SHARING THE VISION- Premier Ed Stelmach addresses a packed house at the Capri Hotel during the Central Alberta Premier's Dinner Oct. 14.

Stelmach pledges more living spaces for seniors

Alberta premier tells Red Deer audience government is taking a ‘pause’ at the local nursing homes transition

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said the province has learned a lesson in dealing with the transition of clients from two closed City nursing homes to the new Extendicare Michener Hill.

“We’ve taken a pause to make sure we have the required number of staff to meet the standard required in providing care for our seniors,” he told a sold-out crowd audience at the Capri Hotel on Oct. 14 during the Central Alberta Premiers’ Dinner.

The province recently rescinded lay-off notices to more than 100 nursing staff after the closure of Valley Park Manor and Red Deer Nursing Home.

It had been discovered there weren’t enough staff to care for the remaining 47 residents at Valley Park Manor awaiting transfer to Extendicare Michener Hill – the newly-opened complex in east Red Deer which has 280 beds.

His comments were also in response to a question from the audience as to how his government would deal with the province’s increasing health care demands, particularly in terms of continuing care.

He pointed to the newly opened CollegeSide Gardens in Red Deer as well which offers both supportive and ‘all-inclusive’ living styles of support. The province partnered with Bethany Care Society on the project, which is near Red Deer College.

“You’ve set the standard for the rest of Canada.”

Stelmach said the province would also be adding 1,000 new spaces per year while increasing access and options for seniors.

That despite the reality that Albertans do not receive the same per capita funding from Ottawa other Canadians receive, he said.

The financial hit came largely last year when Ontario was deemed a ‘have not’ province which shifted equalization payments.

He also took on critics of his government’s environmental record, defending oil sands development and pointing out that more than 220 hectares in the extraction region has been reclaimed and reforested.

“Admittedly it is just the start and much work remains,” he said.

But he slammed critics for mounting a dirty PR campaign that has garnered attention from international media.

“We will continue to be criticized by those who would leave the resource in the ground” he said. “Their PR stunts make good TV, but don’t add to the policy debate or contribute to good science,” he said.

“The debate about climate change and the benefits of the oil sands is a marathon – where facts and truth not stunts and fear – will guide Canada to a balanced policy,” he said.

Finally, Stelmach said the while the province has clearly been impacted by the global recession, Alberta is one of the few jurisdictions in North America to emerge from the crisis with money in the bank.

He pointed to $18 billion in the Sustainability Fund that was set aside during boom times a few years back. That money is on top of $14 billion in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund as well, he added.

He said the province has trimmed costs as well, noting that the public service is down more than 2,500 positions – back to where it was in 1998.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Pride Days are Feb. 21st and 28th during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Events will be held at the 52 North Music + Cultural Festival

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read