Lesser Slave Lake
I have been proud to watch Premier Rachel Notley travelling across the country over the past couple weeks to speak to national business and political leaders on the importance of pipelines to tidewater and Alberta’s return to growth.
We’re seeing a slow but encouraging recovery in the price of oil and there are a few economic indicators that give us reason to be optimistic.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, Alberta is expected to have the strongest gross domestic product growth in Canada in 2018. Investment and activity in the energy sector is recovering. Here at home we are noticing the hotel parking lots looking full with work trucks, with restaurants and other services getting busier again.
Housing starts are up, exports are up, manufacturing is up, retail sales are up, and business incorporations are up.
Alberta has added more than 70,000 full time jobs since June 2016.
I know that not everybody here in the north is feeling it yet but overall we are clearly on the mend.
On Nov. 20, we received some more good news, the Nebraska Public Service Commission has approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline route. This is a step forward in the broader effort to bring more Alberta oil to the world, diversify our markets and maximize the value we as Albertans get, but it underscores that Canadian regulators need to keep pace if we are going to build a truly diversified set of markets.
That’s why the premier’s speaking tour is so important.
She had strong words on TransMountain for the federal Liberals.
“The project is in the national interest. That’s why you approved it. Canadians support your decision. It comes with a far-reaching federal plan to address concerns about safety in our coastal waters – one you should be very proud of. But the efforts of local councils to frustrate the national government’s decision that was made in the national interest must be met head on. Now more than ever, Canadians need our national government to articulate and defend the national interest.”
Notley didn’t stop there.
“But you can’t make progress on climate if you tell working people their jobs don’t matter. If the price of climate action is the economic security of hundreds of thousands of working people and their families, then we fail on both counts.”
I couldn’t agree more. Albertans want action on climate change and on strengthening our economy. Premier Notley understands that we need both.