A visibly excited Jason Kenney was at De Havilland Canada's press conference on Wednesday to speak about the new aircraft manufacturing facility, but he also spoke on how excited he is about the future of Alberta's economy.
"We've seen amazing growth across Alberta's economy in recent years. We're leading Canada in economic growth, we're leading Canada in job growth. We've had $160 billion of investment come back to our province in the past three years. 200 000 net new jobs created since the start of last year," he said.
Normally, a surge in Alberta's economy usually means oil and gas is thriving. While that definitely plays a large role, a big reason Kenney is excited for the future is actually the recent diversification of the economy.
"Diversification is so important for this province's future. It doesn't mean turning away from the great blessing of our huge energy resources and the brilliant hundreds of thousands of people who make it happen. It means adding other industries. We're firing on almost all cylinders, with the fastest growing information technology sector in North America with record years in agriculture in and forestry, with a huge growth in industries like petrochemicals, we're on the cusp of becoming a global hub for the multi-trillion dollar hydrogen industry, 10s of billions of dollars that will be invested in green tech and things like carbon sequestration."
The aircraft manufacturing facility will play a huge role once it is completed, as Kenney said manufacturing was one specific focus his government had, as he believed that may have been the only area Alberta wasn't thriving in. With the 1500 projected jobs on the way and the spinoffs that will come from it, it looks like manufacturing could be another one of the province's strengths in the near future.
There's no doubt the industry side of things is looking great, but that's not all there is to Kenney's optimism. The recent "Alberta is Calling" plan aims to bring skilled workers in from Toronto and Vancouver, and the quality of life advantages Alberta offers is something Kenney believes will strengthen the workforce, which will then directly impact our industries and economy.
"We know that every industry in every region is going to face labor challenges. My response was, 'well then you need to locate in Alberta because this is the place where people can afford to live, to settle, to buy a home, and to start a family,'" he said.
"Why would you struggle in a region where it costs over $1,000,000 to own a home when you could come and buy an affordable home? The future workers at De Havilland will be able to own a home in Chestermere or NE Calgary for an average home of a little over $400 000, or out in Strathmore for less than that, and actually have a high quality of life. So yes, Alberta is calling and people are coming. The kind of people with the skills that will make to have land field and the aerospace cluster a huge success."
If all the investments come to fruition, and the "Alberta is Calling" strategy works as planned, Kenney's optimism could translate into economic results in a huge way.
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