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.”

By Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 30, 2022

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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