Bow River MP Martin Shields hosted his annual hotdog barbecue for the Strathmore Municipal Library, and this year saw a surprise visit from Premier Danielle Smith.

Smith is in Strathmore to enjoy our Stampede and meet with community members, and so far she said she's really enjoying her time here.

"Strathmore is such a great community, and to be able to be here for the rodeo and the parade and see the excitement and enjoy the beautiful weather... I try to make sure that I have an opportunity to visit a lot of the smaller towns during the summer, it's the best way to find out what's on people's minds," she said.

Smith and de JongeSmith (right) and Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Chantelle de Jonge (left) spoke with many community members at the barbecue.

As for what she spoke about with our community members, Smith said she heard a lot of encouragement from people saying the government is on the right track, regarding issues such as addressing increasing public disorder and crime, healthcare, affordability, and taking on Ottawa.

"The people are very concerned, especially with the federal government coming through with constantly increasing carbon taxes, the kind of impact it has on their day-to-day lives, cost of living, cost of groceries," she said.

As for Strathmore specifically, Smith said she's working with the Town of Strathmore to address our housing crisis. She says Strathmore is an amazing place to live for all its amenities and its proximity to Calgary and the international airport, so she wants to make sure people can live here and enjoy everything we have to offer.

"We're doing what we can to support the Town in clearing away some of the hurdles for building permits so that more houses can be built so that more people can enjoy this beautiful community. That's what I would like to see all over Alberta, if we can continue to see our small towns flourish I think that's going to increase viability, make sure that they have the ability to bring in more community amenities, and that's going to be our focus over the next little while," she said.

ShieldsShields was busy serving hotdogs and speaking with community members in what turned out to be a fantastic day for a barbecue.

Regarding the barbecue itself, Shields was happy to see such a large turnout following the Stampede parade to support the Strathmore Library. Having experience in education and on the provincial library trustees association, he says he knows just how important libraries are, as they offer way more than just books.

"Libraries are one of the most critical services in a community. They're the ones that are open many hours and many days of the year. A lot of people go into libraries not only for books, but for information, socialization, so libraries are sort of a social service centre in our communities," he said.

If you missed the Premier at the barbecue and want to see her, she said she would also be at the Mayor's brunch, the rodeo, and the opening of the chuckwagon races.

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