MLA Guthrie: Alberta’s Recovery Plan

Posted Under: Peter Guthrie

Our province is taking bold steps to boost our economy and ensure that we are well-positioned for future growth.

The Alberta Recovery Plan will see the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history. On top of the almost $1 billion added in April to Budget 2020’s Capital Plan, our government will be providing an additional $10 billion for roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, seniors’ long-term care homes, and much more.

For the Cochrane area that means an accelerated schedule for the 1A/22 Interchange Upgrade creating hundreds of jobs, easing congestion, and accounting for future growth. More than 27,000 vehicles pass through this intersection every day and with the population growth we are currently experiencing, and expect in the future, this is a most welcome upgrade. Once the archaeological work is complete, work can begin on underground pipeline utility realignment design and construction of the two bridges and the partial cloverleaf.

Motorists in Airdrie will also benefit as the 40th Avenue intersection upgrade will address traffic flow issues to ensure that all motorists can get to where they are going safely.

Throughout this summer’s construction season, Alberta’s highways will see potholes repaired, cracks sealed, guardrails and culverts repaired or replaced, and other general maintenance.

Municipalities have also seen their funding double through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP). These grants will help municipalities with roads, community airports, and water infrastructure projects. Upgrading the Sanitary Storage Capacity in Cochrane will alleviate demand on municipal utilities and address projected population growth.

As we emerge from the immediate threat of COVID-19 and adjust to our ‘new-normal’, Alberta must face its fiscal reality while at the same time ensuring that Albertans have the programs and services they need. Economies around the globe are reopening and that means we are all chasing after the same investment dollars at the same time.

Strategic public investment and creating a foundation upon which we can attract new investment into our province will ensure our economic health both in the short and long term.

Since 2015, Alberta has seen tens of billions of dollars in investment flee the province. This was due not only to a sudden hike in the corporate tax rate, but also a rapid increase in minimum wage, unnecessary regulatory changes, and piles of added red tape. All during a marked decrease in energy revenues. Today, faced with the triple threat of a global pandemic, low energy prices, and a global recession, it is incumbent upon government to take bold action.

Our province abounds in potential. We have the youngest, best educated population in the country to go along with tremendous entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. While Alberta is known mostly for its core industries- energy, agriculture, and forestry- we also have a robust and diverse economy in many other sectors.

Technological innovation serves every sector of our economy in areas such as energy efficiency, increased productivity, and data and financial management.

Alberta is also home to two international airport hubs as well as two of the largest intermodal yards in western Canada. Our robust transportation network and proven experience in logistics provides a solid foundation for companies to get their products to international markets.

We are also home to the most scenic and diverse landscapes in the world making it an attractive place not only for tourism but also for the film industry. Every region of our province can also boast of an eclectic mix of cultures which are proudly celebrated through festivals and museums.

Our world-class education system and research facilities provide a breeding ground for visionaries to tackle today’s challenges and plan for the future.

Alberta is also a champion for removing inter-provincial trade barriers to promote a seamless economy nation-wide. The North West Partnership Agreement builds upon free trade among provinces by using online tools for registration and to connect job creators with employees.

As of July 1, 2020, the business tax rate was cut to 8%- the lowest in Canada and 44 states. Since last April, 200 initiatives to cut red tape have been fulfilled with many more on the horizon.

All of these elements combined make Alberta the best place to invest and do business. As part Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Invest Alberta Corporation will champion these aspects to investors around the world. This arms-length agency will also market our core industries by demonstrating that Alberta’s energy sector is a world leader in environmental, social, and governance policies. It will promote our agricultural industry as innovators in crop technology, environmental stewardship, and value-added agri-foods production. Our forestry industry will be promoted for its sustainable forest management and variety of products.

Attracting investment is job number one as it will spur growth and job creation in one of the most critical components of Alberta’s economy- small businesses. Our province has immense potential in its abundance of natural resources, its business-friendly policies, and most importantly in its determined and innovative population.

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