Summit needed to gauge effect of NDP policy on Alberta economy, Wildrose leader says
'We believe it is long past the time of action for this NDP government,' Jean says
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is calling on the NDP government to set up a jobs summit to examine the effects of its policies on the Alberta economy.
"We believe it is long past the time of action for this NDP government," Jean said. "It's time they stood up for Albertans and protected the jobs that are so quickly fleeing our province.
Jean wants small business owners, energy experts, people from non-profits and MLAs from all parties to take part in moderated panels.
The panels would discuss the economic effects of tax increases, a jump in the minimum wage, the royalty review and a climate change policy which includes a carbon tax.
Jean said he hopes the NDP won't dismiss the idea just because it comes from an opposition party. He said partisanship shouldn't be a factor in dealing with the economy.
"The government cannot control the price of oil," he said. "But they can control their response to the low price of oil and how they react to it."
In a statement, Alberta Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous said the government is already discussing ways to diversify and stimulate the economy with business leaders, entrepreneurs and the Advisory Committee on the Economy.
"This government has laid out a clear plan on jobs and growth—a plan that includes investment in infrastructure to create jobs, expanding access to capital for small businesses, and partnering with the private sector on job creation," Bilous said.
"The opposition has shown again today that they have no plan for how to respond to the challenges our province faces— other than making drastic cuts to the health care and education that families need."
On Monday, Moody's Investors Service changed the Alberta economic outlook from "stable" to "negative" but left the province's AAA credit rating untouched.
The ratings agency is concerned about increasing debt and the effect of slumping oil prices on Alberta.
Last month, Standard and Poor's downgraded Alberta's credit rating from AAA to AA+.