Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is warning of a “lack of imagination” when it comes to Alberta jobs and a lack of clarity on what the province is going to look like after the new Liberal government takes office next year.
Notley made the comments Thursday as she delivered a speech to the Alberta Economic Development Board.
She said the province has to focus more on job creation and the growth of the economy.
Not only has the oil patch experienced rapid growth and expansion, but Alberta’s economy has been on the mend since the election of the NDP government in 2015.
That’s why it is important for Alberta to focus our attention on jobs and the future, she said.
Not.ley said she will also use the new federal government’s throne speech next week to discuss Alberta’s plan for growth.
The premier said her government is “ready to work with the federal government on the long-term plan” for the province.
“We have a plan to support Alberta’s growth,” Notley said.
“I will be working with the Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) and the other premiers to ensure we can create jobs, build the economy and create prosperity for all Albertans.”
Notley also called for a “clear strategy for economic growth” that focuses on attracting high-wage jobs.
She will also address the business community, which has not endorsed the Liberals.
Not all Alberta business leaders are happy with the NDP’s economic plan.
But not all Alberta businesses are welcoming.
“Alberta’s economy is still recovering from the impact of the oil crash, and we have been a bit more cautious in the last few years,” said Mark Crouch, chief executive officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
“This government has made it clear that they don’t believe that Alberta’s recovery is sustainable, and I’m not convinced that they’re actually going to bring that recovery to the people of Alberta.”
Not all Albertan business leaders agree that Alberta is headed in the right direction.
But the business lobby and other groups are calling for more investment in Alberta.
“The province is a good place to invest, but not a great place to create jobs,” said Tim Condon, vice-president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“It’s just not a place for that.”
Notall Albertan businesses say they are ready for more growth.
“In Alberta, we’re the best place to do that,” said Crouch.
“If you want to hire new people, hire Alberta.”
He also said Alberta is the best business climate for growth in Canada, and there is a “real opportunity” to grow in Alberta as a region.
“There’s a real opportunity for Alberta’s business community to grow,” he said.
But there is also concern among business leaders about the provincial economy and its prospects.
“They’re very focused on job growth, they’re not really focused on jobs for Alberta,” said Jim Schulz, president of the National Federation of Professional Engineers.
“And if we look at the Alberta economy as a whole, we have a lot of problems, a lot is broken, a whole lot of bad things are happening.”
He said many businesses are seeing slow growth, but that there are also jobs and companies looking for ways to make money.
“When you look at Alberta, you have this real economic potential, but the Alberta sector has a lot to work on,” said Schulz.
He said he thinks the economy will rebound.
“You’re going to see some growth,” he predicted.
“But it won’t be in the next five years.”
For more on the new Alberta premier’s speech, visit the Globe and Mail website.