To the Editor:
When I drive in my little corner of the province from Jasper to Edson to Grande Cache, it’s easy to take it for granted that the highways are clear of snow and debris. Every single one of us in rural Alberta understands how important it is to be able to get around our communities safely – and for us that means highway travel more often than not.
Making sure those highways are safe for all travellers is a key priority for all of us, and I know it’s a priority for the provincial government as well.
I heard from many constituents who were concerned earlier this year when Carillion Canada, the contractor responsible for maintaining nearly half of the province’s highways, filed for creditor protection. They wondered what this would mean for them, and whether their roads would still be safe to travel.
I’m proud of the work my colleague Transportation Minister Brian Mason and his staff did to make sure people in my community and across rural Alberta can get around safely.
But I’m appalled and disgusted to see Jason Kenney and other members of the UCP have tried to politicize this issue with blatant lies, suggesting the NDP is “blocking” Alberta companies from bidding on road maintenance work, and instead giving a “sole source contract” to a company from BC.
Either he is blatantly lying and playing politics with this important issue, or he’s woefully misinformed. One way or the other, Albertans deserve elected officials who will stand up for them instead of spreading misinformation like Mr. Kenney does.
The truth is that once Carillion Canada filed for creditor protection the courts got involved, which is typical for bankruptcy proceedings. The courts appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to oversee Carillion’s assets, and they were responsible for overseeing the court-appointed sale.
Simply put, the Government of Alberta had no role in finding a buyer for Carillion’s existing contract. That was the job of Carillion and PricewaterhouseCooprs, and they negotiated with B.C.-based Emcon Services and now have an agreement pending approval of the courts.
Further, as part of the potential agreement, Alberta-based jobs currently with Carillion will be transferred to Emcon and no Alberta job losses are expected.
This sale is not the calamitous, secretive deal that Mr. Kenney has said it is. For him to suggest it is blurs the truth in an unacceptable way. Albertans deserve better from their leaders.
Albertans deserve elected officials who are focused on keeping Alberta’s roads safe and on protecting good-paying jobs that Alberta families rely on – and that’s exactly what our government has done.
MLA for West Yellowhead