It comes on the heels of the NDP government’s speech from the throne this past Tuesday which outlined the government’s own plan to create jobs and spur the economy.
During an interview with the Albertan, Cooper was critical of the throne speech – especially the announcement that the provincial government plans to roll out a Promoting Job Creation and Diversification Act.
According to the speech, the purpose of the act is to enable Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous to create jobs and diversify the economy, primarily by diversifying the markets that Albertan energy companies can send their products to.
Details are expected when the government introduces its budget next month.
“The preamble (of the Promoting Job Creation and Diversification Act) is literally longer than the bill,” Cooper said. “It does things like create programs, provide access to capital. But the actual bill lays out essentially what should be the job description for the minister of economic development and trade.
“This is not a plan. This is not going to do anything to increase employment. It’s not going to do anything to calm the concerns of Albertans and quite frankly, I’m surprised that this is the best that they have to offer,” he added.
“They speak a lot in the throne speech about investing the money from the carbon tax into the economy. Governments traditionally don’t have strong records on picking winners and losers so we certainly have some concerns on that front,” he said.
Cooper summarized the speech as an outline by the NDP government of its plans to “double down on their risky ideological economic policies.”
“We’ve already seen them raise taxes on business, increase red tape and in the throne speech, they laid out their plan to introduce the carbon tax,” he said.
“It’s a $3-billion carbon tax that’s going to have a direct impact on families and communities. We certainly don’t think it’s the right time to be introducing these sort of plans.”
However, Cooper liked some aspects of the speech, especially the announcement of the government’s plans to, as he said, “clean up the payday loans industry.”
In the speech, the province announced plans to deal with the “exploitive” interest charged by payday loan companies through a proposed “Act to End Predatory Lending.”
He also approved of the promise to streamline many of the agency boards and commissions in Alberta.
“The preamble (of the Promoting Job Creation and Diversification Act) is literally longer than the bill.” NATHAN COOPEROLDS-DIDSBURY-THREE HILLS MLA