OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is describing the government’s embattled temporary foreign worker program as among the most anti-Alberta federal policies in years.
The Liberal leader made the remarks this week in Fort McMurray while campaigning in advance of Monday’s byelection in the heart of oilsands country with candidate Kyle Harrietha.
The comment invites comparisons to Pierre Trudeau’s national energy program, a policy still reviled by Albertans 34 years after it sought to distribute the province’s oil wealth to poorer parts of the country.
In the past, Trudeau has taken pains to distance himself from his father’s energy policies.
In a radio interview in Fort McMurray, Trudeau said the latest overhaul to the TFW program fails to recognize the realities of the northern Albertan economy and will hurt local residents.
He said local Conservatives are equally concerned.
Northern Alberta MP Brian Storseth is among the Conservatives raising alarm bells about the reforms announced last week by Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
Storseth says companies in northern Alberta depend on temporary foreign workers because unemployment there is scant, as are candidates to fill vacant jobs.