Edmonton

Rachel Notley vows to make Alberta best Canadian province for business

Alberta's NDP government is committed to making the province the best place in the country to start and grow new businesses, Premier Rachel Notley told a chamber of commerce audience in a speech Thursday.
Premier Rachel Notley delivered her 'State of the Province' address to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. (CBC)

Alberta's NDP government is committed to making Alberta the best province in the country to start and grow new businesses, Premier Rachel Notley told a chamber of commerce audience in a speech Thursday.

Notley said Alberta faces huge challenges, given the current price of oil, but also has many advantages.

Echoing a key message in the recent provincial budget, Notley said part of the government's plan is to stimulate the economy by borrowing billions to spend on badly needed infrastructure projects. The province hopes to take advantage of low interest rates and push ahead with projects while unemployment is climbing.

After decades of Conservative spending commitments that were long on promise and short on actual spending, the province finds itself with an infrastructure backlog, Notley said.

Alberta is expected to add 187,000 new residents by 2018. So now, she said, is the time to build the schools, roads and hospitals those people will need.

"I know Albertans were not happy with the delays in construction," she said. "And frankly, neither was I."

In the past, Notley said, Tory governments announced projects before planning was completed and before money had been fully allocated. Ministers in previous governments seemed more interested in putting out press releases than in actually building projects, she said.

But those days are over, said Notley. Her government will increase capital spending by 15 per cent over the next five years, setting aside an extra $4.5 billion for infrastructure projects that will create up to 10,000 new jobs, she said.

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