My prediction that Alberta CEO Prince Edward would sell Albertans out over the Royalty Review is confirmed from a couple of sources.
From the EnerPub Blog:
Alberta premier Ed Stelmach is expected to decide how much of the report’s recommendations to implement by the middle of October. There is considerable public pressure to increase royalties. However, Alberta’s oil lobby also has significant political influence because of the oil and gas sector’s large contribution to the economy. And the government will be loathe to jeopardize the future of an industry that accounts, directly and indirectly, for about half the province’s GDP.
The likely outcome, therefore, is a more modest increase than the panel recommends.
Edmonton Sun columnist and usually an Ed booster; Neil Waugh weighs in worrying that given his track record the man who would be king might well cop out.
And that's where Premier Ed Stelmach exactly stands on clawing back the oil, gas and, in particular, oilsands royalties and restoring what Bill Hunter's royalty review panel calls "our fair share."
The premier talked tough a few days ago when he said, "I won't be intimidated" by the powerful Big Oil lobby.
However, he hasn't actually said in plain Ralph Klein English what large numbers of Albertans now expect him to say: Alberta's royalty rates must go up.
The premier's office cranked out a release saying that instead of finally revealing where Ed stands on royalties, the Tories now want to "open communication channels" with the oil industry. While government bureaucrats will conduct a "technical analysis" review of the Hunter panel's recommendations to boost the royalty take by at least $2 billion.
Fears that the PCs were now in full retreat went from bad to extreme when it was revealed who is conducting the "shared understanding" with the oilpatch fat cats.
Justice Minister Ron Stevens, next to Dave Hancock, is the softest target in Stelmach's cabinet.
And instead of the finance department running the numbers, the energy bureaucrats - the same guys who messed up in the first place - will be marking Bill Hunter's homework.
Don't Let Big Oil Set Our Royalty Rates make sure Ed hears from you.
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