Policies for Albertans, by Albertans

Draft policy statements and resolutions Prepared for review at the November 2010 Alberta Party Policy Convention Prepared by the Alberta Party Policy Committee November 2, 2010

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Summary
This document contains policies developed by the Alberta Party for review, debate, and revision by the Alberta Party membership at the Alberta Party Policy Convention on November 13-14, 2010. These policies are the culmination of the first phase of the Big Listen, a brief summary of which is provided below. The seeds of the Big Listen process were planted in February 2010, when members of the Alberta Party united with Renew Alberta to pursue their common goal of a moderate, forwardlooking government responsible to the citizens of Alberta. This new relationship gave members of both organizations a vehicle to put into motion their vision of a new mode of citizen engagement: one in which Albertans aren’t talked to, but talked with. This vision was developed into the Big Listen, an ambitious and authentic program of citizen engagement designed to meaningfully connect our party to Albertans. Through this ongoing process, we’ve talked with over 1000 Albertans in their homes and communities about their stories, challenges, and hopes for our province. The input from these meetings has been recorded in detail, and forms the foundation of the policy proposals included within this document. Albertans have told us that they live a beautiful province blessed with inspiring natural landscape, and a proud history of citizenship, community spirit and entrepreneurism. Citizens of all types—members of our First Nations, newcomers to the province, descendants of our pioneers, and everything between—have shared with us their hopes that Alberta can continue to be place of economic creativity and strength, and that our enterprising spirit can be used to protect our environment, and to create compassionate communities that embrace all citizens and enable them to access the enormous opportunity our province is known for. People from across the province—in cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas, from north to south—have spoken to us about turning our province into a place of ideas, where debate is welcomed and citizens are inspired to create a bright future for their families, community, and province. We believe this vision can be achieved by engaging Albertans to collaborate with us in solving the problems our province faces. The policies contained within this document, developed with citizens, represent the first step toward a prosperous, sustainable, thoughtful and caring province that provides opportunities for all of its citizens.

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Policy development overview
The first phase of the Big Listen was completed on September 28th. Immediately following the 2010 AGM, held in Red Deer on October 2nd 2010, our members began to distill the hundreds of pages of notes gathered during the Big Listen, searching for areas of agreement and common themes. This process identified five areas of priority: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Economy and diversification Environmental stewardship Education Healthcare Democratic renewal

Following this meeting, the Alberta Party Policy Committee organized fourteen Big Listen Policy Events organized around the themes listed above. Like the Big Listen meetings held during the first phase, these meetings engaged people from across Alberta. They were hosted in Edmonton, Camrose, Calgary, Lethbridge and Breton, and online. and involved previous Big Listen participants, regular citizens, and people with experience in the theme areas. The focus of these discussions was generating sensible, realistic ideas that spoke to the stories we heard throughout the Big Listen’s first phase. Ultimately, our goal was to develop policy by the people, and for the people, of Alberta. Following these discussions, our Policy Committee and other volunteers refined the ideas we heard into the draft policy vision included in this document. This draft will be submitted to our members for discussion, review, and approval at our Policy Convention on November 13th and 14th in Red Deer. In the collaborative spirit of our party, we urge all members to try to take part in this convention and add their voices to the debate that will be taking place. Even if you can’t attend, we invite your reactions and your ideas as we offer this first step toward our vision of a prosperous, sustainable, thoughtful, and caring Alberta.

