In light of recent events, MLA Garth Rowswell participated in the following Q and A and offered sincere comments to constituents amid a busy schedule.
What would you like to say to frontline workers throughout this constituency?
“At times such as these I am reminded of the quote, attributed to author James Lane Allen, ‘Adversity doesn’t develop character, it reveals it.’
In our current adversity our Health workers are steadfastly providing high quality treatment and care to Albertans. The current circumstances place added pressure on their skills and this is further exacerbated by the increase in numbers affected.
Their high quality of character and their commitment is unquestionable. I acknowledge their hard work and dedication and, on behalf of all in the riding, thank them for their service.
We should also consider the many others who are effectively in the frontline of this emergency. Those who work in care homes, supermarkets, gas stations, child care providers, dentists, veterinarians, people in the food supply train e.g. truck drivers and a host of others who work in what are deemed essential services and businesses. To you all I offer my sincere gratitude,” said Rowswell.
What recommendations would you give to constituents to prevent COVID-19?
“As we move forward we find out more about this virus and develop new strategies and tactics to contain and eradicate it.
I watch the daily updates by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer (which can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx) because these give the best advice available to Albertans, tailored to the circumstances in Alberta,” said Rowswell.
Amid the pandemic, what hope does the recent Keystone pipeline decision offer?
“Given the circumstances it might be considered crass to repeat here the quote by Benjamin Franklin about the only certainties in life. However, that pithy aphorism holds true.
The Premier is hopeful. He is quoted as saying ‘It is a solid bet that will produce a handsome return for Albertans and it will rescue the future of our energy industry.’
Not only does the Keystone pipeline purchase offer a bold and calculated hope but it is hope built on faith. Faith that this crisis will pass and that Alberta will be able to prosper once more,” said Rowswell.
What kinds of benefits will this project bring to Alberta?
“Keystone XL, along with the Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 project will unclog a distribution bottleneck which has plagued the province’s producers for years. Once complete, it will allow 830,000 barrels per day to be moved from Hardisty to Nebraska.
This project will spur employment, creating 1,400 jobs in Alberta and 1,200 in Saskatchewan, while it is also estimated to generate $30 Billion in taxes and royalties.
In these difficult times this decision indicates to the Energy industry that Alberta remains open for business and that the UCP government has faith in them and the people of Alberta. As the groundwork has been laid this project is ‘shovel ready’. In today’s economic environment this is a critically important project both in business terms and for morale.
I applaud the Premier for his foresight in respect of this decision,” said Rowswell.
In the coming months what hope and encouragement can you offer your constituents?
“While the unknown of the potential of the virus is a cause for genuine concern, what we do know is that we have an effective medical system and highly skilled, dedicated, staff to support us.
We know that they, along with medical staff worldwide, are doggedly seeking a therapeutic cure and that all sectors of business are creating innovative solutions to produce the ancillary medical equipments (masks, ventilators etc.) that the medical system might need.
The one area that causes me concern is the provision of financial support to those who have lost their jobs or those whose businesses are under pressure.
This crisis, as all crises do, came upon us suddenly. Both the Federal and Provincial governments have responded as quickly as able in approving financial assistance. However, I have received a number of complaints regarding the underperformance of the online application systems.
These complaints are justified. These sites were not designed to cater for such large numbers of applicants. People have the right to seek assistance and that the assistance available is good. But, it must be accessible. We recognise the capacity failings of the system and I am assured by the Minister of Service Alberta, my UCP colleague Nate Glubish, that he and his staff are working overtime to rectify this problem.
It says in the Book of Common Prayer ‘in the midst of life we are in death’. I do not think for one moment this means we should meekly accept the inevitable, and my government certainly has not.
The restrictions on movement, which have been placed upon Albertans reluctantly, the high quality of care available and the financial assistance provided is providing tangible and practical hope to us all.
These factors, allied to the indomitable character of Albertans, serves as my message of encouragement and hope,” said Rowswell.