The United States faces an “uncomfortably high” risk of falling into a recession, says former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, but Alberta could be immune to the worst impacts if that happens.
Carney made the remarks at the Alberta Recovery event held at the BMO Center on Tuesday, a conference billed as focused on shaping Alberta’s economic future. About 300 people were present.
Carney, who is now vice chairman of Brookfield Asset Management, called the risk of the United States falling into recession “uncomfortably high” but predicted it would not reach the severity of the 2008 financial crisis.
“It’s not 2008 [because there’s not] a bunch of big imbalances in the system,” Carney said as part of a keynote.
Carney also said Alberta and Canada could be part of a solution to severely shaken global energy markets.
In the Alberta government’s latest fiscal update on Tuesday, soaring oil and gas prices paved the way for a $3.9 billion surplus, a figure that will spark much debate over what you have to deal with such a large influx of cash.
Challenges and opportunities in the energy sector were one of the dominant topics of the one-day conference, and more specifically in relation to decarbonization.
Lisa Raitt, a former Conservative cabinet minister who is now vice president of global investment banking at CIBC, said affordability remains the “Achilles’ heel” of decarbonisation.
“There’s a great understanding of ‘why’ we’re doing it – we’re convinced of why we need to do net zero, we’re convinced of why we need to decarbonise…but the question that remains is the following: how?” said Raitt, one of the keynote speakers.
“The how comes from industry, but the how also comes from politicians and politics.”
Raitt said conservatives needed to stop fighting over carbon pricing, calling it a “shining object” – comments that drew applause in the room. However, she said she would support a fuel tax break to help consumers.
In a separate keynote, Lisa Baiton, who took over as President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in April, said she hoped to “reignite” the conversation around the oil and gas industry.
Baiton, who was previously a member of the global leadership team at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, took over as head of CAPP as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to debates underway on energy security.
“Our industry is transforming for a new era,” Baiton said in his first public remarks in the new role, adding that the lobby group’s goal is to position Canada as a responsible global energy supplier while by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In an interview after his speech, Baiton said CAPP is focused on providing ideas and solutions to today’s energy challenges.
“We’re going to do a better job of telling the story of all the really great innovations happening in the sector that have already made a demonstrable difference in reducing GHG emissions,” she said.
Concerns about energy sector issues are top of mind for many Albertans. A new poll released Tuesday in Alberta Relaunch by Janet Brown Opinion Research indicated that 16% of those polled thought these issues were among the most important facing the province today.
Questions related to the energy sector were outranked by respondents when it comes to the economy (19%), health care (25%) and inflation (41%).
“I wasn’t surprised to see that inflation came out on top, but that trend has accelerated in Alberta,” Scott Crockatt, vice president of the Business Council of Alberta, said at a table. round about the results of the investigation. . “It’s also a big concern for businesses.”
Crockatt says he says the same thing to his members and to any political party looking for success: look for what unites Albertans.
“We would say a home province, a place of opportunity and a place of solutions – the kind of place that can solve the next challenge,” he said. “So I think the message for business leaders and political leaders is that anyone who can align with that future of the province has a strong chance of succeeding.”
The event was organized by the Calgary-based public relations firm New West Public Affairs, headed by Monte Solberg, a former Conservative cabinet member under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Other speakers included Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and Ian Brodie, Harper’s former chief of staff.