Mr. Clark: Why, thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Alberta’s not-for-profit sector has a long history of delivering high-quality, efficient services to Albertans, but there’s a lot of worry that the government’s so-called compassionate cuts will have a big impact on not-for-profits. There’s evidence that they’re attempting to take over rather than partner with certain programs that are delivered far more efficiently by the not-for-profit sector. Funding Alberta’s not-for-profits is the most efficient way to deliver many services because it matches volunteers and donors with the comprehensiveness of government. To the Premier: will you commit to working with not-for-profits rather than taking a government-first approach?
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Premier.
Ms Notley: Well, thank you very much, Madam Speaker. Of course, I will commit to that. In fact, I can also point to a record of exactly that ever since we were elected. One of the first things that our government did when we were elected was, through the urgings of our Minister of Finance, to make a significant increase in FCSS funding, which, of course, as the member opposite knows, is critical to many nonprofits across the province. We’ve done that on that matter. There’s a raft of other ways in which we work closely with nonprofits, and we are pleased to do that because, of course, they contribute so much to the quality of life in our province.
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member.
Mr. Clark: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Now, with respect, I think that many food banks and school nutrition programs would disagree that it’s not a government-first approach.
One of Alberta’s strengths is our ability to innovate, and innovation often means government working with partners to find new ways to deliver programs, but surprisingly this government has continued the Conservatives’ inflexible funding approach through the AGLC, CIP, and CFEP, this to the detriment of not-for-profits that want to innovate, collaborate, and build capacity. Again to the Premier: will you commit to modernizing funding models to support innovation and collaboration in the not-for-profit sector?
Ms Notley: Well, Madam Speaker, we of course will always commit to work with nonprofits and to hear any concerns they have with respect to the efficacy of those programs for them, and we do work very, very closely with them. Last fiscal year alone over 17,000 charities were licensed to carry out charitable gaming, for instance, in support of their communities, and they were able to raise in excess of $330 million. A lot of this is working. In addition, we’ve increased our partnership with many of these organizations. We’ve increased funding to them in a number of different ways because we value the important work that they provide to Albertans across this province, and we want to continue to build on those relationships.
The Deputy Speaker: Second supplemental.
Mr. Clark: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It’s not just the amount of money; it’s how those organizations are restricted in how they can use the money.
More and more Albertans are turning to the not-for-profit sector to simply survive the largest economic downturn in a generation, yet our constituency offices hear repeatedly that innovative project funding and funding applications continue to be denied. Now, I happen to know that this Finance minister knows a lot about thissector, so my last question will be to you. To the Minister of Finance: as you consider your compassionate cuts, how can the not-for-profit sector trust that future funding will support the most innovative, creative, and effective programing?
The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.
Mr. Ceci: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. You know, we have a dedicated team at AGLC. Just today I announced the hiring and appointment of Alain Maissoneuve, a 30-year employee of AGLC and the board before that. He is dedicated to making sure that charities in this province get what they need as a result of their gaming activities, racinos, and other kinds of things. We’re going to continue to work with all of our partners to make sure they have what they need going forward to serve the citizens of this province.