Asking the hard questions
Jackie Flanagan says it like it is
Jackie Flanagan is not afraid to ask the hard questions. She approaches difficult subjects with uncommon candour and the intensity of someone looking to make a difference.
Ask Flanagan, for example, what matters to Albertans and she’ll answer abstractly at first, with a casual reference to education. When she begins talking about funding for education initiatives, however, things get very specific very quickly.
“The people of Alberta believe strongly in higher education. We want to have a well-educated population,” says Flanagan, the founding publisher and editor of Alberta Views magazine. “Therefore, we need to ensure that education is being adequately funded.”
Flanagan maintains that education is an essential part of Alberta’s success and encourages Albertans to make their voices heard. She is quick to dismiss the idea that the government is disconnected from the people of the province, and instead maintains that as citizens we all have a role to play.
“Universities belong to us as citizens,” explains Flanagan. “We therefore have a shared responsibility to ensure these institutions are adequately funded.”
“Our will is expressed through government actions, and therefore we should hold our government to better education. We often fail to acknowledge the collective power we have as citizens.”
“Obviously, that’s an idea that’s easier to articulate than achieve,” acknowledges Flanagan. “But I sincerely hope we shall make the required efforts to strengthen post-secondary education.”
However, where funding falls short, Flanagan is glad to help. As an advocate for both education and environmental causes, she was naturally interested in donating to a lab in the Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building at the University of Lethbridge.
“Institutions like the U of L play an important role in creating new knowledge,” says Flanagan. “Universities are the places where past learning and future understanding meet. I’m honoured to facilitate the creation of this lab.”
The Flanagan Lab, which will be completed in the spring of this year, will enable faculty and students at the U of L to continue advancing water-related research that will benefit us all.
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