UCP win means stability, what businesses want: Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO
Business groups in Alberta are welcoming a second term for United Conservative Party Leader Danielle Smith following her party’s majority election win on Monday night.
On a promise to further lower taxes in Canada’s least-taxed province, Smith’s UCP are winning or elected in 49 of 87 seats, largely appealing to voters outside Edmonton and Calgary. In the aftermath of the win, business groups in Alberta, including the Business Council of Alberta, are congratulating another UCP government.
“We are committed to working with Premier Smith and her party on advancing key issues for Albertans and Alberta business, including economic expansion, long-term sustainability, and creating a good life for all,” said Business Council of Alberta president Adam Legge.
“The time to start defining the next four years is now. Let’s get started.”
The Pathways Alliance, a partnership of six major players in the Alberta oil sands, is also welcoming another UCP government.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the province to strengthen our position as the world’s preferred supplier of responsibly produced oil,” said Pathways Alliance president Kendall Dilling.
“We look forward to continued discussion and collaboration as we work towards effective regulations and co-financing agreements to achieve our ambitious emission reduction plan while enhancing Canada’s ability to compete globally to meet energy security needs for decades to come.”
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the largest union in the province, congratulated both Smith and NDP Leader Rachel Notley on their election performances, but pledged to make sure its voice was heard on any staffing reductions.
"We have seen the devastating effects that budget cuts and the privatization of services has had on workers in this province," said AUPE president Guy Smith. "We will ensure that message is heard in the premier’s office."
The union added that about 81,000 provincial workers across several fields are slated to enter contract negotiations with the government.
"We hope the government is willing to focus on our key concerns when we enter negotiations," Smith added. "Albertans are struggling. They deserve wages that match the rising cost of living, an end to the short-staffing crisis on the front lines, a reversal of contracting out and service privatization, and improved working conditions."
Calgary, Edmonton welcome UCP
The business communities in both Edmonton and Calgary also welcomed Smith’s government.
Calgary Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Deborah Yedlin told BNN Bloomberg that many businesses are looking for a sense of calm as they prep big future investments.
“They want to see certainty and they want to see stability,” she said. “When it comes to opportunities, like what the Pathways Alliance wants to do with carbon capture and storage, that means long cycle risks, its capital commitments. That needs certainty and stability in order to move forward.”
“Across the board, whether you're a small business or a large business, you want to know that there's stability in the underlying physical structure.”
Yedlin added she hopes the new government will take steps to address the worker shortage in the province.
“Labour is one of the things that we keep hearing about as a challenge for all businesses, doesn't matter where you are, in whatever sector, the talent issue looms large,” she said. “We need to continue to invest in opportunities that provide accreditation...and to reinvest in post-secondary whose budgets were significantly cut.”
Meanwhile, Haydar Al Dahhan, board chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce also called for stability in a statement.
“We look forward to working with the UCP government and sharing the priorities of the Edmonton business community,” he said.
“Businesses need a stable and competitive environment so they can keep doing what they do best: investing in growth, creating jobs and leading innovation.”
With files from The Canadian Press
Congratulations @ABDanielleSmith for a successful campaign to become Alberta's next government. We look forward to working with you on creating a more prosperous future for all Albertans. #abpoli #ableg pic.twitter.com/vnbA9y6der— Business Council of Alberta (@BizCouncilAB) May 30, 2023
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