Alberta must take bold steps: premier

Alberta’s outgoing premier is warning that Canada’s trade reliance on the U.S. market puts it into a “vulnerable position” and that our southern neighbour is many years away from full economic recovery.

CALGARY — Alberta’s outgoing premier is warning that Canada’s trade reliance on the U.S. market puts it into a “vulnerable position” and that our southern neighbour is many years away from full economic recovery.

Premier Ed Stelmach, who announced last week he would be stepping down before the next election, told a business luncheon in Calgary that Alberta needs to take bold steps now to grow its share of the economic pie.

“The message we should take from the financial crisis of 2008 and the global recession is that Canada and Alberta are far too reliant on one market to sustain the kind of incomes and social programs we have come to expect,” he told a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“Waiting for the U.S. to find its way is not going to be good enough this time.”

Stelmach said although trade relations with the United States have been successful in recent years there have been some bumps in the road — most significantly opposition from environmental groups and some U.S. politicians to importing what they refer to as “dirty oil” from Alberta’s oilsands.

The oilsands are the world’s second-largest crude oil reserve.

Stelmach said the United States is a long way from good, economic health and it could be many years or even a decade before that happens.