Winter Newsletter 2016
Welcome to the Alberta New Democrat 2016 Winter Newsletter. In this Newsletter you will find updates and information about our Party.
Hopefully you will learn something new, even if you're a long-time member.
We've expanded the content of this Newsletter from an email to our website in order to provide some of our newer members and supporters with additional information about Alberta's New Democrats.
We hope that you will find this information useful and that you'll come back to read future newsletters as our Party continues to grow and work with Rachel Notley to move Alberta forward.
I want to tell you how proud I am of all that we have accomplished together.
On the evening of May 5, I said it looked like we had made some history. But in truth, it didn’t stop there. We’ve been making history over and over again throughout 2015.
Whether we look at the very first bill our government introduced bringing politics back to the voters of Alberta, the standard we set for climate leadership in Canada, or the budget we introduced investing in families and in our economy – 2015 was a year of firsts for our province.
We couldn’t have accomplished everything we have without your support.
While it is true that we face some real challenges right now, I know that our values as Albertans will ensure we stick together, take care of each other, and come out the other end even stronger than before.
I hope that you will read and enjoy the contents of this Newsletter. Whether you are a newer member to our Party or someone who has been around for years, there is something for everyone below.
Learn more about what members like you are doing to ensure the success of our Party by reading the Member Profile on Jennifer Burgess.
Start getting to know our 54 amazing MLAs by reading the MLA Profile on Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jessica Littlewood.
Find out about upcoming events in your area and celebrate our successful fundraising in Q4.
2016 is off to a great start. And I know that through hard work, perseverance, and dedicated passion, Alberta’s New Democrats will make it another historic year for our province.
All the best,
2016 is off to a busy start for Alberta's New Democrats. Check out a list of the events in the coming weeks where you can meet our MLAs and other New Democrats.
January 27 - Edmonton-Castle Downs Annual General Meeting
January 28 - Edmonton-Ellerslie Annual General Meeting
January 30 - Red Deer-North Annual General Meeting
February 6 - Wetaskiwin-Camrose Annual General Meeting
February 11 - Calgary-East Annual General Meeting
For a full listing of events, please visit our Events page.
Calgary member Jennifer Burgess is active with constituency associations in Calgary-Centre (federal) and Calgary-Buffalo, as well as running against former Premier Jim Prentice in the 2014 Calgary-Foothills by-election. It is through the work of members like Jennifer that we achieve the success we do as a Party.
On May 5, we went from having 4 MLAs in the Legislature to 54 MLAs. The folks we helped to elect are a fantastic cross-section of people who represent the diversity of backgrounds, values, and experiences of Alberta voters. But 54 is a lot of MLAs to get up to speed on. So we thought we would start doing MLA profiles to introduce you to some of the amazing New Democrats we have representing Albertans.
It's been less than a year since we elected the first Alberta New Democrat government with Rachel Notley, but we've been able to support the achievement of so much with the help of members and supporters like you. Going through every single one of our government's achievements would take too long, so we asked some of our members to name their top five choices.
Here's what they came up with (in no particular order):
1. Standing up for Trans and Gender Variant Albertans
In November 2015, Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley moved Bill 7, an amendment to the Alberta Human Rights Act that added gender identity and gender expression as explicitly prohibited grounds for discrimination. Speaking about the Bill, Minister Ganley said, "These proposed changes will ensure trans and gender variant Albertans are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. No Albertan should be denied basic services for being true to themselves."
The Bill was applauded by LGBTQ* groups across the province and represented a big step forward for diversity, inclusion, and human rights in our province.
2. Creating a Ministry for the Status of Women
During the 2015 election, Alberta's New Democrats set the standard for gender equity presenting a slate of candidates comprised of 50% women, the highest of any party. Premier Rachel Notley continued that standard on May 24 by introducing a gender balanced Cabinet at the government's public swearing in.
Also introduced was the province's first Minister responsible for the status of women in 19 years, Shannon Phillips, and the new Minstry she oversees, the Ministry for the Status of Women. Speaking on the work on the Ministry, Minister Phillips noted, "Building a better Alberta means realizing the potential of the women who live here. Alberta is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family, and yet more than half our population still faces disadvantages because they are women. Our government committed to create a Ministry to lead initiatives for greater gender equality in Alberta."
3. Supporting business with the Job Creation Incentive program
It's no secret that Albertans are weathering a challenging economic storm right now. Rachel Notley and her New Democrat team have been working hard to address the issues that matter most to Albertans. Diversifying our economy is toward the top of that list and we know that the best way to get that job done is by working with and supporting Alberta businesses.
