA. Mr. Speaker, I
would ask them to stand as I mention their name to be recognized,
and we'll hold our applause until the end, when I finish
introducing them.

[Mrs. Jablonski in the chair]

I have Mr. Michael Embaie, president of SAHLA; Vinay Dey, a
member of SAHLA; Amina Ofleh, principal of one of the schools
and also a member of SAHLA; Steven Lim, a member of SAHLA;
Michael Gretton, co-ordinator of SAHLA; Josephine Pallard,
president of IHLA; Leticia Cables, a member of IHLA; Vida Dreh,*
a member of SAHLA; Chandra Weerasinghe, a member of
SAHLA; and John Gatlliak,* a member of SAHLA. I thank you so
much for travelling to this corner of the province on very short
notice to come to support the motion we are just about to begin.
Members of the House, if I can ask you to give them the
traditional warm welcome. Thank you.

5:00 head:Motions Other than Government Motions

Heritage Language Schooling

513. Mr. Luan moved:
Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the
government to promote and assist heritage language
schooling in collaboration with local school board
authorities to provide adequate access to school facilities.

Mr. Luan: Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today to open
debate on Motion 513. I'm proposing this motion in order to bring
attention to the issues that heritage language schools face and how the
government can assist in promoting collaboration between
heritage language schools and local school boards.
Just to give you a bit of a background, Madam Speaker, heritage
language schools provide an extracurricular education environment,
typically held on weekends, to individuals who wish to
learn another language and increase cultural competency. These
schools operate throughout the province at a community level and
represent many different ethnicities.
There are two major umbrella organizations, as introduced to
you earlier, SAHLA and IHLA. Both of them are nonprofit
organizations. SAHLA is based in southern Alberta, and they
represent over 38 different languages throughout the southern part
of our province. IHLA is their counterpart. They provide guidance
to critical elements in language education and represent the
northern part of Alberta. Together they represent over 80 language
schools across Alberta, with 12,000 students currently enrolled.
Here are some examples of language schools. The Chinese
Academy in Calgary is the largest language school in Alberta. It
has been in operation since 1997 and has over 1,900 students. The
Russian school in Edmonton, Erudite, is an accredited heritage
language private school which was founded in September 2003
and is dedicated to preserving and promoting Russian language
and culture in our multicultural society. Finally, there is Gabriela
Mistral Latin American School in Edmonton, which is committed
to preserving the Spanish language and Latin American culture.
Those are just some examples. The instruction those schools
provide not only helps preserve their culture and their language
but also helps open many doors for students as they either
continue their education or enter into the workforce.
Madam Speaker, with all those students and the fantastic work
they're doing, both SAHLA and IHLA believe there's a need for
affordable rent rates for class space at weekend schools, and there
need to be some resolutions to accommodate schools so that they
can access school facilities. For your information, just to give you
background, in Calgary in 2011 the heritage language schools paid
$67 per hour to rent a classroom on the weekend. If I sum up the
total of all the language schools across the province, they provide
thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for classroom rentals in
order to provide educational service.
Another challenge that the heritage language schools commonly
face is that they feel like they are being treated as, if I can use
their terminology, secondary citizens. What this implies is that
they have not been given the proper recognition that heritage
language is in the domain of education. They're often referred to
and mixed together with recreational groups. When they rent
facilities, they are subject to all kinds of conditions, and one of the
conditions is very ironic when you think of a thousand students
renting schools on the weekend. If they move a table or mark
something on a keyboard and on Monday the regular school gets
agitated about that, if they receive three such complaints, then
their lease is voided.
I personally have been involved in one of these incidents. One
of the schools in Calgary has been there over 10 years, but just
because of the change to a new principal, who was receiving those
administrative concerns and headaches, that principal simply
decided: we're not going to renew this school. Immediately
thousands of students who had been using that school for weekend
language education found themselves having no school. That was
a time, I remember, when many of them were voicing this
concern. Why are the public facilities, that they pay for in taxes,
treated so differently? For instance, if for the same school Monday
to Friday there is a change or closure, it normally has about six to
nine months of procedures where you consult with parents and the

*This spelling could not be verified at the time of publication.


