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					   Community Cooperation or
    Community Collapse: The
  Reality of 21st Century Canada
              April 5, 2006
       Challenge North Conference
           High Level, Alberta
               Mark Partridge
Canada Research Chair in the New Rural Economy
         University of Saskatchewan
       Outline: Why am I here?
1. Alberta in North America
2. ―Alberta Advantage‖: Not Oil, something else
  1. Current strengths
  2. Future challenges: Natural resource booms end!
3. Alberta-Northern Alberta
4. Rural-Urban interdependence
     Need for a New Rural Paradigm.
5. Successful cooperation builds strength
6. Building our communities for tomorrow
      Alberta is in North America
 Success is long-run population growth
  – Combines good economy & quality of life
      People vote with their feet
      Not subjective (not Govt $ budget surplus)
 Looking E-W across Canada is simplistic
  – Globe and Mail view of Alberta is ―plain lucky!‖
 Look North-South to see real patterns
  – Regions cross international borders
  – Great Plains population loss
  – Alberta and BC are in the Rocky Mtn West
           1990s North American Population Growth

Source: Canada Rural Economy Research Lab, 1991 & 2001 Census – Statistics Canada; 1990 & 2000 Census – U.S. Census Bureau.
Notes: The map shows 1990-2000 percent population change for US counties using the U.S. Census of Population. The 1991 -2001 percent population
change for Canadian census divisions use Statistics Canada data and are based on 1996 consistent boundaries.
 Canada‘s Unique pattern:
  – Cities are Canada‘s engine of growth
 Canada‘s Rural development
  – Critical mass
  – Threshold effects
  – Growth poles
 For N. Alberta, this is a challenge and why
  communities need to work together.
            Alberta is booming
 Good times blur long-term challenges
 ―Natural Resources Curse‖
  – Corruption, Bad Institutions, Bad Planning, Dutch
    Disease (ask Alberta manufactures)
  – Natural resource economies fare poorly in the long-
 Nigeria, Venezuela are not growth examples
 Hurricane Katrina revealed Louisiana's poverty
 BC doing as well as AB despite little energy
 Alberta pop. grew faster in the late 1990s
  when energy prices were lower.
  – Rural Canada avg: every 1% greater 1991
    Other Primary Emp share implied -0.35% less
    population growth in 1990s
  –   Source Statistics Canada & Partridge, M.D.; R. Bollman; M.R. Olfert; and A. Alasia. 2005. ―Riding the Wave of Urban Growth in the
      Countryside: Spread, Backwash, or Stagnation.‖ University of Saskatchewan, Canada Rural Economy Research Lab Working Paper.
      Available at

                           1981-2003 Total Job Growth and Share
                           of total employment in Mining 1981
                                                                                       EMP GR= 32.72 - 1.01 MinSh81
                                                                                                   t = 1.88
1981-2003 % Total Employment Growth

                                      60                                               R = 0.071


                                                                      Natural Resources                                                Louisiana
                                                                      do not mean growth                                               Oklahoma
                                      30                                                                                               Texas

                                                                                                                                       West Virginia
                                                                 LA                                                                    Wyoming
                                      10                                   WV

                                           0   2      4          6           8            10            12            14          16
                                                   % Share of 1981 Total Employment in Mining

           Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Retrieved on February 21, 2005                    8
                1981-2003 Total Job Growth and Share of 1981
                Employment in Other Primary Industries
                                                                                                                                 With Alberta:
                                                                                                                                 EMP GR =25.2 - 0.13 MinSh81
1981-2003 % Total Employment Growth

                                      35                                                            BC                                       t = 0.12
                                                              ON                                 PE                        AB    R = 0.0017

                                      25                                                          NB
                                                                QC                         NS
                                                             MB                        Natural Resources
                                                                                       do not mean growth
                                      15                                                                                                        NL
                                                                                                                                Without Alberta:
                                                                                                                                EMP GR = 26.0 - 0.50 MinSh81
                                                                                                                                             t = 0.43
                                                                                                                                R = 0.026
                                           0                   2                4              6                8               10                             12
                                                                   % Share of 1981 Total Employment in Other Primary Industries
                                      Source: Before 1987; Labour Force Historical Review CDROM 2002 Table Cd1t05an
                                      After and including 1987; Labour Force Historical Review CDROM 2003 Table Cd1t07an

                             Wyoming: Alberta on Steroids!

AB 1981-2004 population growth                                             39.6%

         AB 1981 mining share          7.13%

                                  WY’s greater natural resource intensity did
                                  not produce faster growth

WY 1981-2004 population growth    3%

         WY 1981 mining share                  14.43%

                             0%   5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%
What causes the Alberta Advantage?

 Good business climate & entrepreneur spirit
 Having two dynamic large cities:
    – Calgary and Edmonton
   Wonderful western amenities
   Strong human capital/education base.
   I think the 1st two are more important
   (Note: Northern Alberta is different, but it is
    < 1/10th of province‘s population)
 Alberta is doing something right!
 Alberta is not lucky. Booms at all times.
      Globe and Mail needs an economics lesson
  – Instead of ‘Alberta Envy’ the rest of Canada
    needs some ‘Alberta Emulation’
 Oh yeah, the Confederation is not going to
  fall apart due to Alberta prosperity
  – i.e., every doc is not going to move to Alberta
  – Another Albertan job does not steal other jobs
   But, I am not here to pander
 Commodity prices are cyclical.
  – What goes up, must come down.
  – I remember the 1980s crash living in Wyoming
 The current energy boom will end too.
 We must plan for the bust today when we
  have the resources.
 Hardest to plan when times are sooo good.

