CALGARY - Experts are debating the underlying reasons for Alberta's current fiscal troubles.
Unsurprisingly, pipeline access came up as a major challenge, with oilsands crude unable to make it to markets that will pay a fair price — a problem Premier Alison Redford has called the "bitumen bubble."
Economist Peter Tertzakian says Canada's only customer, the U.S., can meet its own energy needs but buys Canadian crude anyway because it's on sale.
Another speaker, Michael Holden of the Canada West Foundation, says Alberta shouldn't be using oil and gas sales to fund today's spending and that saving should be a priority.
He says the province shouldn't be run like a farm — relying on a bumper crop one year only to have the whole crop destroyed by hail the next.
The day's first panel session was briefly interrupted by Greenpeace protesters holding a banner reading "cut royalty breaks, not social programs."