Let’s take, for example, the protectionist approach the NDP has taken to internal trade. Currently, the provinces are re-negotiating and updating the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), which aims to create and maintain an open domestic market in Canada. It has been reported that Alberta is demanding a procurement exemption that would give 20 per cent of Alberta contracts to Alberta companies.
At first glance, it appears that the government is simply ensuring that Alberta companies have access to Alberta jobs but, the unintended consequence is that other provinces will retaliate by restricting the number of contracts Alberta companies can bid on. The net effect is that Alberta-based businesses will actually be more limited in the contracts they have access to, preventing them from expanding their operations and growing their sector’s share of the provincial economy.
Another example is the recent cut of $22 million in medical research funding. Alberta has long enjoyed a reputation as a powerhouse in this field, attracting world-class researchers and developing cutting edge breakthroughs and technological advances. Public investment over the years has led to steady and continued growth in this sector, which is why it makes little sense for the NDP to make such a devastating cut. There’s no doubt that the sector’s share of the GDP will shrink as a result of this decision, not to mention the opportunities, talent and breakthroughs that will ultimately be lost to competing jurisdictions.
The NDP talks a big game when it comes to economic diversification and yet at every turn, they make policy decisions that hurt our economy and our ability to diversify. But we are not just here to criticize. In our ENGAGE initiative, the Progressive Conservative caucus has outlined a vision for job creation, during good times and bad, through meaningful policies that will re-establish Alberta as the most business-friendly jurisdiction in North America.
Albertans have lost their patience with this government. It’s long past time for them to stop delivering speeches, lectures and baseless rhetoric and to take real, meaningful action on job creation, economic diversity and fiscal responsibility. Your future and the future of our province depend on it and your voice needs to be heard. You can speak up by contacting me or one of my PC Caucus colleagues or by letting your MLA know how you feel today!