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Letter: Guthrie is not representing his constituents

As we are dealing with the largest healthcare crises of our generation, in my opinion MLA Peter Guthrie is failing to represent Airdrie-Cochrane's needs.
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letter-to-the-editor

Guthrie is not representing his constituents.

As we are dealing with the largest healthcare crises of our generation, in my opinion MLA Peter Guthrie is failing to represent Airdrie-Cochrane's needs. From ensuring we continue to have doctors, to keeping workers safe at their place of work, Mr. Guthrie has not only been silent on the needs of his constituents, but his votes have also directly harmed those he claims to represent.

Meatpacking plants have become hotbeds for outbreaks of COVID-19 in Alberta, starting with Cargill Meats, where more than half the workers have become infected with COVID-19, and one, sadly, passed away. JBS in Brooks followed, also seeing a worker die from the virus, and now the outbreaks have come home to Guthrie's constituents working at Harmony Beef in Balzac.

Workers at these plants are not being heard. They have reached out to their MLAs, and the UCP is not willing to listen. The NDP tried last week to bring their concerns to the legislature by calling for an emergency debate that the UCP refused to hear.

Workers are dying from outbreaks at these plants, and it came to light that previous OHS inspections did not include worker representation, as is required by law. When the NDP asked the government to respond to 80 per cent of workers who said they were afraid to return to work, the UCP refused to even have a third party inspector come and assess safety procedures.

Furthermore, in the middle of a pandemic, in my opinion the UCP has attacked doctors and made it financially unsustainable to have a medical practice in rural communities. The pay the province cut, a move Guthrie expressed support for, no longer pays the bills for rent, staff, or day to day running expenses of a rural practice. Cochrane doctors were disheartened by this, and sought out Mr. Guthrie to try and have their concerns addressed. In the end they had to ask the NDP to read the letter they wrote Mr. Guthrie publically, as he was failing to even respond to them, let alone bring their needs to the legislature.

After significant public pressure resulted in the UCP making some Band-Aid changes to rural compensation, it was revealed that Cochrane had mysteriously been removed from the list of rural communities. While the Health Minister claimed that was an "oversight" MLA Guthrie was silent on the removal of Cochrane, failing to even ask "why?" in the days that it took for the government to make its claim the move was in error. We also have not heard from Mr. Guthrie on questions raised about the Government's claim the change was an "oversight", as memos earlier this year alluded to the changes being intentional. As these would directly impact his constituents, Guthrie owes people in Airdrie-Cochrane a fulsome explanation.

At this point it has become clear that Mr. Guthrie has no interest in advocating for his constituents as their health, well being, or lives in this unprecedented crisis are under threat. If he isn't willing to stand up and speak to his constituents, and on their behalf, who exactly is he working for?

Steve Durrell



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