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Economy talk headlines Deputy PM Grande Prairie visit

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland continued her tour through the Peace County on Thursday, meeting with municipal leaders in Grande Prairie.

Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given says it was a pleasure to welcome the Deputy PM back to the area, as Freeland was born in Peace River. He calls the exchange a chance for Grande Prairie to get its wants and needs across to the federal government directly.

“She was looking to ensure that western Canadians and people in Grande Prairie knew that the federal government is taking a very active role in understanding the local context in situations,” he said after their meeting.

“I believe it was more of a listening and hearing opportunity for her, and I certainly appreciate the fact that everything going on globally she took the time to meet with me,” he adds.

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Given says the conversation spanned from discussions about upcoming RCMP contract negotiations to the role of the federal government in pressing local issues like affordable housing, and mental health services. However, a large portion of the talk was, as expected, about the economy.

“Natural gas is going to continue to be an important energy source, even in a low carbon environment. It will continue to be an important feedstock for a number of different, non-energy related products, and I think she had a good appreciation of that.”

He hopes the conversation is the start of a more direct relationship between the Peace Country and the federal government. Given also hopes to build on it over the coming months and years.

“I think we should appreciate the fact that the federal government likely recognizes the importance of Grande Prairie, and our local industries, to our national economy.”

Freeland also had stops in Calgary and Edmonton and Peace River during her visit to Alberta.

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