Here is a comment I put on Don Braid's column today in the Calgary Herald. First read Don's column then continue with reading this comment:
The old ways of doing politics by the Calgary Commandos under Klein is gone and these guys don't know how to respond...so they blame the royalties as it if were a made-in-Alberta NEP.
The market is what is making things tough in the patch, not the Alberta taxpayer's take from OUR energy resources. We share the risk with lower rates in tough times and take more of the pie when things are good.
We were still the second lowest tax and royalty burden on the planet AFTER the new royalty regime was initially. Premier Stelmach has rolled royalty rates back so far, as an appeasement to the Calgary Commandos, that we now collect less revenue from these NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES than we would have generated from the original royalty scheme. Cry me a river!
Get off this royalty rant you guys; Albertans are sooner or later going to start acting like owners of their oil and gas reserves. When the do, then your social licenses will all come under serious public scrutiny. Your environmental records will be the first place the public will look to see if your enterprise is behaving appropriately to deserve a continuing social license. You are tenants on these public lands who are granted license to take a calculated business risk - not to play politics with the privilege.
You are welcome to go to Libya or Iran or Iraq or Nigeria instead of staying in Canada. And Saskatchewan is not the alternative; they are a different game with the Bakken. Their win with this great discovery is not Alberta's loss; it is win-win for Canada. That again is your independent business decision but the political games about royalties are becoming tedious. You have it really good and you know it.
I would really like to know how Albertans think about the royalties we collect on our natural resources and how the licensees who exploit them for us treat our land, air and water in the process.
Looking forward to your comments.