After a morning spent getting out the message of Gordon Campbell's Vision for British Columbia (hey, when in Rome, right?) i'm hoping to take a few hours this afternoon to thoroughly read the Alberta government's new royalty document.
In the meantime, the reaction on all sides of this debate continues.
There was an interesting article HERE in today's Edmonton Journal online. The story actually seems to be about 4 of 5 stories rolled into one piece, but who am I to question a CanWest editor?
Anyway, the first point talks about a member of the original royalty review panel speaking out against the government's position calling it "blatant deceit". I'd love to be able to see if this opposition comes from his or her background. However, since this panel member has chosen to remain anonymous, I can't do that. Interesting how he or she is so rooted in their convictions that they chose to speak out, but can't bring themselves to attach their name to it. This one's for the recycle bin, if you ask me.
The article goes on to explain how the energy market crash that was predicted by some industry lobbyists failed to materialize. One financial analyst suggests that the industry's protests are "much ado about nothing". Agreed.
Tristone Capital, one of the leading contributors of the "end-is-near" spin, is backtracking on the suggestion that the winter drilling season is dead. Grande Prairie's Mayor isn't worried about what effect the new royalties will have on the drilling season and suggests that the season was already going to suffer given that the US market is down. Agreed.
The article then goes on to list a number of oilsands developments that are still happy to go ahead with their projects under the new regime (you hear that Syncrude? Suncor?).
Encana, one of the first to threaten an investment shift out of Alberta, has chosen the path of cautiousness and continues to study the new rules. Canadian Oil Sands Trust, one of the large partners in the Syncrude project, suggests the same.
Mel Knight, smart guy that he is, is off to our key U.S. markets next week to explain the new rules to them and assure them that we are still the #1 place to do business in the energy sector for a variety of reasons. Given that the Minister is a former small oil-and-gas man himself, I suspect his talks will be well-received.
And finally, the article ends with Brian Mason shifting his attacks to Kevin Taft and the Liberal Party for being complacent and helping the government by not coming out with a strong position from the beginning. I disagree with Mason's position on royalties entirely, of course, but he's got a point. Brian Mason and the NDP had their position well-defined shortly after the original report was released. Kevin Taft and the don't-call-us-Liberals dithered and delayed until just before the Premier released the final decision. Mason has been contending that his party is a more effective opposition. Agreed.