Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are asking Premier Rachel Notley to join with them and call for the Prime Minister to reinstate extended federal EI benefits at the First Ministers’ Meeting.
Khan stated, “The Prime Minister must do more than just talk about the oil price differential crisis. He must understand its impact on Alberta jobs. We want him to reinstate extended federal EI benefits. We want Premier Notley to strongly deliver our message this week. Albertans do not want more words. Albertans want action.
Khan stated, “We know Albertans want to work. But if they can’t get a job, they need help. The oil price differential and new mandated production cuts could lead to more layoffs. Calgary’s unemployment rate is already a staggering 8.4%. We must do all we can to help them through this troubling time.
“Bank of Montreal’s economists forecast the oil production cuts will have a harsh effect on Alberta’s economy. They estimate Alberta’s 2019 GDP annualized growth may be cut in half from 2.4% to 1.2%. TD Bank’s economists echo those forecasts, predicting Alberta’s GDP growth could fall to as low as 1.1% from 2.3% next year. Those are serious hits to Alberta’s economy. They will hurt Albertans.
“In 2016, the Federal Government provided enhanced employment insurance benefits to unemployed Albertans. It extended EI benefits for unemployed workers for an additional five to 20 weeks, decreased wait times by 50%, and reduced eligibility requirements from 910 hours of insured employment to as little as 420 hours. It’s time for them to do so again. We’re asking the NDP Government to join with us in demanding this action. Prime Minister Trudeau must move faster than he did 3 years ago.”
Swann stated, “The Federal Government must do much more to relieve the economic pain being endured by Albertans. They have been struggling in the wake of this price differential crisis. It is my hope Premier Notley will join us in demanding this necessary measure when she meets with the Prime Minister this week.”
Alberta Liberals support the Government’s temporary oil production cuts as an emergency intervention to bolster prices. But, we also have concerns about execution and unintended consequences. There could be negative impacts on jobs.
The Prime Minister and the Federal government must step up with action, not more rhetoric. Albertans need help now.
David Khan and David Swann are available for interviews.