Royalty policy “not a compromise”?
So the Conservative’s long awaited response to the Royalty Review Panels reccomendations were finally released yesterday and I have to admit I am of two minds.
On one hand I expected Stelmach and the Conservatives to cave into oil companies demands to a muchgreater extent than it appears they have. I think that, overall, this royalty policy is an improvement on the existing structure, and that Albertans will benefit from this over the coming years. So, from that perspective, kudos to Ed.
On the other hand, I don’t think that Stelmach should run around too much spouting off that this policy does not represent a compromise on the Royalty Review Panels recommendations. Here’s why:
First, some definitions of compromise –
- com·pro·mise [kom-pruh-mahyz] noun, verb, -mised, -mis·ing.
a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
the result of such a settlement.
something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house.
an endangering, esp. of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one’s integrity.
Stelmach himself has stated that this policy addressed the needs for increased royalties while providing the adjustment period industry needs to soften the blow. Also, the proposed policy pulls in $463 million less in royalty revenues than the panel called for. Both of these things strike me as a compromise.
This isn’t to say that compromise is bad here, but don’t run around saying “The house isn’t burning” when, indeed, the house isburning.
Finally, I don’t hold out much hope of this policy seeing the light of day. With implementation of the royalties being pushed back to 2009, there is lots of time for an election to take place. Any election will most likely see this issue as front and centre, which gives plenty of opportunity for broken promises, backpedaling, and high-pressure lobbying and donations from industry.