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2507

community and you do a transition in that regard, not on a whim
like this one, where you could decide at any moment.
Because of all of these issues, many heritage language schools
are run inconsistently, with an unstable learning environment,
which creates unfavourable outcomes for language programs. As a
result, this may diminish the quality of education and limit
students' opportunities to learn an additional language.
Just for your information, I did a quick comparison through our
research staff that compared: is this just an isolated issue, or is this
across the jurisdictions? I learned that internationally many
countries have created specific heritage language or, as they call
it, international language legislation. Australia leads the world.
They have developed very distinctive national policy for international
language education, targeting emerging economies such
as China and India. They simply believe that by educating their
kids in those languages that emerging countries need, it will give
their children added competitiveness to succeed in the global
economy. In Canada, nationally, Ontario, Quebec, B.C., and
Manitoba have all established similar legislation. Alberta
somehow is falling behind.
With those challenges, Madam Speaker, I believe opportunities
exist ahead of us. Alberta is the fastest growing province. As we
just learned, it reached over 4 million in population this year. We
also have very rapidly changing demographics in our province. I
just reviewed the 2011 StatsCan stats. I want to share a few with
you very quickly. Today 1 in 5 Canadians is a visible minority, or
roughly 19 per cent of the population. One in 5 Albertans is a
visible minority. One in 4 Edmontonians, or 25 per cent of
Edmontonians, are a visible minority, and – listen to this – 1 in 3
Calgarians are a visible minority.
Mr. Speaker, I remember that about seven years ago I was
struck by one of the statements made by the Calgary police chief.
She said at the time that 50 years ago 1 in 50 was a visible
minority in Calgary, today 1 in 5. This was seven years ago. I
followed her speech. I compared to the 2011 stats. We changed.
From 1 in 5 seven years ago it's now 1 in 3 in Calgary. Clearly,
there is a trend, and the trend continues. The diversification of
Alberta is becoming a new reality in today's society.
Here I want to close by saying: what's the impact? What's the
significance of me bringing this up and talking about this? Madam
Speaker, I believe that we have the opportunity today to create
favourable conditions for generations of Albertans to benefit from
gaining a competitive edge in today's global economy. This
includes that our kids will have multiple benefits for individual
growth and cultural competency and have the ability to develop
and maintain increased competency in listening to, speaking,
reading, and writing another language.

5:10
This will also help them strengthen their cognitive development
through knowledge of an additional language, help them build a
bridge between Canadian and heritage cultures, and the list goes
on. There's a long list of research establishing the cognitive and
developmental benefits for children to have that.
More than that, I think we as a province have the opportunity to
set a standard for language education in a consistent and stable
learning environment, to recognize language education as a
critical component of Alberta education, not just another recreational
or cultural activity, and to develop a unique Alberta model
that will have market-driven, cost-sharing, and joint services
provided for Albertans.
I invite hon. members to have a vigorous debate and support
this motion. The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Member for Chestermere-Rocky View.

Mr. McAllister: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good to see you
back in the big chair.
I am going to rise today and speak to this motion, the motion
put forward by the Member for Calgary-Hawkwood. To the
member: I appreciate you bringing it forward. The member and I
both sit on the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, one of the committees
in Calgary trying to promote diversity and greater language
use. I would be thrilled to do anything I could to support it. I do
have some questions, and I'll get to them as I roll through it.
A special welcome to the guests today. I think we'd all like to
see more of our kids and adults in Alberta speaking as many
languages as we could. We'd all be better off.
The motion, as I read it, from the Member for CalgaryHawkwood:
Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the government
to promote and assist heritage language schooling in
collaboration with local school board authorities to provide
adequate access to school facilities.
On the surface of it it certainly sounds like a terrific idea for all
concerned. I think everybody in here approved the motion from
the Member for Calgary-South East, now the associate minister
for flood recovery, on November 19 which urged the government
to construct new school facilities in collaboration with
municipalities, school boards, and other stakeholders which
would function as schools during the day but have the ability to
offset [some of those] operational expenses by partnering with
compatible public and private enterprises such as but not limited
to,
as we discussed at the time,
libraries, daycares, and recreational facilities.
I am fully, as I said, supportive of the concept that a school
facility should be a community hub. It seems like it's gotten much
more complicated over the years, and I think there are reasons for
that. If we all think back to when we were younger, you know,
things were much different. I know that we span a few different
generations in here. I suppose it's changed. [interjection] I'm not
assigning an age shot to anybody, Member for Edmonton-Gold
Bar, at all. I think we all recognize that it seems a little bit more
complicated these days to make these things work, and there are
some reasons for that, and I'd like to ask the member about them
and see what stakeholders have had to say.
In many growing communities like mine, for instance, in
Chestermere-Rocky View we badly need these community hubs
so that organizations like the one the member speaks of can
succeed and offer programs, a place for communities to gather. I
think it also would be wise of me to point out that this already
happens in many of our constituencies. Whether it's a church
group or a community meeting place, many jurisdictions do this
well already.
Heritage language schools in Alberta, as the Member for
Calgary-Hawkwood says, provide an important service to our
communities, our education system. They do provide that support
to a cultural or linguistic group, which is needed. They ensure that
children, youth, adults can learn another language, sometimes
more than one. It might not otherwise be available to them at
school, and I think that's an important thing to point out. Heritage
language schools I believe to be an asset. As a government, as a
member of the opposition, whatever we are, I think we should be
doing all we can to remove any barriers that might be stopping
them from operating and offering their services to Albertans.
From this perspective, as I said, I'm certainly inclined to
support this motion. I would like to hear from the member first


