Non-stop rhetoric from UCP by Scott Schmidt, Nov 16, 2019, Medicine Hat News
Equalization referendums, Canada pension threats, separation, national unity, fair deals, booting the RCMP, war rooms, panels galore, inquiries galore, fights with Trudeau, fights with B.C., fights with Texas, fights with environmental groups, fights with Quebec, fights with the Bloc Quebecois and fights with the Alberta NDP.
Gee. It’s almost as if the non-stop rhetoric floating around is the Alberta government trying to tell us something. What could it be? Oh, I know.
“Hey! Look over there!”
The entirety of this useless anti-everyone campaign has been crafted as a purposeful distraction, and the fact that it’s a thousand things all at once is the entire point. A populous that is confused, overwhelmed and angry is not an attentive group.
Yet, not one threat, not one suggestion, not one panel and not one fight has a single lick of relevancy or hope of seeing fruition. Premier Jason Kenney knows Alberta can’t do squat about equalization (and he should, since he was a cabinet minister in the government that wrote the formula). He knows pulling out of CPP is a terribly risky idea that won’t have the same returns. He knows a provincial police department would be a massive and expensive overhaul. He knows the war room is fighting against nothing. He knows talk of national unity is nothing more than political theatre. He knows the panels won’t accomplish a thing. He knows the inquiries will only tell him what he wants to hear (or, more accurately, what he wants you to hear).
And he knows Alberta can’t win a single fight that he’s gone out of his way to pick, since some are with jurisdictions he has zero power over and the rest are completely imagined.
Meanwhile, the “shock and awe” campaign of policies promised during his campaign has continued in the form of a smorgasbord of cuts and a side plate of cruelty.
While you’re watching the bout with Trudeau, Kenney already has his hands taped and gloves on for the battles he’s picked right here at home.
Parents, children, seniors, students, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, anyone who owns a vehicle, municipalities, doctors, patients, the entire public sector (more than 400,000 workers across the province) – you name the category, and the UCP laser scope is pointed its way.
And while the barrage of cuts, price-cap removals, cancelled subsidies, gutted service departments, pending wage decreases and restrictive policies continue in impossible-to-keep-up-with fashion, Kenney and his caucus want you to blame literally anyone but them.
Honestly, when was the last time you even heard the premier speak about Alberta in a way that wasn’t who we’ll fight, or who owes us their livelihood, or who will do their part to make Alberta great again?
Even our own local MLA, Drew Barnes, who was just bombarded by worried teachers at a town hall meeting, wrote his latest column for this newspaper and focused every word on what Justin Trudeau can do for Alberta.
Here’s a thought, Drew: What can YOU do for Alberta besides join a Fair Deal Panel that has no tangible use?
How about you address what your party plans to do for the growing number of Albertans freaked at what the government has planned for them next? I know you have “1,011,036 reasons for more free enterprise, more room for families, more local decision making and less government.” What say you elaborate on just one of those in a column instead of tweeting the exact same thing 36 times a week? Can you even bring yourself to pretend that what your government is doing is creating “more room for families”?
If so, I have a family of my own that would sure love to hear it.
But instead of taking the time to address the real issues of his constituents, it seems Barnes would rather help his leader peddle the idea that Albertans are getting ripped off by anyone but them. He says he’ll take the concerns he’s heard to the UCP cabinet, but spends his time tweeting Fraser Institute reports that oh-so inaccurately suggest Alberta taxpayers contribute $5,000 a year to Quebec – each.
It’s non-stop smoke and mirrors, and unless this government is nothing more than inept, the entire wave has been constructed with intent.
As long as you know to be angry at anyone and everyone who isn’t in Alberta professing their unconditional loyalty to the UCP, then you might not notice as the premier and his caucus take aim at Albertans – all Albertans.
There is definitely a big fight in all of our futures. It’s just a lot closer to home than you’re being told.
Stop the blame game; Alberta’s plight is our own doing by David Swann, November 16, 2019, Edmonton Journal
After 11 years as an MLA in the Alberta legislature under the Progressive Conservative government I feel compelled to challenge the blame now levelled at Ottawa for our difficult economic state.
The current Alberta Conservatives have ramped up the tiresome strategy as old as Alberta; when in distress — blame the feds for our economic woes. And denounce the efforts for the TMX pipeline and policies for a new energy future, beyond carbon. The blame game by the UCP government also feeds climate change denial in spite of the overwhelming science and the growing global human suffering.
How many booms and busts does it take for a Conservative government, in power for 44 years, to acknowledge they have failed to both recognize the need for alternate markets for our oil, more economic diversity and a science-based response to climate warming with stimulus for clean energy, energy conservation and efficiency programs?
Transition is difficult at any time, and particularly in a recession. But responsible leaders do not ignore the science pointing to a climate tipping point in a decade. This is not the time to double down on fossil fuel stimulus, investment and subsidies. Nor is blaming the federal government (in power for just over one term) for the lack of pipelines. [Much more accurate if Kenney blamed Daddy Harper]
It’s time to face the truth. We are an oil state, with all its advantages, entitlements, hubris and decades of quid pro quo between the oil industry and the people in power, neglecting Alberta’s long-term well-being.
Despite 15 years of prices from $50/barrel to $100/barrel (inflation-adjusted) there is little to show in the public purse to buffer our recession. Alberta’s Heritage Trust Fund is sitting under $20 billion, unlike Norway, which started its fund 15 years after Alberta and now has $1 trillion as insurance against the future. That is leadership in the public interest.
