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Eggen pledges more interaction

February 9, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Education Minister David Eggen says he’ll be able to work more closely with education stakeholders now that he’s no longer the minister of Culture and Tourism.

Premier Rachel Notley added six new members to cabinet on Feb. 2, which has enabled ministers who had previously been handling two portfolios to concentrate on just one. As a result, Eggen is now the Education minister, full stop.

Eggen said this change will provide him with “lots more time and energy” to devote to the many important education issues that the province is facing.

“I’m interested in working more closely with stakeholders,” he said. “There are literally thousands of people directly involved in education across this province and they deserve as much attention as I can provide so obviously, with more time, my interactions with stakeholders will become more focused and widespread.”

Atop Eggen’s to-do list these days are beginning the collective bargaining process under the new bi-level model announced in December, consulting with Albertans with the aim of proclaiming the Education Act in the fall, and the upcoming spring budget, which “looms large.”

“We’re in very difficult economic times, but I’m fighting very hard to ensure that our education commitments are met,” Eggen said. “We might have to make sacrifices in other areas to ensure core services in health care and education are there when Albertans need them.”

Regarding the Education Act, which received royal assent in 2012 under the previous Progressive Conservative government and was originally scheduled to be proclaimed last September, Eggen said he remains committed to seeing it proclaimed in the fall of 2016.

“I want to have a full and open consultation once again for people to look for ways to tweak that document,” he said. “The legislation’s been held without proclamation by the previous government for several years so it’s high time to dust it off.”❚

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