This has not been a good year for Rachel Notley, the New Democratic Party and, most importantly, the province of Alberta. Notley put herself and the people of Alberta into all sorts of economic troubles. And instead of recovering from the effects of the recession, the province slid further down into the economic quicksand.
However, it’s not about being bitter about the past. It’s a time to be optimistic about the future. If Rachel Notley wants to pull Alberta’s economic prosperity out of the hat, she needs to do one thing and one thing alone. She needs to create more jobs.
Assessing the employment situation
At present, Notley NDP seems to be following a two-pronged economic strategy. First, blame all your failures on the previous Conservative government or the economic crisis or both. Second, advertise the hell out of your so-called achievements, no matter how arbitrary they may be.
But, come 2017, NDP needs to abandon both these policies. It has now spent 18 months in office. And, after all that time, the blame-game on the previous administration will not find the resonance with voters that it did during the election campaign.
Second, NDP does like to boast about how the job numbers have gone up in their administration. They don’t, however, say anything about the quality of the jobs created. If you’re offering part-time jobs to experienced workers or service jobs to skilled professionals, that’s not really a success.
Employment in energy
So, is there a way out of all this economic mess? There sure is one. It’s creating jobs in the energy sector. NDP needs to use the natural resources in the province to make it a more attractive place for energy investors.
But, for that, it needs to clear another mess. It needs to right its wrongs when it comes to energy and carbon tax. The energy policy and employment in energy go hand in hand. You’re not going to attract any investors by imposing new regulation and taxes on the energy sector.
The way forward is clear. The success or failure of NDP will depend on whether or not Notley has the courage to take it.