Publisher's Note

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    Dear readers, The summer is going fast as everyone is having fun especially that we just wrapped up the festivities of the 10 days Calgary Stampede.  The weather cooperated in a way where it showered  during the parade but it all went well. I’m sure that the organizers of Calgary Stampede were all happy with an [...]

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Page added on June 23, 2010

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Report from the Legislature

Report from the Legislature thumbnail

Carl M. Benito, MLA

Edmonton Mill Woods (June 16, 2010)

Regulatory efficiencies improve Alberta’s oil and gas competitiveness

Substantive actions to improve Alberta’s competitiveness are highlighted in the 90-day progress report of Alberta’s Regulatory Enhancement Task Force. The task force report, Enhancing Assurance: The First 90 Days, identifies how the Alberta government is pursuing a comprehensive review of the regulatory system for oil and gas development, and successes that have been achieved on specific enhancements.

The task force reports that ongoing savings in time and cost for both industry and government are being achieved while protecting public safety, conserving resources and ensuring industry complies with Alberta’s strict environmental standards.

Alberta’s regulatory agencies have reduced time delays and related costs and improved clarity of rules and regulations. Substantial annual financial savings that can be re-invested in the Alberta economy by industry are estimated at between $80 and $170 million. Progress to date includes:
pilot work towards a system of coordinated compliance inspections;
successful streamlining of assessment submissions required prior to oil sands developments;
simplification of sub-surface well spacing requirements;
improved access to information and regulations;
clarification and simplification of regulatory publications;
elimination of obsolete and expired regulatory publications; and
harmonizing regulations with other provinces.

As part of a comprehensive review, key issues and barriers have been identified and a stakeholder engagement process has begun. Recommendations for a renewed regulatory and policy assurance system will be delivered by the end of 2010.

To view the 90-day progress report, visit

Enhancing the oil and gas regulatory system is part of the Government of Alberta’s clear plan to support a strong economic recovery. The Way Forward will ensure Alberta is in a surplus position in three years; uses cash reserves to protect key programs; continues to invest in public infrastructure; and attracts the investment necessary to maintain jobs and prosperity.

New initiative helps seniors age in their own communities

Programs that partner volunteers with seniors or those with disabilities to help them with everyday tasks and keep them connected with their communities are being launched in Edmonton and Jasper.

The province is providing $500,000 over two years to support the new ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ initiative. The municipalities will work with community stakeholders such as community leagues, seniors centres, local businesses and church or volunteer groups to deliver the program. Community groups will then coordinate supports for seniors, which may include mowing lawns, providing rides to appointments or even social visits.

The first of these programs was launched earlier this month in Edmonton, where community audits will also be completed to assess how age-friendly the community is and determine which supports are required to help seniors remain healthy in their home and community. In addition, to help with household tasks, an outreach worker involved in the Jasper program will provide education and counseling on overall well-being, and foster connections between its seniors and existing services.

Upon evaluation of the Edmonton and Jasper programs, this initiative will be introduced in at least six other communities around Alberta within the next two to three years.

The creation of ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ programs around Alberta is one of the many initiatives identified in the province’s Continuing Care Strategy, Aging in the Right Place. Planning for a balance of community-based services and appropriate accommodations will meet the growing needs of seniors and those with disabilities who wish to maintain their independence.

The Alberta government has a clear plan for a strong economic recovery. An important part of The Way Forward is maintaining support for programs and services Albertans need most, such as health care, education and safe and vibrant communities. For more information on the plan, visit

Advancing competitiveness Stelmach’s priority as western Premiers meet

Advancing western priorities and strengthening cooperation on energy, environment and the economy was Premier Ed Stelmach’s focus at the Western Premiers’ Conference in Vancouver, June 15 and 16.

During the conference, Stelmach emphasized the importance of sound fiscal planning in support of the long-term economic growth and lead a discussion on issues important to Western Canada’s economic recovery such as immigration. Premier Stelmach also discussed the issue of Senate elections, working to share perspectives with other western jurisdictions.

Canada-U.S. relations was also an important topic at the conference. The Premiers met via teleconference with Canadian and U.S. Ambassadors to discuss federal priorities in the two countries and the impacts on the provinces and territories. In addition, the Premiers examined common interests on a number of issues, including North American climate change strategy, trade and agricultural concerns.

The conference was also attended by Premiers from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.

Cabinet Ministers connect with Albertans on key issues during spring tour

After logging thousands of kilometres across the province and attending hundreds of meetings and events, Alberta’s Cabinet Ministers heard input directly from Albertans on the key issues facing our province.

During the tour, which was from April 26 through June 1, groups of Ministers met with local elected officials, business and community groups and individual Albertans in every region of the province. Meetings ranged from informal one-on-one talks and casual conversations in restaurants to structured group sessions.

Members of Cabinet toured local attractions; cultural and recreational facilities; state of the art high-tech facilities for everything from pharmaceuticals to recycling; schools and educational institutions; primary and long-term health care facilities; and agricultural and manufacturing operations.

“Albertans recognize that we fared much better than most jurisdictions during the recent economic downturn,” said Premier Stelmach. “They appreciate that that our government did not over-react and slash spending or eliminate the programs Albertans need. That said, we were reminded of the need to keep a tight reign on spending as we emerge from the recession.”

“We also heard loud and clear that the government must listen more and then act on what we hear,” the Premier added. “We’re doing just that. The input from this tour will help shape our legislative calendar as well as the programs and policies we implement in the coming year.”

For more information on the spring tour, including blogs and photos and videos visit:

As the MLA for Edmonton Mill Woods, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Alberta’s Regulatory Enhancement Task Force, the ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ programs, the Western Premiers’ Conference, the recent Alberta Cabinet Tours, or any other matter, I can be reached in my constituency office at
#218, 4128A 97 Street Edmonton, AB T6E 5Y6, or in my Legislature office at (780) 422-9299. I can also be reached through email at


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