Friday, December 26, 2008


Vue Magazine out of Edmonton

Shannon Phillips /
Eighty-four per cent of Albertans think the province isn’t collecting enough royalties from our non-renewable resources, according to a May 2006 poll. But the government says their review of the system—which they won’t release to the public—concluded that we’re getting “our fair share” from multinational corporations reaping unprecedented profits.

Alberta energy minister Greg Melchin says his department finished a review of the province’s oil royalties last week, but controversy erupted when Conservative leadership candidates Ted Morton and Ed Stelmach told reporters the review was discussed at neither caucus nor cabinet. Morton told the Canadian Press that the exercise had not even begun, saying his understanding was that the review had been shelved pending the expected election.

The energy ministry did not return repeated requests from Vue for information on the review.

NDP leader Brian Mason has since written to the energy minister requesting the parameters of the review, its timeline and its participants.

“Basically, the government is saying that their dog ate the royalty review,” quipped Mason.

“During the last election, the NDP was out on its own, asking for changes to the royalty system. None of the other parties would touch it, as both the Liberals and the Tories depend so heavily on money from the oil and gas sector.

“But now, there seems to be a growing awareness that we’re not getting a fair return on our resources—that’s why the province agreed to this phantom review. Given all the fog around it, we’re simply renewing our call for a public, transparent process.”

Alberta’s last royalty review was in 1992, but no significant changes were made. 1997 saw some changes for oil sands producers, but conventional oil and natural gas calculations were designed in the mid-1980s, when oil prices dipped to $10/barrel and the undiversified Alberta economy suffered, with thousands of job losses and a mini-recession.Oil and gas royalties are not just another form of corporate tax—they’re less like tax deductions on a paycheque and more like the cash paid to a landlord. Policy wonks call the concept economic rent: by law, non-renewable resources belong to Albertans, not to the companies that exploit them. Economic rent is the difference between the value of the resource and the cost of producing the resource, including an allowance for a normal rate of return on investment (profit).

Royalties are calculated in many different ways, so comparisons between different countries, states and provinces are difficult. But the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental economics think-tank, has demonstrated that Albertans are being grossly shortchanged compared to other jurisdictions.
In 2004, Pembina found that Alaska charged $11.60 per barrel oil royalty, and Norway charged $14.10 per barrel. Alberta charged $4.30 per barrel.

Between 1995 and 2002, Alaska captured almost 100 per cent of the economic rent of the resource, and Norway captured almost 90 per cent. Alberta captured just 50 per cent.Calgary-based EnCana—one of Canada’s most prolific natural gas producers—is one of the few companies that disclose their average royalty rates. In 2003, EnCana paid an average of 12.9 per cent on the Canadian (mostly Alberta) natural gas they produced. They paid 20 per cent on their US-produced gas.Low royalties means that Alberta collects the same amount of money from gambling as we do from conventional crude oil ($1.4 billion). Liquor and tobacco taxes significantly outpace oil sands royalty revenue ($1.3 billion on booze and smokes last year compared to $950 million from the tar sands). Add low royalties to the lowest corporate taxes in Canada (reduced this year by another $365 million) and Alberta is by far the most lucrative place in the hemisphere for American oil and gas companies to do business.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says increasing royalties discourages investment. But that’s not what has happened in countries that have made recent changes to their royalties. Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez boosted royalties from one per cent to a whopping 30 per cent over the past two years, even charging back-royalties to make up for years of uncollected rent.

Foreign investments from Asia—particularly China—have increased. Only Texas-based Exxon-Mobil has refused to play ball.

Mason says a thorough public review of royalties would take the oil and gas industry’s disinvestment claims into careful consideration.“If the oil and gas industry is saying we’re not going to invest if you raise royalties, and if you look back and see that they were making investments with a third of the profits they are making now, then we need to scrutinize those claims very closely and decide what’s in the public interest,” says Mason.

Tar sands royalties are an entirely different Pandora’s box of complicated calculations. But the basic concept is simple: oil sands developers pay only one per cent royalty until they recover their capital costs—a scheme developed in the early 1980s and reworked in 1997. The one per cent rule was meant to give oil sands producers a helping hand with big-ticket technology and equipment required to strip mine and refine viscous, sandy tar into a usable final product.As production costs have declined and profits gone skyward, many observers are saying it’s time for a change—including former Premier Peter Lougheed. The man who first negotiated what the Pembina Institute calls a “sweet deal for companies” called for a moratorium on tar sands development and a renegotiation of royalty rates in early July. “[Albertans got] $2.85 from a barrel of oil from the oil sands in 1997. They got $1.74 in 2005,” says Amy Taylor, director of ecological fiscal reform at the Pembina Institute.“Keeping the decade-old royalty regime, designed to jumpstart oil sands production, when [the economy] is overheated, is irresponsible,” says Taylor.“At the end of the day,” concludes Mason, “the most important thing to remember is that Albertans own these resources, not the oil and gas companies. The smartest thing to do would be to capture an appropriate return on our non-renewable resources so that we can build an economy based on renewables.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gas Prices hit 4 year low!

