The Alberta tar sands are looking more like quicksand these days. The Alberta government originally projected six months ago they'd have an $8.5-billion budget surplus this year; they now admit they'll have to kick in $1 billion of extra cash to avoid being in the red. Alberta, most recently the Provincial juggernaut in Canada because of their abundance of oil, are now in a recession based purely on an inability to diversify.
Like any smart business person knows, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to have your company rely on one client to provide the majority of your revenue. The minute the client cancels, you can pretty much say goodnight to your business as a whole. Running a province is about as big a business as you can operate, and due to poor management during their boom period, many Albertans will now find themselves a casualty of government's failure to see past their short-term riches.
I think Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason said it best, "For years this government has put their friends in the oil and gas industry before ordinary Albertans and their families," Mason said. "Today we're paying the cost."
Manitoba on the other hand is well-diversified across many industries, and we are well-positioned to weather the economic storm. Of course, we're not untouchable, however we have been able to avoid the yo-yoing that occurs when too dependant on one industry.
Imagine for a a moment that Winnipeg business was as reliant on Canada's leading media company CanWest Global as Albertans are on the oil and gas sector. With reports of looming bankruptcy, and the potential of the Asper family losing company control, Winnipeggers would soon be moving West cheering Green this labour day weekend.
So for all you ex-pat Manitobans with big dreams of big money in Alberta I say this ... you always have a home in Friendly Manitoba. See you soon!