By Justin Seward
Brooks-Medicine Hat MLA Michaela Glasgo said 2020 was a difficult year for everyone from small businesses owners to government to the health care profession.
“We really saw our community step up in a big way to help each other out,” said Glasgo.
“There’s no doubt 2020 was a challenging year for everyone.”
The UCP government had to deal with what was called the three Black Swan events in 2020 which were the global collapse in energy prices-which adversely affects Alberta’s fiscal position as a resource in the economy- the COVID-19 pandemic and an overall economic collapse.
“These are situations we haven’t seen since the Great Depression- the likes of these,” said Glasgo.
“Our government took action to ensure that our constituents were taken care of and we continue to look for (a) relaunch and then naturally develop the Alberta Recovery Plan. In our legislature sittings- actually something interesting to note- is we sat more than any other legislature in the country-including the federal government- working for Albertans.
“So, in and among that time, we developed the Alberta Recovery Plan. This is a constant plan to figure out how we will get our economy back on its feet. We’re looking to build and diversify our economy. So, this is through stork investments in infrastructure, capital maintenance and renewal as well as look for new ways to grow.”
Glasgo realized the agricultural industry is vital to southern Alberta.
“We know that our agricultural industry is big for us-even when it seems that nothing else is,” said Glasgo.
“Our agriculture industry is still thriving and standing strong. In the south, we had a pretty good year in the agriculture industry, and we will continue to bolster our agriculture industry to make sure that they are prepared for what comes next. And part of that is ensuring that we have the water to make that happen.”
Southern Alberta farmers will get that water infrastructure boost after the government announced the historical investment of $815 million in irrigation infrastructure in conjunction with the Canadian Infrastructure Bank back in October 2020.
“That’s an extremely exciting thing for me because that’s something I’ve been lobbying really hard for, is more irrigation capacity and for Ag producers,” said Glasgo.
Glasgo was also involved with getting mental health funding to the southeast region.
“We saw with the pandemic just how much isolation really impacts people and of course we understand that lockdowns don’t work and that we need to make sure that there are ways for people to be able to stay connected,” she said.
“In Medicine Hat , we saw a very tragic string of suicides and they impacted the entire community- including myself. It was awful to share about this as an MLA and just as a fellow Hatter. One of the things I did when I heard that was going on, was I phoned the premier as well as the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction (Jason Luan) and ask for them to form a targeted approach to make sure we have the supports that we need here in southern Alberta.”
Luan came down and visited those people who were affected by suicide as well as Premier Jason Kenney sent down resources through Alberta Health Services and through other community support groups.
Medicine Hat received $200,000 in funding for mental health resources.
Glasgo was appointed chair of the Alberta Firearms Advisory Council in 2020, and as a result over 40,000 Albertans were consulted on the cause.
The committee’s goal is to hear from law-abiding firearms owners.
The council was formed after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced back in May to put a ban on over 1,500 models and variants assault-style firearms.
“We’ll be compiling our report in early 2021, said Glasgo.
“I’m very excited to wrap that committee up and continue to provide advice on this as well as see the chief provincial firearms officer appointed. In that time, we did manage to get the office of the chief provincial firearms officer going, we just have to pick the actual person. The minister needs to appoint the person who will end being the Chief Provincial Firearms Officer in Alberta.”
Glasgo is feeling hopeful heading into 2021.
“I think that’s just because we saw the first shipment of (COVID-19) vaccines come to Alberta,” she said.
“ That was a real sign of hope for me as an MLA and just as a citizen. We’ve been dealing with this crisis since March here in Alberta on a local level.”
She wants to hear more answers on the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) Review for HALO air rescue in hopes of landing consistent provincial funding for the local medical helicopter service in the New Year.