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United Conservative Party celebrates 1 year of second mandate

Premier Danielle Smith highlights what the UCP has accomplished in keeping their election promises to Alberta voters in the one year since their re-election on May 29, 2023:

“First and foremost, I want to say that being able to serve Albertans as their Premier remains the honour of a lifetime. I cannot overstate how proud I am of this beautiful province and the people who call it home. Over the past 12 months, our government has been hard at work fulfilling many of the promises we made to Albertans in the last election. I am pleased to say that alongside an outstanding team of government MLAs, cabinet ministers and the provincial public service, we are delivering on our mandate of taking the Alberta Advantage to new heights and ensuring this province remains the best place to live, work, invest and raise a family.   

“As Premier, I will always fight for Alberta and Albertans. Our government continues to oppose the federal carbon tax and has implemented policies that have offered tangible relief to Albertans during this Canada-wide cost-of-living crisis. Policies like extending the fuel tax holiday to the end of 2023, saving Albertans more than $2 billion, and indexing all tax brackets so hard-working Albertans get to keep more of what they earn. We are also ensuring Alberta seniors can better afford the services they need by bringing in a 25 per cent seniors discount on registry services.

“Alberta remains a trusted leader in emissions reduction technologies and is known for offering up solutions to some of the world’s most complex energy needs. Building off the success of our Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program, we have introduced an Alberta Carbon Capture Incentive Program to support and accelerate the development of new carbon capture, utilization and storage infrastructure. This will help Alberta thrive in a low-carbon future and create more jobs in our diversified economy.  

“As the economic and job creation engine of Canada, Alberta continues to foster the lowest tax environment in the country and the most business-friendly policies. In December 2023, we expanded the Taxpayer Protection Act to keep Alberta taxes low and ensure no future government can increase personal or business taxes without first getting approval from Albertans in a referendum.

“Earlier this year, we also introduced the Alberta is Calling Moving Bonus at a higher rate than what we had campaigned on. This one-time, $5,000 refundable tax credit will help attract out-of-province workers to take up careers in eligible, high-demand skilled trades jobs. Our diversified economy means there are more opportunities for Albertans in every industry. That includes our tourism industry and we have released a new tourism strategy, which will help increase Alberta’s visitor economy to a goal of $25 billion by 2035. As part of those efforts, we are working closely with partners to build supporting infrastructure for a world-class arena and entertainment district in Calgary.

“When First Nations and Métis entrepreneurs succeed, their communities prosper. Indigenous Peoples must be our partners in prosperity and that is why we increased the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation’s loan guarantee capacity to $3 billion. We also expanded the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to $10 million annually for the 2024-25 fiscal year to help Indigenous community-owned businesses capitalize on business development opportunities to improve socio-economic outcomes.

“Chronic and worsening crime is a major problem in Alberta’s cities, particularly in our downtown cores. To help address this issue, our government has provided funding for 100 police officers in Edmonton and Calgary, with 50 deployed so far. We also opened a highly successful navigation and support centre in Edmonton to help the most vulnerable better access the supports they need, whether the ability to receive government-issued ID, access to housing, wound care, mental health and addiction supports and reconnection with their families. We increased funding in 2023 to the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team to address organized crime, child pornography, gun violence and drug trafficking. Our government also passed legislation to introduce an ankle bracelet program for high risk and repeat offenders on bail, helping to keep Albertans protected where federal government policies have failed.

“Alberta has a world-class education system that is setting up future generations for success. To ensure that success, we have committed additional funding for testing and educational supports for children with autism and other complex needs. We have also enhanced dual-credit programming and career and technology studies to ensure that students can explore career paths and make meaningful transitions into post-secondary education. We are moving forward in our efforts to promote the skilled trades and ensure Albertans know about, and can access, the opportunities available to them. To accomplish this, we continue adding new seats in high-demand programs, including 3,200 new apprenticeship seats across 11 Alberta post-secondary institutions as well as providing funding to increase and improve their educational spaces. Most recently, we have funded Red Deer Polytechnic’s CIM-TAC facility and planning work for NAIT’s Advanced Skills Centre. Careers. The trades are critical for a growing economy and our government is doing everything we can to match the development of those skills with labour force demands, including establishing a historic partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 955 to provide apprenticeship training.

“The health and well-being of Albertans is crucial to ensuring a high quality of life in every corner of our province. That is why we are committed to a strong, stable public health system that works for everyone. In the past year, we have made even greater strides to improve access to high-quality health care. We have brought in a nurse practitioner model so more Albertans can have the primary care provider they need, and we have announced an agreement to work toward a new funding model for family physicians. In addition, our government has expanded newborn screening to test for more diseases and conditions and allocated $10 million to support the development of a provincewide midwifery strategy. We are also providing $10 million over the next two years to the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation Legacy Grant and an additional $10 million to the Calgary Health Foundation to research women’s health.

“We continue to build a recovery-based model rather than ongoing facilitation of addiction. To support this, our government has allocated $1.55 billion to expand mental health and addiction care, including services for youth, First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and investments in mental health and addiction treatment facilities. Over the past year, we have opened the first two of 11 world-class recovery communities to give more people an opportunity to pursue recovery. These investments are critical to keeping Alberta families and communities healthy and safe.

“Supporting healthy and safe families and communities also requires us to keep working to end gender-based violence and to help those affected by it. We are committed to this and have allocated an additional $10 million to women’s emergency shelters in Alberta, including $5 million to add more beds and fund spaces that are not currently staffed. We have also committed $10 million over the next three years to support sexual assault centres across the province.

“We have also been working tirelessly to keep Alberta families and communities safe from this year’s wildfires. New investments have meant additional wildfire personnel and crews, as well as more technology and equipment, including new night-vision helicopters so we can fight wildfires in at night, when cooler temperatures are on our side. Our government stands side-by-side with all the amazing wildland firefighters who continue to do excellent work. While we continue to hope for ongoing conditions that will give our wildfire teams the advantage, we stand ready to support increased firefighting needs, and we will not waver in our commitments.

“While our government has accomplished a lot in a short period of time, there is plenty more work to be done. We look forward to delivering on that work for Alberta and Albertans. I am energized by the opportunities that exist in this province and for what the future holds. Together, we are writing a new chapter of the Alberta story. It is a story that continues to resonate across the country and around the world. While our government has the distinct honour of telling that story at podiums and in meeting rooms, it is ultimately Alberta’s families, workers and businesses who are helping to provide its content.”