Congratulations to all of you for the incredible work in our constituency. Whether you run a business, big or small, a non-profit, or volunteer in the community, we can see success and that we are bouncing back despite everything we have been through. Our economy is showing signs of growth, and according to the April Labour Force Survey, Alberta gained 16,000 new jobs in April and nearly 40,000 new jobs since the start of the year. This is because of your resilience. Albertans do not give up. This marks six straight months of job gains for our province, with many more projected to come.
Further, April’s 5.9 percent unemployment rate is our province’s lowest unemployment rate since 2015. You are attracting investment by creating jobs, and our economy is more diversified than ever. What an amazing accomplishment. Our province is projected to lead the country in growth both this year and next. Our best days are truly just ahead. We will be expanding financial literacy programs to students through a 5-million-dollar grant. This grant will help our youngest entrepreneurs gain the knowledge they need, starting in grade 3, to train and inspire students as they look towards their future and how to save for that future.
As you know, I speak out quite often about increasing gender-based violence in our province and Canada wide. We are seeing this violence grow, and we must work together to end gender-based violence. It is on all our shoulders. We will be supporting $500,000 in grants to the 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations, Indigenous women, and other groups, offering healing and support for survivors, families, and the loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Funding will also improve engagement and coordination between Indigenous communities and law enforcement agencies.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who reached out to me regarding concerns about the insulin pumps. I have already had a conversation with Health and am collecting all the emails you have sent to make sure Minister Copping receives all your concerns.
Finally, I want to say that I am truly disappointed with how the leadership review is being handled. I know I have said this before, but the leadership broke their own rules changing the vote from an in-person ballot in Red Deer on April 9th to this “vote” on May 18th. I have received emails from folks who did not receive their ballots, those who are receiving emails and calls who are not members, incomplete membership lists, and the latest concerns over bulk membership sales that happened days before the voting rules changed from in-person to mail-in ballot. Truthfully, we need a leadership race, and we need to work to earn your respect and trust. If the results of the vote are higher than 40%, especially given the investigation into ballot buying, it will call the validity of the vote into question. If it is over 40%, most folks will not believe it was fair and truthful. It is time for a leadership race, and it is time for hope, renewed trust, and inspiration. I hope that we see that on May 18th.
As always, we love to hear from you.