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Sunday, May 30, 2010

What Will Albertans Get From Yet Another Royalty Rollback?

I wanted to do a blog post today on the latest retreat from responsible royalty rates by the Stelmach government. My research made me realize that Don Braid of the Calgary Herald more than captures my response.

The short term thinking of generating activity by single minded policy approaches is hindering integrated thoughtful policy approaches.  We know from our research and the early findings of The Big Listen by the Alberta Party that Albertans want a public policy approach that has a longer term view. We can't ignore the ecological and social impacts of shallow, simple-minded and myopic approaches to competitiveness that is exemplified by a constant foregoing of rents from non-renewable resources. 

These resource royalties rents are one time chances to grasp the intergenerational and birthright benefits of our kids and their kids.  We are being told our government can't afford to pay teachers according to the contracts we negotiated with them but we can walk away from another $1.5B of royalties because why?  More drilling activity in more marginal areas?  How much more have the companies who are doing this more drilling committed to do as a result of the royalty give-away?  Are there any guarantees from them in this deal?  What about a condition of a rollback that these companies first clean up and reclaim some of the old wellsites, roads and seismic lines they no longer need so wildlife can return to these areas?

We are not well governed and the Wildrose would be worse. They appear to be already owned and controlled by the conventional energy sector.  These guys are so cloaked in anonymity that they will not even disclose their contributions to the leader of that party.  We need a viable political alternative in Alberta that has Integrity, is Honest with us, truly Accountable, actually Transparent and who sees Stewardship of public assets and resources in the greater public of all Albertans interest as its job.