Service Alberta minister Nate Glubish is on a provincewide tour to meet with Albertans, beginning right here in Lloydminster. The minister aims to consult with constituents across the province on issues with registries, rural internet and broadband infrastructure, and the Mobile Home Sites Tenancy Act.
The minister wants to work with MLAs within their ridings to identify those who are affected by these issues, hear feedback about their needs and find ways to deliver better outcomes. Glubish says that it’s the first provincewide our in more than five years for a Service Alberta minister, and he was eager to meet with local officials before putting close to 4,000 kilometres on his car.
“We had a great meeting here today with councillors and the mayor from Lloydminster, as well as councillors from Vermilion and the local chamber of commerce. It was a great opportunity to get some feedback from the feet on the ground here,” says Glubish.
In September of 2018, the CRTC announced targets that all Canadians should have access to minimum speeds of at least 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. The CRTC also aims for access to mobile wireless services including on major transportation roads. Glubish says that Alberta has a little over 80 per cent of the population covered, but that many communities still feel underserved.
“Over the next number of years, we need to work in collaboration with the federal government, the provincial government, municipal governments, as well a private industry to find a path forward to meet those targets. The provincial government cannot do it on its own, and so we’re working on building a strategy on how we can chart our best path forward.”
Glubish says there are about 30,000 mobile home residents throughout Alberta, who say they feel let down the current legislation “or perhaps the enforcement of the current legislation.” Glubish affirms this is an important matter for his ministry, and stops will be made in a number of communities to hear their thoughts and concerns with the legislation.
Perhaps one of Service Alberta’s biggest impacts is the registries it oversees, ranging from birth certificates, marriages certificates, drivers licenses and others. Glubish says that he recently learned that Alberta is dead last for the delivery of online services for registries. He pledges that’s unacceptable and plans to modernize service delivery to include online tools.
“I want Albertans to be able to access those services in their pyjamas, on their couch, at midnight. I don’t want them to wait in line for an hour, face to face during bankers hours.”
The meeting was originally scheduled for half an hour but pushed as far as an hour long. Garth Rowswell, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright, attended the meeting and affirms that rural internet access is a key issue for his constituents spread throughout his mostly rural riding.
“I’ve heard pretty consistently, even before the election, that ‘if you guys get in there, you guys have to deal with this broadband issue.’ It’s critical to ongoing business operations, and kids staying in this area as opposed to moving to larger centres in order to get access to better internet,” says Rowswell.
Mayor Aalbers was in attendance with members of city council and officials from neighbouring municipalities. Aalbers was pleased to see a cabinet minister visit the city and believes it shows the new government really wants to hear from those it serves.
“I appreciated (it) very much and I expressed that to the minister and thanked him deeply. We haven’t had a lot of communication from the Alberta Government as I’d like to have seen. We’ve gone to them, but them coming to us is a tremendous spot,” says Aalbers.
Glubish will continue his tour throughout the province before it ends on September 4 in Mayerthorpe.