Good thoughts. I am curious about if we took this the other way. What are things we can do locally that don't currently? Our mega export volumes hid the huge deficit of wealth that leaves this province in pretty much every other category. Wealthy Calgarians don't tend to retire in Alberta and keep their wealth here that they accumulating from our resource extraction industry. We probably have the highest % of vacations outside the province. We probably produce the least amount of our own vegetables. We probably buy the most boats, RVs and other toys produced per capita than most places anywhere etc.
The reason for these is two-fold: (1) it's not cost-effective for us to capture more of that business and (2) so much of our population is so wealthy they don't bat an eye at expensive real estate, vacations or purchases anywhere else. Perhaps there is room for self-sustainment and capturing more of the wealth we generate provincially (or at least within Canada). How?
Partly the story may be that folks with less wealth will be forced to cut back on their international trips and houses (more camping, less Cancun). Another part might be an enlightened policy environment that encourages a bunch of growth in industries to increase their cost-effectiveness so that we can generate new exports or at least capture more of the wealth that typically flees this province. A similar approach was done in the provincial favourite, the oil sands. It made no sense without federal investment for decades in the technology and research to make it cost-effective (until now at least). Smaller industries that are bit players today can be scaled up and we could end up with a more diverse and more self-sustaining economy.
Perhaps the future economy is one that is more local focused and self-sustaining, regardless of what level of wealth we find ourselves at.
Yeah...I agree. It's good to support local. But once again we to do something or export something of value.
I think you're right to an extent. It's unwise to tie ourselves to a commodity that fluctuates in price so much. Although, I'm still unsure what we as a province can do to besides Oil and Gas. I like your idea about expanding our post-secondary institutions, but I don't think that will be enough. We don't have many geographical advantages.I keep hearing the argument "we'll never find anything to replace O&G, it's our biggest export, it's the source of Canada's wealth." But my concern is that this decision has already been made for us. Even if peak oil is "years" away (maybe 10-15 years?) the pandemic has already taken away a big chunk of those years. What are the chances that oil prices rise and stay high enough to make major investments in the oil sands economical? Add on top of that the additional costs of having to restart production that was shut down during the pandemic.
The oil sands were already struggling to attract private sector investment prior to COVID. My concern is that the government plunges more and more public money into the industry for ideological reasons rather than trying to put us on better footing to recover from whatever the global economy looks like after this.
Calgary has head offices for Oil and Gas. To a much smaller extent, we're a regional distribution hub. And that's about it.
Edmonton has provincial government jobs and is a manufacturing hub for O&G. And that's about it.
Vancouver is a port city which houses several head offices for mining and forestry companies across the province. The lower mainland is a large agricultural producer and has some light manufacturing. Chinese money and immigration keeps the construction industry humming. This is a geographical advantage.
Toronto is the financial center of Canada. The GTA is home to most of Canada's manufacturing. Also, foreign money and immigration keeps the construction industry humming. This is a geographical advantage.
Ottawa is supported by government jobs and post-secondary.
Montreal has head offices for Quebec companies. I think the greater region has decent manufacturing.
Besides those cities and a few 'hip' towns across the country, there isn't much economic activity in Canada. Without O&G Alberta is bigger version of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Lastly, I'm still uncertain about the future of oil. By 2050 there's going to be about 10 billions humans on this planet. They're all going to want to buy smart phones, and fly places and buy shit from far away. Factories will need lubricants and cars will need to drive on asphalt. Tankers will need diesel and planes will need jet fuel. Once again...I'm not against investing the green energy, but I don't think we can have modernity without fossil fuels.
TL;DR Technology and energy are not the same thing.