Deputy Premier Kaycee Madu is excited about the opportunity to work on behalf of Albertans. As we enter 2023, he continues to demonstrate the government’s responsibility to the people of Alberta. “We have challenges to face with cost of living, inflation, and people having difficulty paying their bills.” The goal is to ensure that government rolls out programs and policies to make life affordable for Albertans. Addressing the needs that have been identified to the government is a priority under the leadership of Premier Danielle Smith.
The government has rolled out a $2.8-billion-dollar inflation reduction plan that has been well received by Albertans to help with the cost of living and make life affordable for them.
Even though some people may not qualify for the $600 that is meant for those in hit hardest by inflation, most Albertans will benefit from the lower cost of electricity and the elimination of the 13 cents gas tax. Honourable Madu shares that if you are a driver or a farmer, going to work, or even taking your children to sporting activities, there is something there for you. If you heat your home with natural gas, the government has capped the cost of natural gas to $6.50/GJ.
As well, every gas station in this province is meant to implement the 13-cent gas tax removal which is factored into the price of the fuel. Even though prices fluctuate from station to station, businesses are required to follow the mandate. The government treasury is assuming that tax on behalf of Albertans. Albertans are the owners of their resources and provincial wealth and have one of the strongest economies in this country. Honourable Madu states, “we are blessed to have a balanced budget.” And because of that the government is able to subsidize it for Albertans.
Regardless of cynicism, the provincial government is confronting the challenges of today. For many Albertans, the cost of living has become unbearable. The government has heard that there are rising costs of living across the board. Some cynics suggest the government is providing these incentives because of elections coming in four months. Madu reiterates that the “government has stepped forward to help.”
The government has also recently acted in response to rising insurance premiums. The new policy states that there will now be no increases in insurance premiums for the next year. Insurance companies agree with this recent change and there will be a payment plan on outstanding premiums.
The government has a role in making sure Albertans are not being charged unfairly in terms of premiums. The Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board, and in some cases the Minister of Service Alberts have responsibilities to investigate unfair consumer insurance practices. The government has stressed the need for insurers to take into consideration insured good driving records, history of accidents and infractions to lower insurance premiums and ensure they are affordable for Albertans.
The province governs on behalf of Albertans and even though homelessness affects people at the municipal levels the most, municipal governance falls under the responsibility of the mayor and council. There is a wide range of factors that impact homelessness. When the present government came into office in October 2022, “we made an historic investment of $197 million to help tackle homelessness, drugs addictions and disorder and safety issues in Edmonton,” Honourable Madu shares. All levels of government wish to solve this problem, but the root causes still need to be addressed in order to make progress. Just building housing will not solve the problems of poverty, addiction, and drugs. The present government is looking at a continuum of care. By building addiction centres where people can access facilities for mental health support and assisting the homeless across the province, the government is providing support across the system. The current ministers continue working on this incentive and monies have been earmarked for this project. There is a committee made up of city councillors, Ministers of Public Safety, Mental Health and Addictions, Housing, Community and Social Services, Edmonton Police Services, and the business community of the downtown core who are meeting to devise a plan to effectively address and resolve this problem.
The work the media does in our communities is essential, according to Honourable Madu. Whatever support the government can provide is available through grants, the Minister of Culture, or the Communication department working with ethnic media ensuring they have the resources they need through policies and programs. Because ethnic media is competing with Mainstream Media in terms of finances and exposure, the government will make sure that the support is there.
February is Black History Month. Honourable Madu believes that the Black community is resilient. “My hope is that the Black community binds together … to make progress.” Honourable Madu is evidence of that by being the first Black person to serve as Deputy Premier in Canadian history. There are many reasons to celebrate the contributions made by Blacks. “We have all kinds of celebrations,” Honourable Madu reminds us, but Black History Month gives Blacks an opportunity to highlight some of their contributions to this province and the difficulties many Blacks face. By knocking down some of the obstacles and barriers, it helps all cultures and ethnicities.
Being in Honourable Madu’s position requires responsibility and accountability. He is proud to represent Albertans, and even though he is from the Black community, he works for the good of all Albertans in our province. He is grateful for the privilege to be the first Black Deputy Premier and looks forward to what more the Black community can accomplish.
As the former Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta, and Labour and Immigration, Honourable Madu has raised the problem of the immigrant English as a second language requirement. It is also problematic that the test expires every two years, and he hopes this requirement can be abandoned when it is not necessarily required at the provincial and federal government levels. Newcomers have a high chance of success when there are strong family connections in Alberta. That’s why the Minister of Trades, Immigration and Multiculturalism implement a change to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program that will help new applicants become more successful with their applications.
On his re-election bid in Edmonton-Southwest, Honourable Madu has faith that South-west constituents will vote him back into office. He has been a competent representative and an effective, committed cabinet minister on their behalf. First, schools have been and are being built where there is a need, and secondly, infrastructure such as roads are being addressed. The widening of Anthony Henday and the $120 million dollars in provincial capital funding for the widening of Terwillegar Drive all the way to Windermere Boulevard are going on as we speak. These are indicative of the work being accomplished for the southwest. Minister Madu also secured $699,000 in grant funding for the building of the Cameron Heights Community Centre. The Deputy Premier has plans for three more schools in the community and the building of another community and library centre for the greater Windermere community.
In his spare time, Honourable Madu enjoys reading various books, mainly on history and strategic military studies, and spending time with his family, especially his children. The Deputy Premier concludes by saying that he is optimistic and hopeful about the future of our province and that its best days are still ahead.
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