Mr. Speaker, northern Alberta is a major contributor to Canada's economy. The Fort McMurray Airport is the fastest growing airport in North America. In the last five years it has grown from 200,000 to 700,000 passengers annually.
Approximately 350 flights leave the northern Alberta oil sands every week for destinations all around Canada. Most of the passengers are oil sands workers who take home over $100,000 a year and these paycheques are not spent in northern Alberta. The money goes to their families in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and all over Canada.
Northern Alberta is the economic engine of Canada. Our region provides 6% of Canada's GDP and creates over 250,000 direct jobs throughout the country. What we hear through the grapevine is not always the truth. People do not understand the good, responsible environmental work that the oil sand companies are doing there.
Canada needs northern Alberta, just like northern Alberta needs Canada. Instead of criticizing, I invite everyone to come and see for themselves the truth of what is happening in the oil sands.