Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alberta Needs to Design a New Future for Itself

Nice to see the op-ed in yesterday's Edmonton Journal written by economist Todd Hirsch.  Todd is turning into a first rate public intellectual with his op-ed writing.  Now he and Rob Roach of the Canada West Foundation are planning a new book on the creative economy entitled Re-writing the Code: Changing Canada's Economic DNA.  I am looking forward to it.

With all the changes happening in the world it is imperative for Canada - and Alberta especially - to shift from a virtually sole focus on a resource extraction economy into a more  right-brained economy and society.  The Dave Hancock Inspiring Education initiative as Minister of Education has been a step in the right direction.  The new Literacy Policy and framework for Alberta is now established and needs life breathed into it as a key part of this shift in consciousness.

I have been involved with others in a new initiative that addresses this overarching concern about the future of Alberta in a series of public dialogues entitled Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta.  I encourage you to visit the site and see what we are up to in this effort to influence the future direction of Alberta.

The Premier's Council for Economic Strategy has a discussion paper out that starts to reshape the thinking around Alberta's future too. The Council is focused on six key questions:

  1. What must Alberta do to earn a global reputation as a responsible energy producer and natural resource steward?
  2. How can we ensure the Alberta of the future has a robust, stable economy and fiscal position?
  3. What steps can Alberta take to create new wealth through knowledge and innovation?
  4. How do we ensure we have the healthy skilled and engaged citizens needed to drive innovation and sustain prosperity?
  5. How do we ensure Alberta's urban and rural communities are vibrant, supportive and inclusive?
  6. How can we engage more strategically with the rest of Canada and the world?
All of these question integrate into each other - which is a good thing,  We need a robust and vibrant discussion amongst Albertans on each and every one of them.  There is a place to share your thoughts on these and other concerns with the Premier's Council here.  I strongly recommend you engage and exert some influence on the future of Alberta in this way.  I will be engaging on these questions over the next weeks through this blog and my public speaking opportunities.