How should the Alberta government respond to social concerns? What responsibilities should be addressed by communities, organizations and individual citizens?
That's the basic question Lethbridge-area residents will respond to this afternoon, during the last of a series of consultations on social policy.
The open meeting, set for 5:30 to 7 p.m., will be held in the Culver City Room at City Hall. Organizers say it's one more opportunity for southern Albertans to express their thoughts and ideas during the second phase of the province's social policy planning process.
Once completed, a new "social policy framework" is expected to provide "broad, overall direction for social policy in Alberta.
"It will guide the efforts to meet the needs of Albertans, both for government and community partners," officials say.
The first phase of citizen consultation, completed earlier this year, looked at where the provincial government is going in relation to Albertans' vision and desired outcomes. It also discussed some strategies and looked at how decisions will be made.
Several Lethbridge agencies - including the Family Centre Society of Southern Alberta, the South Regional Community Board for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, and Social Housing in Action - took part in first-phase presentations.
The current phase, now well advanced, is looking specifically at strategies to get there and at the province's roles and responsibilities.
"The government is validating the vision and priorities" determined in the first round, adds Diane Randell, the city's manager of community and social development.
"Phase 2 of the process will look specifically at strategies to get there, and at where the roles and responsibilities lie."
A session for Lethbridge teens and young adults was held last week, Randell points out.
"They were very pleased to be listened to, and heard."
Today's meeting is open to all. Randell says she's hoping business people, non-profit groups and community leaders will take part.
For those interested in taking part in the process - but unable to attend today - she says responses are also being welcomed online at http://social policy.alberta.ca
"Every Albertan has an opportunity to go online and register their views."
Reflecting on summaries issued from first-round consultation, Randell says consultants appear to be receiving and reflecting the ideas put forward by many Albertans.
"So far, I'm impressed."