Vegreville Town Council to meet with local MLA

Vegreville Town Council to meet with local MLA

Michelle Pinon
News Advertiser

Members of Vegreville town council will be meeting virtually via Zoom with Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk tomorrow.

One of the key issues they will be discussing is the Covid-19 vaccine roll out. Mayor Tim MacPhee said physicians and some front line workers from Vegreville have already been to Camrose to get their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

However, a second dose will be required for front line workers, and shortage of the Pfizer-BioNTech has already been reported in the province.

Mayor Tim MacPhee said, “The federal government purchased another 20 million doses but it could be June before we see those, but no one knows for sure. I don’t think you can crossover one shot of Pfizer, then one shot the Moderna, so it’s just going to have to roll out the best way we can here. I know the Premier is a little bit upset right now they were asked to speed it up. They speed it up, now they got nothing.

Last Friday the Prime Minister said he was tired of all these vaccines sitting in refrigerators they should be in people’s arms and the province told them by the end of this week they’re out. It’s just showboating on his part. The Prime Minister is saying something and the provinces are in charge of rolling out the vaccine and they know by the end of this week they are going to be out. The Prime Minister is playing political games here. At the expense of seniors and front-line workers in senior care. In the mean-time they did 600 federal prisoners if you can believe that.

Once front line workers and health care workers and residents of seniors’ homes are done then they are going to start with anybody over 70 and then 60. Professional hockey players and teams are buying the vaccines from a maker. I don’t know how that works but the federal government can’t procure any and some professional sports teams are able to purchase for their players. I’m not sure. With Health Canada there’s two they are close to approving, and if they approve their usage in Canada and it will speed it up it’ll be smaller ones they can get into production right away. Health Canada, who knows how long it will take there.”

Another topic he’d like to discuss is the hemp sector. – I want to have a conversation with our MLA about the hemp sector and keep it relevant to the government and we’re moving it in that direction for the Vegreville area. We already have a lot of investors who are prepared to invest in the town and put up facilities, and sometimes the government they get a lot on their plate and they lose focus, but the hemp industry and what they’ve asked for that it’s renewable that it’s reliable it replaces plastic, so I just want to keep it fresh in their mind that’s where we’re moving, what are their thoughts, are they still the same. Now the NDP did a study on the hemp industry and they never released it. Sitting on a shelf so we’ve asked the Conservative government if they are going to release that report on hemp and what direction they should be going in the province. They never released it so it seems odd to spend that much money, and I know it was the previous government that did it, but let’s get that report out and take a look at it.

If you look at the government over the last 17 years and what they’ve spent at Alberta Innovates in the hemp industry to de-risk it for private business so instead of private business trying to learn and how to grow producer tear it apart and make new products out of it the government has spent 17 years and a lot of money so when a private group of investors come along all this information is readily available to them because the government already has it at Alberta Innovates and luckily all the data is in Vegreville so our climate, our growing conditions makes us the key player because everything’s been based on the information that’s been collected in Vegreville. Every level of government is saying we need to get off of carbon fuels we need to stop using plastics we need to stop cutting down trees. Well hemp for fibre and other things the CBD’s and other products they can make out of hemp is what they’re asking so where is the encouragement from the provincial government to speed the process up? I mean I know that they put money into other industries all the time. This is something that they’ve been preaching and the federal government has been preaching it, the world is preaching it with all these climate summits and everything else. Where’s the fruit that this is the direction they want to go? We need support and if there’s information tied up in a report let’s get it out there.

Councillor Taneen Rudyk said she would like to discuss economic development and diversification and to make sure the town has agricultural industry support, including hemp and other opportunities. MacPhee said they would be discussing Buhler Industries which has announced it will be closing down operations in the community in September of 2021.

Coun. Rudyk said she would also like to talk about the next version of funding from the province as well as policing.

MacPhee added, “I don’t know a lot about this ministry of job creation. I’d like to know where basically where it’s at and if there’s anything to help our community here. Where do we fit into this? I don’t even understand. They talk about it but I haven’t heard a lot of details.”