Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why is the tar sands borrowing of interest?

All costs for the loan of the money will go in as an expence of the tar sand construction period. This in turn has to be paid from the royality structure before the tax payer sees any amount beyond the 1%

This is standard business practice, not a shady deal. The point here however is like the other direct expences we must pay for we have no say in what prices are being paid.

The door is open for the oil company to form and fund a new company to borrow money from at very high rates inflating the costs to the taxpayer.

This doesn't bother the Conservatives.

john clark

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oil Companies borrow 3.2 billion on your behalf.

Oil Sands Companies borrow 3.2 billion dollars for oil sands projects. Why not use their money? They are sitting on many times that amount. It is less than a quarter’s profit.

If they use their own money they cannot deduct it from the cost of the Oil Sands. However they can collect interest on their own money and bank it while taxpayers pay for the loans they make for use in the tar sands.

Wonder why we are going broke in this province?

John Clark

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why is 40% the minimum acceptable?

In answer to the many questions of “Why 40%”?

This is really a statement of how the Conservatives have ripped off this province.

40% would be an honest return if applied to all the natural resources.

40% would still be the lowest royalty charged in the world, bar none!

John Clark

Friday, June 15, 2007

Alberta schools on the block!

The Government’s 3P plan for building schools has little or no chance of succeeding as favorable to the taxpayer. It does however bring us a step closer to totally privatizing the school buildings.

In most 3P projects to date, the cities and governments involved have had to buy back the project after a short period of time. It appears to me to be still another way of shuttling cash into buddies’ pockets by this Government.

What do you think the chances are for an open and public process? My guess is the deal has already been made.

Liepert said consolidating the design and bundling the construction will "definitely" cost less than building the schools as one-off projects.

One reason is that the final price will be locked in when the contract is signed, he said. That means the contractor, not the taxpayer, will assume the risk of cost escalations due to inflation, he said.

Royalties Energy-Recap

There has been volumes published by oil companies trying to defend the highest profit oil royalty regime in the world! In defending what is seemingly impossible to defend there is only a few key points they hit on.

Natural Gas output has peaked as of 2001. It’s all downhill now. We are running out and the taps are still turned on full for export. Alberta Natural Gas was also given to the oil and gas companies at the lowest rates in the world. Now that it is running out, these same companies will move on to greener fields and, we in Alberta are left holding a very stinky bag of no natural gas and ruined water supplies.

Multi billions of dollars miss managed by this Government! They sill plan on accelerating the coal bed methane capture using more of our dwindling water supplies and returning the lowest royalties in the world.

Conventional oil complains are saying they are not getting the profits they once did because it is more difficult to drill in part and the cost of labor has increased. They feel they should be compensated for this by the taxpayers who are in the same boat.

The Association for Canadian Oil Producers have finally come out and their only addition to the arguments is the oil companies pay big bucks for the oil leases and this somehow entities them to the extreme high share of oil revenue while the Alberta Crown gets next to nothing; 20 to 25 percent.

The leases like every thing else the Conservative Government has done are sold off lower than leases elsewhere in the world leaving this organizations arguments empty.

Tar sands organizations are saying their costs have gone up; they need still more profit if anything. Look here at the hundreds of billions of dollars profit declared by these same companies every quarter!

By over building and exploiting the resources they actually get for nothing they have put huge pressures on the supply structure as well as the labor market. In fact they pay some of the highest wages in the world to people working in the tar sands industry. Unfortunately they are paying this out of taxpayer money. The taxpayer does not get any part of their skinny royalty until the plant costs are totally paid for.

The same organizations are saying they add so much to the economy of this province they should not have to take a lower cut of the oil revenue. Considering most of what they have added is bought with our money its hard to think they are actually serious in this ploy.

Stelmach’s Conservatives continue to say this “success” is because they created a climate conducive to business investment. What a snow job!

I say to the oil companies “Come to the table with a proposal of 40% royalty held over time” and then, you may just survive.

John Clark

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bottom line: No choices on Electricity!

The Conservatives have crooked the books yet again on Electricity supply. Up front we are given the choice of signing up with 3 or 4 electricity resellers. Middlemen as the name implies, picking up the change between the supplier and the consumer. The latter being you and I.

There is also the choice of signing up for the direct rates. I looked into this and although the direct rates are much lower than are the “over time rates” charged by the resellers we cannot take advantage of them as promised by the Government.

If you rejected resellers and opted for EPCOR to bill you the direct charges as they change from month to month, EPCOR will charge you an undetermined amount making sure your charges are above those being pushed by the reseller.

As with most things the Conservatives come up with it is a deal that is no deal at all!

On top of this we hear horror stories of people who have had their power cut off because they neglected to sign up for a reseller to cover them when their existing contacts are finished.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bureaucrats run amuck in Alberta.

Punitive Taxation in Alberta:

Alberta Health and Wellness decided we are all dumb and negligent and installed a costly process for getting a replacement health card. When interviewed they said the Health Care Card is important and this will encourage you not to loose it again.

The drill:
Copy your drivers licence or other, specific ID.
Fill out Statutory Declaration on Replacement of Alberta Personal Health Card
Have the Declaration signed by a public Notary or a commissioner of oaths.

This only applies if you have lost 5 cards over the course of your lifetime.
Beware of your wallet in a wash machine.

