Tanya Fir named Alberta jobs minister after Doug Schweitzer resignation

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Tanya Fir in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

United Conservative Party MLA for Calgary-Peigan, Tanya Fir, has been named Alberta minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement on Friday after Doug Schweitzer resigned from the position Aug. 5.

Fir will continue to serve as associate minister of Red Tape Reduction, Kenney said in a news release.

Fir was first elected in 2019. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary. She also worked as a human resources advisor in Alberta’s oil and gas industry for more than 19 years, according to her biography on the government website.

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When he announced his resignation from Cabinet, Schweitzer said he would continue to serve as MLA until the end of the month or another date established closer to that time.

“It was an honour to serve alongside the premier and my colleagues. I believe that people will look back at the last six to 12 months as the economic turning point for Alberta,” Schweitzer’s announcement read.

Schweitzer previously said he will not seek re-election next year.

Click to play video: 'Jason Kenney thanks Doug Schweitzer for bringing ‘fresh voice’ to leadership race'
Jason Kenney thanks Doug Schweitzer for bringing ‘fresh voice’ to leadership race

The Opposition NDP pointed out that this is a reappointment of sorts.

“At a time when Albertans’ wages are falling behind inflation and Calgary downtown office buildings are sitting empty, the UCP has reappointed a minister of Jobs and Economy who was previously fired for her failures in the role,” said NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley.

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Fir was one of the six MLAs who travelled out of the country over the winter holidays in 2020, despite restrictions on non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and later lost their portfolios for it.

“By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgment,” Kenney said on Jan. 4, 2021.

Click to play video: 'Alberta political expert weighs in on UCP travel controversy'
Alberta political expert weighs in on UCP travel controversy

Ganley said that during Fir’s time as minister of Economic Development, Tourism and Trade, “Alberta’s economy shrank, investment dropped, and 50,000 full-time jobs were lost before the pandemic ever hit.”

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Ganley also pointed to several tax credits that were cancelled and Alberta Innovates funding that was cut under Fir’s watch.

Click to play video: 'Alberta tech companies seeing ups and downs during COVID-19 pandemic'
Alberta tech companies seeing ups and downs during COVID-19 pandemic

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