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Business Commentary Albertans of all stripes are united in strengthening the province

Change often brings great uncertainty. Yet, in this moment of unprecedented transition for Alberta, our province is well positioned to realize new partnerships, innovative stewardship and strong job creation and opportunity for our citizens.

Albertans recently chose a political path for the future. Our next choice is how we navigate it. And I am confident we can differentiate ourselves in the global community as a place that attracts investment and one where environmental management, labour and skills training, energy development and a diverse economy can at once flourish.

Every Albertan knows that our province is special. We have the majestic Rockies, the spectacular badlands, lush forests and the awe-inspiring expansive prairie. We have abundant resources in our oil sands and gas fields. We grow crops that are exported across the globe. We share pride in our innovation across many sectors and in the people who work so tirelessly in them.

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And we hold diverse views.

But we are united in our pragmatism and our desire to do things that matter, things that strengthen our families and our communities.

My company has called Canada home for more than a century, and over the decades has seen Alberta thrive. We know this province has changed. The Alberta spirit, however, has remained constant. And at the core of the province's character is a frontier-like sense that, together, we will get things done.

Today, there is much for us to do together. We can do many things better. Indeed, my company sees opportunity in Alberta. We want to work with government, aboriginal communities and civil society in identifying ideas and solutions that make us collectively stronger.

These ideas include new approaches to environmental management, recognizing that our economy, our energy future and our environmental leadership are not mutually exclusive but rather one in the same.

New ways of partnering with workers, government and industry to ensure our training programs connect to real jobs.

New approaches to reaching new markets for our resources.

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New measures to ensure Alberta remains competitive and attracts global investment for decades to come.

New appetites for collaborating with government and building partnerships between large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

And new commitments to retain what works well as we seek ways to work better, ensuring continued growth as an effective, responsible, innovative and competitive place that benefits not only our own citizens – but millions across Canada and beyond.

Those of us who have walked into government offices often see a coat of arms on the wall or on official documents. In Alberta, our emblem has changed over the years. But since it was introduced in 1980, our motto has remained "Fortis et Liber" – strong and free.

I choose to believe that this motto defines us and will drive our determination to grow stronger in the years ahead.

And while change often brings great uncertainty, I am optimistic that the Alberta of tomorrow will be a place we will build together.

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We've chosen this path, after all. We should walk it in great confidence.

Lorraine Mitchelmore is president and country chair of Shell Canada.

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