Geoffrey Morgan in the National Post on October 15, 2015 . . .
“”Like previous premiers in Alberta, Rachel Notley introduces panel on economic diversification”
and goes on to explain . . .
” Executives from two of Alberta’s largest and most entrenched industries – oil production and power generation – will sit on a new economic advisory panel charged with finding strategies to diversify the province’s economy.”
This is at least the fourth government diversification panel within the past two decades. The best way to describe progress to date would have to be; when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.
Meanwhile our neighbours to the west in BC have been successfully diversifying their economy for the past decade with clean, green, high paying knowledge-based jobs and a flourishing tech sector. Yes, British Columbia, unlike Alberta, is actually participating in the 21st Century economy. According to KPMG’s BC Tech Report Card 2014:
“Technology has grown at double the rate of the overall BC economy over the last five years. BC tech continues to be one of the top three contributors to the provincial economy, outperforming traditional sectors such as forestry, mining, oil and gas, and transportation in GDP contribution and having the second highest rate of GDP growth of all BC industries.”
The collected data also supports a number of key conclusions:
The BC technology industry is reaping the benefits of past investments. An engine of growth in BC today, the technology sector is one of the strongest contributors to provincial GDP and creates jobs that pay 66 percent higher wages than the industrial average. BC’s technology sector also has a significantly higher overall economic impact than the province’s primary resource industries. By incenting private investment in the sector, the introduction of programs such as the Small Business Venture Capital tax credit, the angel tax credit, the Interactive Digital Media tax credit and the BC Renaissance Capital Fund have all played significant roles in driving the successes we see today.
The Alberta government has talked diversification for decades with virtually no measurable success. The Notley government can make critically important, practical progress, NOW, with simple tax policy that has worked so successfully in BC and many other regions. What can another Panel tell us? What are we waiting for?
Premier Notley, the KPMG British Columbia Technology Report Card 2014 is available here:
I’ll give you pretty good odds it’s better than anything another panel will tell you, and it’s available today.