Singing O Canada important school tradition—Forsyth

February 12, 2009

MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS

National Anthem

Heather Forsyth (PC—Calgary-Fish Creek): “I’m a very proud Canadian and a very proud Albertan, and I’m very proud to sing O Canada in this Assembly every Monday. To me our national anthem stands for many of the great things about Canada: the beauty of our country, our principles of justice and democracy, the bravery of Canadian troops, who are willing to sacrifice their lives to preserve freedom.

“I was very dismayed to learn that a principal in New Brunswick has discontinued the singing of O Canada prior to classes in his school. Some people claim that the lyrics to our national anthem are unfitting, are unsuitable, and they can contravene the rights of some. Nothing could be further from the truth. Canadian children should be encouraged to celebrate our country’s values and pay tribute to the strength and vitality of our democracy. To ban O Canada, in my mind, is not only poor judgment; it’s also disrespectful to those who have fought and worked so hard to make our great country what it is today.

“I’m looking forward to joining my colleagues in celebration of our Canadian spirit in the Assembly again by singing O Canada. Our national anthem is a reminder of what Canada is, what it stands for, what it means to be a proud Canadian, and what it means to be free.”

Outstanding Calgary-Mackay Constituents

Teresa Woo-Paw (PC—Calgary-Mackay): “I rise today to recognize the achievements of some outstanding Calgarians and Calgary-Mackay constituents.

“Children and youth under 19 make up about 30 per cent of Calgary-Mackay’s population. Eighteen-year-old Calgary-Mackay constituent Jane Wu has earned Canada’s top teen philanthropist in Canada’s first national contest in December 2008. As a volunteer since she was 12, Jane has logged thousands of volunteer hours, including serving as chair of the Calgary Youth Foundation and cochair of the Mayor’s Youth Council. She has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for projects like opening doors rental subsidies for youth, a program which makes schools, churches, and community halls cheaper to rent for organized activities. Jane also received the Alberta great kids award and Calgary immigrant of distinction’s youth scholarship in 2008. I am certain we’ll be hearing more about this remarkable young Albertan in the years to come.

“Ten days ago Alberta celebrated a golden moment when Kurtis Wenzel, a grade 12 student athlete at the Calgary board of education’s National Sports School, won Canada’s first gold medal in the youth men’s 7.5 K sprint at the youth and junior world biathlon championships at the Canmore Nordic Centre. This is traditionally a sport dominated by the Europeans, and winning gold is quite a coup for Canada and Alberta.

“Then members of Calgary’s Hung Mon Athletic Club brought home one gold and one silver medal from the world cultural sports competition held in Korea.

“Last but certainly not the least, Ms Sandra Rhodes, principal of Sir William Van Horne high school of the Calgary board of education, is the only Albertan who won Canada’s outstanding principal award. Her partnerships with the community and parents as well as successful change and innovation have resulted in improved student achievement.

“Mr. Speaker, it’s my honour to have this opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding Albertans today.”

CONSIDERATION OF HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S SPEECH

Rachel Notley (NDP—Edmonton-Strathcona): “Not only are diversification strategies being ignored, but the government plans to focus the education of Albertans to support this unsustainable vision. On page 17 of the Alberta energy strategy the government writes: ‘The energy sector has endured periods where it was not among students’ top choices when it came to choosing careers. This is unfortunate and must be addressed given that Alberta’s future will be shaped around energy. We need to bring more people into the industry at all levels in order to fully tap the opportunities in years to come [through our education system].’ In short what this says is that this government wants to spend taxpayers’ dollars educating young Albertans to take on a career in an industry with no long-term sustainability because that’s what their friends in big oil want. What about what’s best for Albertans and, in particular, for the young people of Alberta?”

Laurie Blakeman (LIB—Edmonton-Centre): “I think we have to continue to invest in education and in children. No question.”

Greg Weadick (PC—Lethbridge-West): “Mr. Speaker, I was also encouraged to see this government’s commitment to continue with infrastructure projects throughout Alberta. There is the obvious benefit of job creation, but at the same time we can use this opportunity to update aging structures and build much-needed new ones at a time when costs are lower and prepare for future growth, which we know will come. In Lethbridge I know that a number of infrastructure projects are eagerly awaited, including building new schools and renovating the old ones.”

Kevin Taft (LIB—Edmonton-Riverview): “I’d suggest that we can rearrange a few priorities, which I questioned last fall. For example, why the heck are we channelling money to golf courses, to semi-private golf courses, or to drag racing strips or to horse racing or to a whole bunch of other things when there are much more severe needs? I think the public would agree with me and would probably get behind any member of this Assembly who says: ‘You know what? Let the people who drag race their cars pay their own bills. We’re going to make sure that seniors who are needy or hungry kids going to school are looked after. That’s a core business of government. Supporting golf courses and drag races and so on is not.’”

To review the status of legislation of interest to the Association, please consult Bills and Motions 2009.