Tracking the impact the resource sector has on the provincial economy is fairly simple. Just look at the amount of money the provincial government takes in from this sector.
What we saw in the provincial budget is that we appear to have turned a corner. The resource sector – this is principally oil and gas, potash and uranium – has been hurting.
The downturn in prices came more than six years ago when both oil and potash saw the floor under them drop significantly. We’ve been waiting for it to come back ever since, something that has forced the provincial government to curtail spending or borrow to finance expenditure.
This year is no different – we‘re borrowing – but the signals on the state of resource revenues is showing its first significant signs of improvement since 2014.
This year’s budget is forecasting the treasury will see about $1.3 billion in non-renewable resource revenue. Compare that to the forecast a year ago of less than $1 billion. That’s a 30-per-cent swing and the big mover is oil and gas, which more than tripled.