Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is full of praise for Grande Prairie and the Peace Country. The United Conservative Party held its first full caucus meeting outside of Edmonton or Calgary earlier this week in the Swan City, where Kenney says the party was effectively started in 2017.

Kenney launched his campaign for leadership of the then-Conservative Party of Alberta in Grande Prairie. Sitting down with MyGrandePrairieNow.com, he says, despite economic hardships found elsewhere in Alberta, the Grande Prairie region can be looked at when talking about continued success stories.

“I think it’s a sign of hope for the rest of the province, which is still going through a period of economic stagnation. You’ve got unique challenges here. Elsewhere it’s typically unemployment; here it’s increasing labour shortages and growth. Those are good problems to have.”

Kenney adds it isn’t only already established entities that keeps what he calls the “economic engine of Alberta” turning.

“Seven Generations is not just extracting energy here, but building their new headquarters here. The Tri-Municipal Agreement we just signed for the industrial zone just outside the city. We’ve got the hospital, which looks like is finally going to get done in 2020.”

Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda echoed the hopes of the premier recently, stating construction on the building is 85 per cent complete.

Premier Kenney suggests the Grande Prairie region remains an important one going forward not only for the UCP but for the province as a whole.

“This is very much a region driven by free enterprise values, and that’s what motivates us in politics as a party. It’s the youngest city in Canada population-wise.  Like Fort McMurray you have a young workforce, but unlike Fort McMurray you also have younger families able to stay here and you don’t have the same fly-in, fly-out pattern like you would in Fort Mac.”