Thursday, January 25, 2007

Marv Moore Praises Hancock's Efforts for a Smoking Ban

So Dave Hancock, the Minister of Health and Wellness met today with a group of about 60 stakeholder leaders in the health field from all around Alberta today getting their input into practical ideas for wellness, sustainability and innovation in health care in Alberta. The sessions were energizing and enlightening and the ideas flowed freely and the discussion was open and frank. It was a great start for Hancock to take over the Health and Wellness Ministry

It was not surprising to see Marv Moore at the session since he is the Chair of the Peace Country Health Region. Marv is described generally as a rancher and businessman from various sources. Truth be told, he is a long time suffering respected rural stalwart in the PC Party and has run every one of Ralph Klein’s successful provincial election campaigns. Marv is nothing short of an icon in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

One of the highlights of today was in the plenary wrap up session when Marv Moore spoke up. Moore commented to Dave Hancock to the effect of saying “…that all us here have followed your difficult experiences around the idea of a smoking ban in the past week.” Moore went on to say to Hancock, “…and you need to know we support you.” He said “in fact if we had a straw vote right here I bet no less than 98% would support you” to which the room erupted in applause in response to Moore’s comments.

Moore went on to say that he thought Hancock had “done the right thing to speak out on a possible policy to have a province wide smoking ban in public places” as the Minister of Health and Wellness. Another endorsement of Hancock’s efforts to bring Albertan’s desire for a wellness and health prevention approach to the province from Marv Moore, a guy who not only “gets it” but has “seen it all too.”

Here is a bit of background on Marv Moore that people will not likely know and many more may well have forgotten. He was first elected to provincial politics in 1971 as MLA for Smoky River. He helped form the first Progressive Conservative government in Alberta under Peter Lougheed. Marvin was an MLA for 18 years, until he retired from elected politics in 1989. During his time as MLA, Marvin held five different cabinet positions including Hospitals and Medicare, Agriculture, Municipal Affairs, Transportation and Solicitor General. Marv also worked with a number of committees, including Rural Development, Economic Planning, Social Planning, Finance and Priorities, and the Treasury Board.

After retiring from politics, Marv was appointed chairman of the Alberta Cancer Board, a position he held from 1993 to 1999. He also serves as a trustee of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Science and Engineering Research. He was appointed chairman of the Mistahia Health Region in 2001. In January, Marvin was chosen as chairman of the new Peace Country Health.

If anyone thinks this smoking ban issue is all about rural politicians being opposed to it because it interferes with some sense of a personal right they think they have to endanger others and themselves, they are only seeing part of the puzzle. They need look no further than Marv Moore for an eloquent and informed rebuttal of such a position, this coming from an avatar of the authentic rural Alberta experience and consciousness.

When people of commitment and character come together bringing their best efforts and applying themselves to issues of consequence, like happened today at Government House, we can rest assured good, if not great things, will come of it. Special thanks to Marvin Moore who exemplified that spirit today so well.