A New Year signals a unique opportunity to renew, reinvent, and reboot while many of us take time to recharge after a busy holiday season. I would encourage all of you to make time to reflect on the past year, and maybe even make a New Year’s resolution or two!
My resolutions include making time for family and friends, visiting with more constituents and diving into my critic role for Economic Development, Trade, and Jobs. Prior to becoming an MLA, I worked in the private sector for Trico Homes, Calgary Economic Development and Cathay Pacific. In each of these roles I had a unique window into what makes our economy work. Residential housing starts are a clear indicator of growth and consumer confidence. For many of us, a home purchase is the single largest purchase we will make in our lifetime. To feel confident in that purchase, we need to feel secure in our job, the sector we work in, and foresee stability in the value of our investment. If we look at 2015/2016 housing starts, the dramatic decline should come as no surprise. Likewise, overall direct and institutional investment in Alberta during this same time was on the downward trend. Although government does not control global economic factors such as the price of oil, how they govern and the ideologies, policies, and regulations they enact have direct impact on investor confidence. A fair regulatory environment, competitive taxation and the cost of business inputs such as electricity and labour all influence whether a business chooses to open, maintain, grow or cease operations. Organizations such as the Economic Developers of Alberta, Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, and Federation of Independent Business are all industry driven organizations that monitor growth and advocate for policy initiatives that retain, support, and attract businesses and jobs to our province. Listening to and meeting with such non-partisan organizations is key to developing better government policy in retaining and attracting business, and protecting or creating jobs. It is also important for all of us, as proud Albertans, to share our story. Alberta has talented people, leading exports, investment opportunities, and rich natural resources. Sometimes we assume that everyone knows what Alberta has to offer but it is not necessarily the case. Through trade offices and targeted marketing, we can show the world what Alberta has to offer. I am a firm believer that the world needs more Alberta. Join me in sharing your stories of what Alberta has to offer with the hashtag #theworldneedsmoreAlberta.
As always, please connect and share your thoughts with my office to better serve you, watch for MLA Cafe’s and larger Town Hall meetings in the near future and…wishing you all a Happy New Year!