Premier Jason Kenney used his first address to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce since the start of the pandemic to tout the recovery of Alberta’s economy amid high energy prices.
Saying that ‘Alberta is back’, he noted that in the first quarter next year the provincial GDP is expected to finally surpass the level it was in 2014 before a crash in oil prices pushed the province into recession.
He says that is a sharp turnaround from the early days of the pandemic when unemployment hit 25 per cent and for close to 10 weeks the province was unable to sell an Alberta government bond.
Kenney says the recovery has been helped by an increase in demand for oil and gas, but argues that it’s not part of a roller-coaster in commodities because rising prices show the continued importance of energy.
He used the address to emphasize his United Conservative government’s strategy of low taxes to attract investment, noting that the province accelerated its corporate tax cut to make it the lowest in Canada.
Kenney also says his government is focused on attracting more people to the province to boost its labour pool through initiatives like rapid certification programs.