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The Alberta Party and the economy
Whereas Alberta has one of the strongest economies in the world and is a global leader in energy production. Oil and gas provide Alberta with a strong economic base, but economic diversification will ensure ongoing prosperity through future economic cycles and position our province strongly for the future. Whereas the Alberta Party believes that we can build an innovative and diversified economy without sacrificing the incredible opportunities our resources provide. By expanding our knowledge base and investing in new areas of growth, we can turn our economy into one that’s less about boom and bust and more about long-term stability. Whereas the Alberta Party will make our economy stronger and ensure energy development occurs within the context of environmental stewardship by accepting and building upon a number of key principles. Be it resolved that Alberta should be the best place in the world to earn a living – no matter who you are, what you do or where you’re from. Key directions: • Make it easier to start and grow a new business by eliminating unnecessary red tape • Create an environment in which startup companies in creative and knowledge-based industries can flourish • Work with a wider range of industry leaders to modernize and diversify our energy sector • Improve access to employment for skilled immigrants • Focus job training and skill development toward the requirements of our current and future economy • Ensure the rules and regulations that govern business are fair, clearly defined, and consistently enforced • Promote collaboration between government agencies and local economic development organizations Be it resolved that Alberta needs to be smarter about taxation and expenditures, ensuring stability, shared benefit, and a true reflection of what things actually cost. Key directions: • A significant proportion of natural resource royalty revenues should be invested in savings for future generations • Develop a province-wide conversation with all Albertans to determine our fiscal priorities and financial future – i.e. taxes, royalty rates, long term savings, spending limits, transparency and efficiency • Minimize taxes on economic activities that align with province’s public policy goals • Expand upon existing funding models that use industry levies to help grow clean technology and expand the green economy

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Be it resolved that Alberta should aspire to have an economy in which value is added to all of the natural resources we extract before they leave the province. Key directions: • Create a regulatory and economic environment that encourages the creation and growth of value-added industries such as upgrading, refining, processing and manufacturing • Build on existing economic strengths and areas of greatest potential by identifying interprovincial and international partners to develop markets and attract investment for our value-added industries Be it resolved that the Alberta Party views investments in the environment, healthcare, education, and quality of life as opportunities to ensure our economic future Key directions: • Strive toward the adoption of full-cost accounting when evaluating the impact of major developments • Expand programs that invest revenues from Alberta’s existing carbon tax and any new environmental levies into emerging clean technologies • Create environment that nourishes local and independently owned small business • Encourage a vibrant local food economy and a sustainable agricultural industry • Build mass transit networks that are efficient and affordable

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The Alberta Party and the environment
Whereas around the world, more people are demanding that their governments take action to protect the environment. More often than not, this debate devolves into a faulty premise: that a healthy environment is bad for business. The Alberta Party believes that these pillars are complementary, and by tying them together we can create a new economy that truly benefits us all. Indeed, we have no other choice. Whereas by standing behind the following statements, the Alberta Party will work to balance the needs of the economy with a healthy environment. The Alberta Party will ensure that energy development occurs within the context of environmental stewardship. Be it resolved that the Alberta Party views the oil sands as a primary engine of Alberta’s economy. Alberta must optimize the return from our resource-based industries and protect our environment. Key directions: • Make eliminating and reclaiming tailing ponds a top priority • Effectively and consistently enforce existing regulations • Help industry find new ways to reduce its demand for fresh water • Ensure regulators have full independence and are empowered to act • Provide resource industries with clear, consistent and accountable direction • Don’t wait for an environmental crisis to be more proactive with enforcement Be it resolved that the government should make it easier for Albertans to make environmentally sustainable decisions. Key directions: • Implement an energy efficiency act that addresses the environmental impact of our built environment and provides incentives to residential and commercial property owners • Work with post-secondary institutions to develop programs that are oriented towards renewable energy and clean technology careers • Support and encourage outreach and education campaign that help shift behaviours and attitudes towards sustainable choices • Work with industries to expand the technologies they can offer consumers to reduce their own consumption, such as smart power metering. • Expand mass public transit

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Be it resolved that the Alberta Party recognizes the pressures on our fresh water supply are growing and that it is vital we become active stewards of this precious resource. Key directions: • Build a stronger, more complete water monitoring process • Set high standards for water quality, quantity and conservation objectives • Create incentives for companies to reduce freshwater use in their industrial processes • Create an accurate inventory of surface and groundwater supply to ensure it is allocated sustainably • Encourage an open dialogue among all user groups over freshwater use while recognizing First Nations Treaty rights • Build stronger partnerships between landowners, industry and land users to protect source water • Properly enforce existing environmental protection legislation Be it resolved that the Alberta Party views protection of quality of our air as one of the most important environmental challenges we face. Key directions: • Strengthen greenhouse gas emissions legislation • Provide incentives for less carbon-intensive electricity generation. i.e. shifting to natural gas generation • Employ evidence-based methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions • End subsidies to industry for unproven carbon capture and storage • Ensure Alberta has the same air quality index for health as every other province in Canada Be it resolved that reclamation is a vital step in the life cycle of any industrial project; without proper management and enforcement, private industry has no incentive to clean up abandoned sites. Key directions: • Ensure planning for reclamation is ongoing during the life of a project • Create a trust framework that companies must pay into. These funds are transferred directly to site reclamation • Ensure the liability of a site follows the project, not the producer Be it resolved that Albertans have a growing recognition of the need for Conservation of wild lands and natural areas to ensure a healthy biodiversity for Albertans in the future. Key directions: • Establish more conservation areas to preserve ecosystems and wildlife habitat • Expand existing parks and recreation areas to include conservation objectives • Encourage voluntary conservation efforts from landowners with incentives

