During the Take Note debate in the House of Commons tonight I was able to give some comments specifically targeting the issue of jobs, the economy, and the work our government is doing for Albertan families in the energy sector. You can read them below.
Mr. Chair, our government is keenly aware of the situation in Alberta. I can assure members in this House that our government has approached the economic downturn in Alberta with nothing but concern, compassion, and a dedication to assist with the economic recovery.
The former government took our great province for granted for far too many years. That was a mistake, a mistake we will not repeat. When hard times hit the province, the federal government was there, and we have worked closely with the province to respond to the needs of Albertans.
We have brought in EI reform, made historic investments in infrastructure, and flood mitigation. We stood with Fort McMurray during the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history, and are making unprecedented investments in clean tech and the economy of tomorrow, not to mention that we approved three pipelines.
We will leverage the strength of this great province and strategically invest to ensure economic security and that Alberta’s best days are yet to come.
Our employment insurance program has proven to be vital to see Albertans through the difficult time. Budget 2016 brought in a $2.7 billion reform package of Canada’s employment insurance program. We extended benefits up to 50 weeks for hurting Albertans. We reduced wait times for EI applicants from two weeks down to just one. We extended EI work-sharing agreements from a maximum of 38 weeks to 76 weeks, helping companies to cope until commodity prices rebound. These changes were made so that people of Calgary Centre, Alberta, and Canadians right across this country have access to help when they need it most.
EI was certainly there when tens of thousands of people from Fort McMurray were forced to flee their homes last spring during the wildfires. When tragedy struck, our government was there ready to lend a helping hand. Our Service Canada staff were on the ground providing direct support and assistance to the community and workers in crisis. As the chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Northern Alberta Wildfires, I saw firsthand how quickly we responded and got Albertans the help and support they needed. Our Service Canada staff were on the front lines during the wildfire crisis, and our government is proud of the work they did to help Canadians in need.
As the community comes together to rebuild what was lost, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get youth involved. As such, our government provided the Infinity Metis Corporation with close to $350,000 to hire indigenous and other youth between the ages of 15 and 30 to help with the efforts to rebuild the community of Fort McMurray and the surrounding municipality of Wood Buffalo. A total of 66 youth were hired to help rebuild the devastated Fort McMurray region through the McMurray Métis Youth Summer Work Experience Project.¸
Throughout this tragedy, Albertans and all Canadians have truly demonstrated the resilient spirit that we are innovative and that we are builders.
I am also proud to say that since taking office a little more a year ago, we approved over 70 infrastructure projects in Alberta. These projects will deliver much-needed improvements to our aging infrastructure and are worth more than $3 billion. This totals more funding than the previous five years combined under the former government.
This means funds for flood mitigation along Calgary’s rivers and crucial public infrastructure, like the Green Line LRT through downtown Calgary. These projects will mean quicker commutes and a long-term boost to the local economy, and, of course, jobs. Calgarians will see better jobs as a direct result of our infrastructure plan. I am proud to see this government delivering on these promises and taking action where the former government failed.
Furthermore, in over a year since forming government, we have been able to do what the previous government could not get done in a decade. We have approved the following infrastructure programs that will create tens of thousands of jobs for Canadians: the Arnaud apatite mine, 910 jobs; Woodfibre LNG, 700 jobs; Black Point granite, 100 jobs; Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, 240 jobs; NOVA Gas pipeline, 3,000 jobs; Pacific NorthWest LNG, 7,000 jobs; Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, 15,440 jobs; and Line 3, 7,000 jobs.
Like updates like the above? Sign up for email updates from Kent below: