MLA Mark Smith (file)

MLA Mark Smith (file)

MLA Mark Smith: ‘Alberta is embarking on another economic boom’

Job numbers are continuing to soar in Alberta.

According to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey, Alberta created 2,000 new jobs this past June, marking eight consecutive months of provincial job gains. In total, Alberta has now created over 200,000 jobs since 2021, meaning we have officially undone the damage caused by the Notley NDP’s job-killing policies.

Alberta is embarking on another economic boom, one that is more diverse and resilient than any boom we have ever seen before. Despite this, we know families are still struggling with high costs due to inflation right now. That is why your United Conservative government is taking immediate action to fight inflation and make life more affordable for everyday people.

Just this past week, we announced that we are extending the electricity rebate for an additional three months. The program will now provide $50 rebates for a total of six months, starting in July, to over 1.9 million homes, farms, and small businesses. In total, we will provide nearly $600 million in relief that will be applied directly onto bills, meaning there is no need to apply.

Our government also recently announced that we are extending the fuel tax cut on gasoline, diesel, and marked farm fuel until at least the end of September. We are also reinstating the Fuel Price Contingency Program for school authorities, providing $8.2 million in fuel cost relief to school boards for the current school year, and additional relief next school year if required.

More will need to be done to help working families cope with rising costs, but these are three immediate actions we are taking to make life more affordable at this important time in our economic recovery.

Alberta is in a strong position to help Alberta families fight inflation because our budget and our economy are in great shape. Alberta ended the 2021-22 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $3.9 billion, the first surplus our province has seen in seven years. Further, the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund grew to its highest net value in Alberta history – earning $1.95 billion in investments to bring the total value of the fund’s investments to $20 billion.

Unlike the disastrous Notely NDP, who lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of investment dollars, we are maintaining fiscal balance, paying down the debt, investing in the future, and getting Albertans back to work.

We know it is important that all Albertans share in this economic recovery. In addition to leading the country in labour participation rates, Alberta’s unemployment rate for women has dropped to 3.5 per cent, the lowest it has been since 2014, when conservatives were last in government. This is great news for our province. Further, several government initiatives are working very well to spur job creation. The Alberta Jobs Now program, for instance, has already helped 12,440 Albertans get back to work.

In every corner of the province and in all sectors of the economy, optimism is growing for the future – and our government is working tirelessly to make sure Albertans are going back to work and participating in this newfound prosperity.

— Mark Smith, MLA for Drayton Valley – Devon