2508 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

about a couple of questions that I do have. I think the Member for
Calgary-Hawkwood did address a couple of them, and I'll get to
those in a second.
We've heard today in the media and elsewhere about some of
the problems that can come up by using the P3 approach to
building schools, and I'll raise a legitimate point that applies to
this member's motion today without going on a tangent which
would be political in nature because my view differs from the
government's on the issue of P3s. This point is relevant, Madam
Speaker. It is more difficult – and you'll hear that from
stakeholders and those boards and schools – for community
groups to access P3s than it is for those from the traditional model.
There are other rules in place.
Because they're maintained by other companies, you're not
allowed to change the way things are. They don't want to see
those facilities damaged or changed in any way, so it's become
more complicated, it seems, to make those schools hubs for the
community, and I think that's something we need to address going
forward. The first batch, as I said, under the P3 model in this
province did have some issues when it came to outside access
groups. So I hope that we're able to address those, for both the
member and the other groups that would like to use them.
Now, I did contact the member, I should mention, a few weeks
ago – I didn't directly, but a research team did – to try to get some
more information from him about the motion. Before I assign
blame to him for not responding, I'll give him a chance to maybe
let me know, but we did send a couple of e-mails, so I could have
asked him a couple of these questions, Madam Speaker,
beforehand.I would like to know from a stakeholder perspective: do the
school boards or school administrators have any issues with your
motion? I'm sure the member has reached out to them. Are there
any maintenance or liability questions that the boards might have?
The maintenance and liability is another snag that we run into with
the P3s. How will the government work with school boards to
increase access to these school facilities?
You know, the more kids we have speaking more languages, the
better off we're going to be, as the member points out. The more
education we can provide, the more barriers we can remove to
make that happen. I think it's a super idea. I'd just like the
member to be able to address some of those questions, and I look
forward to hearing his responses.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations.

Mr. Dallas: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's my honour to rise
today to debate Motion 513, which discusses the future of heritage
language schools in Alberta. I'd like to begin by thanking my
colleague the hon. Member for Calgary-Hawkwood for bringing
forward this motion.
Madam Speaker, as it stands today, heritage language schools in
Alberta face many barriers to success which may inhibit their
sustainability and their future, and through Motion 513 the hon.
member has identified this hindrance as an unnecessary
complication that he wishes to be addressed by this Legislature.
Madam Speaker, as we continue to build Alberta and open new
markets abroad, it's hard to ignore that we are living in an
increasingly globalized civilization and economy. Building lasting
and favourable relationships with trading partners overseas: this is
a key aspect to securing access to important markets. A part of
building these relationships is developing a higher level of cultural
competence, including linguistic competence. This knowledge is
supported by the very existence of heritage language schools.
Madam Speaker, this government has made a commitment to
ensuring that our valuable resources get to market. Obtaining full
market value prices for our resources ensures that Albertans are
getting what's fair for our food and technology as well as for our
energy products. This often means working with partners from the
European Union to China or even to South Korea. Living in the
reality of a globalized economy works to benefit all Albertans as
well as our trading partners abroad.

5:20
Building these relationships also benefits the labour market
right here in Alberta. Having more and more Albertans proficient
in multiple languages also enhances the labour market. Albertans
who take on multiple languages open their opportunities, whether
it is for employment here or throughout the world.
Madam Speaker, given that Alberta is the best place in Canada
to do business, our province has attracted much interest from
business partners around the world. After all, exposing ourselves
to another language not only builds understanding and expanded
knowledge but fosters great friendships as well.
Heritage language schooling provides extracurricular educational
opportunities to individuals who wish to learn another
language and increase cultural competence.
Madam Speaker, Canada as a whole is a home to a plethora of
different languages. This language diversity is illustrated by the
more than 200 languages that were reported as a home language or
mother tongue in 2011 according to reports from Statistics
Canada. Nearly 6.6 million persons reported speaking a language
other than English or French at home, and 20 per cent of the
Canadian population speak another language at home. For 6.4
million Canadians this additional language was an immigrant
language, meaning this language's presence is due to their
family's relocating to Canada. Between 2006 and 2011 some
immigrant languages have seen their numbers grow by more than
30 per cent and Mandarin, specifically, by more than 50 per cent.
Heritage language schooling, like the Southern Alberta Heritage
Language Association, plays an important role in the development
of many of these languages. For several decades these schools
have helped hundreds of thousands of children and adults learn
another language. Madam Speaker, language and cultural
competency are instrumental to how we develop our strategic
relationships and open new markets for Albertans.
Assisting heritage language schooling through the proposed
Motion 513 could remove some of the barriers to success that
these programs face. In doing so, Albertans could be more readily
exposed to new opportunities to obtain cultural competency skills
and even learn multiple languages.
I'd like to thank the hon. member for bringing this motion
before the House for debate. Given the endless opportunities that
multilingualism presents in developing relationships and opening
new markets, I will be supporting this motion, and I encourage all
of my colleagues to do the same.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: The hon. Member for Fort SaskatchewanVegreville.


