What makes it especially hilarious is the knowledge that, when they do get an energy boom, when they do make a little money, they blow it seemingly as fast as they can throw it away. Not for nothing do they keep a stock of those bumper stickers that read "Dear God, please give us just one more oil boom and, this time, we promise we won't piss it all away." That should be on their licence plates, the provincial motto. We won't piss it all away but just as sure as Lucy pulls the football when Charlie Brown is about to kick the field goal, piss it all away they do.
Which is why Alberta is constantly financially tits up. They can't handle money.
Which is also why they don't like to dwell on little Norway. Norway is a little bigger, 5.2 million to Alberta's 4.3 million. Like Alberta it also extracted a good bit of conventional oil, admittedly from the sea bed of the North Sea. Norway did not have billions of barrels of bitumen in addition to that conventional oil.
But Norway does have something that Alberta will never have. It has money. It listened to Peter Lougheed and today it holds the world's largest sovereign wealth fund.
The Norse have been pretty shrewd about handling their money, holding on to it, helping it grow. You could say they've done the opposite of what Alberta does.
Now Norway, seeing the writing on the wall, is moving to divest its fossil fuel holdings.
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, which manages $1tn (£786bn) of Norway’s assets, has been given the go ahead for the largest fossil fuel divestment to date by dropping more than $13bn of investments.
Norway’s parliament voted plans into law on Wednesday for the fund to dump investments in eight coal companies and an estimated 150 oil producers.
...It will, however, retain stakes in oil companies which are limiting their exposure to fossil fuels by investing in clean energy technologies. These include BP and Shell, but rule out London-listed North Sea companies including Premier Oil and Tullow Oil.
It will also step back from any company which generates more than 10GW of electricity from coal, or mines more 20m tonnes of thermal coal a year.
Alongside the breakthrough for fossil fuel divestment, the fund will for the first time have a legal mandate to invest directly in renewable energy projects rather than listed energy companies. The legislation empowers it to invest up to $20bn, beginning with wind and solar projects in developed markets.
...Norway’s oil fund has for years told the government that failure to sever ties with high-carbon companies could squander Norway’s state pension fund if they rapidly lose value in a lower-carbon world.
The financial risk facing fossil fuel investors has also been raised by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, and François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Banque de France.