CALGARY – A report from the Fraser Institute suggests Alberta is doing little to save for a rainy day through its Heritage Savings and Trust Fund.
The independent, non-partisan Canadian think-tank says over the years, Alberta governments have saved little of the province’s resource revenue, leaving it far short compared to similar funds in Alaska and Norway.
The institute’s report says that in 2011, the heritage fund was valued at $14.2 billion – not much more than its $12.7-billion value in 1987 when the province stopped making deposits linked to resource revenue.
It also says if Alberta implemented Alaska-like rules for contributions after balancing the provincial budget in 1995, contributions would have equaled $31.8 billion instead of $3.9 billion between 1995 and 2011.
The report notes that between 1977 and 2011, the heritage fund earned $31.3 billion on its assets, but the Alberta government withdrew $29.6 billion.
Jason Clemens, the institute’s executive vice-president and co-author of the study, says in a release that the province should follow Alaska’s example and ensure a specific percentage of resource revenue is placed in the fund each year.