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Is Alberta's future at risk?

Posted on February 05, 2014 by Richard Einarson

The world is moving to a low-carbon future and Alberta has a high carbon economy. This is a fact whether we like it or not. Fortunately, Alberta has the people, technology and resources to be world-leaders in all forms of energy – oil and gas, renewables and energy technologies. All we need is a government with the vision and the guts to make it happen.

Alberta is a great place to live. Tens of thousands of people come here every year seeking economic opportunities and a bright future for their families and when they get here, most stay to enjoy our high quality of life. But Alberta’s future is at risk; our core services of health care and education suffer from a lack of planning on the part of our provincial government, and are further hurt by the ups-and-downs that come from budgets based on unreliable resource revenues.

Albertans deserve better.

The Alberta Party supports the continued responsible development of our oil and gas assets, including the oilsands, but we know the world is changing around us. If we don’t change along with it –or better yet, lead the change– the world might pass us by.

Peter Lougheed knew the risks inherent in an over-reliance on one sector and built the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to offset the boom and bust of oil and gas development and help us diversify our economy.

While Alberta’s future is at risk, there is hope. If we start now we can take meaningful, evolutionary steps towards reducing our reliance on oil and gas revenues by focusing on our value-added petrochemical industry, broadening our economic base through a culture of entrepreneurs and new business start-ups and increasing renewable energy production.

These changes won’t be easy but having all our eggs in one basket is too risky; as the world transitions to a knowledge-based economy Alberta must change with it. The Alberta Party believes the role of government is to create an environment where private business can lead the charge towards diversification. With appropriate investments in education and a tax structure that encourages business to innovate, Alberta can continue to prosper for generations to come. 

And what sort of policies need to be in place to support diversification? It won't be easy, but a focus on allowing small business to lead the charge to build more knowledge-based companies is a good start. The Alberta Party has a comprehensive economic diversification policy that outlines how we can get there, starting with a tax cut for new small businesses.

This policy is a cornerstone for the Alberta Party and it's one I'm especially proud of. I would appreciate your feedback on our policy and any other ideas you have for driving economic diversification in Alberta. It's critical we start now, from a position of strength, before it's too late.


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