Statement on “Alberta Jobs Now” program

Originally Published May 21, 2021

Alberta Liberal Leader John Roggeveen releases the following statement in response to the “Alberta Jobs Now” program:

“The joint federal-provincial “Alberta Jobs Now” program is a long-overdue initiative from the UCP government. The Alberta Liberals have been calling for investment in job training and education grants for out-of-work Albertans since the 2019 election campaign. 

We are pleased the Alberta government has joined us in listening to what business leaders, economists, entrepreneurs and workers have to say. This joint federal-provincial program will help tackle Alberta’s staggeringly high unemployment rate.

“It is also a breath of fresh air to see the UCP government work with the federal government on this program. Despite heated rhetoric from the UCP, the federal Liberal government has consistently had the backs of Albertans. More can be accomplished working with them than being stubbornly against any program just because it requires cooperation with a Liberal government. This program is proof of that. 

“However, I’m concerned about the length this program will last. The need to upgrade skills will be an ongoing one. Currently, this project will only last for one year. This program also needs to be part of a longer-term economic plan. It’s not enough on its own.”

“This program is a start, but it is not a silver bullet solution. We don’t just need a skilled workforce; we also need an educated one. The drastic cuts to post-secondary education by the UCP government are detrimental to long-term job creation. They will eventually cripple any job creation benefits that Albertans gain from short-term programs. A commitment to job growth through a skilled labour force means that higher education must be a part of that equation. Whatever our political stripe, we all want our children and grandchildren to be better off than we are.”