No ‘magic wand’ to fix economy: Notley

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is accusing the opposition of being naive and ratcheting up the fear meter over job losses in the lagging economy.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is accusing the opposition of being naive and ratcheting up the fear meter over job losses in the lagging economy.

“It would be lovely to wave a magic wand and create 40,000 jobs out of nowhere,” Notley told the house Tuesday, tracing imaginary circles in the air with her finger.

“God knows that group of folks never did it,” she added, referring to the Progressive Conservatives, who promised for years while in government to wean the economy off its over-reliance on oil and gas revenues.

“To suggest that somehow we can deal with the drop in the price of oil overnight and replace each and every job is ridiculous.”

Opposition parties have been hammering away at the NDP in the house for days over its proposed budget and its plans to shepherd Alberta through the trough of low oil prices that have carved billions of dollars out of Alberta’s bottom line.

The NDP budget, along with initiatives already taken, hikes taxes for corporations and well-to-do individuals. It plans a massive construction boom to take advantage of low interest rates and a labour surplus and will work to diversify the economy through job creation incentive programs.

The downside is four years of massive deficits and a $47 billion debt by the year 2020.

There have already been thousands of layoffs in the oil sector, and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has said the budget will make a bad situation much worse.

On Tuesday, he said comments from the government suggest a review on oil royalties has already determined that those rates will go up.

“We can’t tax our main industry into oblivion and expect positive results for Albertans,” Jean said to Notley. “Why isn’t the premier worried that a drastic hike in royalty rates will kill Alberta’s oil and gas sector and as a result kill the quality of life of Alberta families?”

Jean went further.

“It’s the same story every morning across every corner of Alberta: investors are fleeing, businesses are closing and Albertans are losing their jobs.”

Notley fired back.

“What doesn’t help the health of the economy is groundless fear-mongering,” she replied.

Earlier in the day, Notley responded to TransCanada’s decision to ask the United States government to suspend its review and decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The line would take Alberta oil across the continent to refineries and ports in Texas and is viewed as critical to Alberta’s growth.

Notley said the Keystone issue shows that governments need to take more action to reduce greenhouse gases so that they have more credibility when it comes to advocating for projects such as pipelines.

Notley says she will take Alberta’s plan to improve its environmental record with her when she goes to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the month.

Wildrose energy critic Leela Sharon Aheer urged Notley to stop running down Alberta’s environmental record.

“When the premier goes to Paris, will she stand up for Alberta and tell the world that no one produces oil and gas more responsibly than Alberta?” said Aheer.

“What I’m going to do when I go to Paris (is) I’m going to start by telling the truth,” Notley replied.

Just Posted

Castor man dies in crash

Thursday morning collision on Hwy 12

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Study of U.S. hospital figures links pot use with increased risk of stroke

MONTREAL — New research is being presented at a conference in Montreal… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

Most Read