Saturday, October 03, 2009

Green Oil Book is Launched - AG Says Albertans Getting Screwed on Royalty Collection

The launch of Satya Das' Green Oil on Thursday was terrific. The books signing at Audrey's Books last night drew a good crowd. Interesting mix of people, politicians and journalists, not that the latter are not people too. We sold a bunch of books too. Go figure!

Last night we had Raj Sherman from the Alberta PC party, Edmonton Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan and Edmonton Centre Liberal Candidate Mary McDonald drop in for a glass of wine and a chat. Doug Roche, a true Canadian statesman, was in attendance too.

Traffic on the Green Oil website is starting and will grow over the coming weeks as we see Albertans start to take control of the oilsands agenda and express their concerns on the site.

I think the message in the book it resonating. Albertans need to get informed and engaged as owners in the oilsands to ensure it is developed on a responsible and sustainable basis and with a long term view. The conversation amongst Albertans has to start and get serious. The consequences of continuing to get the oilsands wrong are devastating as to many levels.

For one way we are getting it wrong according to the Auditor General is Albertans are out hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected and unaccounted for royalty payments. The recent Royalty Review said the same thing but the government gave more industry even concessions instead of beefing up collection and accounting capacity on royalties. We are getting screwed according to the AG. Too bad he is leaving.

Put that sense of political and industry entitlement of big bonuses and "gold plated" gifts to departing government agency officials in health as we cut social services and hospital beds, Albertans better get more insistent on better governance of our assets and provincial natural resources too.