Pick up the tab by Bruce A. McFaul, September 29, 2007, Calgary Herald
One aspect of the royalty review which has been overlooked is how the Tories have treated the oil industry versus us normal Albertans, especially the poor. In 1982, the Tories cut oil industry payments by $5.4 billion unconditionally, while suggesting those on welfare be required to work at menial jobs for 40 hours per week. While premier Ralph Klein enjoyed corporate plane trips to go fishing and royalty payments were kept low, government employees had their pay cut.
The minimum wage remained unchanged. Hospitals and schools were closed or left to fall apart. Tuition rates skyrocketed and long-term care residents faced a 40 to 60 per cent rise in their payments. AISH recipients fell further behind and a whole range of social services were cut back.
All of this happened as oil prices climbed to more than $80 per barrel, resulting in record profits and multimillion-dollar incomes for oil executives. Now they have the audacity to whine about fairness. Sorry, guys. Time to belly up to the bar and pay your part of the tab. God knows the rest of us have sacrificed more. [Emphasis added]