Cost to you will be half a day lost work and 15 bucks for the signature.

On the other hand when I lost my wallet on a plane I reported it immediately. They said thanks. Months later when I received by AHC expense statement it showed a series of large expences in Toronto. I reported this to AHC and they told me not to worry it was okay. No effort was made for a follow up!

Very selective. Some one had what seemed a good idea once and it is in for all time.

This is a bureaucracy run amuck!!!!!

John Clark

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Conservatives sell of the last of Alberta!

Alberta will get no part of the secondary manufacture of its natural resources. It appears every mover and shaker in the world is after our crude to send it south to the US for refining.

We give away all the up grade revenues and facilities.

We give away all the huge amount of water it takes to produce this crude.

We get the lowest prices in the world for our resource.

Stelmach and the Conservatives consider this to be good business.

I wonder how one gets on their “Buddy” list?

John Clark

Stage is set to do away with electricity cost protection!

Further subsidies in the form of electricty for the oil industry!

Electricity article shows the shape and size of the electrical supply problem facing this province.

Not explained in the article is who pays and what is the power needed for.

The Atomic plant in the birthing stages in Whitecourt is needed to supply the oil up-graders and tar sands with electrical power. It is not needed for general population use in that area but the general population, you and I will be expected to pay for the generation and the transmission on our utility bills.

No plans for “user pays” for the Conservative friends.

The same article explains the dilemma of wind generation. Only dependable when the wind blows and we need the power. Otherwise the power is wasted to earth.

There is an on going plan for a power plant at Blue River Alberta. This is large enough to double the power supply of Alberta and the design is chiefly for export of power to the US while the home owners pay for them on their utility bills.

The power upgrades to Genesee and the subsequent up grade of the power grid is very expensive. The expense is needed, again to supply the new oil up grader plants with electrical power.

You and I pay for these costs on our utility bills.

The conservative “equalization” program for electrical power serves the oil industry more than it does the home owners in this province.

Presently home owners are protected from higher costs of electricity by Government rebates. Such “protection” is paid for by the tax base and as such maintains the subsidy for the power companies.

This article sets the stage for Stelmach’s Conservatives to very seriously mess with this limited protection and to essentially do away with it.

John Clark

New Driver Culture in full play.

Even though the “enlightened driver culture” is taking shape across the country an example of what happens was demonstrated in Edmonton on the 5 of June.

Around the city truck two-way radios or “CB” radios heard the story of a man who had been kept on the road for 9 weeks and had constantly been refused time off at home. In this case, back in Edmonton, his home town, he was being asked to go to Toronto immediately. The trucking company is not an Edmonton based company.

He put the word out on his “CB” he was looking for a new job which would guarantee him reasonable time off. In the course of an hour he had 3 job offers.

He was driving a company truck which he had fixed up to make his life a little more livable. He put these accessories up for sale on the “CB”

Within an hour he had a new job, stripped his stuff out of his truck and parked it in a Safeway parking lot. The company will find it sooner or later.

This happened with a tractor only situation. It is happening across Canada and the US with tractors hooked to trailers with various loads on them. Just in time? Any company who says "We force them to go" is just not in charge of the facts.

John Clark

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Driver culture-Just in time not what is used to be!

A year ago the hours that truck drivers can drive was changed so that 10 hours per day working is what they are allowed. This includes waiting time loading and unloading; delays in traffic meals and bathroom breaks.

Prior to this time they were allowed 13 hours driving exclusive of all other details.

This means a trip from Edmonton or Calgary to Winnipeg which for years was a next day delivery has been changed to a 2 nd day delivery from Edmonton and a 3 day delivery from Calgary. Other points are in proportion the shorter hours allowed being recognized.

Another nuance evolved. If the drivers were cut down to a days work as are most people, why do they have to spend their work time driving at night? Yes, this evolution moved forward slowly. Because the loads were needed in he mornings to start unloading, The bulk of trucks just arriving would be looking for loads back out in effect turning the industry into a daylight driving only. If loads are ready at 6 PM which, under old rules would be okay, they are simply too late,

A 6PM load out would mean a driver, now attuned to daylight driving would only get a short distance down the highway and he or she would have to shut it down for sleep because they are tired or because their hours have run out.

The “enlightened driver culture” is now in place.

Along with this culture of real people working in daylight came the thought that it would be nice to take a summer holiday. Now, across Canada as never before drivers are booking off for a week or two holidays in the busiest part of the year instead of waiting for slack time.

Loads are not delivered or delayed greatly.

Some companies have taken a very hard line with their drivers trying to keep them behind the wheel. By coaxing or threatening they attempt to keep the driver moving there-by shelving their holiday wants. Many of these situations are resolved very badly with the truck abandoned at a far off point and the driver is flying home to keep his holiday wishes.

Yes, times just got a whole lot better for drivers and, that is not a bad thing. On the other hand industries depending on the just in time inventories delivered by trucks are going to have to re think their plans. That means more inventories and less just in time demands.

The 'get it there overnight' scenario offered over the years is no longer valid.

These laws do not cover trucks that do not cross a provincial boundary. Hence trucks in the oil service-supply business can pretty well run a driver 24 hours a day and, they do. Big bucks in the pockets of those drivers which is not in it self a bad thing . They often have to travel at night when there is frost in the ground. In their world delivery time and condition is everything!

John Clark
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