We must go beyond the boom and bust economy to create sustainable and secure job opportunities for the future of Albertans. The GPA will add to our existing industries by opening up Alberta's largely untapped renewable energy potential, including guaranteed job programs to wipe out unemployment.
MAKE JOBS A GUARANTEE
If you are Albertan and physically able to be part of the labour force - There should always be a job for you. The government needs to step in and create more pathways to unfilled positions while amplifying job creation in diverse sectors of the economy.
Work with Unions - Not against them:
Unions play a critical role in protecting workers' rights and ensuring that their voices are heard. It's essential for any government to work in partnership with unions, rather than against them, to promote economic growth and social justice. By listening to and collaborating with unions, policymakers can better understand the needs of workers and implement policies that improve working conditions and support fair wages.
Launch the Reclamation Job Boom:
There are a quarter of a million oil and gas wells in Alberta that are depleted or idle and require cleanup. By cleaning up these wells, we can create full employment opportunities for decades to come in the energy sector, while also adhering to the polluter pays principle. The Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project has estimated that cleaning up these wells can create 10,000 jobs per year. This effort can also help to mitigate environmental damage caused by these wells, while supporting the transition to renewable energy sources.
Create the Alberta Resilience Corps (ARC) Job Program to End Unemployment:
The Alberta Resilience Corps (ARC) Job Program is modeled on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the United States and aims to provide employment opportunities for Albertans, particularly those who have been most affected by unemployment. The program will provide jobs in three areas: Disaster Management, Conservation Management, and Reclamation Management. The ARC program will be open to all, but will particularly engage with Indigenous and rural populations to ensure opportunities for those hardest hit by unemployment. The program will also help to transition workers from declining job sectors to take advantage of the current and future needs of Alberta's economy. By providing employment opportunities and supporting ecological restoration, the ARC program can promote economic, ecological, and community well-being while also responding proactively to climate instability.
Climate Action is Job Action:
Green jobs are essential for mitigating the impacts of climate change while also supporting employment opportunities. Any transition to green jobs must be done fairly, protecting workers' pensions, benefits, seniority, identity, and allow access to job markets through public transportation. Norway's trillion-dollar fund is a good example of how a government can protect its citizens' pensions and help emerging markets. Alberta's Heritage Fund should do the same.
Universal Basic Income (UBI):
We talk a lot about basic income because it helps protect all workers. UBI does not only eradicate the lost opportunity costs of poverty. It creates a pathway toward training and business start up costs while creating a safety net during life events and transitions. It is essential for those that contribute to arts and culture. It is essential to single parents and other demographics that only have the ability to work part time jobs or are putting themselves through school. Basic Income raises our health and standard of living. It allows us to adapt to the job market shift from Artificial Intelligence. It supports small local businesses on every level, bringing in more buying power from the community and support for small business owners.
The GPA will work with the federal government to fully implement a $10 per day child care while providing supplementary funding to eliminate extra fees, improve the quality of care, and ensure workers are fairly compensated. In light of the legacy of residential schools and the 60s Scoop, the Greens understand the need for proper funding and support for Indigenous led childcare and services in their communities. Other affordability measures would include the implementation of basic income, capping rent increases, public transportation as a right and the expansion of social housing.
SUPPORT OUR FARMERS
Agriculture is an important industry in Alberta; contributing significantly to the economy, providing jobs and creating food security. However, the province is facing a challenge of losing its next generation of farmers, as many young people are leaving rural areas in search of better opportunities elsewhere. To address this issue, the following priorities can be considered:
Build Agriculture Training and Tech Centers of Excellence Across Rural Alberta:
The GPA will establish agriculture training and tech centers across rural Alberta to teach and support new technology in farming. These centers can provide hands-on training, mentorship, and access to the latest equipment and technologies to help young farmers and entrepreneurs establish successful and sustainable agricultural businesses. The Green Party of Alberta would support universities and technical schools to offer courses on agriculture and related fields. In addition, apprenticeship programs and mentorship opportunities will provide hands-on training for young farmers. Agricultural extension services, which provide technical assistance and resources to farmers, would also be a priority to assist young farmers seeking to start or expand their businesses.
Support Farmers as Land Stewards by Celebrating them and Subsidizing their Stewardship:
Farmers are not just producers of food and commodities, but also land stewards who play a crucial role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of ecosystems. By celebrating and recognizing farmers as stewards of the land, Alberta can encourage more young people to choose farming as a career and promote sustainable agricultural practices that benefit both farmers and the environment. Subsidies can be provided for methane reduction feed, eco-agriculture, organic farming, and other stewardship practices that contribute to sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
Access to Land for young farmers:
Access to land is a critical barrier for young farmers. One approach to addressing this issue is through land trust programs, where the government or non-profit organizations purchase land and then lease it to farmers at affordable rates. This model ensures that the land remains in agricultural use and can help young farmers access land that they would not be able to afford otherwise.
Access to Capital:
Access to financing is often a major challenge for young farmers, as they may not have the credit history or collateral needed to secure traditional bank loans. The Green Party of Alberta will provide loans or grants specifically targeted for young farmers. Tax incentives, such as tax credits for investment in sustainable agriculture practices or equipment, can also help young farmers finance their operations.
Support for Sustainable Agriculture:
Young farmers are often interested in sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices, which can improve soil health, reduce carbon emissions, and improve biodiversity. Governments can support these efforts by offering grants or subsidies for sustainable farming practices, such as cover cropping or reduced tillage. Technical assistance and education on sustainable agriculture practices can also help young farmers adopt these methods.
HELP SMALL & MEDIUM BUSINESSES THRIVE
Small and medium businesses are one of Alberta’s biggest economic drivers. They employ thousands of Albertans and are an essential part of every community. These businesses have always struggled with startup and operational costs. The pandemic has made it near impossible to keep a small business afloat. If we are to have an Alberta “advantage” it should be in supporting the success of small and medium businesses.
Raise Large Corporate Tax Rate to 12% and Utilize the Surplus to Support New Entrepreneurs, Innovation, and Small Business through Grants and Funding:
It is time to raise the large corporate tax rate in line with neighboring provinces to 12%. This will ensure that large corporations pay their fair share to the people of Alberta and contribute to the growth of the small business sector. By utilizing the surplus from the increased corporate tax rate to support new entrepreneurs, innovation, and small or medium businesses through grants, low interest loans, the government can create a more level playing field for small and medium businesses to thrive. This will also encourage innovation and help diversify the economy, which is critical for long-term growth.
Cut Small Business Tax and Raise Small Business Tax Bracket Threshold:
The Green Party of Alberta will cut the small business tax rate in half to 1% while raising the small business designation threshold from $500,000 to $700,000. This will provide small business owners with more money to invest in their businesses, hire new employees, and compete with larger corporations. It's important to note that the current threshold has not changed since 2009, so raising it would be long overdue. By having the highest threshold in Canada, Alberta can attract and retain small businesses, which will create more jobs and stimulate economic growth.