Last year I wrote up my top ten of 2016. From three pipeline approvals (read more about these on my page dedicated to pipelines), announcing our Canada Oceans Protection Plan, our middle class tax cut, implementing the new Canada Child Benefit, and more, I took stock of the highs and lows of the year.
This year I’m doing much of the same – so here’s my top ten from 2017.
Now, on to my top ten!
#10 – Reopening the closed Stanley Park
At number ten is something near and dear to my heart: baseball. And this baseball park in my community was shut down because of the 2013 flood.
The 2013 Alberta floods the costliest disaster in Canadian history at $1.7 billion (until the Fort McMurray fires two years later). It’s very important that we get flood mitigation done here in this city. We went through a devastating flood in 2013 that our city needs to protect against.
The previous government did little to safeguard this city from flooding. My colleague, fellow cabinet minister and Member of Parliament from Alberta, delves into this shortchanging of Alberta in Question Period in the clip below.
So I was overjoyed when I was invited to reopen Stanley Park, a park that was shutdown after the 2013 flood, and speak to the young athletes who were playing one of the first games on the diamond in almost four years.
#9A – Millions for the Royal Tyrrell Museum
For the first time — Alberta’s dinosaur museum in Drumheller received federal dollars to the tune of $3.6 million to expand exhibits. It’s Canada’s premier paleontological institution and is a educational boon to Canada’s cultural landscape.
#9B – Millions for the Banff International Research Station
I was a very proud alumnus to be at the University of Calgary to announce $3.5 million to the Banff International Research Station, which is in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Alberta Government. It’s a multi-country research institution that is pulling in the brightest minds from across the world to further the pure sciences.
#8A – Calgary hosting the Trudeau cabinet
I hosted the entirety of my cabinet colleagues here in my hometown this year. From having them come to Mission in the heart of my constituency to eat at some of the great restaurants dotting 4th Street and to planning the next stages of our work in Ottawa, we were able to bring the decision makers of the country right to our backyard (just like how the cabinet was brought to Kananaskis Country last year!).
#8B – Hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a townhall
The Prime Minister and I hosted a townhall in January that invited the entire community to come, unfiltered and completely open, to ask him everything and anything.
If you missed it – give it a watch on my Youtube account.
What would have been on my list last year – had it been written any later – would have been when the Prime Minister came for a late-December visit just days shy of Christmas. He spoke about our need to safeguard the environment, and be powerful advocates for Alberta’s industries.
You can watch this clip here on my Youtube account.
#7 – Investments in Public Transit
You may have noticed the four-car trains along the Blue Line – that’s thanks to investment in public transit by the federal, provincial, and municipal government.
In July the Government of Canada transferred $3.3 billion to Alberta for critical investments in Public Transit, Green Infrastructure (for greenhouse gas emission reductions, flood mitigation, and more), and recreation infrastructure.
Getting people where they need to go safely, quickly and comfortably is fundamental to economic growth and building an inclusive society, I’m very pleased to see how these new projects — like the Green Line LRT — will result in widespread benefits for Calgary transit users.
That’s why I’m proud to be a part of a government that not only committed itself to public transit, but also committed itself to growing Calgary’s transit and connecting our city more deeply. The Federal Government is committed to its $1.5B to the Calgary Green line. This historic investment will make it possible for Canadian communities, like ours, to build the new urban transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way we live, move and work.
#6A – The National Housing Strategy
The previous government ignored housing for a decade. This year was a historic year — where we correct this. We are moving forward with our game-changing National Housing Strategy — because every person deserves a place to call home.
Every Canadian deserves a place to call home. And with this infusion of $40 billion over ten years, we are going to cut chronic and episodic homelessness by 50%.
Because, without a home it’s impossible to build a life.
- Read more about the plan at www.PlaceToCallHome.ca
- Read more about our plan on making housing affordable on my webpage
- I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Housing Day YYC conference, where I spoke to my stay at an affordable housing complex and why it’s so important to make these investments.
#6B – One Year Anniversary of the Canada Child Benefit
Over a year ago our Government launched the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and committed to providing increased support for low to middle-income families with children. The CCB is targeted to families who need it most—low and middle-income families—while higher income families receive lower benefits.
When the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) was first introduced in July 2016, the extra money in parents’ pockets had an immediate effect on consumer confidence and economic growth. We are taking further action to strengthen the Canada Child Benefit to make sure it keeps pace with the rising cost of living, by making annual cost of living increases to the CCB starting in July 2018—two years ahead of schedule. For a single parent of two children making $35,000, a strengthened CCB will mean $560 more next year, tax free, for books, skating lessons or warm clothes for winter.
