The Alberta Conservative Caucus has presented the Alberta Jobs Task Force Report to the Liberal government in Ottawa before they finish preparing the next federal budget. We launched the Alberta Jobs Task Force so that each Conservative Alberta MP could consult widely in our communities and find solutions to recommend. Everyone knows the importance of the unemployment crisis that workers and families are confronting in our province.
The Liberals should be implementing a plan that will help create jobs for Canadians with achievable results including right here in in Battle River-Crowfoot. In Camrose and Drumheller the unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in January 2016. By December of 2016 it was 7.6 per cent. In January 2017 the unemployment rate was 8.9 per cent.
Once again, I can report that constituents in our riding have provided a remarkable amount of information, recommendations and examples from personal experiences dealing with the recent economic downturn and job losses. The biggest boom at my desk, as usual, was the blizzard of ballots I received from the mailing I sent to everyone in our riding asking for your input.
Many of us blame both the federal and provincial governments for the economic devastation that they have caused, or worse, allowed to set in. Many of the ballots sent to me recount heart-breaking stories ranging from: opportunities for economic growth that have been missed or will be missed; the loss of skilled workers; hard-earned educational achievements that now have no prospects for employment; many people working two or more jobs to provide housing, food and clothing for their families; and more.
As your Member of Parliament, I also read testimonials of determination, willingness and eagerness to work hard going forward. The majority of us have a strong sense of confidence that we can recapture our province’s historical high-level of prosperity. We have faith in our capabilities and great hopes for our children as their generation will have to cope with the debts that the current Liberal government will leave them.
Past generations of Albertans have overcome numerous challenges: the ‘dirty thirties’; draught on the prairies; the BSE crisis; and more. From the pioneers and earliest settlers from just over a century ago in the many towns and villages in our riding, to today’s development of amazing technologies in resource development and advances in agriculture, we continue to be ‘up to the job’ of building our region of Canada.
The Alberta Jobs Task Force Report spells out what the federal government can do to help us get back to work. We need a reduction in our tax burden, job creation in the oil and gas industry (the world will continue to need these products for the foreseeable future), renewable energy opportunities, support for unemployed workers, families, business, and our youth.
The report also states clearly what Alberta needs to secure long-term prosperity, focusing on improving federal-provincial relations, increasing Canada’s overall competitiveness, encouraging economic diversification, reforming the immigration system, and, balancing the federal budget (governments in debt are severely limited in their capabilities to take swift action in response to national concerns).
I want to commend everyone for standing up for Alberta in hard times. Thank you again for sharing your information and thoughts with me.