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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

smart savings recommended.

The report of the Alberta Financial Investment and Planning Advisory Commission has been released, and includes seventeen recommendations that look pretty smart at a glance (haven't had a chance to look in detail yet).


Anonymous said...


You and your leader have tried making a lot of hay out of Alberta's "lack of a saving strategy" lately ... but I remain 100 per cent convinced had Klein/Stelmach reigned in spending when oil was peaking, Taft and the Liberal benches would be HOWLING about the Tories not addressing our infrastructure, health care, education needs when the provinces coffers were fat.

I'll even write the talking points for you:

• While our roadways crumble, our schools detriorate, and our hospitals overflow, the Tories continue to sock away oil money to pad the Heritage Trust Fund in some kind of ideological pursuit of financial might.

• Albertans have real needs that require real action, and we have the financial capacity to address them now.

• Now is not the time to be hoarding wealth when so many issues need immediate attention.

The beauty part for the Liberals is they would have been "right" no matter what they said. If they had stuck with those attacks, right now they'd look golden because Alberta would have missed it's window of opportunity to invest and the problems would remain, while the HTF continues to lose value because of the financial crisis.

Instead, they've chosen to complain that the Tories have spent too much. Looks like a legitimate gripe given the current financial reality, but it doesn't wash. You can't ignore problems in your own backyard just because of what might happen to the neighbourhood down the road.

The bottom line is governing isn't as easy as complaining. The reality is spending had to be done. When you've got the cash and you've got the priorities, you have to spend. The government has made smart investments, especially in infrastructure, that couldn't have been done any other time that needed to be done.

Should we have saved more? Ideally. But pragmatically it was never in the cards.

PS - I swear to God if I hear one more half-wit say we should be more like Norway, I'm going to lose it.

daveberta said...

"You and your leader have tried making a lot of hay out of Alberta's "lack of a saving strategy" lately ..."

Well, as much as anonymous blog commenters would like to talk about how influential I am, I don't speak for anyone else, but I've been spending time writing about how Alberta should take the lead of energy giants like BP and invest in renewable energy, rather than spending $2 billion on ridiculous concepts like Carbon Capture and Sequestration. As I recently wrote, BP is pulling out of Carbon Capture in the UK to instead invest in wind and renewable energy markets in the US.

I agree with Jack Mintz, and Peter Lougheed, that we need to save more, but I also believe that there's no reason that Alberta and Canada can't be ahead of the international curve in developing innovation and research markets to sell renewable energy production strategies around the world.

Anonymous said...

To the top poster: it's too bad you had to drag this into partisan sniping. Outside the Legislature, the consensus is pretty clear across the spectrum - Parkland Institute, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, C.D. Howe Institute, Canada West, etc. - the province needs a solid savings strategy for oil and gas revenue.

I will grant you that comparisons to Norway generally come from an uninformed point of view. It would be easy to save all of our resource dollars if we had a 20-something% sales tax and income taxes reaching close to 50%.

Anonymous said...

Dave, a little research might have been in order before you made the claim about BP above. BP dropped plans for wind farms (not CCS projects) in the UK because there were better renewable energy project incentives in the US. BP is heavily involved in carbon capture and storage projects at In Salah in Algeria and Sleipner field offshore Norway. Earlier this year, they renewed their partnership with Princeton on the Carbon Mitigation Initiative, which is researching, among other things, CCS. "Energy giants like BP" clearly don't believe carbon capture and storage is a "ridiculous concept."

daveberta said...

Anonymous, I guess it's too bad the Wall Street Journal didn't do their research, then.

Anonymous said...

Dave, read the two stories you used to back up your claim that CCS is a ridiculous concept. WSJ did do their research, in fact, and here's a quote...

"Mr. Nicholas said the decision on the demonstration project didn't reflect a change in BP's views on carbon capture. He said BP remained committed to Hydrogen Energy, its 50-50 joint venture with mining giant Rio Tinto PLC, which is developing two carbon-capture projects, one in California and the other in Abu Dhabi. Hydrogen Energy abandoned plans for a CCS plant in western Australia earlier this year after it failed to find geological formations suitable for long-term storage of CO2.

BP also said this week that it wouldn't be pursuing wind power initiatives in the U.K., concentrating instead on the U.S. where it said the economics made more sense. BP already has a large development portfolio in the U.S., with 15,000 megawatts of capacity."

You really hate it when people point out you're wrong, don't you?

It's too bad, because I really do enjoy your blog and the posts on it, though i disagree with approximately 99 per cent of it.

Have a nice day, Dave.

daveberta said...

So, BP is pulling out of Carbon Capture in UK? I believe that was my point.

And I continue to believe that carbon capture is a ridiculous idea. Cutting back on creating the carbon in the first place should be the goal, not coming up with a simplistic idea about burying it underground.

Also, no one likes being wrong and I'm not afraid being corrected. If I were, I'd probably delete your comment. So, at least I'm not being anonymous about my opinion.

used to be crazy about eddie. said...

Anonymous, you continue the typical PC arguments. Do you agree with the Alberta Financial Investment and Planning Advisory Commission recommendations? As you're probably sitting in some cozy office in the Legislature maybe you can also explain to Albertans why it took Iris Evans 11 months to release the report?

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that people in Alberta can have different opinions without someone else jumping all over them.