Trudeau's carbon tax is devastating our Canadian farmers. Click here to stand up for farmers!

Foothills Focus, 7ed.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed the time at home with family and friends.

For me and my family, it was a welcome break as the snowy weekend allowed us to stay home and savour a few quiet days at home.

To be honest, it was the first weekend in sometime where there were not any meetings or events, so I was pretty lazy. I do not recall getting out of my fuzzy pajamas too often and my focus for the weekend was grating cheese for my nachos, getting caught up on House of Cards and procrastinating just a little bit longer on the “honey-do” list.

I did get on it eventually, the garage is now clean, the pantry quasi organized and the contents of the Hope chest are now well organized in a Rubbermaid bin. Of course I told Louise I organized the family photos chronologically, alphabetically and by size. The odds of her ever actually looking at the dishevelled mess are slim to none – I hope.

We are blessed to have so many wonderful seniors in the communities throughout Macleod and it is critical we ensure they have the programs and infrastructure in place to meet their needs.

After all, they built our country and it is important we build things for them. With that in mind, I was extremely pleased to see two communities in Macleod receive funding through the Investments in Affordable Housing program to construct new seniors housing facilities.

On March 27, myself and Alberta Seniors Minister Jeff Johnson, made joint announcements in Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod regarding the construction of modern, affordable housing options in those communities.

In Pincher Creek, thanks to an investment of some $9.8 million by the Governments of Canada and Alberta, this joint funding will allow for the construction of a new, 50-unit facility that will replace the original Crestview Lodge, which was built in 1965. It is anticipated the construction of the new facility will be completed in late 2017, with demolition of the existing facilities to follow. The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are jointly contributing $9,800,000 under the Investments in Affordable Housing Agreement 2014-2019. This agreement represents some $202 million over five years to help more individuals and families in housing need. Additional funding will be provided by the Pincher Creek Foundation.

In addition, seniors in Fort Macleod will also have new affordable housing option thanks to a $7.25-million investment by the Governments of Canada and Alberta. This funding will support the regeneration of 37 affordable housing units at the Macleod Pioneer Lodge, owned by the Willow Creek Foundation. The Governments of Canada and Alberta are jointly contributing $7,252,000 to the project under the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement 2014-2019. This agreement represents some $202 million over five years to help more individuals and families in housing need. The Willow Creek Foundation will provide an additional $1.813 million in funding to the project.

This was a special day it was gratifying to see the response from the staff, the volunteers and especially the seniors and their families. These programs were needed and it was a team effort between the municipal governments, the Province and the federal government to secure the funding.

It was a very proud day for me and I am looking forward to the ribbon-cutting and seeing the seniors welcomed into their new homes.

The Status of Women Committee, of which I am a member, hosted the Canada Women Entrepreneur’s Forum in Ottawa on March 23-24. Angela Groeneveld, Business Renewal Officer for the Town of High River was invited to attend. Ms. Groeneveld had the opportunity to speak to Status of Women and Labor Minister Kelly Leitch and Minister of State for Western Diversification Michelle Rempel on some the issues businesses in High River are facing in the wake of the 2013 flood.

At the forum Minister Leitch announced $700 million in funding for female entrepreneurs through the Business Development Bank of Canada. The funding will provide up to 400 additional loans to businesses majority-owned by women seeking financing over the next three years, according to BDC.

“Our Government knows that when women succeed, Canada succeeds,” said Leitch. “We are taking action to support women-owned businesses. Women entrepreneurs and women in business have enormous potential and we are supporting them as they create the kind of jobs, growth, and long term prosperity that our Government wishes to see across the country.”

Recently, our Status of Women committee completed a study on Economic Leadership and Prosperity of Canadian Women. The study still remains in the draft stage, but there were extremely promising statistics which came up in the study.

For instance, Mr. John Gartke, a director at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, shared information from a recent report: “A 10% increase in the number of women-owned firms over the next 10 years would lead to a $50 billion injection into the Canadian economy. This demonstrates that Canadian business women are well placed to lead the charge in strengthening our economy and creating jobs, now and well into the future.”
This is an outstanding forecast for the role women will play in Canada’s growing economy.
They already play a significant role. In a briefing by the Department of Industry, the committee learned that in 2011, 14% of small businesses were solely owned by women, and around 18% of small businesses were owned in equal measure by both men and women meaning women had a partial or complete ownership of 32% of the small businesses in Canada.

• Met with H.E. Seluk Unal, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey.
• Met with representatives from the Western Grain Elevator Association in Edmonton to discuss the issue of moving grain via the railroad and the growing backlog.
• The Canadian Chicken, Turkey and Egg Farmers hosted a reception in Ottawa where I was able to meet with constituent Erna Ference.
• I attended the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa where I joined Amlika Nair of Westmount School in Okotoks who was participating in the week-long program. Congratulations Amlika and I hope other students from Macleod follow your lead.
• Representatives from CIVIX, which operates programs such as Student Vote, for youth across Canada met with me in the office to discuss promoting their programs.
• I was honoured to participate in the ground-breaking for Habitat for Humanity’s first project in High River.
• It was a record-breaking crowd at the Taste of Bragg Creek event at the community centre where local foodies, restaurants and wine merchants showcased their goods. It was an outstanding event to highlight Bragg Creek, which is open for business!
• Dr. John Tenove of Nanton was honoured with the Rural Physician of Distinction Award and I was thankful to be invited to attend.
• In Ottawa I met with representatives of ALS Canada including Brain Parsons, an ALS patient who is advocating for support for caregivers.
• Joined many colleagues for a rally on Parliament Hill in support of World Autism Day.
• After taking some time off for Easter, I attended meetings with the MD of Pincher Creek, MD of Ranchlands and the Alberta Southwest Mayors and Reeves Association.
• Executive Director Mike McLean gave me a great tour of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. The site south of Longview is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and opening day is May 17.
• Attended the announcement of $102,000 being donated from the funds raised from the High River Flood Book to several local charities. Again, congratulations to Jane Russell and her team for an outstanding job.
• I was honoured to attend and speak at the Birth of a Nation Day celebration at the Turner Valley Legion where I was joined by mayors from Black Diamond, Turner Valley and Longview. Well done Gordon Day and the Turner Valley Legion.
• We had a great turnout at the Crowsnest Pass Lifestyle and Outdoor Adventure Show. People were pleased to come by the booth and say hello.
• I attended the Easter Seals We Care Ball, a fundraiser for Easter Seals programs including Camp Horizon near Bragg Creek.
• Louise and I were invited to attend the presentation of the Caring Canadian Governor General Awards at Rideau Hall. Natasha Kornak from Springbank was presented with her award by Governor General David Johnston for her outstanding volunteer work in the community.
• Attended the Bragg Creek Chamber of Commerce meeting.
• Met with a group of High River economic development folks to discuss programs in place to help local businesses get back up and running and initiatives to attract new businesses.

Now back in Macleod until this weekend, I wish you all a good week.

Until next time,

John Barlow
Member of Parliament for Macleod