Saturday, October 27, 2007

Albertans React Strongly to Stelmach's Royalty Plan - Support, but Plenty of Anger

It was reported that 80% of Albertans supported Premier Ed Stelmach's royalty policy to boost the royalty amount to 20%.

But the proposals have received overwhelming support from Albertans, with polls showing eight of ten backing a higher take. (Globe's Report on Business)

In 2006, 84% of Albertans felt there should be a review of oil sands revenue.

A most recent reaction, at least at the Calgary Herald "Sound Off" web page, is largely anger towards him. It would be interesting to know how many of the 200+ commenters from the Calgary Herald "Sound Off" site, had vested interests in the oil sector.

There were a full range of views - from complete support to "let's wait and see" to complete outrage.

The outrage had its ignoramus angles, like assuming because Premier Stelmach worked on a farm in a past career, that he couldn't possibly be capable to make wise decisions for his fellow Albertans. It's seen in references like

"OK< can Albertans please take the farmer out of the office and put him back in the fields?",

"what do you expect from a pig farmer?",

It was interesting that the National Post writer, Claudia Cattaneo, made a similiar reference/inference to Mr. Stelmach's background, just a few days ago,
The premier, a farmer from Northern Alberta, showed little appreciation for the implications of his actions, suggesting the sector will continue to thrive.

What an ignorant attitude! Stelmach indeed worked on a farm, and also attended the University of Alberta studying pre-law, but because of a family tradegy, had to return to the family farm. He has had 11 years experience in retail business, managed on a shoestring budget, and let's not forget he served in four different portfolios including, Minister of Agriculture, and Minister of Transportation in Alberta's government (see bio). Anyway, I digress - back to comments of outrage.

"Goodbye Ed...don't let your government pension hit you in *ss on the way out the door next election",

"Often wonder how the people of Venezuela and Ecuador can be so uneducated to blindly fall for the arguments of Chavez and his cronies. Can't they see they're killing there own economy's? Then I look outside and see people in this province fall for the same thing. Sad.",

"It's funny how on TV interviews, those people who wanted more from the oil companies are all barbers or cashiers or other low level uneducated workers. Gee I wonder why."

Support references included:

"Well Done Mr.Stelmach, it is after all the people who voted you in to act in their best interest and that you have done."

"The increase is great for Alberta!! Alberta has one of the lowest royalty rates in the world and it's by far the safest in the world for security and for investment climate."

"For all of you fear-mongers, think about this as an owner would. Would you really pay somebody more than 50% to extract a resource you own when you could just do it yourself? I'm all for a free-market approach, but a market is not an end in itself - societal goals are what the market serves, and so there has to be some kind of goal-setting in government to reflect societal priorities. If a few of the oil companies want to leave (and they won't), let them. When oil's really scarce a decade from now, they'll be clamouring for even 20%, never mind over 30."

Others suggested that Premier Stelmach let the people decide on this royalty increase idea. Some say he should have asked for a higher royalty amount, while some say he is taking the middle road. From this cubicle in the Atlantic, he appears to be a level-headed Premier, who does not appear arrogant and loud, and is willing to risk, to some extent his political career, or at least some political support. Making the royalty increase policy his platform in the next Alberta election might just end this debate very quickly.


NL-ExPatriate said...

Did you notice the coincidental press releses of Alberta's new bait and swith royalty regimes and the US's threats towards Iran.

It's all about deflection and perception when it comes to the markets.

Charles Cheeseman said...

I just read one from Oct. 26, titled "Energy Minister takes new royalty framework to U.S. investors", but to me there wasn't much in that news release, but if you mean that markets will more assured with the possibility of more potential buyers, then it may be working. The hype is reported to have died down over the royalty hike.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Both announcements were made on the 25/oct.

The US announcement is nothing new they have had sanctions against Iran since 1979.