COVID-19 information in rural communities

the winner - Claresholm native Roger Reid won the United Conservative Party of Alberta nomination in the riding of Livingstone-Macleod last week. Balloting was held on Dec. 7 and 8, with voting in Claresholm on Friday, Dec. 7. Reid took 55 per cent of the vote, which translates to 481 out of 873 votes, to win the contest on the first ballot. Nathan Neudorf was second with 225 votes, and Thomas Schneider was third with 167 votes. Here, Reid takes a moment to cast his own ballot in downtown Claresholm on a chilly Friday night. No provincial general election date has been set, but expectations are for a spring vote. Photo by Rob Vogt

Roger Reid, MLA for Livingstone-Macleod, gave this member’s statement to the Alberta legislature on April 8. The text of the statement is taken directly from Alberta Hansard, the official record of proceedings for the legislative assembly.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The world changes very quickly. Only a month ago our province looked very different. While there was some worry about coronavirus with the first few cases slowly trickling in, businesses weren’t closed, and the streets were still busy. It only took a couple of days for all of that to change. While many of us have kept up to date with the changes our government and the government of Canada have made – we’ve done that through social media or alerts on our smart phones – there’s a sizable contingent of Albertans who rely on traditional media, particularly weekly rural papers, to inform them of the goings-on in the world.
The small rural weeklies in my riding of Livingstone-Macleod have stepped up to that challenge incredibly well. Whether it be the Claresholm Local Press, the Crowsnest Pass Herald, the Fort Macleod Gazette, or one of the other half-dozen print or broadcast organizations scattered across Livingstone-Macleod, all of the local media organizations I get to interact with have done an incredible job of making sure that all Albertans, no matter how remote the community, have access to critically important information, including current public health orders and emergency programs rolled out by our government.
In many of my communities, Internet access is still an issue, and many farms and small towns simply don’t have access to high-speed Internet. In cases like this, our newspapers become more important than ever.In the last few years small local media has had a tough time. In January the Lacombe Globe, a paper older than Alberta itself, announced that it was shutting down. Despite these tough days for the industry, so many small papers all across the province are working harder than ever to ensure that critical information reaches all Albertans. To them: thank you for all that you do, for the incredibly valuable service you do Albertans.”

Roger Reid, MLA, Livingstone-Macleod.