Back in the pre-COVID era, when we gathered at dinners, shook hands and hugged (I’m referring to February) a public servant cautioned me not to think that the Government of Alberta was becoming interventionist despite what we had just heard the Premier say.
“Alberta is prepared to invest directly when necessary to assure the future of responsible resource development,” read the line in the Premier’s Throne Speech.
I raised this reference to investing directly in the oil and gas sector with my friend the public servant. He essentially said, it’s a one-off thing. He was pretty firmly closing the door on the idea that it might happen again.
Fast forward one month to this new planet we inhabit. In this new place, where we are all effectively (and necessarily) under house arrest, many businesses lost 100% of their revenues and 100% of their employees, overnight. Here, 30 days into the future, investment bank Goldman Sachs is forecasting US GDP will shrink 34% in the second quarter of 2020. A typical contraction might be 2 or 3%. Unemployment rates could shoot to levels we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. The world has been stood on its head, and when that happens governments must change their approach. They have to rip up the old plan and build a new plan to meet the new challenge. That’s what government after government around the world is doing right now.