After a year of challenges faced by the province, Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson is reflecting on the ongoing issues residents in the constituency are facing.
Anderson says residents in the area are becoming more and more conscious of the Carbon Tax crunch.
"They're becoming more aware of it, now that's it's becoming fairly obvious to most Albertans due to the recent rallies that are going on, that the cost of oil and not being able to ship our product to market, is having a devastating effect on our economy."
Anderson says that despite the lip service paid by provincial and federal governments, rural citizens face other problems.
"I mean there were a couple of bills that came forward such as the Energy Diversification Act and Preserving Canada's Economic Prosperity Act, I mean these are nice things to do, but rural crime was still an issue this Summer and into the Fall as well. People are concerned about the education and the education curriculum being looked into and changed. Again, not much consultation going on with the folks in Alberta, they feel a lot of this is being done behind closed doors, so I have an issue with that as well."
On the topic of Summer, Anderson says 2018 was an excellent year for community support, but a challenging season for farmers.
"The Summer had the basic events in High River, Okotoks, Black Diamond and Turner Valley, the typical Show n' Shines, and the other marketing events kicked off. While we had some decent weather, we didn't get enough rain for some of the farmers in the South, some of the guys couldn't get their crops off, so there's a little bit of angst there."
Anderson continues, saying that the tough growing period was further agitated by the Carbon Tax.
"Coming into the Fall you may have noticed we had some early frost and an early Winter. A lot of money had to be spent on drying the grain and there's some ouches regarding the cost of the Carbon Tax to use gas to dry your grain, with no cost compensated to the farmers. "
Anderson says he's hoping a change of political winds will aid in solving ongoing issues in the energy sector.
"People are still feeling the pinch, this government was anti-fossil fuel, anti-resource, anti-oil and in the last couple weeks or months or so, they woke up and realized: 'we can't get our product to market'. It's kind of ironic sitting back and watching whats going on, but I feel bad that medium to small sized businesses here in Southern Alberta, particularly in my constituency are feeling the pinch. I'm hoping that things will pick up in the new year, I'm hoping we'll have a change in government and that things will move forward, but it's going to take awhile to rebuild the Alberta advantage, that's for sure."
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