Mr. Speaker, the city of Lloydminster offers a unique perspective of how government decisions can promote or hinder economic process. For years we watched as the Alberta side prospered while the Saskatchewan side lagged behind. But since May the tables have turned. Businesses that service the heavy oil industry drive the Lloydminster economy. Earlier this year falling oil prices were forcing difficult decisions: layoffs, decreased work schedules, and cancelled contracts. What has been discouraging is how those decisions are being made. Businesses that once did 60 per cent of their business on the Alberta side and 40 per cent in Saskatchewan have now shifted to a ratio that is now 90-10 in favour of Saskatchewan. When I ask why, I’m told: “Uncertainty. We don’t know what this government is going to do next to hurt us, but we’re sure it won’t be good. At least in Saskatchewan we know the rules, we know the rules aren’t changing, and we know the government actually wants us there to do business.”
Now, last time I checked, the world oil price is the same in Saskatchewan as it is in Alberta. Governments can’t change the oil price, but their policy decisions can certainly make challenging economic situations much worse, and Lloydminster proves that.
Alberta is not a test lab, and Albertans did not consent to be the guinea pigs in this government’s reckless experiments and socialist fiscal intervention. These theories have been tried elsewhere and have always failed. Many Albertans came here to escape the chaos caused by NDP regimes in other provinces, and now they’re wondering if they should move back. Capital investment is drying up as investors look elsewhere to find jurisdictions offering the certainty and consistency that used to be Alberta’s hallmark. The economic advantage built by past governments working with Albertans instead of against them is being dismantled by this government at a breathtaking pace.
Nearly every day I am asked: How much damage can they do in four years? Well, Mr. Speaker, we’re about to find out.
On October 27, 2015, Richard Starke cautioned Albertans to understand the province's past successes.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
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