Alberta Premier Rachel Notley took to the stage Monday, MArch 4, at the Alberta Rural Education Symposium.

The symposium is a way for rural education and community leaders to open up dialogue with government representatives.

Notley focused on the importance of maintaining social programs even in the midst of an economic crisis.

"Which is also why we chose to invest in things like school nutrition, providing daily meals for over 30,000 students across the province. At the same time we also invested in playgrounds and programs that support positive mental health, indigenous student health, and academic success."

She says instead of making cutbacks, the NDP instead made sure every child in Alberta had access to good boots, warm coats and safe up-to-date education.

"We zeroed in on at least three ways to defend our kids and our communities from the downturn. Tackling our infrastructure deficit, providing stability and predictability for our public services, and helping shield families from the worst impacts of the downturn."

Notley stressed the obligation the government has to maintaining, updating and building schools in rural Alberta.

"In the form of mouldy classroom tiles in our kids crammed classrooms, or broken plumbing, and dangerously old heating and ventilation systems. Because quite frankly, that is debt too. We have an obligation to tackle our infrastructure debt."

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