Sunday, March 10, 2013
The last competent premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, understood the downsides of becoming addicted to fossil fuel revenues and he offered his wisdom free of charge to anyone who would listen. Nobody did - not Ralph Klein, not "Special Ed" Stelmach, and not Alison Redford either. Even the self-proclaimed economist prime minister wouldn't listen.
And that's why the government of Alberta is plunged into fiscal calamity once again.
It's all in that classic Alberta bumper sticker that reads, "Dear God, give us just one more oil boom and, this time, we promise we won't piss it away." And then, when the boom comes, you're like Lucy spotting the football for Charlie Brown.
But that's not what brings me to write, Alberta. It's this bit of news gleaned from BBC. It's about one of those northern European welfare states that Steve Harper has been so fond of mocking, Norway. Guess what? Norway's oil-revenue based, sovereign wealth fund grew at 13.4% last year, it's second-biggest growth in history.
So, let's see: rightwing, free-enterprise Alberta is dead broke but nanny-state Norway is up to its neck in kroner.
The Central Bank said the fund's investments in shares jumped by 18.1% in 2012, boosted by soaring equity indexes around the world.
It is now worth 3.8tn krone (£450bn; $670bn), up from 3.3tn krone in 2011.
Norway's fund invests the money from its huge oil industry in the nation's future.
The sovereign wealth fund is now 40% bigger than the value of the entire Norwegian economy. If it was invested inside the nation, this would cause distortions like massive inflation.
Wow, sounds like Norway has read the Peter Lougheed Plan. They invest their oil revenue. Their accumulated investment is now far greater than their entire economy. They understood that injecting that revenue into their own economy would cause damaging distortions like massive inflation.
That's another good reason why British Columbians should properly reject your pipeline demands. You can't be trusted with the money anyway. You're like children, irresponsible children. You're not to be trusted. If you can't handle your own money why on earth should we trust you not to make a mess of our environment?
You're not to be trusted. You're not Norway after all.