The key to understanding the dilemma is to realize that Tar Sand, bitumen, is just a part of Alberta's oil history. The province has also produced a vast amount of conventional crude oil. It's actually produced and exported a good deal more conventional crude oil than Norway. That brings us to the starting point of the conversation.
The CBC today features another one of those awkward, cringe-worthy stories about Alberta and Norway and why Albertans are wallowing in another recession while their Norwegian counterparts are sitting on a mountain of wealth. The easy answer is that Albertans, while deeply Conservative, simply can't be trusted to handle money.
By contrast, Alberta’s Heritage Savings Fund, established in 1976 by premier Peter Lougheed, sits at only $17 billion Cdn and has been raided by governments and starved of contributions for years.
“For the last 10 years, when nothing went into the Alberta fund, and we put a lot of money aside, the profit went out of Canada," says Rolf Wiborg, a petroleum engineer who recently retired from Norway’s public service.
Wiborg, who studied at the University of Alberta and worked for a Norwegian oil company before joining Norway’s Petroleum Directorate, says the key to success has been Norway's ethos of sharing and a commitment to never waver from that goal.
“We don’t change our policies in Norway, with changes in the oil price – you can’t do that," he says. “Lougheed’s government in Alberta knew that, they made policies and then they left them behind."
It's one reason why, as a coastal British Columbian, I sense the need to push back hard against the Oil Buffoons from Alberta and Ottawa and their damned pipelines. You can't trust them. They're idiots and I don't trust the safety of my coast to idiots out to make - and yet again piss away - a quick buck. It's like letting a chronic drunk drive your kid's school bus. No, I don't think so.
There's a reason Harper has rendered coastal BC defenceless with his rigged environmental review farce and his extensive stripping of our ecological, fisheries and navigation protections. Each safeguard he steals from us is money in someone else's pocket, someone else in another province or across a vast ocean in a place like, oh I don't know, Beijing. And to know that the money they're trying to stuff into their pockets at our endangerment and expense is just going to be pissed away yet again - well it makes the blood boil.