Trudeau Comes Bearing Gifts to Alberta
Justin Trudeau promises $700 million dollars for Alberta Infrastructure
Kiah Lucero, Staff Writer
Last Wednesday, Feb. 3, the prime minister met with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Edmonton to discuss further plans to cope with the province’s economic downturn.
The $700 million from the Building Canada Fund was originally promised by the previous government back in 2014, and is now being fast-tracked to help Alberta’s economic state. Since the meeting, the funding is expected to be pushed through within a matter of “weeks to months” according to Premier Notley.
The funding will be used toward projects in Alberta with hopes that they will yield new job opportunities and economic stabilization. While there is no concrete plan as to which infrastructures are to be invested in, the money will certainly help to cushion the province’s ambitious 5-year, $34 billion spending plan to stimulate Alberta’s economy.
Since oil prices have plummeted to around $30 USD a barrel, Alberta’s economy is facing difficult times as nearly 20,000 people have lost their jobs.
Employment insurance was another issue discussed by Notley and Trudeau during the Wednesday meeting. A change in the employment insurance guidelines is to be made to accommodate Albertan workers who have been recently laid-off. The system’s accessibility and duration of benefits is being taken heavily into consideration under the circumstances. There are decisions about employment insurance that have yet to be made; however Trudeau says that it will be considered as quickly as possible.
The federal government has plans to grant Alberta another $250 million under the fiscal stabilization program. The fiscal stabilization program works to aid provinces that have suffered a drastic revenue decline, like the one Alberta just experienced.
“There is a need for Canada to step up and support Canadians who are in trouble and facing difficulties,” Trudeau said in a joint news conference with Premier Notley at the Alberta Legislature. “The federal government is committed to fast-track infrastructure investments for Alberta, and indeed all provinces and territories,” Trudeau told reporters at the conference, according to HuffPost Alberta. “This will help promote jobs and growth where they are needed most.”
According to Trudeau, concrete measures and plans to aid the Alberta economy will be determined in the upcoming federal budget. Trudeau is set to meet with energy industry leaders in Alberta this week.