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Comparing Alberta to other energy rich regions: Fraser Institute study

Alberta is doing well economically but it could be better, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute.

The study compared Alberta to other energy-rich regions in North America (Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota and Colorado) and found this province finished second in GDP growth and GDP capital growth.

Problems facing Alberta includes government spending, according to the report.

In Alberta right now there is a $763 annual surplus per person, but if you take away energy revenues that number drops to a deficit of $1,600 per person, second last among the regions researched.

Livio Di Matteo is an economics professor and senior fellow with the Fraser Institute. He said the amount of energy wealth Alberta has should mean the province should not run a deficit, but should save money in the Heritage Trust Fund.

“Norway, started its sovereign wealth fund in 1990, and Alberta today has what $16-17 billion squirreled away in its Heritage Fund? Norway has $600 billion,” said Di Matteo.

He said Alberta does not necessarily need to save, but having more in the Heritage Fund would mean Alberta would be in a better position to invest in infrastructure.

Of the seven jurisdictions with a fund like the Heritage Fund, Alberta’s has grown the least.