February 22, 2016

It was another difficult week for workers and small businesses in Alberta while the Liberal Government in Ottawa remains focused on ideological priorities over any type of support for the west. This week we did see fast action as the Liberals contemplate bailing out Bombardier – meanwhile, nothing for Alberta’s hurting oil and gas sector and continued musings about carbon pricing and environmental leadership. 

The Liberals have promised a budget on March 22nd that they claim will address some of these concerns for Albertans – but given Trudeau’s track record of keeping promises so far, we will have to see it to believe it.

Continued Ballooning Liberal Deficits

Last week I wrote about the Liberal Government’s ballooning deficits where they admitted that their campaign promise to keep deficits under $10 billion would be unrealistic. Today they announced that they have turned the last Conservative surplus into an $18.4 billion deficit, and that isn’t including the $10 billion in infrastructure announcements that will be added in the upcoming budget.

Review of Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Last week the Liberal government announced that they plan to launch a full-scale review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. My colleagues and I firmly believe that Canadians must be first in line for available jobs, especially given Canada’s rapidly deteriorating economic situation and the tens of thousands of workers who have recently been laid off in the oil and gas sector. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program should provide temporary help where clear and acute labour shortages exist and Canadians are not available. It must be a last resort for employers, not part of their business model.

Refugee Health Care

The Liberal’s announced that the Government will be restoring refugee health care benefits to pre-2012 levels by April 1. This continues the alarming trend of making promises without providing any details of how to pay for them. There is good reason to be concerned that health benefits for refugees don’t exceed those available to millions of other Canadians.       

Caring for and ensuring adequate community support for refugees once in Canada is important to ensuring the success of the resettlement. That said, there are many unanswered questions surrounding the costs of the Government’s plans with respect to housing, community integration and health care and all the while, cost estimate and details of government sponsored refugee settlement seems to change daily. 

Mobile Office Update

Thank you to the Innisfail Legion for allowing my office space to host our Mobile Office last week. The next Mobile Office will be in Sundre at the Greenwood Neighborhood Place on March 2 from 10-2.

Sincerely your Member of Parliament,

Earl Dreeshen