More than 20,000 Albertans have signed the petition urging the Redford government to keep Red Deer’s Michener Centre open for the 125 developmentally disabled adults and seniors who have called it home for decades.
“Monumental, that’s how I would describe this campaign,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. “More petition signatures have been collected since April than votes for both Red Deer MLAs in the last provincial election combined.”
The vast majority of petition signatures have come from Red Deer.
“The amount of support for the Keep Michener Open movement is among the largest I’ve seen in my time as AUPE president. When you mention Michener Centre, Albertans know the issue and understand the need for a home like this to be there for those who require it,” said Smith. “It takes no convincing, they sign the petition right away.
“Michener has won numerous provincial awards for the good services it provides. Closing it is about money, not about care and that’s not right.”
Smith said it’s now time the premier listen to the community and reverse the decision to close Michener.
“The people of Red Deer have appealed to their MLAs to no avail. It’s time Premier Alison Redford addresses their concerns. They’ve earned this at least.”
In 2008, the Progressive Conservative government promised residents, families and guardians in writing that individuals currently living in Michener would never be forced out.
In March, the Redford government announced the closure of Michener Centre without consultation of residents, families, guardians or staff.
The petition will be tabled in the Alberta legislature and will become an official record of opposition to the Michener Centre closure.
All three opposition parties tabled around 8,500 signatures before session ended in May.
Petition signature collection will continue through the summer and into the fall.