Editor’s note: MLA Strankman is submitting this article with Stuart Taylor’s permission. Stuart Taylor is a former municipal councillor for the town of Hinton and currently seeking the Nomination for the UCP candidacy the West Yellowhead riding.
Sometimes in our haste to celebrate or feel good about something, we can occasionally miss seeing the bigger picture. Eric Rosendahl certainly seems to have been suffering from this condition when he penned his recent letter to the editor.
Rosendahl celebrates the fact that governments are spending billions on a pipeline that a private company, Kinder Morgan, was perfectly willing to build with its own money, apart from even a dime from taxpayers. How can Rosendahl consider a taxpayer expenditure of multi-billions for such an arrangement a victory? The only thing Kinder Morgan wanted were rules they could trust and assurances that governments would enforce existing laws. They didn’t get it, so Notley and Trudeau wanted to buy the pipeline.
Albertans know that these past few years Rachel Notley has panned or carelessly shrugged at major energy projects that failed, and she has also failed to support the industry by speaking up when she should. She instead prefers to talk about purchasing a social license with our tax money. Did Rachel Notley and Mr. Rosendahl fight for Northern Gateway? Energy East? Were they defending the industry and Alberta jobs when they were hiking taxes and increasing odious regulations?
Many oil and gas investors are avoiding Alberta and Canada because Notley and Rosendahl, along with their ally Justin Trudeau, have made it unattractive. A headline in this week’s Edmonton Journal states: “resource sector under legislative assault.”
Another newspaper commentary this week by Ron Wallace and the much-respected economist Jack Mintz, states that “Government regulation is going to put the energy industry into the ground.”
Wallace and Mintz also point out that while U.S. capital spending in oil and gas increased 38 per cent during 2017 alone, Canadian investment declined 56 per cent over three years (from $81 billion to $45 billion in 2017). Additionally, $89 billion of Canadian energy projects have been cancelled or abandoned (due to government regulation and bureaucratic interference) and there has been another $27 billion in energy sector divestments. Energy investors are fleeing, while governments with tax dollars buy pipelines, and MLA Rosendahl thinks this is something to celebrate?
Since 2015, Alberta’s NDP government has increased corporate income taxes by 20 per cent, implemented a multi-million-dollar carbon tax and introduced a new slate of environmental regulations that will effectively cap oil sands production.
Alberta’s energy investment climate now rates far behind the levels of previous years. Not long ago we ranked 14th world wide out of 156 jurisdictions. By 2017 Alberta fell to 33rd of 97 jurisdictions—well behind competitors. Texas boasts the most attractive energy investment climate in the world; Oklahoma is second; North Dakota is third. The energy investment rating in both Saskatchewan and Newfoundland is well above Alberta. They are both in the top ten worldwide.
The point is, that perhaps Mr. Rosendahl and our provincial government should consider spending less time with sod turning photo-ops, and writing self-congratulatory letters, and instead work to improve Alberta’s regulatory, taxation, and investment climate.