CALGARY -- Canada's finance minister sought to reassure Albertans in a speech to a Calgary business audience this morning.

Bill Morneau told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that Alberta residents have been hit harder than most from the economic downturn.

He says there are some signs of economic improvement but he realizes many are still anxious.

Morneau spent the majority of his speech touting the government's recent budget.

He said the plan will strengthen the middle class and help businesses thrive.

A number of business leaders were in the audience including Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada Corporation which just received US approval for the Keystone XL pipeline.