January 4, 2019 (Calgary) – Karen McPherson, the Alberta Party Economic Development and Trade Critic, said today’s Statistics Canada jobless numbers are further proof that Alberta workers continue to be left behind in any national economic recovery.

“I wish this was better news for Calgarians, and for everyone in Alberta who is still struggling to make ends meet,” said McPherson. “We need a credible, long-term plan to fix unemployment in Alberta, and the Notley NDP government doesn’t have a plan.”

“Alberta has lost more than 100,000 jobs since 2015. Just last month alone, we saw a net decrease of nearly 17,000 jobs compared with November. Thousands of full-time positions have been replaced with part-time work. The Notley NDP government’s answer is 8,000 jobs in the solar panel industry by 2030. The federal government’s answer is business development and export development loans and training that might help create jobs in the next five to ten years. Where are the jobs we need today?”

McPherson says chronic unemployment is not being addressed. “This is why I introduced my private member’s bill, Bill 209, in the Legislature last fall. This bill, the Strategies for Unemployed and Underemployed Albertans Act, is borne out of conversations at the doorstep with people in my community. We need to get people back to work.”

The Statistics Canada data released this morning underscores the fact that employment for Albertans is not just about having a job – it’s the quality of that job. “Tens of thousands of people in Alberta, who used to have good-paying jobs, have been out of work or taking jobs that pay far less just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families,” said McPherson. “I’ve talked to people who have been unemployed for over a year, and people in oil and gas who have been re-hired and laid off three times since 2014. They’re telling me they don’t know how they’re even still hanging on. Statistics Canada’s numbers today show that wage growth in Canada is still weak – and it’s much worse here in Alberta.”

The Alberta Party Caucus sees so many opportunities in Alberta, and we need to work together to build on these opportunities. “We need to address the whole life cycle of work, from improving our high school drop-out rates to training and education in post-secondary, and re-training and coaching for older workers with transferable skills,” said McPherson.

“Albertans are smart, resourceful, and they’re hard workers. We need to remove the handcuffs and get them back to work. We in the Alberta Party Caucus have a made-in-Alberta plan to support and grow the industries and prosperity that are going to get Albertans back to work,” concluded McPherson.

The Alberta Party Caucus is committed to Alberta, and to the values of prosperity, fiscal and social responsibility, environmental sustainability, accountable government and strong communities.

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Barbara Currie

Executive Director, Alberta Party Caucus



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