During the question period at the third session of the spring sitting Airdrie East MLA Angela Pitt had a chance to ask Alberta's Minister of Finance Travis Toews about the lack of fairness in access to fundraising dollars within the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) in Airdrie versus Calgary.
“The ability and opportunity to fundraise within a community is extremely important. Fundraising can help subsidize the costs of certain activities or events that are popular and important to communities, making them more affordable for individuals and families.”
Pitt stated that she has recently heard concern from her constituents in Airdrie East about the disadvantage that they have.
The Honorable Minister of Finance Travis Toews says AGLC initiated a review of the province's charitable gaming model in 2019 to examine how the model is meeting the needs of Albertans and look for opportunities to improve it.
“The reviews involved a comprehensive engagement with our many varied stakeholders involved in charitable gaming in the province, including more than 90 charitable organizations throughout Alberta, both urban and rural. I assure you that the government and AGLC remain committed to maintaining and maximizing charitable gaming proceeds to support eligible programs and services.”
As an example, Pitt went on to talk about how high ice costs for the Airdrie Skating Club means less services for local residents,
“Given that our opportunities to fundraise are less frequent, bringing in significantly less funding than the clubs in Calgary putting us at a disadvantage to the point where we often lose families to Calgary that can subsidize their ice costs, minister, can you please tell us what your plan is.”
Toews went on to talk about the importance of civil society organizations in addressing issues and creating opportunities in our communities.
“I'm proud to report that AGLC has received a milestone of 38 per cent reduction in red tape, which is part of the solution. In two years AGLC has reduced over 9100 pieces of red tape, including a number of policy changes that reduce financial reporting and admin requirements for charities allowing these organizations greater flexibility to put resources back into their communities.”
When Pitt spoke to Discover Airdrie, she said that with a review taking place, she is very confident in conversations with the minister he's very aware of these problems.
“Outside Calgary organizations have higher costs, or at least comparable costs to those in the City of Calgary and yet have less access to those additional fundraising dollars. Those are the things that we need to fix.”
Pitt finished off by saying we need to ensure that there's fairness in the system for the gambling dollars in this province that are supposed to be supporting these local associations.
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