Ms Fenske: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's an honour for me to
rise today to speak to Motion 513, the goal of which is to promote
and assist heritage language schooling in collaboration with local
school authorities. I would like to thank and congratulate the hon.


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2509

Member for Calgary-Hawkwood for bringing forward his very
first motion in this House.
My experience as a mother with respect to second languages
has been that it has given my children an opportunity beyond what
some others may have had. No longer do our children have to
exist and perform and live in Alberta, but they're children of the
globe. So the more that we can give them the opportunities to
learn second languages and third languages – I think that that
should be encouraged in any way, shape, or form.
When my children were going into school, I certainly looked at
having German as a language that they could learn. However,
there was a huge obstacle to that with respect to transportation, so
we chose French, but from that I certainly understand how
obstacles can come in the way of ensuring that our children are as
prepared as they can be for the future. Madam Speaker, language
schools are confronted with a number of obstacles that can impede
their success and inhibit their sustainability. The intent of this
motion is to recognize the systemic problems that impair the
ability of heritage language schools to run efficiently.
Madam Speaker, a heritage language school provides an
extracurricular learning activity typically held on weekends for
individuals who wish to learn another language and increase
cultural awareness. Such schools operate throughout the province
at the community level and represent many ethnicities. I think that
it goes without saying that proficiency in more than one language
and familiarity with a range of cultural practices are definitely
assets in the global economy that we find ourselves in today, as I
had mentioned earlier for my children.
Aside from the obvious economic benefits there are other
practical advantages as well. We should not understate the
importance of language schools and the learning they foster in
promoting cultural awareness and cultivating an educated society.
This is perhaps one of the most fundamental reasons for nurturing
language education. At the end of the day, Madam Speaker, an
investment in language education is an investment in families and
communities. As Albertans we are fortunate to live in a land of
rich diversity. We are privileged to be able to keep ties with our
heritage and to pass on values, customs, and stories to our
children.Because Alberta is such an attractive place to work, live, and
raise a family, we continue to be very appealing to immigrants
who are new to Canada. With this steady influx of immigrants
comes an increase in linguistic and cultural diversity. Thus,
learning languages, while useful for international business and
travel, is increasingly handy for everyday life right here at home
in Alberta.
Learning French makes sense because, after all, Canada is an
officially bilingual country. Learning French helps us to keep in
mind the interconnectedness of this country despite its vast size
and the sense of regionalism that that can instill. However, other
than French we are blessed with opportunities to learn a multitude
of languages. Languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese,
Korean, Hindi, German, and Spanish are also highly relevant.
One of the many advantages of studying other languages and
becoming fluent in them is the intellectual and mental benefit.
Madam Speaker, there is scientific evidence as well to suggest that
bilingual activity makes us smarter. It can have a surprisingly
powerful impact on the brain, improving cognitive skills not
related to language development and even helping to prevent
dementia. It used to be assumed that bilingualism was a hindrance
to cognitive development, as it was thought that thinking in two
languages would be mutually obstructive. However, it has since
been shown that this actually improves cognition by training the
brain to essentially multitask and synthesize more diverse information at
once. Because of this, bilingualism helps to
improve problem-solving skills.
Madam Speaker, this indicates that learning languages enables
us to develop our ability to assess our environment in greater
detail, which in turn allows us to be more adaptable. The
advantages these types of practical skills give us are wide ranging
and especially relevant in a dynamic and ever-changing society
like our own.
So, Madam Speaker, as far as furthering educational as well as
cultural goals, promoting language education is a win-win.
Thankfully, the current standing of language education in Alberta
is quite robust. As we can see, language is an important
component of our society, and language education deserves to be
taken seriously. As such, it is good to reassess what is currently in
place, to streamline the delivery of that type of education to
Albertans. Given the importance of heritage language schools in
maintaining culture and promoting an educated society, I will be
supporting this motion.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Member for Calgary-Mountain View.

