‘Not one word recognized the crisis’: Alberta government has little love for throne speech

CALGARY — The Liberal government’s throne speech took place in Ottawa Wednesday afternoon and it’s clear that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney isn’t happy about it.

The event, which kicks off a new session of Parliament in the nation’s capital, laid out the plan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has for the next four years in office.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette presented the minority government’s speech from the throne in the Senate Chamber, it detailed a four-pronged approach to pandemic survival and recovery, emphasizing that Canada has to both address today’s challenges and think of the future by tackling climate change, systemic racism, and gender inequity.

“This is our generation’s crossroads. Do we move Canada forward, or let people be left behind? Do we come out of this stronger, or paper over the cracks that the crisis has exposed? This is the time to remember who we are as Canadians,” Payette said. “This is the opportunity to contain the global crisis and build back better, together.”

The speech hasn’t been taken well in Alberta, with Kenney saying it was missing a critical issue that needs to be addressed by the federal government.

“Earlier today, Statistics Canada showed the steepest decline ever for jobs in the resource sector – 43,000 people lost their good-paying jobs. Every one of these jobs lost represents a family that is disrupted, the uncertainty of how to pay bills or a mortgage, and questions about how folks are going to get food on the table,” Kenney wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening.

“In a 6,783 word Throne Speech, not one word recognized the crisis facing Canada’s largest industry – the energy sector that supports 800,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. Instead, we got a litany of policies that would strangle investment and jeopardize resource jobs when we most need the industry that generates 20 per cent of government revenues in Canada.”

The premier wasn’t the only one who was unhappy with the contents of the speech from the throne.

Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative MP for Calgary Nose Hill, called the speech a distraction from the scandals Trudeau’s been involved in.

“His decision to distract and delay has resulted in a Throne Speech that has no new plan and provides no comfort to Albertans who are paying for his inaction in lost lives, lost jobs and lost time.”

Rempel Garner also referred to the government’s ignorance of the unemployment problem in Alberta, including the sky-high jobless rate in Calgary.

“Calgary has the worst unemployment rate in the country for the second month in a row and Alberta’s economy is growing slower than almost anywhere else in the country. But instead of reversing the political policies that have brought us to this place, Justin Trudeau has decided to double down and press ahead with his divisive and damaging agenda.”

The latest unemployment numbers show Calgary’s unemployment rate at 14.4 per cent while Edmonton’s is 13.6 per cent. The province’s unemployment is listed at 13.4 per cent.

Kenney is scheduled to respond to Trudeau’s national address Thursday morning.

(With files from CTVNews.ca)

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