Wood Buffalo will play a big part in the province’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to Doug Schweitzer who was appointed Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation on Tuesday after previously serving as Justice Minister and Solicitor General.
His main task moving forward is helping the province recover from its worst downturn since the Great Depression.
Schweitzer tells Mix News the first step is ensuring the RMWB and oil sector are in strong positions.
“Fort McMurray has been the engine of the Canadian economy for so so long and so many people out there want to write off Fort Mac, write off the oil and gas industry and that is not the case – it’s going to continue to be an economic driver.”
The possibility of future supports is currently unknown, however, the province is planning on highlighting more recovery initiatives in the fall.
In the meantime, Schweitzer says they plan on continuing to advocate for the region and sector.
“We’re going to continue to make sure we fight for every single tax dollar, Alberta needs the federal government to continue providing supports and we’re going to continue to fight for them to ensure our oil and gas industry has a future.”
Alberta’s GDP is expected to be hit the hardest in 2020.
According to the Conference Board of Canada Provincial Economic Outlook, the province is looking at a 11.3 per cent decrease before seeing a 7.9 per cent increase in 2021.
The report notes provinces that rely on the oil and gas sector should benefit from rising demand as soon as COVID-19 starts to slide.
“We have to make sure any future plans for the province includes a strong Fort McMurray, a strong plan for our oilsands in particular,” added Schweitzer.