BY MARK WEBER
Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen sat down with local stakeholders in Red Deer last week to talk about the ongoing job crisis in Alberta. Blaine Calkins, MP for Red Deer-Lacombe was also onhand for the event, which was held last Friday at the Sheraton Hotel.
“As the jobs crisis in Alberta gets worse, families need the Liberal government to present solutions,” said Calkins. “Yet thus far, the government has failed to put forward a jobs plan. Skilled workers across the province are struggling and it is our responsibility as the federal representatives to ensure that every possible solution is examined in order to get Albertans back to work so they can continue to provide for their families.”
Beyond the stakeholder meetings, all Albertans are also invited to share their views and experiences at www.albertajobstaskforce.ca.
Officials say the public’s input will help to help to shape solutions for the future of Alberta.
Dreeshen said that as to last Friday’s event, the Conservative Alberta Caucus listened to everyday Albertans, employers, small businesses, social assistance organizations, workers and other stakeholders – all of whom are affected by the current jobs crisis and have valuable insight and ideas to share, said Dreeshen.
“We had a chance to talk to those earlier in the day who are responsible for the safety nets around Alberta, and to find out some of the issues that are significant there. So that was important because it then allowed for us to deal with the rest of day with that kind of a foundation,” explained Dreeshen at the wrap-up of the event.
“We also had a great discussion with a bunch of young entrepreneurs – people also coming out of high school and some of the concerns that they had, but also young people that have been out there and have been doing some amazing things. So there was confidence in the room about that, but there was also concern about what’s going to happen next and what can we expect?
“The last meeting we had here today was having many people from various municipalities, including a lot of job creators.”
He said that particular group was able to talk a bit about what they can expect municipally, provincially and federally.
Ultimately, Dreeshen said it’s also about bolstering confidence across the board.
“One of the aspects is that we need some confidence,” he said, in reflecting on some of the key elements that came out of the day. “The world has been looking at the U.S. and some of the things occurring there, but now that that’s been dealt with, people are looking at our own issues. (For example), how is the carbon tax going to affect people now that we can expect that we will be doing a lot of that on our own?
“Also, what’s going to happen with the increase to CPP?” Dreeshen noted that improvements could in turn be on the way for seniors, but that may not be for years down the road. In the meantime, some folks are saying these increases could have an impact over the next couple of decades on the economy generally.
“So it’s a case of trying to build confidence and making sure that people look at the future and say, ‘This is the place that I want to invest in, and there are reasons that I want to be able to do that’.
“We also have to look at our skilled workers that we already have, and we have to find ways in which they can transition from one type of employment they have now, or career that they have, into something else.”
It’s also about finding ways to find sources of capital and more investors to spark these opportunities as well.
“These are the kinds of things that we can then send to the federal government, and give them some ideas. That’s what our main goal was.”