How should Alberta prepare for the global energy transformation?
There are five main actions that need to be taken by the Alberta government.
Use our resource wealth as a springboard to the future.
This means building a pipeline to the west coast that improves access to markets other than the US.
And as the world moves away from fossil fuels, we need to be the cleanest oil and gas producer possible – so we can continue to access markets with increasingly stringent emission standards – including China.
We need to spend on infrastructure and innovation to make these things happen.
And we need to collect enough revenue from today’s economy to make sure that we can build the bridge to the economy of tomorrow.
Diversify within oil and gas
We need to diversify within our existing oil and gas economy. Opportunities with longer-term potential, like petrochemicals, can help us create more jobs and open new markets.
Unlike oil, global demand for petrochemicals is growing. We need to meet this demand.
Value-added petrochemical projects have massive potential when it comes to job creation and economic activity.
We need to make sure these investments are made here in our province, rather than in places like the US Gulf Coast.
Diversify beyond oil and gas
We also need to diversify beyond oil and gas -- by supporting growth and investment in other sectors of our economy such as agribusiness, manufacturing and renewable energy.
These sectors have great potential to attract investment, create good jobs and reduce our reliance on oil and gas.
This is the way to manage the impacts of the global energy transformation and get off the boom-bust rollercoaster.
We need to use our oil and gas revenues – including revenue from the carbon levy – to accelerate development in these sectors so they’re ready to step forward when oil and gas steps back.
Invest in infrastructure
World class economies require world class infrastructure.
The message from around the world is clear: countries that invest in roads, schools, hospitals and other state-of-the-art infrastructure enjoy higher rates of economic growth. Those that ignore these kinds of investments, or put them off, fall behind.
Infrastructure projects create jobs and economic activity in the present, and they lay the foundations for greater prosperity in the future.
The Alberta government needs to continue spending more on infrastructure to keep us competitive and to make our businesses more productive.
Invest in people
Investments in education, health care and other public services improve Albertans’ quality of life, created a well-trained workforce that drives the economy forward and help attract investment.
Expanding the Medicare umbrella to cover prescription drug and introducing a universal child care program will make life more affordable for individuals and families and boost our economy.
Investments in services for people – from education and health care to Pharmacare and child care – will help individual Albertans become more flexible and resilient in the face of changing economic conditions brought on by the energy transformation.