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There's a Reason Alberta is Number One

There's a reason Alberta & Saskatchewan lead Canada in job creation.
There's a reason Alberta & Saskatchewan lead Canada in job creation.
Fraser Institute

When it comes to job creation in Canada, Alberta is number one. And by a fairly wide margin, too.

In a report issued by Statistics Canada this week it was revealed that the Albertan economy created 87% of all the jobs created in Canada over the past year. Out of 94,700 jobs created in Canada during the past year, 82,300 were created by Alberta's economy. Employment in Alberta rose by 3.8%.

Saskatchewan was #2 with a less-impressive increase of 0.9%.

Not everyone is entirely pleased with Alberta's success. "The first thing to recognize is that there's a problem," declared Canadian Labour Congress economist Angella MacEwan. "Because if we recognize what is happening, then the problem in Ontario, Quebec, the Atlantic provinces and BC looks much worse."

So what is the problem in Ontario, Quebec, BC and the Atlantic provinces?

Well, to see what those regions are doing wrong one needs look no further than what Alberta and Saskatchewan are doing right: simply put, economic freedom.

In 2013, the Fraser Institute's annual economic freedom index placed Alberta and Saskatchewan at the apex of economic freedom amongst Canadian provinces and US states. In the report, Ontario -- whose employment rose 0.6% over the past year -- held the median score for all Canada's provinces, with 7.4. Saskatchewan scored 8.0. Alberta scored 8.5.

So we can see that a high score on the economic freedom index correlates with strong job production. How about a low score on the index? What does that correlate with?

For the answer to this (admittedly rhetorical) question, one need look no further than Quebec. With a score of 7.1 Quebec was ranked #40 in all of North America. And as it turns out, Quebec's job numbers are beyond awful.

The only segment of Quebec's economy that has grown whatsoever has been part-time work. Full-time work -- a necessity for those who intend to provide for themselves and their family -- is a disappearing commodity in Quebec. Going into the election Pauline Marois' Parti Quebecois just called, the PQ has nothing to boast about whatsoever. (No wonder Marois intends to contest the election on the back of her party's tyrannical "values charter.")

In February alone, a time when Alberta was adding 19,000 jobs, Quebec shed an astounding 25,500 jobs.

Quebec is the extreme example: it's what happens when governments become so hostile to economic freedom that government policy in effect forbids, rather than encourages, the development of resources. It's not coincidental that Alberta and Saskatchewan allow the freedom for their economy to develop and then lead the country in jobs. They would likely do so even without oil and gas.

Canadians across the country should take note of this, beginning with Quebeckers in their upcoming election. Simply put, they can opt for a government that will further the cause of economic freedom, or they can vote for the Parti Quebecois and continue to wonder what went wrong.