Q&A With MLA Jackie
Q: The Alberta government has released its list of essential services that can remain open during the forced closure. These are services that “if interrupted would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the public.” Some readers are asking about how this list was comprised. I understand some on the list, but not others.
A: Essential Services are considered those required for society’s basic needs, such as food, utilities, shelter, and safety. There are some businesses required to support these organizations. For example, farming and food production are essential, and farmers will need resources to operate and continue this production. So equipment and hardware stores are then essential to support basic food needs.
Q: What financial support options are available for Albertans?
A: There are a variety of programs being offered. The Federal Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is now available and I encourage anyone who has had to stop working as a result of COVID-19 to apply as soon as possible. More information can be found on our Alberta.ca website for other supports currently being offered.
Q: Why is self-isolation so important?
A: Isolating is the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19. The more Albertans that isolate, the faster we can get past this pandemic. Of course, I want to do my part, and to protect my family, friends, and neighbours
Q: When I look outside on a daily basis, I’m not sure people get the seriousness of this pandemic. What do you have to say to those who feel that this is overblown or some sort of “Fake News”?
A: I want to say “Stay Home and take this seriously!”. This pandemic is not about you, it’s about all of you. What I mean is that although a healthy young adult is at little risk catching the flu, there are MANY Albertan’s who are fatally affected. Due to the fast-spreading nature of COVID-19, the hospitals would become overwhelmed if there were not interventive measures. This would then lead to even more deaths. So even though you might not be at risk, please think of those that are. It is YOUR responsibility as a member of our society to stop the spread.
Q: Leaders all over the world are under the microscope with how they are handling this pandemic. You commented to me that we are lucky to have a leader like Jason Kenny. Can you explain your thoughts?
A: Premier Jason Kenny has shown us again just how much he cares about Albertan’s. He has gone above and beyond our expectations during this pandemic. He is constantly working with our healthcare professionals, economists, and other leaders to work on combating the outcomes of COVOD-19 and how to get ahead of the spread. This is a challenging time for everyone, especially our leaders. I am proud that Mr. Kenny is giving his all for us.
Q: The provincial government has temporarily cut funding for K-12 education. Can you explain this move?
A: This decision was not taken lightly – no decision regarding valuable workers is. This is just as true in the public sector as it is in the private sector. We are in unprecedented times, and our education system has changed due to the provincial health emergency we are all facing. The unfortunate reality is that in-person classes are not occurring due to COVID-19, and at-home learning options do not use the same staffing and resources.
The government is temporarily adjusting payments to school authorities until in-person classes resume or July 1st 2020, whichever comes first. While funding for teachers and most other aspects of the K-12 education system is being maintained, funding for transportation and some services not used in an at-home learning environment – such as substitute teachers, bus drivers, and some educational assistants – is being temporarily reduced while in-person classes remain cancelled. The savings realized from these adjustments (approximately 128 million dollars) will be reallocated to support Alberta’s COVID-19 response.
Q: Knowing a number of MLAs over the years, I know you don’t normally have much time to yourself. When you do find some time, what do you like to do to relax?
A: Mostly spending some quality time with my family and friends. I like to read and go outdoors to relax-when I have time.
Do you have a question for MLA Jackie that you think our readers would be interested in? Email me at email@example.com