Monday, September 20, 2010

How is the Alberta Economy Working for You?

Took a moment to look back at the Canada West Foundation and Western Centre for Economic Research that was done March 2010 of economic thought leader all over western Canada.  The summer slowdown of the usual informed activist engagement in such matters is only part of the reason.  We have had a lot happening to divert our attention from the economy like the British Petroleum Gulf of Mexico well blow-out, the abolishment of the vital Long Form Census, the Gun Registry political wedge ranting and the mass arrests of demonstrators at the very expensive G20...oh yes...and the Queen's visit. There was some $2Billion of taxpayers money borrowed and blown on bogus security and fake lakes. That made us all feel good and safe as a reckless abuse of political power and responsible fiscal management.

Back in March almost 70% of the 124 Alberta based thought leaders believed our economy would be Much Better (9.7%) or Somewhat Better (59.7%) over the next six months.  Well the six months are over and the next  thought-leader survey will be out in October. and I wonder where the new collected wisdom on the prospects for the Alberta economy in the pending six months will be now.

BTW the Albertan thought leaders were the most pessimistic about the economic prospects for Canada but still 60.2% thought it would be Somewhat Better and nobody thought it would be Much Better.  The federal stimulus money was manipulated to support Conservative candidates and took a long time to get out but I believe overall it has helped avoid a depression and lessen the impacts of a severe recession.

Equally interesting was the thought-leaders overwhelming support for a national securities regulator.  All of the west saw 69.1% in favour and even in Alberta 68.3% favoured this proposal. The official stance of the Alberta government is opposed to a national securities regulator.

An overwhelming 98.7% believed that Canada must pursue new export markets outside the US and 63.6% believed finding news markets should be the highest priority for western Canada.  In terms of the American centred debates over dirty oil from the oil sands that cannot happen soon enough.

There is an ongoing concern of a double dip recession in the US that will impact many of Alberta's markets if it happens.  The other alternative is a long slow growth of the US economy but nobody knows what is rally going to happen.  Confidence in the future is a strong predictor of the economic outcomes, good or bad.  We know from some of our research are Cambridge Strategies that there is not a lot of confidence in our federal MPs to take care of Alberta's interests in Ottawa these days and that makes the mood going forward even more unpredictable.

Looking forward to the next version of this western Canada Economic Expectations survey next month.  IN the mean time why not take the poll on this blog and lets see how readers of this blog predictions align with the experts.

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