During a press conference today (January 10), Alberta Premier, Danielle Smith, answered some hot-topic questions while also highlighting some of the government's recent successes.
Smith started off the press conference by acknowledging the Affordability Action Plan that was given an update yesterday.
"Affordability for Albertans: we know that this is still a top-of-mind issue for Albertans and we're working very hard to provide relief; effective January 1, Albertans are once again saving 3.6 cents for every litre of gas and diesel and those savings bring Alberta's gas prices to about 23 cents lower on average than the national average. We're also preparing to roll out the first of our direct support payments to families, seniors and to vulnerable Albertans."
Smith also brought up what the province is doing for Alberta food banks and how they announced $5 million in grants to help organizations helping to provide food security across the province. Another topic Smith highlighted was jobs being created in Alberta.
"In December, over 41,000 new full-time jobs were created in our province. And it really is something to celebrate. There are still 100,000 job openings in our province."
Once she finished talking about what the government is doing to help Albertans during this time of need, she answered a flurry of questions, some including several about Health Canada and the statement they released about Alberta getting more medicine, when the sovereignty act will be used and if it will be used.
A question was asked about a statement that was provided to the Alberta government from Health Canada back in late December when it came to the importation of ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Smith went on to talk about the process that happened in conjunction with Health Canada and the supplier of the medicine.
"There's a couple of things that we had to do and working through with a new supplier, Health Canada has to go through and examine the manufacturer, they have to examine our import facilities. We had to make sure that the formulation was the same as we would sell for generic products here. We had to get French and English packaging approved and we went through all of those different steps and so, as a result, we have our first shipment arriving this weekend."
Smith did state the first shipment of 250,000 bottles will be for Alberta Health Services and the remaining 4.75 million will come at a later date.
Another question was brought forward about when we could see the Alberta government enact the sovereignty act. According to Smith, the act is only another tool that can be used when pushing back against the federal government.
"I'm just disappointed with the federal government that they've said that they didn't want to fight and yet they're continuing to make announcements without consulting with us. They came through with changes to the firearms legislation that wasn't supposed to include hunters and sports shooters at the last minute; that issue around Moraine Lake, they didn't even call our Parks Minister. There are some things that they could have done on Moraine Lake because I recognize that they've got limited parking, but how are people with canoes and kayaks and dogs supposed to get up there."
Smith finished by saying her main hope is that the federal government would stop announcing legislation in Alberta's jurisdiction without consulting them, and so far, that has not been happening.
"I hope that we can move towards something more collaborative, but I'm not very impressed with the way this new year has started."
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