EDMONTON — The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) has endorsed United Conservative Party (UCP) Leader Jason Kenney’s 13-point Job Skills for Canada’s Economy plan.
Kenney has listed an initial $5.3 million commitment to the skilled trades, including expanding the number of schools and enrolment in registered apprenticeship programs, along with increased funding for the Women Building Futures program and a $1 million trades scholarship for 1,000 graduating secondary students.
“This is the kind of forward-thinking initiative that Alberta needs to address the skills shortage head on. It puts the focus where it should be, on expanding apprenticeship and vocational programs and making it possible for more Albertans, especially young people, to pursue good, well-paying jobs,” PCA president Paul de Jong said in a statement.
Merit Alberta has also endorsed the UCP’s platform. The Building Trades of Alberta hosted Premier Rachel Notley recently and has published blog posts opposed to the Kenney campaign.
“We heartily endorse efforts that reinforce the pride and value of working in the skilled trades. It’s time Alberta embraced the European mentality by putting careers in the skilled trades on equal footing with all other academic pursuits,” de Jong added.
Other points in Kenney’s plan include reforming teacher certification to enable qualified tradespeople to teach without requiring a full bachelor of education degree, and creating a “Skills for Jobs” task force to report to government to expand vocational and skilled trades opportunities.
A UCP government would also create an Alberta Trades Hall of Fame and an increase for Skills Canada Alberta, the party website states.
Notley has announced if re-elected her government will build a new access highway near Fort McMurray to serve as both an industrial corridor and an additional evacuation route for communities from Anzac to Fort McKay in case of wildfires or other disasters.
Notley has also unveiled plans to double diversification of Alberta’s petrochemical industry, which she says will create 70,000 new jobs.
The UCP has slammed the NDP’s carbon tax, and Kenney has been adamant he will scrap the tax in what he has termed a “$1.4 billion tax cut.”