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Economic strategy sets Alberta’s future course

A new report offers a road map designed to lead Alberta to economic prosperity.
The Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy on Thursday released its report that includes five key initiatives it says will allow Alberta to broaden its economic base.
“We don‘t claim to have a monopoly on the best ideas,” council chairman Dr. David Emerson said in a news conference. “But we’ve given it our best shot.”
One of the key initiatives is starting a “Shaping the Future” fund of non-renewable energy revenue.
Emerson said revenue from non-renewable sources such as oil and gas accounts for 30 per cent of government spending on operations.
“That is not sustainable,” Emerson said.
The initiatives also include creating a global centre for energy; establishing an Alberta institute for advanced technology; and creating a new Alberta water authority.
The council also recommends ensuring aboriginal young people achieve parity of education outcomes.
Premier Ed Stelmach said while Albertans do a good job of long term planning, there is a need to prepare for a future that is three decades away.
“The recent financial crisis sharpened the need for a long term plan,” Stelmach said.
Stelmach welcomed the findings and recommendations in the report titled, “Shaping Alberta’s Future.”
“It’s a report to foster dialogue, to have conversations across Alberta,” Stelmach said.
Stelmach started the process by striking a council of “the best people.”
In addition to Emerson, the council included David Dodge, Elyse Allan, Bob Brawn, John Bell, Juan Enriquez, James Gray, Clive Mathers, Anne McClellan, Courtney Pratt, Lorne Taylor and Jennifer Welsh.
“We brought all these people together and we turned them loose,” Stelmach said.
Stelmach asked the council to determine how to ensure future generations enjoy even greater opportunities than Albertans have already enjoyed.
“The world is changing and Alberta needs to change too,” Stelmach said. “It’s all about leveraging our advantages.”
Emerson said the process shows how much faith Stelmach has in Albertans.
“Albertans generally have an appetite, a willingness and a desire to look out into the future,” Emerson said.
Emerson said council members shared a deep attachment and commitment to Alberta.
“There are no dissenting opinions in this report,” Emerson said. “It is a report we are unanimous on.”
The report is organized under five themes.

  • Realizing the full potential of energy resources and ensuring Albertans benefit from energy development as long as possible while addressing environmental impacts and entering new markets.
  • Broadening the economic base by delivering new products and services into new markets, outside the U.S.
  • Preparing to prosper in a global economy by ensuring Albertans are lifelong learners, healthy and globally informed.
  • Providing a strong platform to sustain economic growth through wise management of water and land, and reliable transportation and communication systems to support global interaction.
  • Investing in shaping the future with a strategic, disciplined approach to managing resource wealth.

“In each of these thematic areas we have what we call flagship initiatives,” Emerson said.

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