May – MLA Prasad Panda’s Report

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I’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from you and many other Albertans about my Private Members Motion 505. Timely construction of pipelines is the means to secure energy independence, economic prosperity, good paying jobs, and the rejection of dictator oil!

As businesses in Alberta are struggling, and the size of our government keeps getting bigger, our government has decided that now is the time to review our labour laws. This opens up the door to new rules such as allowing non-secret union certification votes and limiting the ability of employers to hire replacement workers during a strike. As if our investment climate wasn’t bad enough, this NDP government is causing further instability and providing less incentive for job creators to invest in Alberta. With only a five-week consultation process, I fear that the decisions have mostly already been made and new labour legislation is sure to follow.

One thing that concerns me is the emerging oligopolistic character of the Alberta oil patch. By way of mergers and acquisitions, a handful of local oil companies are dominating business in Alberta. My assessment is that given the low price of oil, and a comparatively unfriendly business climate here, many multi-nationals are choosing to redeploy their scarce capital into more favourable geographic markets like Saskatchewan and Texas. Alberta based companies are spending billions to buy these producing and near-producing assets, but this means they now have far less money to invest in new development projects. Many of the job losses we have seen in Calgary are from engineering, construction and support services directly related to cancelled and delayed oil sands projects.

Speaking of consolidation, unification of political parties of various stripes is a hot topic these days. The Alberta Legislature currently has members elected from five different parties, the most of any province. It seems to be the will of many people that a consolidation of political parties and their leadership should occur over the next few months, well in advance of the next provincial election. I encourage anyone who is concerned about the future of this province to get involved in the political process and have your say in determining the outcome.

I always feel secure and blessed when I think of my mother, always watching and blessing me from up above. I encourage you to do think about and do something special for your own mother on May 14!

Prasad Panda

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