N.L. must prepare for life after oil: economist

An economist speaking in St. John's Thursday night issued a warning about what might happen once the province's oil boom ends.
Economist Wade Locke speaking at Memorial University on June 8. (CBC)

An economist speaking in St. John's Thursday night  issued a warning about what might happen once the province's oil boom ends.

Wade Locke said the province's revenues will decline sharply in the next decade and he warned that, without careful planning, the current good times won't last.

"It's a crisis, a problem, an issue, you can use whatever word you want, but there is a situation here we have to think about and we have to deal with in the next five to ten years and we do have to plan," said Locke.

Locke, speaking at Memorial University of Newfoundland, started his presentation on prosperity with a slide that gave his audience a reality check — showing that oil revenues, which are high today, will trail off dramatically.

"What you see here is that for eight years we've got pretty high royalties, and then things start to fall off the tracks pretty quickly," he said.

Locke recommends that the province set up a commission to prepare for the end of oil revenues.