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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ed Stelmach Wants To Hear From Albertans (Again) But This Time on the Royalty Review Report Recommendations

CAPP obviously wanted a “further consultation” process on the final report itself given the statement in their September 24th news release. There is nothing wrong with that. Industry and other stakeholders are free to challenge the findings in a factual and forthright fashion. Lets be sure we do not turn this post-report process into an exercise of recurring reviews like Quebec's perpetual threats of independence referendums.

We hear the official word out of the Alberta oil industry is that Hunter Royalty Review analysis is flawed. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the voice of the oil and gas industry in Alberta says they want to “focus on the facts” and we can all agree with that. They claim the report recommendations will slow oil sands investment. Are we pleased with the pace of growth and how we are managing it now? They claim a report was commissioned by the Panel on relative royalty revenues in Alberta tha tis not reflective of the real world...they ought to get to comment for sure. They claim project costs were not considered. The Report deals with that most effectively. Go to page 78 of the Royalty Review Report wher they say that cost control is a management issue and besides with no significnat royalty payment due until all cost are recoved - what is the issues for investors.

The Panel was given a free hand to hire world call experts. They were given a free hand to work with government officials and their advisers. They provided background papers on royalty issues and context and specific advice to Albertans on how to participate that included online submissions, snail mail, fax or personal appearance at hearings. The panel went all over the province to meet with interested stakeholders and ordinary Albertans about their concerns. Copies of all the submissions received were published on the Panels website at http://www.albertaroyaltyreview.ca/


Albertans are clearly interested in the Royalty Review Report. I am told in the 4 days last week after it was released there were 210,000 hits on the Panel’s website. Unfortunately the government has decided to receive the post-report consultation to their own website http://www.gov.ab.ca/ so some continuity and context will be lost.

I suggest before you go to the government's post-consultation website be sure to visit the Review Panel website and educate yourself on the review process, facts and findings. Then let your thoughts be known but don't be anonymous. This is about citizenship in a free and democratic society. No Alberta citizen, acting as such, should fear their government or their employer - so anonymity is unnecessary and intimidation only works if you let it.

I hope we can trust this government, who I support, to run process. We need them to have the same honesty, integrity, openness, transparency and accountability as the citizens who contributed their time and expertise to the Royalty Review Report in the first place.

This is a critical issue facing all Albertans and we all better get involved because after all it is our resource and our children’s future at stake here.