With the spring season arriving in our riding of Crowfoot, it is not too early to congratulate the many students who will soon be graduating! We should all take a few moments to encourage our younger generations by assuring them of the importance of their education. Parents know that students work hard and students need to know that the time and effort they spend on their studies will pay off.
The spring season is full of optimism and hope as we watch the first flowers bloom and look forward to the great summer months. I always try to remind my constituents that Albertans enjoy the best prospects for a bright future. We are living in an era where our province is the most prosperous in our nation. Canada is known as an ‘Energy Super-Power’ mostly because of the gas and oil reserves in our province. Yet, Alberta offers other strong opportunities as well.
Any economist will tell you that the best long-term forecasts are for the agriculture industry. This is especially true for the agricultural sector in Alberta. Since the snow has left, we can see tractors in the fields, air drills, and seeders: the planting season is beginning. The producers I meet are optimistic about this year’s prospects for the family farm: commodity prices are strong; grain prices are strong; and the cattle market is stable as ever. Again, we see an economic sector that is attractive to many young people. Not only is the lifestyle the envy of any ‘office worker’, but graduates who have studied agriculture are anxious to apply their high-tech knowledge to the traditional challenges ranchers and farmers confront.
As well, our tourism industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds. More and more as your Member of Parliament, I am being invited to events that are created by the folks around our riding that are building our tourism sector. We have all seen this promising source of income grow in the smallest villages and our larger population centers. We don’t offer the kind of Stampede found in Calgary – and we are not Banff. We host a friendly, more intimate small-town version of everything our province offers families on vacation. Again, we see opportunities for our young people to prosper and develop what we have here at home.
As part of Economic Action Plan 2013, our Conservative Government is helping ensure Canadians have the right skills for the job. We’re delivering the Canada Job Grant which will help ensure our work force obtains the skills employers are seeking. The Canada Job Grant provides a maximum of $5000 per person towards training at an eligible training institution. Employers and the province match the federal contribution, meaning an individual could receive up to $15,000.
As the government, we have already created the Tradespersons’ Tools Deduction and the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit and extended the fees eligible for the Tuition Tax Credit to include the costs of tests required to be certified as a tradesperson in Canada. Budget 2013 creates opportunities for apprentices by making it more practical and easier to get the experience needed. There is also support for job opportunities for underrepresented groups of citizens, including persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples as well as newcomers, to help them find a good job.
Yes, it is a great time to be graduating with the opportunities Alberta affords. Congratulations graduates and Best Wishes!