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Building Alberta: Budget 2013 invests in communities

Maintaining support for municipal infrastructure and culture, increasing funding to add more RCMP officers and judges, and streamlining the operation of the justice system are important pieces of Budget 2013 that will help build Alberta communities.

Funding for the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) will be maintained at nearly $900 million this fiscal year, allowing municipalities to continue to meet local infrastructure priorities. And over the next three years, government will do more to encourage municipal collaboration and make better use of existing resources and P3 opportunities to invest in affordable housing. Announcements on seniors lodge maintenance and replacement projects and the modernization of social housing facilities will be made in the coming weeks.

“This budget meets Premier Redford’s commitment not to balance our books on the backs of municipalities. In the face of serious fiscal challenges, we’re making a considerable investment in local infrastructure and the future of our province,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “At the same time, we are spending our dollars smarter by doing more to encourage municipal collaboration and maintaining our existing housing resources.”

New funding of $10 million per year will be invested in Métis settlements. “We’re proud we’re the only province in Canada with a land-base specifically dedicated to Métis people, and we want to ensure that Alberta’s eight Métis Settlements are able to provide infrastructure and essential services on par with other Alberta communities,” said Aboriginal Relations Minister Robin Campbell.

Ten more RCMP officers and two new provincial court judges will be working in Alberta this year.  Steps will be taken to improve access to the justice system by raising the limit for small claims court, continuing to fund case management offices and other processes that reduce caseloads, and integrating programs that help Albertans navigate the justice system.

“We’re balancing more demands with essentially the same budget as last year by focusing on core programs and spending smarter on areas of greatest need,” said Jonathan Denis, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. “Our decisions were made based on community safety and access to justice, balanced with the importance of spending taxpayer dollars wisely.”

Government is maintaining funding for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Community Initiative and Community Facility Enhancement grants and other programs that have consistently had a strong impact on Alberta communities. The new Royal Alberta Museum project continues to move forward, with an anticipated opening in 2017.

“Our government recognizes that even when times are tough, we must continue to invest in the long-term future of our communities, including world-class facilities like the Royal Alberta Museum that will help tell Alberta’s story to generations of Albertans and visitors to our province,” said Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk.

Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Cam Traynor
Communications Director
Municipal Affairs
780-427-8862
cameron.traynor@gov.ab.ca

Kevin Zahara
Press Secretary
Aboriginal Relations
780-638-4510
Kevin.Zahara@gov.ab.ca

Josh Stewart
Press Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
780-903-6698
josh.stewart@gov.ab.ca

Kathleen Range
Press Secretary
Culture
780-221-5805
Kathleen.range@gov.ab.ca

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.