Anyone familiar with Alberta politics will have no doubt come across www.daveberta.ca, an Alberta blogger whose opinions I have agreed with on many occasions. Turns out the forward thinking Daveberta snagged www.edstelmach.ca in the lead up to Stelmach’s coronation as King Ralph, Jr., and old Steady Eddie isn’t happy about it.
Daveberta received this letter from Stelmach’s lawyers. They are claiming Daveberta misappropriated Stelmach’s identity and that his posts critical of Stelmach mean that he did not do this in good faith.
First, this issue of domain name registration is hot and will only get crazier. My personal view is that if a high visibility person such as a politician can’t think that they should cover this end of things, tough.
Second, I’m ticked that the lawyers are relying on his posts which are critical of Stelmach as evidence of lack of good faith. The implied statement, then, is that someone who fawned over Stelmach on www.edstelmach.ca would not be threatened in this manner.
Third, what on earth are Stelmach’s handlers thinking? There was a zero percent chance Stelmach could come out looking good out of this. Best case scenario is that he looks like an absentminded Luddite who can’t quite “get” this whole internet thing. Worst case (which is where this is headed) is that he looks like a petty bully who can’t handle criticism and gets all litigious on college students who happen to have a different political affiliation (note to Ed…all college students most likely don’t agree with you on anything…they are college students, not bumpkin farmers).
In the end it’s just another sign that the Good Ship Conservative is slowly sinking in Alberta.
Ezra Levant, someone I never expected to be agreeing with, sums it up well here, too.
Okay, combine this with Ed’s Wednesday night 20-minute campaign ad and the Conservatives have managed to spend $350,000 of taxpayer dollars on thinly veiled attempts to boost Stelmach’s visibility and credibility in a lead up to an election call.
So what did we get for $225,000? Well, a headshot of Stemalch with “tough face #1” who remind us that he made a commitment and delivered. I’ll tell you what, Ed: After seeing this I’ve made a commitment of my own for the upcoming election, and I’ll deliver, too.
But don’t just listen to me, judge for yourselves if this looks like a campaign ad to you:
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.
So our good Premier, Steady Eddie (aka Mr. Dithers, Honest Ed) addressed the province last night. Here are my thoughts.
For $125,000 of taxpayer money I would expect something a little more exciting than Ed’s wooden features and stock footage from Alberta Tourism. The man has no facial expressions beyond “stupor”. Even worse, that quarter of a million dollars essentially paid for a 19-minute pre-election campaign ad.
For an idea of just how poor a speaker Ed is, check out this text of his speech. Nothing but two sentence soundbites. He’s right up there with George W. and a mime in the oratory department. Oh, and did anyone else notice that a new continent was discovered during his speech? Sounded like “a-zia.” I’m assuming it’s cloze to Asia.
I understand that the Conservatives view all Albertans as innocent naives who need simple soundbites and no new information in order to understand something. But recycling the same “accomplishments”, spending announcements, and projects that you announced 3 and 6 months ago seems a little insulting.
I’m saying it now: Ed will waffle on the issue of royalties. He will present a compromise on top of the original compromise presented by the Royalty Review Panel. Oil companies will continue to make obnoxious profits, the cost of living will continue to rise, and Albertans will see even fewer reasons to stay in the province.
Live Blogging of 3:00 P.M. MT Press Conference (all quotes Stelmach’s unless noted otherwise)
Well, right now there is a nice podium set up….and that’s about it.
Ah, the man of the hour arrives. Along with his communication director, who has a wonderful head of hair.
“Once in a generation decision…that will affect our children and grandchildren.”
“Confident we’ve got this right.”
Approx. 1.4 billion dollars by 2010. Claims a 20% increase of existing framework.
Linking price increases to royalty increases for natural gas and oil.
Rejected Panels recommendations on oil sands and instead will be using price/royalty matching framework.
Claims that this will provide stability industry needs.
Emphasizes need for in-province upgrading facilities.
Believes future generations will see this set-up as “fair and reasonable” not “greedy and shortsighted”.
Opened to media for questions.
Deep gas incentives will not take the form of royalty holidays, but instead based on how deep drilling will go.
Best interest of oil companies to “roll into” this framework. Not ready to discuss these options.
Cost structures based off of information provided by producers.
No grandfathering of contracts.
Feed started to get very choppy, no more info. for me. Boo.
I will take some time to digest and get back to what this all means.