The talk on everybody's lips in Alberta is centering around the royalty review. Doesn't matter where you go or who you talk to, its on people's minds.
Alberta's 4 sitting political parties have also had their share of deliberations.
Not surprisingly, the NDP has come out in favour of adopting the royalty review report as a "bare minimum" and suggests going much further. Its not really surprising that a party that doesn't understand how the economy works isn't very concerned about grinding it to a halt, though.
The Alberta Alliance, led by soon-to-be-former MLA Paul Hinman (nice guy, wrong party) has come out opposed to the report. In the world of the uber-right, we should be giving this stuff away and grateful for the opportunity, perhaps.
Kevin Taft and his Alberta-We're-Not-The-Feds-No-Connection-To-Dion-Here-Liberal caucus have come out with their position today. A wise friend of mine pointed out that Taft has painted himself into a bit of a corner by waiting this long.
The We're-Not-Liberal-Liberals made a big deal about coming out with their position. They even got some junior high student to take an afternoon off school and earn extra credit for his A/V class by shooting a crappy youtube video of Taft outlining his position. I suspect the idea was to get some attention before the Premier goes on TV tonight and rolls out the full response tomorrow. Makes sense, right?
Well yes... but only if you have something original to say. By coming out in favour of the full adoption of the report, all Kevin Taft has done is take what Brian Mason said and add the words "ditto".
Graham Thomson has a good piece on the big risk Taft took here. The fact that Stelmach insiders are happy that the Liberals have come out with their position early is very reassuring. Kevin Taft should be very worried about blowing his gains in Calgary, particularily with people like Alison Redford and Jennifer Diakiw gearing up to take on (and take out) Calgary Liberal MLAs.
I suspect that the Premier's final decision on royalties will be the right one, respecting all sides of this debate and ensuring we collect our fair share without sending investment fleeing from the province.
I also suspect that the upcoming session of the Alberta Legislature will be a rough one for the Alberta-anyone-got-a-suggestion-for-a-better-name-Liberals. They've gotten away with a number contradictory statements and positions for far too long. Methinks PC research has had an enjoyable summer digging these up and readying them for QP.
This fall session should show Albertans the divisions in the Liberal caucus, the continous leftward shift since the days of Decore, and, most importantly, why Kevin Taft and the Liberal caucus are not up to the job of governing Alberta.