At this time of year, throughout our riding of Crowfoot, students are graduating! We should all take a few moments to congratulate and encourage our younger generation by assuring them of the importance of their education. Students need to know that the investment of time and effort they spend on their studies pays off.
I always try to remind my young constituents that Albertans enjoy some of the best prospects for a bright future. We are living in an era where our province is known as one of the most prosperous in our nation. While we are fortunate to have abundant gas and oil reserves in our province, Alberta offers many other opportunities in various sectors as well.
For example, economists say that the best long-term forecasts are for the agriculture industry. This is especially true for our agricultural sector in Alberta. We experienced a ‘bumper crop’ two years ago and the forecasters predict more to come. This is a sector that is attractive to many graduates. Young people who have studied agriculture are anxious to apply their high-tech knowledge to the traditional challenges ranchers and farmers face every day.
As well, our tourism industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds. As your Member of Parliament, I am being invited to more and more events that are created by the folks around our riding that are building our tourism sector. We see this promising source of income grow from the smallest villages to our larger population centers. Again, we see opportunities for our graduates to prosper and develop what we have right here at home.
Our Government is working to help families have the resources to raise their children. Canadians know that the best people to decide what is best for their family is mom and dad, not Ottawa bureaucrats. That is why we have put an additional $6600 in the pockets of the average family of four since 2006.
We have introduced many other measures help students as well. We are expanding the eligibility for low and middle-income Canadians to access Canada Student Grants for short duration programs; enhancing access to post-secondary education by eliminating ‘in-study income’ in the assessment process for the Canada Student Loans program; and, making Canada student loans work for families by providing $119M over 4 years, starting in 2016-17, to reduce the expected parental contribution under the Canada Student Loans needs assessment process.
As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan over the past years, our Conservative Government is helping ensure Canadians have the right skills for the jobs. We’re delivering the Canada Job Grant which helps ensure our work force obtains the skills employers are seeking. It provides a maximum of $5000 per person towards training at an eligible training institution. We have already created the Tradespersons’ Tools Deduction and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit and extended the fees eligible for the Tuition Tax Credit to include the costs of certification tests required by a tradesperson in Canada. We are working to create opportunities for apprentices by making it easier and more practical to get the experience needed. We are trying to help our graduates find a good job.
It is a great time to be graduating in Alberta. Congratulations graduates and Best Wishes!