Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
I am pleased to rise in the House tonight to speak as part of this important take-note debate. As the jobs critic for the NDP, I recognize that this is a debate about jobs in our country. It is about the devastating job losses in the energy sector and the devastating impacts of boom and bust economies. It is about the need for our federal government to stand up for Canadian workers.
The collapse of oil prices has had a devastating impact on workers in Alberta. It has also greatly affected workers in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and communities in my province and across the country.
Today we have heard many emotional testimonials about how difficult the situation is on the ground.
Like many people, I also have family members in Alberta who have worked in the oil sector and have also felt the impacts. It has been devastating for many.
It is important tonight that as part of this discussion we recognize it did not just happen. These hardships are the direct result of successive Liberal and Conservative governments doing little to diversify Canada's energy sector. Both the Liberals and Conservatives have failed to embrace a definition of energy which goes beyond oil, natural gas, and coal. These hardships are also a direct result of successive governments that have failed to diversify not just our energy economy but our resource-based economy more broadly.
I am from a mining town and we know what a boom and bust economy means for us. Our region also knows the importance of value-added jobs. Right now we are on the verge of losing hundreds of value-added jobs, particularly in the mining industry in our part of the country. People in Flin Flon and Thompson are very concerned, afraid, worried, and angry. Some months ago people in The Pas also faced insecurity. While there has been an interim solution, people continue to be concerned about the future of their resource sector, namely forestry.
In all of these cases what has been clear is that the federal government has been nowhere to be found to stand up for Canadian workers in our communities, much like in communities in Alberta and elsewhere. In fact, in our north, the federal government is nowhere to be found, not just in the communities I mentioned but also when it comes to Churchill, the Port of Churchill, or infrastructure jobs that were also committed to our communities.
Tonight we are talking about a situation that is increasingly impacting workers across the country. The reality is that the jobs situation in Canada is worsening. Over the last number of years, and it was certainly the case this past year, we have been creating more part-time, unstable work. Over the last year, full-time jobs only grew by 0.5%. This is related to job losses in the oil sector. More and more Canadians are struggling in precarious work. Many of them are young people.
That is why less than a year ago we launched a tour on the rise of precarious work in the millennial generation. We took our tour to Alberta. We went to Edmonton and Calgary. We heard heartbreaking stories about the challenges that young people were facing in these communities in difficult times.
I remember in Calgary we heard from an MLA, a minister in the government. She talked about how Calgary was often seen as a place of hope for many young Canadians and now even if one was from Alberta, that individual could barely make it by.
In Edmonton we heard from a young woman, a freelance journalist, who talked about the economic insecurity that she faced and how recently one of her bosses was told that if she wanted to find greater economic security, she should just get married.
The reality is that there is a way forward. That is by standing up for value-added jobs, standing up to companies that want to rip and ship our resources, standing up for a just transition.
We have heard tonight that research shows that an investment of $1 million in coal creates seven jobs. That same investment of $1 million creates 14 jobs in the solar industry and 17 in building retrofits.
People across our country are rising up to these challenges. They are demanding better from their government and we in the NDP stand with them.