In November, our NDP government introduced the Job Creation Incentive program to address economic challenges facing businesses in the province and help stimulate the economy. Speaking about the program, Minister for Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous said, "In challenging times like these, we need to show leadership and partner with business to grow the economy. This program is designed to support employers of all sizes in order to help diversify our economy and create new jobs that support families right across the province.”
4. Setting the standard for Climate Leadership in Canada
One of the bigger announcements from Rachel Notley in 2015 was the introduction of Alberta's first serious plan to tackle climate change. The announcement brought together industry, First Nations, and environmental leaders to applaud and support the initiative our government undertook. The Plan also set the standard for climate leadership in Canada and was the talk of the UN's COP21 Conference on Climate Change.
The Plan marries meaningful targets with practical strategies to move Alberta forward on this vital issue. Speaking about the Plan, Premier Notley outlined, "Our goal is to become one of the world's most progressive and forward-looking energy producers. We are turning the page on the mistaken policies of the past, policies that have failed to provide the leadership our province needed."
5. Introducing a budget that invests in families and the economy
Returning to the issue of the economy, Rachel Notley and Joe Ceci continued the practice of making history when the Legislature reconvened for its fall sitting by introducing the province's first Alberta New Democrat budget. There was plenty to talk about in the budget, but the element about which we're most proud is how Minister Ceci's budget bucked the trend of downloading cuts onto Alberta families during difficult times. Instead, this budget made a point of taking Alberta in a new direction, investing in families and the economy, while protecting the services on which we rely.
Speaking about his budget, Minister Ceci noted, "This budget is deeply rooted in the values we all share as Albertans. We are an entrepreneurial and innovative group. We are hard working and resilient. We are community minded and look out for one another.
Albertans told us they want a plan that supports good jobs and a strong economy. They told us that they want families to have health care and education and to have all of that protected while ensuring that every public dollar is well spent. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
For a longer list of achievements, check out Alberta New Democrat Leader Rachel Notley's 2015 in Review note on Facebook.
There were many people who were directly responsible for our Party’s historic success in 2015. I’ve had moments to celebrate with and thank most of them. But one person I would like to thank again here publicly is our outgoing Provincial Secretary, Brian Stokes.
Brian has been a fixture in our Party for some time. His involvement with Alberta’s New Democrats stretches back over ten years to one fateful day when David Eggen knocked on Brian’s door while campaigning in the 2004 election.
Brian was impressed with what David said and told David that he had earned Brian’s vote. But Brian had to call David back to his door as he started walking away to the next house to ask, “Hey, could you use some help?”
David won the seat for the first time that year and Alberta’s New Democrats won one of its hardest working and most passionate advocates.
Over the years, Brian would become known for his sharp political instincts, his unwavering work ethic, and his passion and dedication to our cause. Rising quickly through the ranks of our Party, Brian assumed the role of Provincial Secretary six years ago and began the work of building the foundations of the success we realized last year.
To put it bluntly, we are all in Brian’s debt. When times were tough, Brian was the rock on which our Party could always rely. And as our fortunes rose, Brian was there guiding our Party’s growth and encouraging its development.
As he moves on to new endeavors, I want Brian to know that his contributions to our Party are acknowledged, respected, and appreciated.
Thank you and all the best, Brian
The fourth quarter of 2015 (Q4 - October, November, December) was one of our most successful fundraising quarters ever. That success has everything to do with our members and supporters who stepped up to ensure the Party had the resources it needs to support our constituency associations and work toward re-electing an Alberta New Democrat government in 2019.
Together, we raised more than $550,000 from more than 3,700 donors. The most amazing part of those numbers is that the majority of our donations were small, individual contributions from Albertans just like yourself.
If those numbers show one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt it is this: you've got Rachel's back.
So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We know Albertans are standing with Rachel as she moves Alberta forward.
The support you give us is an investment in building a stronger economy that is built to last. It's an investment in protecting our environment and the services on which we all rely. Your support is an investment in helping Rachel move Alberta forward.
It doesn't matter whether your support was large or small; whether you contribute every month or once year -- every bit of support helps Rachel create a more prosperous Alberta where that prosperity is shared more widely and fairly.
And Rachel can't do that work alone. We have to do it together.
So thank you for all your support and all that you helped us achieve in Q4 and throughout the year. We're certain that 2016 will be an even more exciting and successful year.