Trudeau Government Can’t Afford to Take Alberta for Granted

Member of the Legislative Assembly Report

By BRIAN JEAN, Leader of the Official Opposition & MLA of Fort McMurray-Conklin

Brian Jean

Brian Jean

Some things never change.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first official visit to Alberta at the beginning of February was marred by a distinct lack of solutions on how the federal government is going to help our province through the worst economic downturn since the 1980s.

While the meeting between the Prime Minister and Premier Notley could have been used as a time to develop real, actionable solutions for the benefit of our province that lost over 70,000 jobs in 2015, it was instead used as a photo op and a chance to shake hands on a national stage.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their jobs or have seen their hours cut as a result of the economic downturn. With oil hovering around $30 dollars a barrel, there is no end in sight.  All Albertans are feeling the effects of slumping oil prices. While no government can control the price of oil, the NDP government provincially and the Trudeau government federally could certainly be doing more to help, not further exacerbate the problem.

In an effort to give Mr. Trudeau a fuller picture of what our energy industry looks like, I wrote him a letter prior to his Alberta visit, inviting him to visit Alberta’s oilsands, and see the great work that is being done here in our backyard in Northern Alberta. To date I have yet to receive a response.

What Mr. Trudeau would see if he were to visit Fort McMurray would be a community that is down, but certainly not out. We have felt the pinch of the economic downturn perhaps more than any other community in Alberta. You have my assurances that I will continue to advocate for the community I have lived in for over five decades, and urge the federal government to stand up for Alberta’s oilsands, the cleanest and most ethical oil in the world.

There are concrete solutions that would lend immediate support to the situation we are in today, including strong endorsement of the Energy East pipeline, a project that would benefit all of Confederation by growing our GDP by over $55 billion, all while creating tens-of-thousands of Canadian jobs.

The sooner that Mr. Trudeau and his government realize that we are all in this economic downturn together, the better off we will be for it. There are concrete solutions that would lend immediate support to the situation we are in today, including strong endorsement of the Energy East pipeline, a project that would benefit all of Confederation by growing our GDP by over $55 billion, all while creating tens-of-thousands of Canadian jobs.

A recent Mainstreet Research poll shows that 68% of Albertans don’t think that the federal government of Justin Trudeau is doing enough to get new pipelines approved. I couldn’t agree more. This should be a wakeup call to the federal government to not dismiss the very real concerns about the dire need to improve market access coming from Alberta.

I think Mr. Trudeau will have heard family stories about how well it went the last time a Trudeau took our province for granted.

– Connect Weekly –