South Peace News
The MLA who serves the area around Falher and McLennan is reaching out to communities who struggle as the provincial budget was announced Feb. 25.
Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen says he is ready to work with constituents in the Smoky River region as the province continues on the road to economic recovery and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have an open-door policy with the municipalities to reach out at any time to ensure their concerns are brought before government,” Loewen says.
“It continues to be one of my highest priorities to take the concerns of our uniquely rural region back to the provincial government and remind them that so much of the wealth generated in this province comes from this area.
“Certainly, citizens here have the right to demand high-quality delivery of services and public infrastructure in line with our contributions to Alberta.”
He says the budget focuses on economic recover even as funding to municipalities was cut.
“Just like the provincial government, local municipalities have financial pressures during this time,” Loewen says.
“The government is continuing to work on attracting investment and creating jobs by allowing Albertans to prosper.”
He has a priority to help make communities sustainable and boost job opportunities.
“We will continue investing in needed infrastructure,” he says.
“We want to keep our tax and regulatory system competitive in recognition that the health of our government is ultimately dependent on the success of Alberta’s workers and job creators.”
COVID is also a top issue for the MLA.
“Obviously the effect of COVID restrictions on our lives and livelihoods has been enormous in our region and across the province,” Loewen says.
“There is no doubt, recovery will take some time.
“Personally, I want to see a return to normal, not a new normal, as soon as possible.
“As we look forward to that, it is good to see that long-term infrastructure investments will make it back to the region and constituency to support the recovery.”
He says it is always unfortunate when governments have deficit budgets.
“Our economy was hit with revenue loss from oil and gas prices last year, a global economic contraction, and COVID,” Loewen says.
“The combined reduction in revenue with increased expenses due to COVID resulted in large deficits.
“We still need to concentrate on the costs of services and bring our per capita spending in line with other similar provinces.”
As the province is projected to spend $9 billion in interest in the next three years to service the debt, he says government has to be more cost-effective in program delivery.
“We have to focus on streamlining our services and finding efficiencies in the way we deliver them,” Loewen says.
“The things we all care about need to be sustainably delivered or we face a debt crisis that only makes our problems worse.”