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The Alberta Party and education
Whereas education creates opportunity, drives our economy, and builds better citizens. The Alberta Party views education as the foundation for all public policy; it is core to creating a better province. We believe every Albertan should have the opportunity to pursue an education to whatever level they aspire. Whereas the Alberta Party is fully committed to increasing access to education for all Albertans and growing the quality of our system based on the following principles. Be it resolved that public education in Alberta is underfunded and cannot meet its targets without stable, de-politicized funding. Key directions: • Provide additional funds to public and separate school boards and reduce the restrictive conditions under which funding is given • Empower school boards to direct funds in ways that benefit the families, communities and students within their boundaries • Create stable, 3-year budget cycles that offer public and separate school boards certainty and stability Be it resolved that education needs to go beyond one-size-fits-all. Our education system must embrace individuality and focus on equipping each student for success. Key directions: • Allow teachers to spend more time with individual students. Reducing class size is a critical part of this equation • Replace the Provincial Achievement Test with an evaluation system that focuses on individual progress over a period of time • Provide better support for vulnerable and special needs populations • Empower and support teachers to make decisions that will benefit their classrooms Be it resolved that we need to recognize that schools are the hub of our community and encourage all levels of government to work together to build a stronger system. Key directions: • Repeal the provision of Bill 44 that relates to classroom instruction • Decentralize decision-making over the construction, operation, and disposition of school buildings by restoring authority to locally elected school boards • Find and develop opportunities for collaboration between school boards, municipal and provincial governments • Enable schools to house the wraparound services children need for their development

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Be it resolved that post-secondary education of any kind is vital to the health of an innovative economy and vibrant communities. No student should be prevented from attending a post-secondary institution for financial reasons. Key directions: • Reduce tuition costs for post secondary students • Increase access to student loans, grants and bursaries for post-secondary education • Enhance debt forgiveness for graduates who remain in Alberta • Provide support for the indirect costs of attending a post-secondary institution Be it resolved that access to post-secondary institutions should be opened rather than restricted. Key directions: • Increase the number of spaces available in the system while maintaining the quality of the educational programming • Take a holistic view to improving access by embracing local education, promoting online learning, and growing intra- and inter-institutional services • Reduce the barriers faced by students in rural communities wishing to attend a postsecondary institution

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The Alberta Party and our health system
Whereas the Alberta Party recognizes the tremendous pressures our health system is facing today. Wait times, access to care in rural communities and increasing costs are all key issues that require an immediate and lasting change. Albertans demand nothing less. We believe the path to better health care lies in a publicly funded system. Whereas our health system can be made stronger by stable management, evidence-based planning and strategic investments in prevention. Be it resolved that promoting healthy living and preventing disease hold the real keys to reducing our health care costs. Increasing our investment in these areas only makes sense. Key directions: • Invest real, sustainable dollars in school health policies that enable children to make healthy choices, both in nutrition and exercise • Work collaboratively with local governments to design communities that promote and support healthy living • Expand workplace injury prevention programs and enforce safe worksite policies • Acknowledge the real economic impacts poverty has on health care costs • Encourage government departments to work in collaboration with one another to address important health issues holistically • Develop strategies around emerging trends in healthcare i.e. childhood obesity, increasing cancer rates and diabetes Be it resolved that regardless of whether they live in an urban or rural community, every Albertan deserves timely access to quality, comprehensive health care. Key directions: • Ensure health care is fundamentally publicly funded, publicly administered, and based on evidence • Ensure every Albertan has a family doctor and can access urgent care whenever needed • Establish clear benchmarks for quality in long-term care, home care, community care, and emergency care • Find new ways to promote investment in family and rural medicine among Alberta’s post-secondary institutions and students • Accelerate the evaluation and accreditation process for foreign health professionals and support their integration into our health system • Build strategic health plans around the care needs and input of individual communities and recognize the need for flexibility • Expand access to vision, dental, and mental health care • Build a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the rising cost of pharmaceuticals

