BY CATHERINE BROWNLEE, PRESIDENT OF ALBERTA ENTERPRISE GROUP (AEG), CALGARY AND EDMONTON CHAPTERS
After an incredibly successful summer festival season, it’s clear that Alberta is on the map as a go-to destination for entertainment experiences. Edmonton hosted the Junos earlier this year, bringing in more than $12 million in economic impact. Calgary hosted another incredibly successful Stampede in July, seeing a record turnaround, only topped by the 100th anniversary Stampede in 2012. K-Days was attended by 557,000 this year. However, it isn’t just festivals and entertainment events bringing people to our province.
We’re seeing more and more professional conferences and conventions drawing people to Wildrose Country. In April, the 2023 Canadian Hydrogen Convention welcomed 8,000 attendees from more than 70 countries to Edmonton, doubling last year’s numbers. Attendance is expected to double again for the 2024 convention. The event didn’t only showcase our burgeoning hydrogen sector but generated a staggering $10 million in economic impact for the city.
Edmonton is also hosting Carbon Capture Canada 2023 this month, not to mention the provincial conferences that bring people to the capital, like the Alberta Municipalities Convention and Trade Show. These types of professional and industry gatherings are becoming more common in our city, and their economic impacts are felt across nearly every sector – hospitality, entertainment, restaurants and retail, arts and culture and, importantly, small business.
Our attractive tax rate, plus Alberta’s natural resources and excellent workforce, have resulted in global corporations announcing almost $15 billion worth of projects and proposals for Alberta’s petrochemical and clean-tech industries. Corporate taxation stability makes Alberta an attractive place for ongoing and future investment, and competitive with comparable jurisdictions for global corporations’ investments. A significant element of job growth and economic diversification is having a skilled workforce to fill the jobs being created. We welcome discussions and collaboration with
the Alberta government for future building and enhancing Alberta’s career training to prevent labour shortages, while improving economic and energy literacy. Since 2019, the Alberta government has made progress in reducing red tape for Alberta’s businesses.
AEG looks forward to continued efforts to streamline the regulatory burden faced by small, medium and large enterprises operating in Alberta. Lastly, we will continue to support and defend Alberta’s constitutional rights to provincial resource development, as we did with our intervenor statement to the Supreme Court of Canada on Ottawa’s Bill C-69. Respect for the constitutionally defined jurisdictional boundaries between the provinces and Ottawa strengthens Canada and enables freedom to develop and grow according to the needs and desires of each unique province. That is why we supported the Government of Alberta, and almost all of the other provinces and territories, in opposing this federal legislation.
AEG stands ready to cooperate with Alberta’s government to ensure Alberta’s long-term prosperity by advocating for a lower tax burden, strong education and career training, reduced red-tape and exercising our constitutional rights as a province.