New jobs minister optimistic for future of Peace Country industries
Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minster Doug Schweitzer (R) speaking to residents at a rural crime open house in Grande Prairie in 2019. (Michael Lumsden, mygrandeprairienow.com staff)
Alberta’s new Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation says he plans to make the rounds across the province and work with the north to implement the government’s relaunch plan and sector strategy. Doug Schweitzer says a potentially positive outcome from the COVID-19 pandemic is that Grande Prairie and the Peace Country could be more accessible places to work and settle.
“With the pandemic, we’ve seen a levelling of the playing field for where you can work. You don’t have to work in a big office tower in downtown Edmonton or in downtown Calgary to be able to do high wend, quality work.”
The switch between ministries was made on August 25th as part of a cabinet shuffle made by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Minister Kaycee Madu is now the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
Schweitzer says many of the industries that call the Peace Country home are going to be key, foundational players in the bid to getting Alberta restarted and back to work. He adds one of the key goals of the relaunch strategy is to create a competitive, inviting environment of high wages, low taxes and an affordable cost of living.
“We’re looking forward to rolling out our sector strategy because if we do this right, from agriculture to technology to oil and gas, and manufacturing, we can set up Alberta for a bright future. Our real focus right now on my end is making sure we set the foundation for growth and jobs for the future.”
Schweitzer notes a key component of rolling out the government’s sector strategy will come down to listening to local business owners and learning their specific needs in order to encourage growth. He did not specify when more details would be released, nor a potential implementation date.
With respect to his migration to the new ministry, Schweitzer says a lot of the work the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General was doing already related to economics, from dismantling the carbon tax to challenging legislations against pipelines, as well as working on the Fair Deal Panel.