Alberta’s Technology Economic Diversification #joke #ABVote #notPC
In the early wee hours of Albertans going to vote for the 2015 provincial election, I find myself giving political voice publicly for … like … the first time ever. Why? This is an important election for our li’l province. Our Alberta needs to diversify and the PC party has failed to do so; almost to the extent of some type of bad ongoing joke with a punchline that never stops.
So, it’s important to vote #notPC, especially in Calgary. I’ll probably make a few enemies here, but keep reading and see if my logic is working. I write because I care.
FIRST, my main message is: VOTE TODAY. Of the 2.5 million people in Alberta that are eligible to vote, only 54% of Albertan’s voted in last election to decide the future of our province? I don’t get this. It’s crazy. Why not vote and have a say in your future? Dunno where to vote? Click here: http://map.elections.ab.ca/. Anyway, I digress.
Yes! Vote today. But, when you vote, don’t vote for the PCs.
Vote NDP. Or Wildrose. Or Alberta Party. Chaos will not occur. Well maybe. But certainly no less than the entitled PCs. Head in the (oil) sand. We’re fricked either way … I say let’s bring in new blood. Let others rule for a bit. PCs will most likely be back in power in 4 years with a much deserved slap on the wrist. Or, maybe the new party will have a good go at it.
PC’s Lip Service to Alberta Diversification
So, I’m done with the PCs. My beef? Economic diversification. They blew it. They had plenty of time. They could’ve. They should’ve. They blew it. And, now that the oil price has tanked, it’s painfully obvious how deeply the PCs blew economic diversication.
- In 2008, I wrote an article for Techvibe.com titled “Calgary’s Simmering High-Tech Community Set to Explode” and the ensuing years, the PCs failed to pour fuel on the fire.
- Also in 2008, I reported “Premier Stelmach on Track to Invigorate Alberta High-Tech” based on a task-force report containing 7 recommendations to Doug Horner, then Minister of Education and Technology (May 2007). As I noted then “Task Force’s make their recommendations … and then wait for the political machinery to turn, if at all” and I had high hopes. #haha
- I wrote a follow-up in 2011. “Calgary’s Simmering High-Tech Community Set to Explode – Part 2” and again, in the ensuing years, the PCs failed to stimulate a diversified economy. For the record, the same thing exploding was happening in Edmonton … that’s where the highly-celebrated Startup Edmonton was born.
- In 2012, I wrote a forth article. An open letter: “Dear Premier Redford: Tax Credit for Investments in Technology Companies in Alberta?“ in which I (and many others in the community like Trent Johnson from Hookflash and Randy Thompson from VAAngels) suggested that adopting a Technology Tax Credit, like the one in B.C., would spur the Alberta diversification plan. In the time period since 2012, B.C. has spawned 4 different technology companies with over $1B market cap. Vancouver alone has more than 800 companies in digital film, animation and visual effects, video games, mobile content and applications, and e-learning, generating $3 billion in revenue annually.
Technology Tax Credit in Alberta? The silence is deafening.
“Albertaʼs challenge is to support a strong oil and gas industry and leverage the strength of this sector to broaden and diversify Albertaʼs economy.” Government of Alberta Strategic Plan 2011-2014.
@AccelerateAB conference in Calgary, April 28 and 29, 2015
Fast-forward to 2015, where we saw over 500 of Alberta’s technical elite gather at AccelerateAB in Calgary last week.
Alberta’s technology community continues to swim in a sea of oil and gas.
When oil prices drop, and EVERYONE screams “Oil Prices are Falling!!!” and “We must diversify” … no one … really mentions, well, lip service to … the technology industry. All we do is repeatedly lament “Oil Prices are Falling” … as if repeating it will somehow make the situation better.
The tech industry has been diversifying signicantly despite the PC party and it’s failure to pour fuel on the fire.
Yes, we have the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (http://www.alberta-enterprise.ca/) and the $100M Accelerator fund. And a smattering of other things like AITF vouchers and commericalization funding (http://www.albertatechfutures.ca/). Drop in the bucket.
Are you kidding me? $100M for Alberta’s technology industry while the oil industry sees billions in tax credits and subsidies? Not to mention that the Alberta PC’s have failed to collect on $13 billion of royalty revenue in the last five years. That would pay for a LOT of technology diversification. Also hospitals and education and stuff.
Can you imagine if Alberta REALLY wanted to tackle economic diversification by supporting technology?
The Alberta technology industry is poised to make it’s mark globally. We just need a government that has the courage to realize it.