As a rural Alberta raised girl, I know what it is like to have one school, one hospital, and a single RCMP detachment in the area, or perhaps a couple within a reasonable driving distance. We make do with the services we have in more remote areas and hope that amazing teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and law enforcement officers are willing to make these towns their home and care for our communities like we do.
However, things are changing drastically, and they are not in your best interest.
The current government is seeking to transform the very fabric of what makes rural Alberta strong. The premier elected to care for Albertans is seeking to privatize our valuable public services and vilifying the people that serve our communities – teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedics as well as RCMP. This ongoing running down of our valued professionals is leading to burnout, despair, and eventually loss of these services. It is death by 1,000 cuts.
One major issue that will impact your children’s lives is education. Jason Kenney is throwing around some buzzwords that sound good on the surface but are far from helpful. For example, “Choice in Education” means that funds are being diverted from public schools to private and charter schools. What if you live in a rural area and public school is your only choice? What if the Kenney curriculum becomes law and your children are subject to an outdated, fact-based curriculum that experts deem inappropriate and regressive? Did you know that Kenney defunded a valuable educational resource for rural Alberta students (the Alberta Distance Learning Centre) and replaced it with an e-learning model for a fee? Are you really ready for homeschooling? What if your child has special needs? Funding cuts across the province means your children will not get the services you need.
Your voice is important. Please learn about the changes to education, healthcare, and law enforcement, and write your MLA and the opposition. You deserve so much better than what is coming down the pipe.
Dr. Angela Grace, Calgary