While the Alberta provincial election race enters its final laps, polls once again continue to show the PC’s trailing and in last week’s only televised debate, NDP’s Rachael Notley was clearly a winner based on a viewer’s poll conducted following the event.
Hammering away on issues of taxes, health care and education were at the centre of the debate while discussion about jobs seemed to be a topic used as a negative result to many of the topics being debated. “This will cause job losses” or “that will result in job losses” were comments made repeatedly but not much discussion was directly on the creation of new jobs. There was little hope for the thousands of Albertans who have found themselves in the unemployment lines recently.
In March 2015, Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up to 5.5%, a full percentage point from January 2015 rate of 4.5%. February 2015 saw a net loss of some 14,000 jobs and while March appeared on the surface to be flat, 18,400 full-time jobs were lost but replaced with a gain of 19,900 part-time jobs.
If this trend continues, with more Albertan’s losing their jobs, issues being debated during this provincial election campaign might seem trivial for those who face such an uncertain future.
If these job loss numbers continue to increase, whoever ends up winning the election will have to find new ways to stimulate the economy and put job creation much higher on the list than what is currently being debated.
While Alberta numbers are still better than the national unemployment rate, now at 6.8%, another full percentage increase in Alberta like it has happened in just the past three months, will bring Alberta much closer to the national average.
As the election debate rages on with only a few days left, taxes, education and healthcare are sure to continue to be the key issues for those seeking the top spot however, preventing further job losses and new job creation could very well end up to be what has to come first.