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Highlights from Palmer & Palmer, “The Alberta Experience” Main Thesis: - Alberta has experienced fundamental changes, in rapid succession, with little.

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Presentation on theme: "Highlights from Palmer & Palmer, “The Alberta Experience” Main Thesis: - Alberta has experienced fundamental changes, in rapid succession, with little."— Presentation transcript:

1 Highlights from Palmer & Palmer, “The Alberta Experience” Main Thesis: - Alberta has experienced fundamental changes, in rapid succession, with little time to adapt before the next fundamental changes hit.

2 Economic Changes Shifts in the Staples Base of the Provincial Economy fur -> buffalo hides -> beef -> wheat -> oil -> gas -> heavy oil Recurrent Cycles of Boom & Bust 1898Klondike boom 1914Turner Valley 1930sDepression 1950spost-Leduc boom 1970sOPEC boom 1982Recession 1986Oil Price Crash 1994Klein revolution: austerity 1997oil & gas boom

3 Some Profound Social Changes in Alberta Ethnic & Religious Commerce Urbanization The State Social Protest Role of Women

4 External Shocks to Alberta and Vulnerability to Boom and Bust Cycle 1968: Multinational oil companies’ flight to Alaska 1973 ff OPEC price increases Energy war with federal govt. 1980N.E.P. & recession thereafter Early 80s High interest rates 1986Oil price collapse Mid-90s Cutbacks on federal fiscal transfers Alberta has one of the most unstable economies of all the provinces in Canada.

5 Sources of American Influence in Alberta Oil industry’s close links with Houston, Denver, & Oklahoma e.g., U.S. execs; career circuit Early settlement (pre-WWI) by American farmers incl. Mormons; close ties maintained Strong ties btwn fundamentalist religious groups in Alberta & their American counterparts American markets for Alberta’s staples (e.g., gas, wheat, beef) American TV (cable; satellite)

6 Bases of Right-Wing Support in Alberta Nature of the Oil Industry: - large middle class; small blue collar class - integrated w/ USA (Republican influence) Selective In-migration - ardent free-enterprise entrepreneurs - Post WWII in-migration of persons with aversion to left-wing ideas (e.g., refugees from eastern Europe, British, Dutch, Amer.) Frontierism - individualism carried forward to today - mythology of the boundless opportunities of the frontier Economic, religious, & social ties to Republican USA


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