Grateful for Michener decision

In March 2013, the then formidable Alison Redford, along with Dave Hancock, called for the closure of the Michener Centre in Red Deer, the longtime home of 125 severely disabled persons, one of which is my sister Jody Kvern.

In March 2013, the then formidable Alison Redford, along with Dave Hancock, called for the closure of the Michener Centre in Red Deer, the longtime home of 125 severely disabled persons, one of which is my sister Jody Kvern.

This closure meant forced eviction for my sister and her 125 peers, many whom have lived at Michener for 20, 30, 40 years with caregivers who have also been at Michener for multiple decades. The rationale of the closure came down to one word: institution.

Although it’s interesting to note Melcor Development’s online document citing the 300 acres of prime real estate that sits above the beating heart of downtown Red Deer. Melcor is clearly intent on the Michener land for its Clearview Phase III. Also of note: the number of government contracts and campaign donations to the Progressive Conservative party by Melcor Developers over decades.

The irrational closure of the Michener Centre, despite the eight Premiers Award of Excellence in the past 13 years that Michener has garnered, and the highest accreditation in mental health care that no other facility, community group home and/or hospital in the province can boast. From the very start, this closure made no sense.

From the very start, Danielle Smith and Kerry Towle, then of the Wildrose Party, were there to strongly advocate for my disabled sister and her voiceless peers. They were the first of the opposition parties to visit Michener and see firsthand why Michener is a crucial piece of the mental health puzzle that Alberta has not yet fully mastered. Over the course of this difficult, frustrating fight, which lasted a full 555 days, we were met with nothing but a stonewall wall of silence by the PC party. Friends of Michener, along with Danielle Smith and Kerry Towle, David Eggen and Rachel Notley, NDP, Mary Anne Jablonski, PC, and the AUPE fought hard to keep Michener open for our fragile individuals, who were dropping like flies after being forced out into the community. For the latter, this issue superseded party, politics and unions. This was about protecting Alberta’s most vulnerable from their own blind government.

The low light of the Michener campaign came when six of our Michener residents died out in the community over the course of four months in the summer of 2014. The same summer that interim Premier Dave Hancock (fully aware of the deaths) cited as ‘his best summer job yet.’ Clearly the government of Alberta did not have the best interests of Albertans at heart, certainly not those who were vulnerable, voiceless and utterly helpless.

Mercifully, in September 2014, Premier Jim Prentice reversed this inhumane decision and called for the continuation of the Michener Centre, where my sister and her peers can live out their remaining years in the only place they call home, community and sanctuary.

And yet despite my eyes-wide-open introduction to the sometimes snake pit of provincial politics, I am encouraged by the likes of Smith and Towle, Eggen and Notley, Jablonski, Prentice and the AUPE.

I no longer care who belongs to what party, who is union, who is not. I only care that our politicians and leaders work together to care for people — especially our most vulnerable. We will at some point in our lives be disabled, disenfranchised, elderly, and/or dying and we will need good people who will advocate for us. I am party blind and grateful to those good people.

Lee Kvern, Okotoks

Just Posted

Red Deer to get new plan to end homelessness as problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Canada ranks 16th on World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap list

TORONTO — Canada has landed the 16th spot in the World Economic… Continue reading

Steel, aluminum tariffs impacting one-third of Canadian exporters: poll

OTTAWA — More than one-third of Canadian exporters say they have been… Continue reading

Canada has fifth biggest AI workforce, but still lacks diversity: study

TORONTO — Canada has the globe’s fifth largest artificial intelligence workforce, but… Continue reading

Air passenger rights: Six things about what the Liberals are offering in draft rules

OTTAWA — The Liberals will publish the draft text of their long-promised… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Most Read