I’m not a huge fan of Alberta’s current premier, Ed Stelmach. Just like Chris, I miss Ralph Klein. There was no guessing with Klein, and certainly no extended periods of silence. You knew exactly what to expect, and he never disappointed. With Stelmach on the other hand, there’s just dead air.
In the past I’ve written that raising money for tech in Alberta sucks. I would have to say that it still sucks. But perhaps Stelmach will make it suck less. That’s what the Journal would have you believe anyway:
After years of empty rhetoric and inaction under Klein, a sea change may be underway. Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and Advanced Education and Technology Minister Doug Horner seem intent on finally addressing some of the issues that have hindered development of the province’s tech sector.
The two established a task force back in March to examine tech commercialization in our province, and the report finally came on Friday. And before I say anything else, kudos to Horner and his department for making the report available online (pdf).
Among the findings:
- Creation of a government-backed, $100 million Alberta Enterprise Fund with $200 million in projected matching investments from the private sector
- Creation of a 25% investor tax credit
- Creation of an Alberta-specific SR&ED tax credit to match the federal program
Other things include additional facilities and tech centres, and improved access to intellectual property. The Journal article quickly points out that “the recommendations outlined above are hardly revolutionary.” You can say that again! We need to implement each one of those things just to get on par with provinces like Ontario and B.C.
The thing to keep in mind is that a report is nothing more than words on paper. Stelmach and his government still need to act on the report’s findings before anything will change. Still, this is a lot further than Alberta has ever gotten in the past. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to write that raising money for tech in Alberta rocks.
Read: Edmonton Journal