With the price of oil at 37.67 US Alberta presently keeps 19% Canadian which is 4.87 cents US and the oil companies take 32.80 US.

Based on 2 million barrels per day (tar sands and conventional) means that Alberta will get 9.7 million dollars per day in royalty.

Under our contract before the "new deal fair for all" came in Alberta would have received 7.77 per barrel US dollars.

Mel knight and company have given away nearly 50% of our revenue to the oil companies!

Using present day figures we would have received under our orignal deal 18,835,000 US dollars per day. At these rates that is 4.5 billion dollars per year that should have been in Alberta Treasury that is in the OIl coffers!

The worse is yet to come.

The "new deal" comes in January 1/2009 The new deal puts the royalty back up to our origianl 25% but the exchange remains Canadian dollars. I'm pretty sure we won't see it!
Mel Knight is making noises in the media about further assistance to the oil companies. In the new year.

At the same time they have legislation in place for the new year to make all dealings on royalty and literally any other business with the oil companies "secret".

This means we will not know of changes until we loose our services or are taxed to oblivian.

Having watched this pack of outright lies unfold, how could you possibly beleive anything that comes from the mouth of this Government? Keep in mind the recent helath care dribble.

To the PC rank and file I ask, "What in hell is the matter with your heads? They have lied to you constantly for 15 years and you just keep on taking the beating!"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ron Liepert-A rush to the US health care system.

When Mr. Liepert cut the universal drug coverage for seniors he said “Money is not the object”.

It is true; Alberta’s money has never been the object of concern for this Government! They are driven wholly and totally by a narrow view of developing the perfect conservative state. That is, a total user pays system in which there is little or nothing left anywhere as far as Government support. That would be the US system.

The only moral guide they have is how low or not the royalty and the taxes are.

After the major lies in the “new oil regime” how can we possibly believe on word that comes out of their mouths!

Ron Liepert – One man’s view of health care being installed in Alberta. He is putting us on a fast track to the US system whether he says so or not! People with a different view he calls “negative whiners” on the opposition benches.

There is no consideration given to the fact the US system is hugely more expensive than the Canadian public system.

In Mr. Liepert’s view, the only people that are concerned about what he is doing are the media and the opposition. Paying 8000.00 a year for a subscription to the Calgary physicians clinic "is one of the shelf". If you want to pay that, go ahead he says but does not entertain conversations about cue jumping or not.

Mr. Liepert outlines his experience in Los Angeles as a trade representative, described as a standard perk. He explains his son was assessed quickly for a broken arm but no treatment would be forth coming until the hospital was paid 5000.00 (cash?).

Sounds drastic don’t it. The fact overlooked is the Alberta Government would have covered him with premium (some would say unheard of) health care coverage while in the US. All he had to do was show his card.

The article also tells of his enterprise in setting up a day care centre in Calgary and his on going association with Jim Dinning who is involved in private hospitals and senior’s care centre. Between them they will certainly know how to rip taxpayer money out of the system to their own enterprises! Perhaps they are in line to pickup up some of the prototypical hospitals?

The article also dwells on Mr. Liepert’s success in building 18 new 3P schools. The article doesn't say the title of these 3P schools can be transferred to an individual or a company in less time than it takes to write this article. And, with the tax dollar (some of it) travelling with the kids now, you can say comfortably you are looking at the end of the public school system in Alberta.

Alberta Oil Royalty-Lies burried within lies

With lies like this how can any person in their right mind believe Liepert on his measured privatization of Health Care?
How can this crew be believed on any thing they say?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Government outright lies are going to cost you!

With our dollar at 80 cents we are loosing 20% of our royalty in exchange. That is over 6 billion dollars of Albertans monies have gone into oil pockets as a bonus.

Today, Albertans are given a choice of a deficit or, do you want to pay more for gas at the pumps. Some choice!

On another front this same bunch of bandits is saying they will close rural hospitals and turn them into homes for the aging. This, forcing rural people into city hospitals for treatment.

In almost the same breath they say they are going to increase the costs of accommodation in these same buildings as a means to attract investment.

Soon enough you will hear the announcement that the hospitals have been sold to Conservative insiders for a dollar (After you have finished paying for conversations as required). This is still another big leap forward in privatization.

When Mel Knight made his lie public at the last election he put out reams of paper showing there would be increased revenue attributed to his "new deal". The figures put forward to the public includedlies about anticipated revenues from new production from new tar sands installations.

