June 16th, 2024

Alberta’s sole federal cabinet minister reflects on the year that was

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 30, 2022.

Working in Canada’s federal cabinet and being a part of the 29th Canadian Ministry can be a challenging job. But for Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance – solely representing Alberta in cabinet, including Edmonton-Centre as a Liberal MP – the challenge is worth the reward for Albertans witnessing their voices heard out east.

“There is a difference between being a Member of Parliament and a minister,” said Boissonnault. “Part of it is making sure in my mandate, as an MP, to represent my riding and to always keep an eye out for the province and for the country. As a minister, that is only amplified, because I cannot do the minister job unless I am an MP and as an MP for Edmonton-Centre that matters. Representing the interests of all Albertans at the cabinet table, there aren’t many of us that represent four and half million voices around the table, and that is my job. There is diversity throughout our province, but at the end of the day, when you have a province like ours, it is going to lead the country in economic growth for the next two to three years. Whether it is in agriculture, oil and gas sector, space and artificial intelligence. When you add my Alberta Minister hat with my tourism Minister hat and then the associate finance hat, it Is all about growing an economy that works for all Albertans and all Canadians. I get up every day thinking about how do we make Alberta and Canada a better place.”

Understanding it is important to keep Western ideals alive out East, the job is important for Boissonnault and his roots.

“Representation matters,” said Boissonnault. “When we go to national caucus that is where the issues have got to come up so that all of Ontario, all of BC, all of Quebec, all the Atlantic MPs hear the issues that matter to Alberta. We leaned in hard and made sure that we got equitable funding for what was then called Western Diversification. Those projects, a lot of companies, need a little bit of support, maybe early-stage financing. That is what Western Diversification, now Prairies Canada, helps to do. We made sure our caucus made sure that we got the same equitable levels of funding as other regional development agencies. To give you an example on housing, we made it very clear that there were housing issues for Albertans, both First Nations but also in our communities rural and urban. Since 2015 we built 71,000 homes, $1.7 billion in investments, on housing and homelessness. Then you add to that the Canada Child Benefit, which is benefiting people right in Lethbridge, the childcare benefit that we signed with the Alberta government was around $3.2 billion just a year ago. These are the kinds of things that happen when we lean in and when we say we need to work together. Albertans said to the government, we need this for our province, we are leaning in hard because we have representation in the government, making sure nobody is guessing about what issues are in Alberta.”

Working on relationships within cabinet to build relationships rather than strife, Boissonnault notes recent events with the UCP’s Sovereignty Act build conflict not connections.

“It is a huge distraction, and quite frankly a negative signal to send to investors around the world of how ready Alberta is for people to put billions of dollars into our province,” said Boissonnault. “Since day one, my mandate and my own personal wiring is, to build bridges to work together to collaborate.”

Heading into 2023, Boissonnault feels Alberta will face challenges economically, but ultimately has the strength to endure.

“2023 is going to be a turbulent year economically. We are going to face same economic headwinds, and that is primarily due to the war in Ukraine and also due to the fact that Xi Jinping has continued to double down on the zero-COVID policy in China. That matters because of how many good China produces for the world. When their ports shutdown, it causes huge disruptions in the global supply chain. Adding energy shocks, war shocks, plus supply chain shocks, it means that we are seeing inflation around the world,” said Boissonnault. “Alberta will weather the storm better than any other jurisdiction, any other province in the country. Part of that is the oil and gas sector, but part of it is also how our economy has diversified. Tourism is also going to help us, it is going to be counter cyclical. While the economy is slowing down, we are still going to see tourism numbers go up. From business conferences, to cultural events and festivals. People from around the world want to come and see Alberta, we are one of the four players in tourism in the country.”

Representing Alberta in Canada’s federal cabinet, Boissonnault hopes to see Albertans through tough times economically and fight for what is needed.

“I want to wish everybody in Lethbridge and all Albertans an very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Boissonnault. “We know that there are some rough seas ahead, but I can say that there will be no better place to live in the world coming out of the end of ’22 and into ’23 then living in Canada and in Alberta.”

Share this story:


Comments are closed.