Finally, a jobs plan to get Albertans back to work

Member of Legislative Assembly Report

Tany Yao, MLA of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

Tany YaoThe statistics are staggering.

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.

Now, more than ever, we need to rebuild our sagging economy and get Albertans back to work.

Last week, our Official Opposition issued a Jobs Action Plan, including 12 common sense recommendations to encourage job creation and get our economy back on track.

History has shown that recessions begin on Bay Street, but recoveries begin on Main Street. Many of our initiatives are tailored to have an immediate effect across our province, including those smaller, 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. These efforts will be encouraged, over time, by red tape reduction initiatives designed to eliminate unnecessary and onerous paperwork for small business owners.

Our Jobs Action Plan also includes a number of recommendations to encourage skills training, local economic development, and apprenticeship initiatives, while ensuring that the infrastructure is built to support economic growth in the years to come.

Finally, our Jobs Action Plan takes a realistic approach to stabilizing Alberta’s energy sector. This means delaying proposed electricity grid changes and conducting a comprehensive economic analysis of the government’s ill-conceived carbon tax.

It also means fighting for pipelines, which stand to provide $30 billion in construction, not to mention $430 billion in economic growth over the next 30 years, with no expense to taxpayers. 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.

Our plan differs significantly from the interventionist agenda embraced by the NDP. Through a variety of tax-and-spend policies and thinly veiled corporate welfare schemes, the Notley government is dedicated to picking winners and losers in the market. Meanwhile, through ideological policies and selective action, the NDP is also picking winners and losers among Alberta’s workers.

Albertans deserve better than an outdated economic plan best left in the 1960s. 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, our Official 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.

To succeed in the 21st Century, Albertans must move forward together.

Tany Yao is the Member of Legislative for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Yao can be reached by email at fortmcmurray.woodbuffalo@assembly.ab.ca or by phone at 780-790-6014.

-Connect Weekly-