Dr. Swann: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I'm pleased
to rise to support this motion. It's an important one that is often
lost in the complexity of our society and the focus on economic
development. It's an awesome opportunity for us to strengthen the
new Canadians, their capacity to connect, to communicate. Purely
in health care we need all kinds of people to help translate issues
relating to health care and health care needs, instructions,
pharmaceutical programs, prescriptions. Obviously, we need these
folks in all aspects of our economic development. They're going
to be a huge driver for us.

5:30
In fact, I won't say too much more about this because I haven't
seen enough of the motion yet to know a lot of the implications of
it, but I look forward to this motion becoming a bill so that we
ensure that we are funding and supporting, sustainably and in a
stable fashion, the kinds of educational opportunities, the
institutions that are needed, the sustainability that's needed year to
year. It's an opportunity to show these folks that we're serious
about the long-term commitment here to their psychological wellbeing,
their intellectual well-being, their connection to other
Canadians, the community-building aspects that happen around
this whole activity as well as the cultural exchange that can
happen when we actually can communicate better and understand
and respect each other.
It looks like a wonderful opportunity to raise the level of
awareness of this Legislature about this underfunded and
relatively neglected area, that is only going to increase, and we
need to make a serious commitment long term to this if we're all
going to be successful, especially these new Canadians.
Thank you for bringing it forward. I look forward to seeing a
bill in the not-too-distant future so that we can really strengthen
our commitment to this sector.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Member for St. Albert.

Mr. Khan: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm pleased to rise today
and join the debate on Motion 513, proposed by the hon. Member
for Calgary-Hawkwood. I, too, wish to join my colleague and
congratulate the hon. Member for Calgary-Hawkwood for his first
motion and stellar work on this important issue.


2510 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

As has been mentioned, this motion asks us to promote and
assist heritage language schooling in collaboration with local
school board authorities. Motion 513 also seeks to draw our
attention to the need for adequate access to school facilities for
heritage language school programs. Madam Speaker, as evidenced
by our government's Building Alberta plan, we are committed to
ensuring the best possible quality of education for our children. By
building Alberta in this way, by investing in new schools, and by
investing in our teachers, we are laying the groundwork for a
brighter future. Our Building Alberta plan is working to construct
greater opportunities for those who will one day come to inherit
our province. It is for this reason that I offer my support for
Motion 513.
As we urge our government to consider the benefits of heritage
language school programs, it is helpful to examine what other
jurisdictions have done and the strategies they employ towards
language education. Ontario's international language program is
particularly useful as a case study in this regard. This provincially
mandated academic program has been offered by the continuing
education department of the Ottawa-Carleton district school board
since 1990.
The continuing education department offers the international
languages program at both the elementary and secondary school
levels. The elementary program offers language instruction in 39
different languages and involves 17 elementary schools. The
program is eligible to all children who attend elementary school in
Ontario. The secondary school program offers instruction for
credit in 17 languages and is hosted by three secondary schools.
The program is open to all students and adults, and the courses
here are offered from grade 9 through grade 12. Currently there
are over 5,000 students registered in this program. These numbers,
Madam Speaker, lend important affirmation to the potential
success that similar heritage language programs could have here in
Alberta.In terms of how Ontario came to legislate these international
language programs, there are a couple of developments that are
particularly enlightening with respect to our discussion here today.
Before I highlight these developments, Madam Speaker, allow me
to mention briefly that in 1993 the government of Ontario changed
the terminology they used, when they moved from the phrase
“heritage languages” to “international languages.” I mention this
only so we're not confused by the terms “heritage” and
“international” in our discussion. For our purposes let's assume
that both terms are interchangeable.
The Ontario Ministry of Education first enacted legislation that
governed the offering of heritage language programs in
elementary schools in 1989. Later, in 1991, this same ministry
created the resource guide on heritage languages. The guide's aim
was to assist boards in working with heritage language personnel
and local communities to introduce language programs that met
the specific needs of the schools and their students. The guide
provided direction on delivery models, roles and responsibilities,
program development, learning environments, and learning
resources.Madam Speaker, Ontario's work on international language
programs recognizes the benefits and opportunities that such
programs can offer. As has been mentioned already, languages
open our society to a greater competitive advantage in the world
market. The opportunity to learn another language or languages
strengthens cognitive development. It allows us to meet and
understand our neighbours, and it can prepare us for the
responsibilities of being a productive member of our local,
national, and international communities. I believe Motion 513 has
potential to offer another step in the
right direction for assuming more of this important responsibility.
Ontario's initiative, along with defining the value of languagelearning
opportunities, also sets parameters on the roles and
responsibilities of those involved in the administration and
delivery of these language programs. These roles include principal
supervision and the appointment of an education officer, who
develops, plans, budgets, co-ordinates, and monitors program
activities. Other defined roles include site administrators,
instructors, teachers, and also community representatives. More
recently, in 2011, new policies brought in quota requirements
which, once met, mandated that boards must establish the
requested program. That program must also be offered for the
entire school year as long as the quota stays intact.
Madam Speaker, language education offers us further
opportunity to not only build bridges between Canadian and other
cultures but to reveal and reinforce existing bridges already in us.
It offers our children and their children the chance to learn and
develop a robust understanding, a more empathetic understanding
of one another. We can learn from Ontario's example. This is why
I'm in support of Motion 513. It would continue to help us build a
stronger, more resilient Alberta for future generations.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Member for Edmonton-Strathcona.