          What is Northern Alberta?
   Not just a latitude: i.e. North of 55°N, but also attitude
   Natural resources—oil sands
   Forestry, mining, farming
   Wide open spaces (lack of large cities)
   Large First Nation/Aboriginal population
   Many opportunities to build on
    – Consulting
    – Tourism
    – Unique quality of life

2001 Population Density per km2

1996-2001 % Population Change

N. Alberta 1996-2001 % Pop. Change

1996-2001 Sask % Population Change

1996 Agriculture Employment Share

Sask. 1996 Agriculture Employment Share

1996 Employment Share in Other Primary

1996 Employment Share in Other Primary

         What have we learned?
 Northern Alberta‘s population is growing.
  – Something is going right, even with low commodity
    prices over ‘96-‘01 period.
 Northern Alberta is reliant on natural resources
  – Didn‘t Mark say that was bad
 In the next decade, Northern Albertan
  communities should diversify.
  – If not, the next crash will be really hard!

 First Nation/Aboriginals
 Education and unique mgmt experience
 Northern Alberta is fortunate to be tied to the
  broader ―Alberta Advantage.‖
  – Flexible
  – Pro-growth
  – Pragmatic
  – High amenities

%Pop Share with University Degree:
Age 15 & over

%Pop with Aborig. Ethnicity

 Opportunities to meet future needs
 Today‘s natural resource boom means
  finances are there.
 Enhance quality of life
  – Retain current population after boom. (not like WY)
  – Attract new/different population.
 Shift front-office work north from Calgary
  – Unique natural resource human capital
  – Become mgmt consultants for the world‘s oil sands
  – Diversify to other mgmt consulting
  – Can‘t be engineers living/working out of trailers
    More strategic opportunities
 Northern tourism is still mostly untapped
  – This region is a unique jewel
  – Opportunities to mkt to Americans
 Better integration of First Nations into
  regional development—win-win strategy.
 Weakness of mine or any Northern plan:
  – Not enough regional cooperation, weak
    critical population mass.
  – Cities are Canada’s engines of growth
Communities must band together
 Canadian population growth takes place
  near urban areas of at least 10,000 people
 Regions can band together to achieve
  critical mass.
  – community clusters striving to attain critical
  – Community clusters likely need > 10,000 people
 Most growth is in the 100km circles around
  urban centres.

1996-2001 Population Growth and Urban
Centres in the Prairie Provinces

                            Yellow highlighted areas are census agglomeration areas (10,000+)
                            or census metropolitan areas (100,000+).
           How can we cooperate?
 This can be formal: consolidation of gov‘ts
  – Need a consensus
  – Must reflect broad regional needs
        Transportation of people/access to urban services--not just resources
        Environment/Land use
        Economic development
        Education/health
        Quality of life initiatives
        Increased political clout for common interests
 Alberta does this better! Sask has a major problem,
  too many communities would rather die than

 Overlay regional govt on top of municipalities
  – Economic Development Authorities
  – Transportation—critical to support the energy economy
    and to begin to build community clusters
 Nongovernment approaches
  – Larger organizations such as Chambers of Commerce,
    volunteer organizations
 Need to build regional identity
  – Despite the interdependence of communities, too many
    towns think as if they are an island.

  Northern Alberta Communities
 There are only 3 Northern ―growth poles‖
  – If broad regional mentality does not sink in, the
    next commodity crash will be painful.
  – i.e., inadequate institutions to address the
    economic downfall and fiscal shortfall.

 Alberta does regionalism better
 Ft. McMurray/Wood Buffalo is a great
  example of creating a region that pulls in all
 In Sask., on the informal level, Action
  Southwest is a proactive group that has
  banded together a LARGE number of
  – Greater Calgary is trying to informally cooperate
 Greater Gander and N.E. Newfoundland
 Outlook, Sask is a great example of 1st Nation
  opportunities being integrated into regional plan.
  – One hour south of Saskatoon, they see Saskatoon as an
 Humboldt, Sask is an example of successfully
  implementing leadership training.
  – Must be ‗informed‘ action based on actual trends of
    Canadian urbanization.
 Don‘t pick examples based on media stories
  – Ibbitson 2005 columns in Globe and Mail
      Davidson, SK is dying and lacks leadership
      Neighbouring Craik has visionary leaders and is thriving.
      But, the facts are that Davidson is actually doing better in population
       growth (1991-2001).

  Northern Alberta Growth Poles
 Northern Alberta has 3 natural ―growth pole‖
  regions and 1 transportation corridor:
 Fort McMurray/Wood Buffalo
 ―Cold Lake-Athabasca‖ linking to Edmonton
 Grande Prairie-High Prairie-Peace River
 High Level N-S/E-W transportation corridor
  – Needs linkage to Northern BC

 Alberta Advantage is not luck
  – Don‘t lose sight of that and fritter away this
 Natural resource economies do not fare well in
  the long-run.
  – Alberta and Northern Alberta must use their wealth
    to build a different/diverse economy

 Enhanced quality of life linked with opportunities to
  integrate First Nations and upgrade oil sands
  expertise presents opportunities
   – This retains the high-educated workforce that has
     migrated to Northern Alberta.
   – Cities are Canada‘s long-run engines of growth and
   – Northern Alberta communities must cooperate to build
     critical mass for economic, social and political power
 Transportation linkages for access to services and
  markets need to be enhanced.
   – Remoteness is an impediment for N. Alberta

   Lesson:
   Northern Alberta is growing and bustling
   But, needs to realign itself for the future
   That is why this conference can lay this
    ground work.

                  Thank you
   Presentation will be posted at
   Canada Rural Economy Research Lab (U of S)
   C-RERL:
   Under presentations sidebar


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