Western provinces unity over oil a plus for region

Finally, Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan have formed an alliance to coordinate energy policies and find new markets for Canadian oil and gas.

Working together to promote the export of oil and gas to Asian markets is an excellent goal. If we build a pipeline to a B.C. port, we will have access to the insatiable energy demand of China and Japan.

No longer will we be primarily dependent on the Americans for our export market, diffusing their ability to manipulate our oil and gas industry.

This alliance should also give priority to harmonizing their royalty and tax regimes so that the oil and gas industry will not be able to play one province against another to achieve the lowest common denominator of resource income share for the citizens of these provinces.

It is too bad that this alliance was not formed before the oil and gas industry used Danielle Smith, their Billion Dollar Baby, and her Wild bunch to coerce the Alberta government to lower its royalty rates.

If the three provinces had worked together, B.C. and Saskatchewan could have agreed to increase their rates to Alberta’s level instead of Alberta reducing its rates to their level. The citizens of these three provinces could all have benefited from a larger share of their resource wealth.

If the Alberta government had not reduced its royalty take, it could have reduced its deficit by $2 billion. With the price of oil increasing to over $80/barrel, land (drilling- right) sales and drilling would have risen to current levels without the royalty reduction.

Len Skowronski

Leader — Alberta Social Credit Party