Calgary, Alberta – Today is a very disappointing day for hundreds of thousands of Calgarians. It is a day of reflection on the level and value of service that we receive from the Members of Parliament whom we elected in May of this year.
Mayor Nenshi announced earlier today that the application submitted to P3 Canada, an arm’s length body of the Federal Government, for the funding of four recreation centers throughout Calgary, was denied.
This announcement came as a surprise to me. From all of the discussions I have had with various Members of Parliament, each had assured me that our funding application had been approved by P3 Canada and was simply awaiting a final signature from the highest level of the Federal Government.
While in Ottawa this year, I had an opportunity to speak with the Honourable Denis Lebel’s office, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, regarding our application. At that time I received no indication that our application was being contested.
In August of 2011, my office sent a letter to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Honourable Diane Ablonzy, Honourable Jim Flaherty and the Honourable Denis Lebel, inquiring about the the City’s application. I received no response.
In September, I met with Minister Kenney to speak directly on the subject of our application. I received no indication of our application being rejected.
We were assured of a favourable decision leading up to the Federal Election. Following the majority government’s victory we were then strung along, only to learn that the whim of elected representatives, many hailing from Calgary, chose to overrule P3 Canada’s favourable decision. This is a slap in the face to those who helped elect this majority government.
The Federal Progressive Conservative Government has received unwavering support over the past several decades from Calgarians. However, during the last Federal Election, many of our Progressive Conservative candidates opted to ‘work in their neighbours garden rather take care of their own back yard’ and not even step foot in Alberta to interact with voters.
There are more than 300,000 Calgarians who are directly affected by this decision, 84,000 of those are children under 14 years of age who have very little, if any options for recreation within reasonable distance of where they live.
It is time we hold our Members of Parliament accountable and ask, ‘what do you actually do for your constituents’? I am urging all Calgarians to contact their Members of Parliament and ask why our representatives overturned this decision to and why did they not represent us?
There is an online petition and website dedicated to demanding action from our federal Government organized. I encourage you to visit http://recreation4calgary.wordpress.com/ for more details.