by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent

On Friday afternoon, the Town of Morinville hosted local Mayors and CAOs for a meeting with the Honourable Rona Ambrose Member of Parliament, Sturgeon River-Parkland and Interim Leader of the Official Opposition. Representatives from Morinville, Gibbons, Bon Accord and Redwater attended the meeting. Sturgeon County and Legal were unable to attend.

Ambrose said there was an opportunity in the next budget for infrastructure funding. It is her hope that rural communities will get their fair share of that funding. But the Interim Conservative Leader also spoke on a larger level about the economic impact of the country’s economic debt on Albertans.

The Parkland-Sturgeon River MP said there had been a significant economic and social impact of the downturn in the economy. She said she had been thinking about what can be done to work together to see what the federal government might be able to do to help.

“There is a sense from a lot of people that I have met in Alberta that maybe Prime Minister Trudeau does not understand how serious things are here or how our economy works here,” Ambrose said. “Things are in very dire straits, and this is just the beginning. We are going to see a lot more people lose their jobs.”

Ambrose went on to say Employment Insurance files have skyrocketed in the province, and she believes it is just the beginning. She said she will be going back to talk to the Prime Minister about it, as she said she has done for the last three months, on an almost daily basis.

“We need immediate support and change in EI but also need long-term support for this industry [energy] he is not friendly to,” Ambrose said. “He has to understand these are well-paying jobs, [a] well high-educated workforce, and this is an important part of the entire Canadian economy. We need it supported, and that includes the pipeline, supporting the natural resources from Newfoundland all the way to Kitimat, whether it is the large sector or mining or gas sector.

Mayor Lisa Holmes said she was pleased to meet with Ambrose and other local leaders. “We are appreciative of the fact that although our MP is Leader of the Opposition, she took time to come to listen to our local issues.”

The Liberals are expected to table their first budget in mid- to late-March.

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