Ms Notley: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I'm pleased to be able to
rise and speak in support of this motion although with a bit of a
cautionary component to my support.
In principle, I want to say that I and, I think, all members of my
caucus support the growth of heritage and international language
instruction programs, and we certainly support the growth of
opportunities for people who are members of minority language
communities to be able to gain access to useful and effective
heritage language programs. I think the reason we support that is
really for many of the reasons that have already been outlined by
many of the speakers, not only in terms of increasing sort of the
diversity and the levels of understanding and the employability
and the competitiveness of our citizens, our citizens here in
Alberta, but also, you know, for all the various and sundry
learning outcomes which are improved by having someone
participate successfully in heritage language or international
language learning programs.
For that reason, I fully support the idea that's being brought
here to the Legislature. I will say, as one of the previous speakers
did point out, that the motion is a little vague right now. There are
a couple of cautionary points that I would like to make. Even
though I fully, fully support the idea of promoting these programs,
I would like to outline some of the conditions which I think need
to be in place.
First of all, if these programs are going to be supported through
public resources and public support, then they need to be delivered
in a nonprofit setting. One of the things I note from the motion is
that that is not clear. For me, that's really important. As you know,
our caucus is steadfastly opposed to private schoolingNext Hit and
particularly steadfastly opposed to public dollars supporting
Previous Hitprivate schooling. We're happy for people to choose to go to
private schools, but if they do so, that should be their financial
choice and not that of other taxpayers. That same thing applies
generally to the notion of allocating public resources to what is
otherwise a private, for-profit effort.
Of course, as much as heritage language instruction is something
that I think should be done within the public context, I think


October 28, 2013 Alberta Hansard 2511

that we need to be mindful of the fact that when that starts to
move into heritage language and also religious instruction, we can
run into some challenges. We need to be mindful because it's not
an entirely uncomplicated issue, and the issue has arisen in other
contexts, so we need to be aware of that.
Again, though, I think that there is tremendous opportunity to
open the door for greater commitments and obligations on the part
of our public system for promoting and increasing access to
heritage language instruction. I was reading one paper online as
other people were speaking because I was trying to get myself up
to speed on this, and I saw one author talk about linguistic
imperialism that occurs when you have only one or two languages
that everybody uses, and then the other languages and the
communities and cultures associated with those other languages
suffer as a result. I think that it's important to do everything that
we can to work against that trend and to promote genuine
diversity.

5:40
The only other thing that I would suggest as something that we
would need to be conscious of, of course, is that we are currently
in a situation where we are profoundly shortchanging our school
boards. We are asking them to do a great number of things for a
great number of people with an ever-reducing pot, and a huge
array of demands is being put on how they are going to use that
pot, particularly as it relates to capital construction and the
allocation of their capital resources within communities. Those
demands are being put on them already by this government, often
as part of other policies which, potentially, the school boards don't
support as they respond to the demands and the requests of their
communities.All I would suggest is that we not put ourselves in the
position
where, for instance, we're saying to school boards that their extra
space is going to be counted against them. They're not allowed to
actually lease that extra space at market rate, and then they have to
give it to someone at a low rate. The government has decided who
that someone will be, and then they turn around and use the fact
that there's that extra space against the school, and the school
doesn't get the benefit of that use being calculated into the value
of that school to the community, to the neighbourhood, to the
overall process of community development.
What I think needs to be happening is that whatever effort is
ultimately directed to this strategy be done truly in consultation
with the school boards and with a view to understanding the
somewhat untenable position that this government has put many
school boards in with respect to their space, the quality of the
space, the degree to which it needs maintenance, and then the
costs associated with making that space available to the
community. I think school boards want to do that, but it's not
enough for the government to say: oh, yeah, you've got to make
sure you pay all this extra staff, and you've got to do all this extra
work on this building to ensure that the community has access, but
we're not going to give you an extra dollar for it. That's the kind
of thing that we have got to make sure we don't do more of
because, of course, we're already making demands which are
pretty unreasonable in many cases.
That being said, though, those are particular issues, and those
are the cautionary issues, but they are merely cautionary because,
as I say, I do support the promotion and support of more access to
heritage and international language programs within Alberta and
within the public system or at the very least on a nonprofit basis,
where no additional funds are being asked from the people who
would access those programs and being paired with government
funds. That's, of course, an opportunity to increase the proliferation of
public funding of private schools, which, I would argue, is a bad
thing. But I think we can achieve this educational objective while
preserving the integrity of our public school system, and with those
points in mind I support the motion made by the hon. member.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The hon. Minister of Education.

