Posted on Mar 17, 2021
JASON KENNEY RUNS AWAY FROM EMERGENCY DEBATE ON JOBS CRISIS
EDMONTON - Jason Kenney’s UCP government blocked an emergency debate on the jobs crisis in Alberta today.
The motion follows the layoff of 1,000 employees at Cenovus over the last 24 hours, following the merger with Husky. It also comes one day after it was discovered the UCP are putting $148 million worth of federal job creation money at risk by not meeting the required deadline.
“Layoffs are always difficult news and these are especially painful given the uncertainty that all Albertans have about our economic future,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Even while the pink slips were being handed out in Calgary, the Premier was complaining about a children’s cartoon. Albertans should be worried when the premier and his government are more interested in lashing out at perceived enemies than in the serious business of job creation.”
The layoffs at Cenovus were the second round conducted by the company since it merged with Husky, resulting in an expected 20 to 25 per cent workforce reduction of the approximately 8,600 employees and contractors between the two companies.
Yesterday, Albertans learned that after three months of delay, the UCP government needs to spend $62 million in the next 10 business days to avoid giving the first tranche of the federal “Jobs Now” funding back to Ottawa.
The NDP’s motion called on the Legislature for:
- a commitment to fully funding the Alberta Jobs Now program even if the federal money is lost due to the UCP’s foot-dragging,
- a detailed jobs strategy with cost estimates from the government to be brought to the assembly no later than May 15, 2021,
- a commitment to not exacerbate the job loss emergency through the elimination of public-sector jobs.
Multiple forecasts from Canada’s big banks show Alberta will lag behind much of the country in job and economic growth. According to BMO, Alberta will rank sixth in the country this year for job creation after suffering the largest proportion of job losses in 2020. Similarly, RBC predicts Alberta will be last in the country when it comes to restoring pre-pandemic economic activity.
“It’s simply not acceptable for Jason Kenney to drop the ball again. Albertans need jobs now, not tomorrow or next year,” said Notley. “We need more from this Premier. Albertans are losing their jobs. We are in a jobs emergency, and all Albertans should be deeply disappointed that Jason Kenney ran away from this important issue today.”