CALGARY – Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau visited Calgary on Friday to host a series of pre-budget consultations with local stakeholders.
Morneau met with leaders of the energy and environmental sectors, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Nenshi said he stressed the importance of moving ahead on infrastructure projects during his meeting with the minister.
The mayor added he believes Morneau understands the struggles currently facing Albertans.
Justin Smith, Director of Policy with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said making the province’s oil and gas sector more competitive was a big focus of the meeting.
“There is concern over the economic headwinds we are facing right now, but also an eagerness to get to work and to advance some of the plans, whether they were presented by the Liberal government during the campaign or whether they are issues that have been talked about for the last ten years.”
“There is an eagerness to move forward in a collaborative fashion.”
Morneau said it’s his government’s goal to “get going on (infrastructure) projects as soon as possible”.
He said the government is also looking at “policy responses” to assist Alberta during this economic slump.
“We are focused on growing the economy,” he said.
Morneau also visited the University of Calgary.
The minister’s stop in Calgary comes as the crude oil futures drop below US$30 a barrel and the Canadian dollar began trading below 69 cents US for the first time since 2003.
WATCH RAW: Finance Minister Bill Morneau answers questions in Calgary.
– With files from Doug Vaessen