Royalties have declined from roughly 30 per cent in Lougheed’s time to close to three per cent in the last few years; and yet the Big Five (Suncor, CNRL, Cenovus, Imperial and Husky) continue to post billions in profits.
Albertans aren’t told that most companies operating in Alberta are foreign-owned, taking those profits elsewhere!
Anyone close to industry knows the Western Sedimentary Basin is virtually empty and conventional companies have been losing money since 2009, transferring low-producing wells to junior companies, with growing numbers taking what they can and walking away from clean-up obligations; now totalling $260 billion.
Again, Conservative governments continue to turn a blind eye to the contractual clean-up obligations of the oil industry. Government and its so-called “arms-length” regulators (specifically the Alberta Energy Regulator) have been captured by the industry and the Orphan Well Association (OWA), largely controlled by the industry, is now lost in a sea of insolvencies, begging for public money.
Ironically, this lack of foresight, integrity and political will have contributed to distrust and loss of confidence from investors.
The Kenney war room is another blatant political ploy against both climate science and free speech; ironically, it is partially funded by foreign oil companies.
Oil prices and the global move away from fossil fuels are beyond our control. Let’s stop the blame game and acknowledge that we are all responsible for the Alberta we have, and for the Alberta we leave to our children. For all our sakes, let us see some mature, honest negotiating in good faith across this country and do our collective best to live up to our international commitment on the climate crisis. Alberta’s present state is largely our own doing.
David Swann is former leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and past MLA for Calgary-Mountain View.
Kenney considers royalty holiday to rejuvenate ‘hemorrhaging’ drilling sector by Chris Varcoe, Nov 14, 2019, Calgary Herald
… And speaking at a luncheon of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Premier Jason Kenney said a number of ideas are being considered to keep the sector working.
The province is “listening to the industry on what we can do to stimulate job-creating activity. CAODC and others have recommended, for example, a potential royalty holiday on new drilling activity,” Kenney told the crowd. [While not listening to Albertans harmed by the mostly foreign-owned, billion dollar profit-taking industry]
… Employment across the sector next year will remain flat from 2019 levels, declining by almost 45,000 since 2014 as the drilling industry is in “dire straits,” said CAODC president Mark Scholz. [For the oil and gas industry’s greed induced, job killing automation reality, refer to: Jason Kenney’s (CAPP et al’s) War Room swamped by fightin’ mad Albertans falling for lies & propaganda instead of looking honestly at industry’s greed-induced “de-manning” killing jobs & causing their suffering ]
“This industry is hemorrhaging, it’s a crisis,” Daniel Halyk, CEO of Calgary-based Total Energy Services Inc., told reporters after the event. [All just loud whines & threats to steal more money out of the citizenry, while abadoning and walking from more and more responsibilities after profit-raping Alberta]
… It has asked the Kenney government to consider adopting a royalty credit to incent bigger drilling programs by petroleum producers, or a one-year royalty holiday on new wells, offering a break that would kick in immediately and expire at the end of June 2020.
Scholz welcomed the province’s announcement last week that it will exempt new conventional oil wells from production limits, but noted petroleum producers that deploy additional capital in Canada are being punished by investors. [Pehaps because the industry is proving to be too terrifying to investors because of the hundreds of billions of dollars in intentionally walking from liabilities. Investors don’t want to be hung with the industry’s corruption, abuses to communities and the environment, notably via the tarsands and frac’ing, and endless liabilities]
“We believe the government needs to do something even further . . . that would further incentivize the deployment of capital, in particular in Alberta, to get drilling rigs back to work,” he said.
Given the state of the sector, a royalty reduction would be more effective than other measures such as income tax relief, added Halyk.
But it’s unclear what the response will be from producers, given commodity prices, curtailment and the current market conditions they’re facing.
Tristan Goodman of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada said his group supports either incentive proposal and thinks it would stimulate more spending and jobs [Highly doubtful given the level of greed in the industry pushing out workers with automation], although the degree of the effect needs to be determined.
“We are looking for any incentive that will make or put Alberta back on the map from an investment standpoint. For us, it’s all about investment,” he said.
However, adopting such a program during a period of budget restraint and cutbacks would be a hard sell for the government, particularly one that favours broad-based tax relief over one-off initiatives. [Kenney doesn’t care, he knows his ignorant base will vote for him not matter how abusively he starves and beats them up]
During his speech, Kenney acknowledged the oilfield services sector has been hit hard in recent years, and he catalogued his government’s action on the energy front since winning the spring election, such as reducing municipal taxes for shallow gas producers and pushing for faster project approvals from the Alberta Energy Regulator.
While the province will maintain production curtailment to protect the value of Alberta’s energy resources, with new pipeline capacity coming, “we believe that the path is clear, over the next year, to gradually reduce and eventually eliminate the need to use curtailment,” Kenney said.
The province will also approach Ottawa about supporting flow-through shares, a capital-raising instrument, to accelerate abandoned well reclamation work and create oilfield services sector jobs while helping the environment. [Companies are sitting on billions in cash, not spending it, while bringing in billions more in profits that are increasing as more and more workers are cut by automation. Canadian citizens ought not be hung with this vile industry’s refusal to heed the rule of law and walk from cleanup, decade after decade after decade]
“Our goal is to do everything we can to incent new exploration and production while ensuring that we avoid the kind of catastrophic (price) differentials from which this province was suffering a year ago,” he added.
Refer also to:
Jason Kenney’s (CAPP et al’s) War Room swamped by fightin’ mad Albertans falling for lies & propaganda instead of looking honestly at industry’s greed-induced “de-manning” killing jobs & causing their suffering