Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kevin Libin: Alberta backs off on oil royalties

Kevin Libin: Alberta backs off on oil royalties

And all we will hear is the sound of crickets.

There was a line of thinking not too long ago, just after the last provincial election, that the SaskParty would open the taps and a whole bunch of Alberta money would flow in to develop the oil and gas industries in Saskatchewan, now that a more business friendly party was in power. This thought was struck down by many in the oil industry that said the flow wouldn't be all that much just simply because Saskatchewan has a history of electing socialists, and that eventually the NDP would come back to power again. All the oil industry, like ANY industry, is looking for is stability and a business friendly attitude from the government. They got it for decades in Alberta as Social Credit followed by the Progressive Conservatives provided that.

All of that changed after Mr. Stelmach came to power. One of the first things Mr. Stelmach did after getting re-elected was to mess with the oil royalty structure in Alberta. He attempted to paint oil executives as rich and greedy fat cats - the normal drill for a government looking to exhort more money from those honestly trying to make a buck. So now, two years later, "Steady Eddie" has a problem - a big image problem. That oil money has started to fly the coop as those "rich greedy fat cats" began investing in Saskatchewan and BC - provinces absolutely more stable than Alberta and it's string of royalty structure changes (5 in 2 years).

So now when we read about Alberta changing its royalty structure again, you have to feel for them. You almost have to hope that THIS time, unlike the other 5 times, that the "oil barons" will be appeased, and the money will start flowing to pull Alberta out of the recession. At least, you have to hope that if you're an Alberta resident. The problem is that the oil barons aren't going to trust anything that "Steady Eddie" says. After all, on a whim tomorrow he could change it back to 2 years ago when he thinks that the oil companies are getting too much off the backs of "normal Albertans" again.

From my perspective, I just hope that the NDP are paying attention. I KNOW that there will be a time when they get back into power. I KNOW that there will be a point where the brainwashed masses will decide that the government isn't doing enough for them, AGAIN, and will vote to create a larger pit to throw money into. I KNOW this because Saskatchewan has a long history of going back to the well when the "right-wing" option tries to push us beyond ourselves.

My hope is that it will be a long time before that happens.

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