Premier Rachel Notley made the trip up to Grande Prairie Wednesday. She spent the afternoon at GPRC with Treaty 8 Chiefs as part of the protocol agreement made last year.
It commits the government to working closely with the members in an effort to be more proactive. Indigenous relations minister Richard Feehan was also in attendance.
Along with working to establish a better working relationship with the Chiefs she was also happy to get the opportunity to check in on what she calls one of “the economic hubs of the province.”
“We’re pleased to be able to work with the city and some of the surrounding municipalities we know they have a vision of working together more productively to create and strengthen that economic hub. We think they actually serve as a bit of an example to other parts of the province.”
As the recovery from the recession continues, the Premier says they had two choices to make, either “follow the recession or lead the recovery.” There were 45,000 new jobs created last year alone and projections show Alberta is expected to lead the nation in growth for the next two, possibly three years. Notley expects to see much of that growth in the renewable energy sector, particularly solar and wind energy.
“We are developing the fastest hottest most exciting renewable energy market in North America right here in Alberta. We have investors from all over the continent that are looking to come to Alberta. This is the kind of diversification that people have talked about for years and not made any progress on, and now we are.”
Notley is also keeping a close eye on the United Conservative Party leadership race, saying she believes the next election will come down to a fundamental choice. She raises concerns about the approach she thinks the UCP would take which she believes would be around $7 or $8 billion in cuts, primarily to fund tax cuts for profitable corporations and high income earners.
“You can’t take that kind of money out of the budget without fundamentally changing the quality and the very nature of the education we provide to our kids and the healthcare that we provide to our family members. So, I think that’s the choice.”
When it comes to the still under-construction hospital, Notley acknowledges it has been an overly long process.
“We’re glad that we’ve actually been able to come in and actually fund the promise and back it up with a plan and still be sticking to the plan because we know that better healthcare is really important for people here.”
The hospital is now scheduled to be completed in 2019, but was originally slated to be complete in April 2017.