The Alberta Dream Is Far From Dead If We Look Beyond Oil And Gas

Some politicians and select media articles paint an apocalyptic picture of Alberta’s state of economy and the province’s prognosis for future recovery. Not too long ago, MacLean’s magazine declared our economic slowdown as “The Death of the Alberta Dream.”

Indeed, a sudden drop in commodity prices, structural shifts in carbon fuel production and consumption, the plummeting dollar, and Alberta’s ongoing difficulty in shipping crude oil to tide water have resulted in massive job losses, outflow of investment capital and immediate drop in government revenues. These financial challenges are felt by Albertans. Yet my outlook on the future of Alberta, her economic potential and the dreams yet to be realized is optimistic. The “Alberta Dream” is far from being dead. Instead, we must dare to expand our dreams. We must tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of our business communities and researchers, and their desire to broaden Alberta’s economic base.

Alberta is more complex than just oil and gas.

I often say that the Stone Age didn’t end because our predecessors ran out of stones. It ended because they discovered bronze.

Granted, the oil and gas industry has long been the province’s golden goose. With proper investment, paralleled with sensible regulatory regime and rebound in commodity prices (which is starting to occur), Alberta’s oil industry’s recovery is bound to continue. Regulatory stability and predictability will be key. After all, it wasn’t the presence of Alberta’s expensive and difficult-to-extract oil alone that attracted the industry here in the ’70s — oil sands also existed in Saskatchewan and elsewhere. It was the collaboration of purposeful and stable government policies and the private sector’s investment and perseverance that allowed Alberta, and de facto Canada, to flourish.

But Alberta must look beyond oil and gas. I often say that the Stone Age didn’t end because our predecessors ran out of stones. It ended because they discovered bronze. The multibillion-dollar questions are: What will be Alberta’s bronze? Where does our economic future lie?

Carbon tax can fuel ‘Made in Alberta’ tech

Alberta will continue to energize the world, but must also become the epicentre for research, development and commercialization of new technologies in emission reduction, “green energy” generation and pipeline construction, monitoring and maintenance technologies. Alberta’s post-secondary institutions and private-sector researchers have already shown leadership on this front, yet this activity could be multiplied through the creation of a collaborative applied research and commercialization institute, akin to Germany’s

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

      

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