June 29, 2020
We are months now into the pandemic and recession in Alberta and it can be awfully easy to slip into a pessimistic mindset about our current and future state. The daily dose of negativity through our news feeds can make it hard to see a positive path forward. But the ACR’s Mid-Year Meeting, held virtually on June 18th, gave me a sense of optimism and renewed strength of conviction about our industry and our province.
The ACR was pleased to have Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Todd Hirsch, Vice President and Chief Economist for ATB Financial and Jack Mintz, Chair of the Alberta Economic Recovery Council, provide their perspectives and insights into our current and future economic state. It was a fascinating conversation. For anyone who missed it, you can watch it here.
While all our presenters agreed that the road to economic recovery would not be quick or easy, they did express optimism about the prospects for natural resources and the sector’s value to our future prosperity as a province and country. From the presentations and conversation, I took away several themes where ACR and its members can contribute:
- The resource industry and Albertans are entrepreneurial and innovative. We will take this time to come up with new ideas, inventions, processes and apply them to our business. We need to work together with trade organizations, innovation networks, researchers, and others to improve how we extract, process, and transport our resources.
- There is no better time than now for our sector to push for and provide thoughtful, smart changes to long overdue regulatory challenges. We have the expertise and ability to help governments and regulators maintain the high-quality regulatory system we’re known for while removing restrictions on businesses that add cost without improving social or environmental outcomes.
- Think and plan for the future. The industry has had to pivot and come up with new strategies; we should be encouraging governments to consider doing the same. The policy agenda must adapt to what we face now. New jobs and investment will be critical as we face mounting debts as a province and country.
- We must show support and pride for our resource industry and the people who work in the sector. Alberta has a diversified portfolio of natural resources: gas, oil, bitumen, metallurgical coal, industrial minerals, forestry, wind/solar/ hydro power generation. Couple these resources with our highly educated workforce and it’s a powerhouse for economic renewal. Industry must continue to show, not just tell the story about our value and values.
I look forward to more discussion with ACR members and other partners on how we might be able to action these themes and provide concrete solutions that support the resource industry as a catalyst for economic recovery and renewal. Your ideas and comments are always welcome.
Please stay safe and well.