Factions work to save Michener

Members of all three of Alberta’s opposition parties have banded together in the campaign to save the Michener Centre.

Members of all three of Alberta’s opposition parties have banded together in the campaign to save the Michener Centre.

David Eggen, NDP MLA for Edmonton-Calder; Darshan Kang, Liberal MLA for Calgary-McCall and Rod Fox, Wildrose MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka joined members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees in a door knocking effort Sunday in Red Deer.

“It would be like me getting kicked out of my own house,” said Kang.

“Those patients haven’t lived in any other place, that is their home. Come April 2014, they will be kicked out of their own home.

“They don’t know what kind of care they will get.

“The government shouldn’t worry about the balance sheet, we should be helping people to live a dignified life.”

Fox said what is at risk here is front line services the most vulnerable people require.

“It is reprehensible,” said Fox.

“Rather than the government cutting their own wasteful spending they’re swinging the heavy axe at the front line services that vulnerable Albertans require.”

Eggen echoed the sentiments of his fellow opposition MLAs. He said because the Progressive Conservatives are in a bit of turmoil right now it is a good time to push back.

“It seems like their not sure about the choices they have made and this is not a good one,” said Eggen. “I feel it is more likely we could have some success here.”

A group of about 12 people were door knocking in the Eastview neighbourhood of Red Deer getting signatures for their petition to keep the Michener Centre open.

Jason Heistad, AUPE vice president, said they chose the neighbourhood because of the visible support there. Numerous Save Michener lawn signs were on display on homes around Joseph Welsh Elementary School.

“Our momentum is still building, we feel, and it is really important to make the personal connection at the door,” said Heistad.

The campaign has also become a part of Central Alberta farmer’s markets and parades. Heistad said they are trying to enter a float in the Westerner Days parade in Red Deer this year.

They have a goal of getting 30,000 signatures on the petition to keep the Michener Centre open. So far they have more than 15,000.

AUPE had ordered 1,000 lawn signs at the start of their campaign, but they are already out. More have been ordered.

“We have more signs than Cal Dallas or Mary Anne Jablonski had during their election campaigns,” said Heistad. “They have to realize that people in Central Alberta realize how important the Michener Centre is.”

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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