The Business Council of Alberta has come up with 10 ideas it says will ignite the Alberta economy, which has been floundering since oil prices collapsed in the latter half of 2014.
The Conference Board of Canada has recently forecast that the province’s economy will once again fall into negative territory this year.
The council was officially launched earlier this year by some of the top business leaders in the province to “boldly meet the challenges facing our province and build a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada.”
It recently met with the Alberta government to present its 10 ideas that it says could help re-energize the economy “in a relatively short period of time – months, not years.”
“A strong economy is a common indicator of prosperity,” the council states on its website. “Alberta’s economy has been struggling since the oil price crash in 2014. Since 2013, Alberta’s per capita GDP has fallen 3.8 per cent, which is by far the worst performance of all the Canadian provinces. There are no overnight solutions to these challenges. Long-term challenges require long-term policy. Much work is required to turn around the economy to enable both economic and social prosperity, both now and for generations to come.”
Here are the 10 ideas:
- Economic Climate – Fast-track the business regulatory approval and permitting process by adopting the Nexus-style pass program.
- Energy – Support development on transporting bitumen in a solid state.
- Energy – Permit crude-by-rail shipments above curtailment volumes for exported oil.
- Energy – Support continued investment in natural gas infrastructure.
- Energy – Accept the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) recommendation to change the royalty calculations for bitumen, specifically the Bitumen Valuation Methodology, to enable greater investment in partial upgrading in Alberta.
- Technology and Innovation – Ensure appropriate investment incentives exist to attract and retain technology and innovation activity in the province.
- Technology and innovation – Preserve Alberta’s global competitive advantage in artificial intelligence.
- Agriculture – Implement a program to support plant protein processing capacity within Alberta.
- Agriculture – Introduce a progressive tax structure for Alberta-produced ciders and ready-to-drink products, like the structure recently introduced for beer production.
- Forestry – Rehabilitate Alberta’s forests, creating jobs and carbon sinks.
Adam Legge, who has worked with Calgary Economic Development, the Calgary Chamber and the University of Calgary, is the founding president of the Business Council of Alberta.
A group of more than 40 chief executives from across Alberta came together to form the council, inspired by five founders:
- Hal Kvisle, chairman, Finning International; chairman, ARC Resources; corporate director, Cenovus Energy;
- Mac Van Wielingen, founder, ARC Financial; president and founder, Viewpoint Group;
- Ron Mannix, chairman emeritus, Coril Holdings Ltd;
- Nancy Southern, chair and chief executive officer, ATCO Group;
- Dawn Farrell, president and chief executive officer, TransAlta Corp.
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