They came, they saw, they got it wrong: ‘The Economist’ misunderstands the Alberta economy

[Milke] They came, they saw, they got it wrong: ‘The Economist’ misunderstands the Alberta economy

Opinion
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[MarkMilke.com] David Frum, the Canadian-born author, former speechwriter to George W. Bush and editor at the Atlantic Monthly, once outed The Economist magazine as mostly written by unnamed freelancers who, in the style common to the British-based weekly, used an authoritative tone to persuade readers that its writers know more than they actually do. It was a devastating, but fair observation.

VIDEO: [Rebel Media] Fearless researcher Vivien Krause lays out why and how the Alberta oilpatch has been undermined. [Dec. 14, 2018]


An example of Frum’s assessment—and why it matters—was on full display when the magazine recently slammed Canada’s energy sector. The Economist, in so doing, offered its readers misleading analysis. Its mistakes are relevant—and correcting them important— because the magazine’s readership includes people in elected and corporate head offices around the world. 

So where did The Economist get it wrong?

Let’s start with how in its December attack on energy extraction in Canada (“Justin Trudeau’s climate plans are stuck in Alberta’s tar sands”), the magazine claimed Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is “demanding that the federal government speed up construction of a new pipeline to the west coast.” This was in reference to the TransMountain pipeline. 

But of course, TransMountain is hardly “new.” It was started in 1951 and completed in 30 months, by October 1953. The proposed project today is an expansion—a twinning of its existing pipeline to triple capacity. 

The Economist was flat-out wrong elsewhere. The magazine argues that “Alberta’s fortunes rose when oil prices were high, but it did not save enough to cope when they fell.” As proof, it offers the predictable comparison between Alberta’s meagre Heritage Fund, the province’s financial savings generated from oil sales, and Norway’s own version. 

The Norway comparison is daft. Yes, both the Alberta government and Norway’s national government take in 100 per cent of resource revenues. But that’s where any similarities end. Unlike Norway, which also takes in 84 per cent of all other taxes (with regional and local governments taking in what is left), in Canada, the provinces take in, on average, just 40 per cent of all revenues (with the federal and local governments raking in 50 per cent and 10 per cent of all revenues, respectively).

This article continues at [MarkMilke.com] Fake News: The Economist’s Alberta slander

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