#5 – Supporting Canada’s Veterans
This year was a busy one for supporting Canada’s veterans. For me, I was able to reopen the last of the nine Veterans Affairs Canada offices closed by the previous government, in addition to opening up a new one in Surrey, BC and expanding outreach to the north.
I also had the pleasure of creating the new Veterans’ Education and Training benefit – providing veterans with funding for college or university to the tune of up to $80,000 to cover their tuition. Add to this was the expansion of the pilot of opening access to the Military Family Resource Centre through the Veteran Family Program, and also unveiling a new Centre of Excellence in Veterans’ care.
Then, just a week ago, we announced our plan on a Pension for Life for our veterans. This Pension for Life will give Veterans and their families the financial support that they need. Financial security means more than money, though: it’s about the ability to build a life with meaning and purpose. This Pension for Life will provide those monthly payments for life.
#4A – Increasing The Athlete Assistance Program
This year, while at Canada Olympic Park’s WinSport facility in my hometown, I announced an increase in funding to the Athlete Assistance Program to the tune of $5 million for a total of $33 million, an 18% increase. This is the first increase in fourteen years and goes directly to some 1,900 of our top athletes.
#4B – Celebrating our Special Olympics Athletes on Parliament Hill
For the first time in Canadian history we brought on the members of Team Canada onto the House of Commons floor to be applauded by parliamentarians and all Canadians.
And you better believe it was a blast. Watch the video above to watch the day unfold, and catch the special moment right on the floor of the House.
#3A – Hardisty Groundbreaking (Line 3)
— Kent Hehr (@kenthehr) August 10, 2017
This August I was on the ground in Hardisty, Alberta for the start of construction on Line 3 – a pipeline replacement that will be going southwards into the United States for export of Alberta’s product into international markets.
It was a great day for Alberta and the nation, and a solid investment from Enbridge that will bring more Alberta product to international markets.
— Enbridge (@Enbridge) August 10, 2017
#3B – Keystone XL Approval
Keystone moving forward was good news in January, and it continues to be good news now.
The creation of jobs in the energy sector is a massive boon, as is our tireless work on creating the jobs of the future with our climate action agenda.
- “Trudeau cabinet calls Trump’s Kenstone XL decisions ‘good moment for Alberta.’“
- Read more on Canada’s pipeline approvals on my webpage.
- Read more about our plan on pricing harmful carbon pollution at this link.
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) March 24, 2017
#3C – Keeping the National Energy Board in Calgary
The National Energy Board should stay right here in Calgary. It is the place where expertise and talent come together. And keeping it here in my hometown had my full support.
- May, 2017: “Hehr says he’ll fight to keep NEB in Calgary.“
- July, 2017: “Ottawa pitches plan to keep National Energy Board in Calgary.“
#2 – Real Change for Climate Action
The evidence is clear: and the price of inaction severe. Insurance claims in Canada from severe-weather events were $373 million a year from 1983 to 2004 — and that amount has tripled to $1.2 billion a year in the past decade. Our climate is changing and one way it is made manifest is with severe climate events.
This government is actively and passionately working for good, middle-class Canadian jobs and a prosperous energy sector. Canadians have told us that we need to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while promoting economic prosperity, and we are taking steps to do just that. We are delivering on change that had eluded the previous government for ten years.
Just two weeks ago I announced in Calgary some $150 million as part of the Leadership Fund: for affordable housing, residential retail products, reforestation, Indigenous solar and energy efficiency programs, and on-farm energy management programs.
- I was proud to announce this year that our local utility company, Enmax, won a $131 million contract to supply the federal government with clean energy
- I also had the pleasure of announcing $10 million from the Oil and Gas Clean Technology Program right here in Calgary
- And just last week I had the pleasure of announcing almost $3.5 million for clean technology through the Western Diversification fund.
#1 – A Year to Remember
Above is my playlist of 150 Canada songs this 150th year of Canada’s founding.
Canada 150 will be one to remember. From free access to Canada’s national parks and historic sites, events throughout the year, and more, the memories of this year will last well into our next 150 years.
Not only did we gather in communities from coast to coast, we also are leaving a legacy. The Government of Canada recognizes that investing in cultural and recreational facilities enhances the well-being being of all Canadians. These renewed facilities provide spaces where we can celebrate our heritage while ensuring that important community assets will be enjoyed by generations to come.
- Hehr hands out Liberal Confederation cash in Calgary
- Celebrations, community projects for Canada’s 150th revealed
- Feds announce 150-anniversary funding for community infrastructure
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