The federal Conservatives have launched the “Alberta Jobs Taskforce” in response to the growing jobs crisis in the province.
Calgary MP Michelle Rempel and Edmonton MP Matt Jeneroux say the entire nation has benefitted from Alberta’s economic strength for generations, but now that Alberta needs help, it’s not getting it.
The Tories say the number of unemployed Albertans has nearly doubled to more than 200-thousand since the start of 2015. The party notes Calgary’s jobless rate tops all major Canadian cities with an unemployment rate of 9% in August, while Edmonton is also among the highest at 8%.
The unemployment rate for Albertans aged 15-24 is almost 16 per cent.
In launching the taskforce, the Conservatives say this isn’t just an oil and gas problem, as the province has lost one in five natural resource jobs, one in five agriculture jobs and one in four manufacturing jobs.
“The number one issue that’s coming into our (Alberta caucus) office is people just feeling hopeless, and frightened and are trying to deal with the reality of virtually everyone in the province being affected by this economic downturn. This jobs crisis is going to have ripple effects across the country. Alberta has long supported the Canadian economy at large, and this is something that we wanted to draw national attention to.”
Remple says the Taskforce will collect information from Albertans affected by the current jobs crisis and will produce a report containing tangible policy solutions and budget requests. The Tories hope to have the report ready for the federal government early in the new year and they hope the Liberals will use some of their policy and budget ideas in the spring budget.
Remple was asked if the Tories will be consulting the Alberta government.
“The provincial government’s policies have been extremely detrimental to the wellbeing of the Alberta economy. If the Alberta government was going to do something about the jobs crisis, it should have been doing that already.”
Albertans interested in participating in the Taskforce’s work can visit AlbertaJobsTaskforce.ca.