In 1996, Alberta’s Heritage Trust fund was worth C$14 billion. Alaska’s similar fund was valued at C$27 billion and Norway’s amounted to C$11 billion.
Although it was the least valuable 23 years ago, the size of Norway’s national wealth fund in 2019 is 16 times that of Alaska’s and 78 times the amount of Alberta’s fund.
Difference here is that when it set natural resource taxation policy, Norway’s government was not in the pockets of extraction industries, like certain governments of western North America, British Columbia included.
BC now realizes almost nothing from fossil fuel production and less than nothing if you include direct and hidden subsidies plus accrued liabilities owed producers.
Norway made a choice to take a material share of oil and gas revenues and distribute the value of its non-renewable resources to citizens over multiple generations. Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan chose to benefit whichever corporations happened to be involved when production of oil and gas took place.
Today, Norway is an investment powerhouse that is divesting itself from oil and gas investments and aiming for carbon neutrality in a decade.
In full climate change denial mode, Canada’s federal government and three western provinces aim to ramp up production of fossil fuels. Canada is spending $15 billion on pipeline capacity. BC is building the $12 billion Site C dam to power gas fields and LNG plants, and subsidizing producers in other ways. Alberta just boosted the net incomes of tar sands companies by $2 billion through corporate tax cuts and is reducing environmental standards and regulatory oversight.
No surprise that in 2018, the Reputation Institute reported an international decline in perceptions of Canada’s government, economy, and environment.
Even worse, many Canadians know that our greed is sacrificing the futures of our own children and grandchildren.