August 31st, 2020
Letter to Premier Kenney
Regarding Alberta's Back-to-School Plan
Dear Premier Kenney,
I write today as both the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Strathcona and the mother of two children returning to school. I am worried about their health and safety and the health and safety of all children returning to school this September. I know I am not alone.
Over the past several weeks, parents across Alberta have shared with me their fears for their children and their families. Teachers have told me the impossible choice they must make between returning to school and their health. Desperately looking for answers, they feel that their Provincial Government has failed them.
As an MP and as a mother I believe that there is nothing more important than protecting our children and the teachers who care for them.
On August 12, I brought forward a motion that called upon the federal government to transfer funding to provinces to support a safe return to school and to ensure that the money allocated was spent for that purpose. While I was pleased that my motion was unanimously agreed to by all parties, I have concerns that this funding go directly to where it can be of the greatest benefit.
I urge you to ensure that these federal dollars are used within the public system to limit risk and increase safety for our children, our teachers and school staff, and, by extension, Alberta families.
I further urge you to adopt the recommendations brought forward by the Alberta Teacher’s Association including: meaningful consultation and policy development with Alberta teachers, administrators, parents, and public health authorities; detailed planning for transmission responses; improved ventilation; adequate PPE and sanitation supplies; and most importantly, smaller classes where physical distancing is possible.
Smaller class sizes and increased sanitation will mean more teachers, educational support workers, and custodial staff. I trust that these federal funds will be used to hire the necessary teachers and staff.
Finally, I expect that these public dollars provided to Alberta by the Government of Canada will be used to benefit our public system and will not be diverted toward private schools. Now is not the time to divert public dollars to wealthy Albertans.
Alberta’s children, families, and teachers are betting their health and their lives on this return to school. We are counting on our government to make the right choices to protect our children. So far this hasn’t been the case. I ask you to do what is best for Alberta, to use these federal dollars to give our schools the means to stay safe.
As a MP, I promise that I will continue to push Ottawa to support Albertans. As a mother, I promise that I will continue to fight for safer schools for my children, and all our children.
Member of Parliament - Edmonton Strathcona