Rachel Notley and her NDP government’s plan for the province has local MLA Scott Cyr distressed, as he feels nothing is being done to solve the job shortage in the oil and gas industry.
“The fact is we really have a government right now that seems more interested in implementing taxes and less interested in bringing jobs to our riding,” said Cyr, the Wildrose MLA for Bonnyville—Cold Lake.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of substance to the Throne Speech. The NDP have really made is clear that their first and only priority is this new carbon tax that is coming.”
While the Throne Speech did touch on diversifying energy markets by continuing intergovernmental engagement on pipelines, showing leadership in climate change and working towards a permanent energy regulatory regime; Cyr doesn’t feel enough is being done to help right now, when the economy really needs it.
“The solutions they are putting forward are about five or 10-year projects. That means before we even get a person working a blue collar job we are going to be tied up in paperwork and consultations for year sand years,” said Cyr. “Right now is when we need the jobs. Right now we need the Alberta government to start to focus on how to get our oilfield workers back to work.”
The speech touched on the energy industry, mentioning that the government plans on reinvesting revenues from the carbon levy into creating jobs and economic diversification, and wants to create an oil sands advisory group. Both points weren’t expanded on and left many, like Cyr, guessing.
“The fact that we have people moving to B.C. and Saskatchewan to get work is very distressing to myself. These are highly skilled, highly valued Albertans that are moving away. In my opinion it could be prevented by bringing stability back to government,” said Cyr, who noted that increased corporate taxes, personal taxes and minimum wage are leading to instability.
A wide variety of topics were touched on in the Throne Speech with the government focusing on trying to revitalize the economy. A $340 million child benefit plan was introduced, along with a plan to expand access to workforce and skills training for the unemployed. They also announced plans to spend $34 million on infrastructure projects, create support system for small and medium sized businesses and modernize of royalties.
“We are addressing the energy price shock with continued, focused efforts to diversify markets for our energy products with a new pipeline, major investments in infrastructure priorities and economic diversification, and help for families facing immediate hardship,” said Notley.