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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Looks Like Albertan's Are Back to Being "Blue-Eyed Arabs"

I find gems every now and then in Hansard. Most of my readers have lives and do not spend a lot of time on the detailed happenings in the Legislature, I do for professional reasons and often come across these gems. I will share them from time to time.

One that struck me was Kevin Taft's speech in reply to the Budget. He puts the petroleum wealth of Alberta in terms of how much there is for each Albertan. Our total reserves may be second to Saudi Arabia, which I would dispute - the Saudi's have not really updated reserve estimates for decades. Kevin Taft put reserve comparisons in per capita terms. Here is an excerpt from his speech on April 23rd:

Dr. Kevin Taft Alberta Liberal Leader - MLA Edmonton Riverview
"Alberta’s petroleum riches are even more impressive when measured against Alberta’s small population; on a per capita basis Alberta has 51,900 barrels of recoverable oil reserves, tops in the world. In other words, for our small population, per capita we have the largest oil reserves
in the world. Second is Kuwait, then the United Arab Emirates, and then Qatar. Saudi Arabia, which we always assume is incredibly wealthy in petroleum, actually ranks fifth on a list of petroleum wealth per capita. Alberta ranks first."

"I think that’s something we should all remember when we’re weighing out how we manage this
wealth. Now, that’s just oil reserves. If you add in natural gas reserves, our wealth rises even higher. Natural gas reserves are almost 57 trillion cubic feet, and there’s perhaps another 500 trillion cubic feet of coal-bed methane. So we have here staggering wealth."

Iris Evans in a recent speech to the Edmonton Glenora and Riverview PC party faithful noted this "managing our future, savings and long term investment policy" is going to be the focus of her time as Alberta's Minister of Finance. By the looks of it Albertans will need a new mind set to think long term. Adopting a Genuine Progress Indicator model of measuring real growth - not just GDP would be a great place to start a change of mind set.