Hello Chestermere! I hope you are enjoying the on again/off again nice weather. Days are getting longer and spring has sprung. Also getting longer, unfortunately, are the unemployment lines. Our province lost 73,000 full-time jobs in 2015, and a further 26,000 private sector jobs in January. For the first time in 30 years, our jobless rate is now higher than Quebec’s. Sadly, Statistics Canada also confirms that more people are leaving Alberta than coming, as folks seek a future for their families elsewhere. Along with an orgy of new spending guaranteed to mortgage our children’s future the federal budget made changes to improve access and lengthen eligibility for unemployment benefits for Albertans. It has always been a puzzle why those in Eastern Canada are treated more generously than us and this helps restore some equity.
Now, more than ever, we need to rebuild our sagging economy and get Albertans back to work. The Wildrose Jobs Action Plan includes 12 common sense recommendations. You can see the full plan at www.wildrose.ca. Some initiatives are tailored to have an immediate effect across our province, including rural communities left behind by previous governments. For instance, reducing Alberta’s small business tax rate, as well as WCB Premiums, will provide employers with flexibility to delay further layoffs, and rehire workers as the economy improves. You cannot tax your way to prosperity. These efforts will be encouraged, over time, by red tape reduction. We make recommendations to encourage skills training, local economic development, and apprenticeship initiatives, while ensuring that the infrastructure is built to support economic growth.
Finally, we take a realistic approach to stabilizing Alberta’s energy sector. This means delaying proposed electricity grid changes and conducting an economic analysis of the government’s ill-conceived carbon tax grab.
Wildrose continues to fight for pipelines which stand to provide $30 billion in construction and $430 billion in economic growth without spending one tax dollar. If Alberta is to recover from this recession, our largest industry must play a major role in this recovery.
At the core of our Jobs Plan is the understanding that Alberta requires both short-term measures to create jobs and long-term measures to strengthen our economic foundations. These are two sides of the same coin, and both are needed to rebuild the Alberta Advantage. The role of government is to foster economic growth not to pick winners and losers and not to provide corporate welfare to favoured industries.
We support policies that lift all Albertans, including those in the energy sector, and those who work on Main Street. Through the Jobs Action Plan, the Wildrose Opposition is taking a firm stand. In these difficult times we believe no industry, sector, or worker is expendable. We support policies that leave none behind.
Please join us in Delacour at the Hall this Saturday, April 2, for our Light It Up Blue Fundraiser in support of employment for autistic and other youth with challenges. Enjoy a Chili Cookoff competition, silent auction, and hear how employing these very ABLE people could be the best decision you ever made. Doors open at 6 PM, wear blue and be prepared to be entertained and informed.