When the crunch came, the new projects were cancelled and his numbers became impossible. So much for the most expensive lie in the Conservative history!

The minster went public saying "errors had been made" In any civilized Government there would be resignations of both Stelmach and Knight but not in Alberta; they own it you know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alberta trashes seniors - Again!

Summary: Long term care facilities in Alberta are for the very rich. If you do not quality, find a ditch to retire in!

EDMONTON – Health Minister Ron Liepert today announced a new strategy for continuing care called “Aging in the Right Place.” The success of that strategy will hinge on the government acknowledging the reality of the seniors population in every community across Alberta.

Unfortunately, the strategy fails to plan for the construction of any new continuing care beds, despite projecting a need for approximately 750 beds per year over the next 20 years. The new strategy suggests this need can be met by increasing home care services and moving some seniors out of long-term care and back into the community.

It is important to provide these options to seniors who are healthy enough to take advantage of them. However, as the 2005 MLA Task Force on Continuing Care noted, the health needs of Alberta’s seniors in continuing care are increasing and becoming more complex. It is unlikely that these needs can be met without the level of professional staff and services available in a continuing care facility.

"Albertans need to ask themselves whether they want such a big leap into private, for-profit senior's care delivery. Senior's will pay more, and long-term services will be in short supply."

While increasing "options" seniors might have in regards to service and accommodation, the strategy is to increase fee structures for senior's accommodation, and to freeze long-term care services at 2008 levels for an unspecified number of years.

Also, the change in fee structure for long-term care and senior's care facilities in the province is unacceptable. "Three years ago the fees for long-term care increased by 40% and this year there was an additional 6% increase. Now the government wants to adjust fees again 'to encourage more investment.' Merry Christmas for private health care providers," said Eggen.

Information provided by:

David Eggen
Executive Director
Friends of Medicare
780 423 4581

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alberta's new energy vision.

Alberta’s new energy booklet “energy vision” released today is like the other new fair for all deals they have come out with. Iris Evans made an announcement on funding the other day. The funding was not nearly has important as the by-line as in “another project paid for out of windfall profits”

After giving away 16% of our revenue to the oil companies in their currency flip it is all they can do to keep this province afloat! And, with personal bankruptcies climbing one has to wonder if it is afloat or not!

No more windfall profits Evans! Try for once to take care of the provinces business. Perhaps the oil guys will give you a week off.

To the subject of the new booklet:
“Changing energy consumption behavior of industry and ordinary Albertans.” It says. And
Strengthening the electrical transmission system by "identifying requirements, technical solutions, timing, and updating of the approval process."

The Conservatives sponsored an Environmental speakeasy in Lethbridge about two years ago and filled the forum with their own people notably one “famous” scientist from the US who said Alberta was on the right track increasing the cost of water and electricity. “It is really the most effective way to change things”

The announcement above is telling us the price of electricity is going to sky rocket in Alberta to a point you cannot afford to use it. And, with the encouragement of the Government. So much for Alberta’s Advantage!

Both Epcor and Enmax are owned by the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. You can't deal with the Government on anything or can you deal the power companies but you can deal with the city councils. Vote them out if need be!

This would suit Alberta’s scheme of things allowing more electricity to be available for export.

This, is a segway into the Bruce Power bid for Nuclear power in Saskatchewan. While the power is a good thing in my mind the plans are not.

Alberta announced a new power line from the connection of the Saskatchewan grid to the Montana border. Because it is on the Alberta side of the line, Alberta taxpayers will be paying for the power line of which Saskatchewan will be the major user.

By this time we all know what huge disdain the Conservatives hold the electorate in this province. You and I simply do not matter!

Perhaps some of you die hard Conservatives that are perhaps a little tired of 14 years of lying by these guys will rethink your ideals as you shiver in the dark.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alberta looses 6 billion of royalty by mismanagement

I don't think it is a coincidence that Alberta is going to be short 6 billion dollars in oil royalty.
When these turkeys reduced the oil royalty taken by changing the funds from US dollars to Canadian dollars we lost 16% right off the top.

With today's low prices, Oil is 46.79 US per barrel Exchange is at 80 cents.
The oil companies get paid in US dollars. Alberta converts that figure to Canadian dollars to calculate the royalty, currently at 19%

Considering only the cut we took in exchange at these figures Albertans will loose
$6,489,773,000 this year. The same number Iris Evans tells us we are going to be short.

They gave it to the oil companies what in hell do they expect? We will be told projects are cut, funding is cut and layoff is they key word for control.

This is nothing short of gross mismanagement by this Government!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Alberta's WCB said to be in good shape

Alberta's Minister of Employment and Immigration is telling us the WCB premiums will not go up next year, in fact, whatever the WCB is short in funding now will be fully made up by the end of the year.

Newer Posts Older Posts a> Home