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With shocking job loss numbers, NDP must back down from risky policies

With new job numbers showing Alberta lost 73,000 full-time jobs in 2015, and a further 26,000 private sector jobs in January, the NDP government must repeat the lesson from the royalty review and climb down from several of their damaging economic policies, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

Alberta’s unemployment rate is now higher than the Canadian average for the first time in over two decades. In comparison, Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate is the lowest in Canada and they added 5200 jobs last year despite low oil prices. The NDP response since being elected has been to bring in a series of job-killing policies that has reduced Alberta’s competitiveness and significantly harmed investment.

After raising business taxes 20 per cent, Alberta now has the most expensive corporate and small business tax rates in Western Canada. An oilsands emissions cap and $3-billion carbon tax is pushing away investment and will take almost $1,000 per year away from the average Alberta household. Recently, the NDP government’s own briefing documents suggested their plan for a $15 minimum wage could lead to, “significant job loss.”

“In northern Alberta, work camps that used to be full with up to 100,000 Canadians are almost empty today. In cities and towns across Alberta, everyone is feeling the pain of uncertainty and job loss,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “The NDP record to date has done nothing but bring further instability. Premier Rachel Notley and her NDP government must immediately back away from several of these risky economic policies and focus on common sense solutions to help Albertans get back to work and provide for their families.”

Wildrose has previously suggested a series of policies and recommendations to respond to Alberta’s worsening economic climate, including:

  • Plan a jobs summit that would bring together economists, energy experts and the charitable sector to bring forward recommendations to improve Alberta’s economy;
  • Stop $15 minimum wage increase;
  • Reduce red tape;
  • Lower small business taxes;
  • Provide tax relief for families;
  • Advocate against the federal tanker ban blocking the Northern Gateway pipeline and Eagle Spirit pipelines; and
  • Support pipeline development in all directions.

“The NDP have been steadfastly focused on ideological economic experiments, instead of worrying about youth who have limited access to good jobs, or parents concerned about how to make their mortgage payments,” Wildrose Shadow Labour Minister Grant Hunter said. “Alberta is no longer viewed as a safe place to invest, in large part due to policies of this NDP government. We need to once again restore the Alberta Advantage and get Albertans working again.”