No more pipe-dreams. Diversify Now!
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Diversification has been a buzz word in Calgary for years. There have been many failed attempts at making this a reality but the lure of fostering in growth in Oil & Gas has taken precedence, especially with this current Provincial Government. Here's some food for thought around the path forward now that we have no other option.
The absolutely nonsense organization, known as the the Fraser Insititue, argues that it is a fools errand to pretend that Alberta is anything other than a ressource rich province and that diversificaiton leads to the government picking "winners and losers," and possible government losses when the market doesn't favour their investments. You hear similar sentiments in the comments section of twitter or in line in the grocery store, "nothing will replace the billions of dollars that Oil and Gas provides our province, so why bother?"
This article fails to mention, as most Albertans forget anyways, the fact the entire Oil&Gas economy in Alberta is a direct result of enormous years and sums of federal and provincial R&D investment. SAGD technology, which made the tar sands lucrative and gave Alberta decades of global clout and prosperity didn't miraculously fall from the sky or hatch out of one entrepreneurial genius's garage. Former Alberta Premier, Peter Lougheed's "tenacity and his faith in the disruption/breakthrough approach" helped foster the development of this technology. Years of government investment yielded innovation which"led to successful testing of the SAGD technology and the eventual creation of today’s in situ oilsands industry."
Industrial success was cultivated once, and can be again.The ecosystem of entrepreneurship, the Federal dollars and buy-in are there, the assets and talent are here, but are Albertans ready? That same dogged tenacity and Lougheed-style-leadership is needed now, to show Albertans that the next chapter in our history is not something to fear but something we have already faced and can again.
Unfortunately, our memories are short and the Alberta Government play book of the past 40 years of playing lap dog to the industry, is no longer a viable option. They've forgotten that their job is not to revive an industry but to serve the province of Alberta and the people left in the wake of the oil bust. Kenney has gone all-in on this strategy and it's already costing our province billions, not to mention the lost opportunity cost of time wasted.
For more on this topic check out my other blog articles.
April 22, 2020