The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.
A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.
The Lougheed government invested heavily in numerous government agencies and initiatives to kick-start the industry and ensure development of the oil sands would return benefits to Albertans. The Klein government, on the other hand, accepted wholesale the recommendations of an industry-dominated task force to scale back government involvement and leave decisions about the pace and scale of development almost exclusively to the private sector.
The report notes that it is important for Albertans to understand the history of a resource that is so important to one stakeholder in order to ensure the broader public interest is considered.
The report can be found at policyalternatives.ca/oilsands-history