The economy isn't so hot these days, but a man who made a fortune in Alberta is saying 'don't sweat it.'

Brett Wilson, who founded and now runs First Energy Capital, says there are "two sides to every valley and once you get to the bottom the climb up the other side starts."

Wilson was speaking to about 700 Calgary business people at a luncheon honouring him as the 2008 Business Person of the Year. There's no doubt, he says, Canada is now in recession and it's possible a depression might set in before the economy begins to recover.

He says responsibility for the worldwide economic mess lies squarely with the subprime mortgage lenders in the United States. "Packaging mortgages that were uneconomic by themselves and allowing 100 per cent or 110 per cent devalued ratios doesn't make sense," he says. "But people were chasing dollars associated with it and that's the corruption - or bankruptcy, if you will - of the moral cup."

As for the Alberta energy economy, Wilson says he expects oil prices to settle somewhere between $75 and $100 per barrel. He says those prices would provide decent returns to the energy companies, which in his view have to smarten up with their communications and public relations.

"Has the industry communicated to the people what's been done right? I think they've done a terrible job of that, but that's not to say oil isn't economic and shouldn't be produced," Wilson says.

Wilson is the 12th Business Person of the Year in Calgary. The award is sponsored by Alberta Venture Magazine.