My Speech to the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie

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On Wednesday, I had the chance to speak to the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie about Alberta’s future and my work in the Senate. I also talked at length about the recent changes made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the need to find a solution to the TFW program that works for Alberta’s unique context. Braeden Jones, from the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune, has written a piece covering my address. You can read his article below.

Stay tuned for a recap later next week on my wonderful visit to Grande Prairie.

Senator supports Alberta stance on TFW

By Braeden Jones, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune Staff

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Alberta’s elected senator Doug Black said the recent changes to Canada’s temporary foreign worker program is not good for Alberta.

Black addressed the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie Wednesday at the Grande Prairie Golf and Country Club.

He met with various community stakeholders during his visit, including the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce.

“We got down to it on temporary foreign workers,” said Black.

“I have committed to the chamber of commerce to work publicly – in so far as I can – to ensure people understand that while temporary foreign workers may work (elsewhere)… I can tell you it does not work for Grande Prairie. It does not work for Alberta. Somebody somewhere needs to stand up and say sorry, don’t take it personally, but something has got to be done.”

In June, amendments were passed to make it harder to apply for foreign workers, and caps were put in place on the number of temporary workers in certain industries.

In the broadly categorized foodservice industry, the changes have made it difficult to fill vacancies in remote parts of the country, and positions are left unfilled in service jobs.

“I would say it’s putting a stick in Alberta’s prosperity,” Black said.

Restaurants Canada, a national advocacy group that lobbies for the foodservice industry, released a prepared statement at the end of June that said “in areas of the country where restaurant owners cannot find enough Canadian workers, there will be business casualties that will put Canadians out of a job.”

Black said the robust economy and entrepreneurial trends in Grande Prairie suggest to him that obstacles getting in the way of such progress should be eliminated.

“I committed to Albertans to do a job for them,” said Black. “That is what I intend to do.”

Black also struck a position on the oil debate.

“There are issues around getting access to markets, as we are seeing quiet clearly through Enbridge’s gateway project,” he said.

“Rather than talking at each other, the people who are involved– which would be the aboriginal communities, the environmental communities, the energy companies – need to sit together and have a conversation about what our common interests are.

“Once we’ve identified our common interests we will figure out a result.”