Senator Doug Black is visiting Grande Prairie this week, for the first time since he was elected.
He toured the Canfor plant, and met with Chamber of Commerce executives, Mayor Bill Given, and County councillors, before speaking to the After Five Rotary Club.
He says the number one thing he’s heard about from local businesses in the need for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
“What’s good for Grande Prairie is good for Alberta, and what’s good for Alberta is good for Canada, so we don’t want to be tinkering with something that’s working, and what I’m hearing in pretty graphic detail is we are punishing this community for only being productive.”
Black says he’s committed to looking into what can be done about the changes that have been made and spoke about the issue with MP Chris Warkentin Wednesday as a first step.
“I only have one voice, and I only have what series of contacts I have, but I’ll be making it very clear to people that I talk to that this needs to be reconsidered. So on a case-by-case basis, there needs to be some process whereby we can stop this clock.”
Access to rail was also on the tip of everyone’s tongues, an issue Black argues is complicated and needs the lines of communication between both governments and CN Rail to be wide open.
“We need CN to clearly understand that there’s a market opportunity for them here. CN’s a private company, and I understand that; they have to go where they can make profit. We need to be convincing CN that it’s in their interest to provide more reliable and regular service.”
He suggests that concerned business look at who’s on CN’s board from Alberta, bring them to the communities to see the problems first-hand, and take their advice.
Black will continue his trip Thursday with tours of the Centres for Creative Arts and Research and Innovation at GPRC.
Photo: Senator Doug Black with 2day FM News Director Erica Fisher