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Be it resolved that Alberta’s mental health system is in crisis. A comprehensive, province-wide strategy is required to protect our most at risk populations. It also reduces our health care costs long-term. Key directions: • Ensure every person who needs mental health services receives them • Immediately address the rise in suicides with a targeted mental health strategy • Increase access to effective treatment for substance abuse problems in rural and urban settings • Support programs that promote good mental health, good workplace mental health, education and awareness • Promote programs that recognize and explore the importance of early life experiences on a child’s mental health Be it resolved that we can no longer address health problems in silos. To most effectively treat and prevent illness, we need to remove boundaries between disciplines, institutions and jurisdictions. Key directions: • Support opportunities for integration between different disciplines, institutions, and points of delivery within the health system • Fund innovative health care models that address quality of life and the factors that influence it • Ensure patients receive a continuum of care where information is shared openly among caregivers i.e. primary care networks

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The Alberta Party and democratic renewal
Whereas Alberta’s declining voter turnout demonstrates that Albertans have lost faith in the political process. While several factors contribute to this phenomenon, we believe Alberta is facing a democratic deficit. Put simply, Albertans no longer feel in control of the decisions that directly affect them. They’ve been left out of the dialogue on important issues and are disconnected from the people elected to represent them. Whereas the Alberta Party will renew Alberta’s faith in its political process by working towards a series of key principles. Be it resolved that the key to re-engaging Albertans is ongoing, meaningful citizen engagement and participation in policy development and in governance Key Directions: • Building on the Big Listen Process, the Alberta Party will continue to engage with all Albertans when developing new initiatives and policies • Restore Albertans’ democratic and landowner rights and return power to the Legislature from the Cabinet and Appointed Ministers by amending the Alberta Land Stewardship Act, the Land Assembly Project Area Act, the Electrical Statutes Amendment Act, and the Alberta Utility Commission’s Act • Establish an open and transparent process in selection and appointments to boards, committees, councils, agencies Be it resolved that an open and transparent government builds public faith and encourages direct participation. Key directions: • Allow data collected by government that does not include personal or sensitive information to be made available to the public. This includes data sets on which official government reports are based. • Properly resource the Officers of the Legislature: Auditor General, Privacy Commissioner, Ethics Commissioner, Chief Electoral Officers and Ombudsman • Replace the Public Affairs Bureau with the Citizen Affairs Centre designed to more actively engage Albertans in the legislative process and in local community issues • Clean up the electoral and legislative process by strengthening financial transparency requirements for political parties, eliminating corporate and union donations to political parties, requiring public disclosure of leadership campaign contributions, and ensuring the public has easy access to accurate and regularly updated political party financial contribution information

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Be it resolved that strengthening local governance creates a grassroots culture of political engagement Key directions: • Engage in a province wide, measurable dialogue with municipalities and school boards to develop more equitable, decentralized revenue sharing strategies • The Alberta Party will work with appropriate municipals leaders, citizens and organizations to harmonize jurisdictional boundaries (i.e. school boards, municipalities, etc), encourage agreement concerning local boundaries where possible, and improve and strengthen the functional relationship between neighbouring municipal jurisdictions.

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Alberta Party Policy Convention information
When: November 13-14, 2010 Location: Holiday Inn, 6500 67 Street, Red Deer, Alberta Cost: $125 per person, $25 for students and recent graduates. Includes breakfast and lunch on November 13 and 14. Attendees paying full price are eligible for a $75.00 tax credit. Registration: http://www.albertaparty.ca/events/policy-convention-2010/ Accommodations: Guest rooms will be available in the Holiday Inn for $119.99 per night. Please note the discount room rate will only be available until November 5. Contact the Holiday Inn to book: http://www.hi67.com, 1 800 661 4961 (toll free), 403 342 6567 (direct). Contact: For more information contact info@albertaparty.ca

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