Mr. J. Johnson: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I welcome the
opportunity to rise and make a few comments about this motion.
The first thing I'd like to say is to just commend the Member for
Calgary-Hawkwood for the work that he's done on this and to
navigate it through. I know it's seen a couple of different
iterations, and he took a lot of feedback from many different
people and worked with people in this community and his
colleagues, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for the passion
he's shown here.
There are others, too, that have been very supportive of heritage
language schools, and I think of the MLA for Calgary-Northern
Hills and the MLA for Calgary-Greenway and several others of
our caucus who have helped push this to the fore. If nothing else, I
think they've done a great job of raising the profile on how
important the heritage language schools are and the great work
that the heritage language school organizations are doing right
across the province.
You know, as I read this and as I listen and talk with the
member, it really is about collaboration and trying to work
between the department and these organizations and the school
boards to make sure that these organizations have proper access to
facilities. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. We should
be doing that on a daily basis anyway. I want to say that Education
does support the heritage language schools, and these schools
offer credits in courses in language and cultural programs. We
also provide funding to support community heritage language
programs. Most of these are through the funding that goes for the
credits. These language schools are encouraged to investigate
opportunities not only with the local school boards but also with
community organizations and other partners in order to support
their programming. It doesn't need to be just schools that they
operate out of.
You know, one of the things we heard many times through
Inspiring Ed is that Albertans are challenging us to get out of the
schooling business and into the education business. Our focus is
really on breaking down the barriers, blurring the lines between K
to 12 and postsecondary and industry, and also blurring the lines
between the school and the community so that we're bringing the
community into the school and taking the school out into the
community and so that those learning opportunities are relevant
for those kids and aren't just tied to the traditional rules of: it has
to be delivered between the hours of 9 to 3 or inside those four
walls or in some cases by a certificated teacher. We'll be pushing
the envelope of who can actually instruct our kids because if it's
putting students first and it's about their experience and about
learning, then the hours of 9 to 3 and those four walls can't be a
barrier to that. Embracing the work that the heritage language
schools and others are doing is important.
Part of that is happening already, and I don't want to leave the
impression that schools and school boards are not doing this
today. It may be that we can always get better. They do it today,
and they do it typically on a cost-recovery basis, and sometimes
there are issues with access, but we encourage the schools because
they're paid for by the taxpayer, and there's one taxpayer. Their
objective is learning, so if we can make those facilities open and
usable and welcoming for other members of the community, other


2512 Alberta Hansard October 28, 2013

groups, and other learning experiences, we want to see that
happen. But we don't expect school boards to just do that for free
all the time. They have costs that they need to recover, whether
it's custodial costs or whether it's to have somebody on-site or
whether it's some of the insurance. I know that typically they
don't recover the costs for the utilities and a lot of those things for
the after-hours use.
We do want to see them as hubs of the community. We do want
to see them used as much as possible, not just by heritage
language schools, as important as they are, but by any other
groups that want to use that infrastructure that's been paid for by
the taxpayer. You know, the member opposite raised a good point.
One thing we don't provide today is lease support for private
schools, so if these opportunities are being given to for-profit
private schools, we just always have to be careful about setting
precedents where we're going to pay for their capital or pay for
their leases, which is something we don't do as a policy decision
in this province even though private schools do an incredible
amount of good work.
I just commend the member, and I don't think there's anything
wrong with this motion. It takes us further down a path we're
already heading. We need to continue to collaborate, and it's
never a bad thing to collaborate.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.
Are there any more members who wish to speak on the motion?
Seeing none, I would go to Standing Order 8(3), which provides
for up to five minutes for the sponsor of the motion to close
debate. I invite the hon. Member for Calgary-Hawkwood to close
debate on Motion 513.

Mr. Luan: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank the hon.
members in the House for your input, suggestions, and questions.
It is very helpful for me to learn all the aspects of this issue, but
I'm also very humbled to get a sense that the support across the
floor has been very strong to set a motion to give some direction
and support to this very important issue in our province. I wanted to
acknowledge that the motion we're talking about
today is really high level. It's just emphasizing that language
education is important. We need to work in collaboration with
school boards, and we need to take the maximum opportunity to
promote and encourage the development of heritage language
schools.

