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Schow’s mandate taking shape

Posted on March 14, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cal Braid
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Joseph Schow was elected as MLA for Cardston-Siksika in April 2019 and re-elected to the position in May 2023. The next month, Premier Danielle Smith appointed him as the province’s Minister of Tourism and Sport, and he has moved forward in that role for the last nine months.

Schow is a fifth generation southern Albertan who graduated from Magrath High School. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University, a Masters in Political Management from George Washington University and afterwards spent time in the private sector, working in advertising and owning a small business. He lives with his wife and three children in Cardston and travels the province to perform his ministerial duties.

After receiving his appointment, the premier specified his duties in a mandate letter.  It said, “I expect you to work closely with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues and the public service through the committee, Cabinet and legislative processes to deliver on our platform commitments to support Albertans.”

Those commitments include:

-Establishing a community recreation centre infrastructure fund that invests at least $80 million over four years in small and mid-sized projects such as indoor and outdoor hockey arenas and rinks, community pools, indoor turf centres, pickleball courts, sports fields and courts, and other recreational facilities.

-Investing at least $10 million over five years to improve air access options for visitors from high-value markets.

-To support the growth of tourism and sport by developing an international games bidding policy and legislation (if necessary). To ensure that future international gaming bids using substantial taxpayer dollars are subject to transparent public disclosure and cost/benefit analysis and include mandatory referenda for affected communities when appropriate.

-Supporting the Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism in establishing a dedicated tourism and hospitality immigration stream in Alberta.

-Assessing the advantages and disadvantages of having all of Alberta’s tourism levy invested in tourism-related growth initiatives.

-Continuing to develop and implement a long-term provincial tourism strategy.

-Working with the minister of jobs, economy and trade to assist in designing a ministry specific job-attraction strategy. The strategy will raise the awareness of young Albertans and adults changing careers, of the skilled trades and professions available in each economic sector, including pathways for education, apprenticeship, and training.

Signs of progress on these fronts have been seen in 2024. On Jan. 15 Schow and other officials held a new conference at Winsport Calgary to announce six international and national winter sport competitions in 2024 that would feature 800 athletes from more than 25 countries.

On Feb. 14, Schow and the premier spoke via livestream to relay news of a long-term provincial tourism strategy. The strategy aims to achieve sustainable growth in the province’s tourism economy. It targets spotlighting smaller communities, increasing air and road access, easing labour shortages in the industry, and funding and promoting Indigenous tourism.

On Feb. 22, the two appeared together again to share news of a $302,500 boost to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Museum in Red Deer. The funding will support the operations of the facility and the organization’s management and delivery of the annual Alberta Sport Recognition Awards.

This publication has yet to connect personally with the minister in 2024 and hopes to do so shortly after the release of the provincial budget   

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