Scott: Economy, Delays in Project Approvals Reason For Loss of Jobs

The decrease in jobs across the region is grabbing the attention of Mayor Don Scott.

Speaking on Fort McMurray Matters, Scott noted the economy as the main culprit for the drop in positions over the past seven months.

Since June 2019, the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region has lost around 7,400 positions.

Looking at potential solutions, Scott says the only short-term plan is to have the federal government approve Teck Resources’ Frontier project.

“That’s going to create 7,000 construction jobs and 2,500 ongoing jobs.”

Wood Buffalo council is planning a trip to Ottawa next week to speak with Cabinet Ministers about the project.

Meanwhile, Scott believes Wood Buffalo is a second thought to many.

The uncertainty of the Frontier project and the delays in the Trans Mountain pipeline have had their toll on the Industry which in turn impacts the community.

“People move to this region for opportunities and sometimes I feel like other levels of government are holding us back – we’re ready to run as Albertans and people in Wood Buffalo but when other levels of government are always putting the brakes on us it leaves a lot of frustration,” added Scott.

Request to Provincial Government

Scott brought forward a notice of motion at Wood Buffalo council’s meeting on Tuesday.

The motion looks to ask the fair deal panel to consider adjusting taxation incentives and deductions for industry and business to reduce the benefit of employing labour from other provinces.

Fly-in-fly-out workers have been a topic of discussion in Fort McMurray for many years.

Last year, council rejected a moratorium on work camps within 75 km of Fort McMurray which was brought forward by Scott.

He adds Albertans will continue to struggle with jobs until this issue is dealt with.

“If we’re flying in people from all over Canada that should be taken into account by the provincial government because really Albertans are really supplementing that, we’re the ones paying taxes for the roads, the healthcare, all the services people receive when they’re in this province.”

The motion also requests the fair deal panel to encourage the provincial government to attend the 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference, encourage the National Research Council to establish a National Centre for Cleaner Fossil Fuels in Fort McMurray, and encourage federal and provincial procurement policies to include a five per cent Indigenous spending goal.

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