CALGARY (660 NEWS) — While the furor over Bill 22 focused on the closure of the office of the Election Commissioner and the NDP accusing the Alberta government of trying to cover up an active investigation into the United Conservative Party leadership scandal, the legislation also reformed numerous other boards.
Among them, Alberta Sport Connection, which provided funding and other support to dozens of sports organizations around the province.
The bill, which received royal assent last week, also dissolved Alberta Sport Connection in what the government said was a bid to reduce red tape and save money.
The province added that any duties handled by Alberta Sport Connection would still be handled by the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women and there won’t be any losses in funding.
One organization focusing on disabled sports is applauding the decision.
“Cutting that out is going to impact all of our cuts less,” said Jen Sales, Executive Director of Wheelchair Sports Alberta. “It was really just red tape and bureaucracy anyway. Not that they didn’t add value, but at the same time, if you’re making the cuts, I don’t think that it’s a poor choice.”
Sales is hopeful the removal of the salaried employees on the board of Alberta Sport Connection will free up money for their organization and all the others around the province.
She added that there were also some issues with slow funding from Alberta Sport Connection.
“Something happened like two years ago, and we’re not getting our first payment until late July, and then the next one we don’t get until September. Thankfully we’re okay because we’re a small staff group, but if you are a larger team and you rely on that funding, that is daunting and scary,” said Sales.
Sales said they can require a bit more funding than other groups due to the fact they have expensive equipment, and now without Alberta Sport Connection in the middle of them and the government, she thinks there is a potential for better cooperation.
“Sport’s one of the top five income generators in the province, and we don’t get any kind of a representation in the Ministry of Sport in general, so it would be nice if somebody would kind of advocate for us,” Sales added. “I’m hoping that we don’t get cut too bad and we can go forwards, onwards and upwards.”