All Albertans have been impacted by the serious downturn in our province's economy. I know of far too many families where one or both parents are out of work. They are struggling to pay mortgages and worrying about their future in Alberta.
It shouldn’t be this hard for families to recover. I lived it as a kid when my parents’ small business went bankrupt in the early 1980s. We lost our home and my parents tirelessly worked to recover in the face of punitive economic policies like the National Energy Program.
While it was an extremely tough time in our lives, my parents taught my brother, sister, and I the importance of resilience and determination. No matter how hard it got, my parents were confident that we could still achieve our dreams. They instilled in us the belief that you could reach your potential if you were willing to put in the work.
I moved back to Alberta for that very reason when I graduated from law school. Over the last decade, I’ve worked hard to become a partner at the largest law firm in the world. There was a tangible Alberta advantage where it didn’t matter where you came from or who your parents were. If you were willing to put in the work, you could get ahead.
We have lost that advantage in Alberta.
As a restructuring lawyer, I see firsthand how Alberta companies are struggling. As a father and third generation Albertan, I can’t stop thinking about what kind of province we will hand to our children.
While low commodity prices deserve much of the blame, NDP policies are making a bad situation worse. We are no longer competitive and too many Albertans are out of work.
We need a real plan to get Albertans back to work and create the most competitive business environment in Canada. This requires a willingness and determination to address the structural problems created by over a decade of neglect under past PC governments and made drastically worse under the NDP.
We can get this done.
We also need to grow the economy by empowering every Albertan to have a seat at the table. To take the lead and have their voices heard about the issues affecting themselves and their communities.
This is especially true for women in this province.
My wife Jen is a brilliant professional who works as a Crown Prosecutor. We have two smart and strong little girls, Heidi and Stella. It has been eye opening and shocking at times to witness the expectations and barriers they face. To say that I am personally invested is an understatement. I do not want the women in my life, or yours, to deal with the same outdated ideology and inequality that currently limits their success.
A strong social fabric makes the economy stronger. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive.
We can do so much better.