Premier Rachel Notley spoke before Alberta Urban Municipality Association delegates at their fall conference held at Westerner Park on Thursday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

UPDATED: Premier Notley pledges funding to address cannabis challenges

Notley was in Red Deer Thursday

Premier Rachel Notley has promised funding to municipalities to meet the challenges of cannabis legalization.

“This is not a small change in our society. Like you, we’re committed to putting the safety of people and families first, in policing, public education, in enforcement. We’ve heard your concerns about funding loud and clear. We know you need funds upfront. We are going to provide you funds upfront very soon,” said Notley earning applause from the roughly 1,700 Alberta Urban Municipalities Association members at their fall conference Thursday at Westerner Park.

“Very soon we’ll be making an announcement as to what that initial funding looks like and how that funding will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

She said review will be important as the province gets a better understanding of the pressures that come with this new reality.

Notley told reporters the province still needs to figure out how much funding is required.

“As we know, our government has already projected it’s a loss to us the first couple of years so additional funding to municipalities is a bit of a challenge. But at the same time, we know they’re going to be presented with challenges.”

Cost estimates suggested by municipalities will be looked at, along with funding patterns in other jurisdictions, she said.

When asked about the possibility of funding for a cardiac catheterization laboratory for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Notley said the issue is being examined.

“Our minister of health came to us last spring as we were putting together the finishing touches on the budget and she said we needed to dig into this a bit more. So we set aside $1 million this year for a very detailed report and assessment of the services both here in Red Deer and surrounding communities and how that relates to the service availability in other parts of the province.”

She said a first draft of the report is expected to be complete this fall.

“As you’ve probably heard her say many times, she’s a very evidence-based health minister and that’s the way she’s going to go forward.”

Local doctors have been vocal about the lack of beds and hospital services for two years.

Among the needed services is a cardiac catheterization laboratory to treat blocked arteries. Without access to a local lab, and the long transfer times for the treatment elsewhere, doctors say Central Albertans have a 60 per cent higher rate of death or disability than people in Calgary or Edmonton.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP investigate possible drowning at Pigeon Lake: Man and woman found dead on shore

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association to participate in national dance-a-thon

Central Albertan dancers have missed performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

Still no mandatory masks in Red Deer

While a growing number of Alberta communities have made masks mandatory, the… Continue reading

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

69 salmonella cases in B.C. linked to red onions, province’s CDC says

VANCOUVER — The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people in… Continue reading

Puncher’s chance: Fighting is up during unique NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season was hanging by a thread from one… Continue reading

Quebec festivals organizers look to innovate as restrictions loosened

Montreal has been having its quietest summer in recent memory, as COVID-19… Continue reading

COVID-19 outbreaks over in federal prisons, staff preparing for ‘new normal’

COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada’s federal prisons have been declared over, and staff… Continue reading

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

OTTAWA — The federal government will match all individual donations from Canadians… Continue reading

Protests in Beirut amid public fury over massive blast

BEIRUT — Police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators in Lebanon’s… Continue reading

Most Read