GUNTER: Alberta’s economic future looks bright, despite Trudeau’s mismanagement

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My Wednesday column on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s economic mismanagement was national. It was written to appear in all Sun newspapers across the country.

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And nationally, the economic outlook is as dire as I have described it.

Trudeau’s obsession with climate extremism and rapid government expansion using borrowed money will lead to slower growth and increased inflation for the foreseeable future.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that Canada’s economy will barely stay above the fixed line for nearly a decade as a result of liberal policies.

The good news for Albertans, however, is that despite Trudeau’s best efforts to stifle our province’s economy, the situation here is likely to be noticeably better: better than the national average and better than what our province has. known since 2014, when world oil prices had their big plunge.

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Our province is unlikely to get any credit for it nationally, but over the next 10 years we will likely be leading national job growth again. It won’t be a full-fledged oil boom, but our financial contributions to Ottawa will also help mitigate the damage Trudeau is doing to the national debt.

Alberta’s 7.6 percent unemployment rate is still too high, but is down 3.5 percentage points from the same period last year. The number of Albertans receiving EI benefits has also been cut in half.

Some of this good news in the job market is of course due to the easing of COVID restrictions. And Omicron’s current surge could cause unemployment to rise again in early 2022.

Overall, however, over 100,000 more Albertans are working now than at Christmas last year.

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The price of oil has increased by more than 100%. The price of natural gas too.

The number of barrels taken from the ground has increased by 15% over the past 12 months.

The number of drilling rigs in the field has increased by more than 100% and each rig is drilling an average of four times as many wells as last year.

Retail sales increased eight percent. Restaurant sales increased 18 percent. Again, both are partly due to a recovery from pandemic lockdowns, but also partly because of the overall improvements in the economy.

Personal income is up four percent, the largest increase in the country. That’s not enough to offset the nearly 6% inflation caused by federal policies, but it’s better than the 3% increase in Ontario and two in Quebec.

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The price of wheat rose 40 percent (without “help” from the Canadian Wheat Board in Ottawa). Livestock prices increased by 14% and farm incomes by 15%.

When year-end figures are released in January, Alberta’s GDP is expected to have grown 6.1%, the highest of any province.

There are dark spots.

New vehicle sales fell 12% in 2021. Lumber production is down 13% and is not expected to improve much in the coming year thanks to new tariffs on timber Canadian artwork by Trudeau’s White House pal Joe Biden.

In the coming year, however, Alberta is expected to produce a record amount of oil and bitumen.

Despite Trudeau’s efforts to keep the head of our energy industry underwater, oil production will approach 4 million barrels per day.

Huge new high-tech and petrochemical projects built by Amazon, Infosys, Dow Chemicals and others are expected to lead the way in 2022. And CP Rail, Cenovus, and Arc Resources have all announced major expansions. .

In addition, by the end of 2022 or early 2023, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is expected to be completed.

It is too early to say “Alberta is back”. But there are good reasons to be optimistic.

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