5:50
I heard many, many specific references to how we go about that
and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, this motion won't go into
that much detail, but I do take your advice wholeheartedly. I do
remember that I have a private member opportunity. I may bring
this up again. By then, those specific issues will be dealt with at
that level.
I want to thank you again for your support and for participating
in this debate. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I
want to remind hon. members that what we're discussing today
has a very long influence in our province because you are giving a
direction as to how we approach this issue. You are giving some
support in terms of how we promote this, how we work together
on this, and for that I want to thank you so much. I want to remind
you that this is not something small. You are touching the lives of
1 in 5 Albertans and beyond. For that reason, I thank you once
again. I urge you to support this motion and get it passed.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.

[Motion Other than Government Motion 513 carried]

The Acting Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice and Solicitor
General.

Mr. Denis: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Given the
lateness of the hour I would move that we call it 6 o'clock.

[Motion carried; the Assembly adjourned at 5:52 p.m. to Tuesday
at 1:30 p.m.]


Table of Contents

Prayers
..........................................................................
2479

In MemoriamMr. Edwin Albert Oman, August 31, 1930, to September 19, 2013
..........................................................................
2479
Mr. Richard Arthur Miller, July 23, 1960, to October 26, 2013
.........................................................................
2479
Mr. Paul Joseph Lorieau, June 29, 1942, to July 2, 2013
.........................................................................
2479

Introduction of Visitors
.........................................................................
2479, 2494

Introduction of Guests
.........................................................................
2480, 2506

Ministerial Statements
Flood in Southern Alberta
.........................................................................
2481

Statement by the Speaker
Oral Question Period and Members' Statements Speaker Rotation
..........................................................................
2483

Oral Question Period
Health Care Wait Times
.........................................................................
2483, 2490
Flood Recovery Contracts
.........................................................................
2484
Provincial Debt
..........................................................................
2485
Minister of Municipal Affairs
..........................................................................
2485
Flood Mitigation
..........................................................................
2486
Ethics Investigations
..........................................................................
2486
Government Policies
.........................................................................
2487
School Construction
.........................................................................
2488
Postsecondary Education Funding
..........................................................................
2488
Municipal Charters
.........................................................................
2489
Education Funding
..........................................................................
2489
Firearm Collection by Emergency Responders
.........................................................................
2490
Emergency Medical Service Response Times
.........................................................................
2490
Trade with China
..........................................................................
2491

Members' Statements
Official Opposition and Government Policies
..........................................................................
2492
Official Opposition Policies
.........................................................................
2492
Flood Recovery
.........................................................................
2492
Calgary Southwest Ring Road
..........................................................................
2493
Calgary Zoo Flood Recovery
..........................................................................
2493
Mr. Richard Arthur Miller
.........................................................................
2493

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees
.........................................................................
2494, 2495

Notices of Motions
.........................................................................
2495

Introduction of Bills
Bill 27 Flood Recovery and Reconstruction Act
.........................................................................
2495
Bill 28 Modernizing Regional Governance Act
.........................................................................
2495
Bill 29 Pharmacy and Drug Amendment Act, 2013
.........................................................................
2495
Bill 31 Protecting Alberta's Environment Act
..........................................................................
2496

Tabling Returns and Reports
.........................................................................
2496

Request for Emergency Debate
Home Care Services
.........................................................................
2499

Orders of the Day
.........................................................................
2505

Written Questions
Legal Actions against the Ministry of Energy
.........................................................................
2505

Motions Other than Government Motions
Heritage Language Schooling
..........................................................................
2506


If your address is incorrect, please clip on the dotted line, make any
changes, and return to the address listed below.
To facilitate the update, please attach the last mailing label along with
your account number.

Subscriptions
Legislative Assembly Office
1001 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
EDMONTON, AB T5K 1E4

Last mailing label:

Account #

New information:

Name:

Address:

Subscription information:

Annual subscriptions to the paper copy of Alberta Hansard (including
annual index) are $127.50 including GST
if mailed once a week or $94.92 including GST if picked up at the
subscription address below or if mailed through the
provincial government interdepartmental mail system. Bound volumes are $
121.70 including GST if mailed. Cheques
should be made payable to the Minister of Finance.
Price per issue is $0.75 including GST.
Online access to Alberta Hansard is available through the Internet at wwwassembly.ab.ca

Subscription inquiries: Other inquiries:

Subscriptions
Legislative Assembly Office
1001 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 St.
EDMONTON, AB T5K 1E4
Telephone: 780.427.1302 Managing Editor
Alberta Hansard
1001 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 St.
EDMONTON, AB T5K 1E4
Telephone: 780.427.1875

Published under the Authority of the Speaker
of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta ISSN 0383-3623