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Rosin: 2020 not so dark and gloomy, after all

Our province has overcome a lot in 2020. We faced an oil price war that dropped our commodity prices into negative values, a collapse of the entire global economy, and the evaporation of international travel and tourism, all of which left our unemployment rate in the double digits. There is no denying that many of you felt hardship over the past twelve months. Yet as we finish off the year and prepare to embark on a new one, we cannot afford to let that eternal optimism that makes up our Albertan identity grow dim. As we say goodbye to the year that some wish never was, I want to highlight some of the good news stories that never made media headlines so that you can join me in looking towards 2021 with newfound hope for the future.

Throughout the year, Alberta decisively managed to keep 85% of our economy open, contrary to many jurisdictions who chose to lockdown. All the while, our Government worked to make strategic policy and financial investments that will ensure our province emerges from COVID 19 with a stronger, more diversified economy than ever.

We advanced an industry-transcending reduction of the business tax rate, giving our province a competitive edge over other North American jurisdictions. We also instituted a new research and development tax credit for Albertan entrepreneurs; reduced red tape on job creators; passed prompt payment legislation to ensure contractors do not go unpaid for their labour and sunk costs and significantly deregulated the green energy market. On top of all this, we began developing a broadband strategy to help rural Albertans work from home and invested $99 million into childcare so parents could get back to work.

To avoid sounding naïve, I will acknowledge that Alberta undoubtedly still has a long way to go until we reach pre-pandemic employment levels, despite our best efforts. Regardless, recent announcements from nearly every industry, coupled with job growth of over 38,000 full-time positions in September, suggest that 2021 looks optimistic and that these policy changes will indeed bring economic returns in the future.

Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline commenced on April 1, creating the opportunity for 7000 Albertan jobs while increasing our daily export capacity by over 830,000 barrels. Suncor announced that they would be relocating all of their corporate Ontario operations to Alberta, stating “their commitment to Calgary.” E3 Metals announced the creation of 500 jobs at their new lithium production facility. $2.4 billion of private green investment was injected into our economy including $200 million by Perimeter Solar, $500 million by Greengate Power, $200 million by BHE Canada for their Rattlesnake Ridge wind farm, and $1.4 billion into cogeneration units for the oil sands. Echelon Wealth opened a new western Canada investment bank in Calgary for oil and gas, power generation, renewable energy, and clean technology. Alberta’s agricultural commodity sales increased by 4.8% over the five-year average of $7.2 billion. Construction began on a $45 million biorefinery, which will use Alberta-made technology to convert animal and plant waste into organic fertilizer and renewable natural gas. $280 million from Alberta’s new industry-funded Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Fund created 5000 new jobs working on emissions reduction projects. Calgary realized $200 million of private investment in the technology sector, breaking a historical record. Alberta Culture Days managed

to go on with four full weeks of performing and fine arts shows. And our province even recognized a net gain of 246 doctors!


The year is now almost over, and I know many of you are grateful for that.

When you reflect on these times, I hope you will be able to remember that it wasn’t all bad and gloomy. Aside from the economic advancements our economy made, 2020 also gave us the unique opportunities to spend extra time with our families, reconnect with nature, try new hobbies, volunteer in our communities, and reevaluate what is most important to us. In the busyness of ordinary life, we don’t often afford these simple pleasures our time.

2020 may not have been our favourite year, but reflecting, we still have a lot for which we can be thankful. There tends to always be good all around us, sometimes we just forget to open our eyes and see it.

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