Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has identified a review of the province's outdated resource royalty regime as one of his government's earliest priorities. Outcomes from this review will determine Albertans' ability to invest in their future - as well as the future of their children and grandchildren - using revenues from their oilsands, oil and gas resources. Today, the Pembina Institute released its blueprint for an effective royalty reform process to ensure that Albertans fully benefit as owners of these resources.
Albertans do not feel they are getting maximum value for the development of their resources. A 2006 poll found that 84 per cent of Albertans support a public review of the oilsands royalty regime. Although Premier Stelmach has committed to a full review, details of how the process will unfold are still scarce. Finance Minister Lyle Oberg - in charge of designing the review - has a window of opportunity to create a process that is genuine, transparent and driven by Albertans.
"The current royalty regime cheats Albertans by putting the interests of companies ahead of the interests of Albertans. This reform process is a one-time chance to correct an outdated system and ensure Albertans start getting fair value for their resources," said Marlo Raynolds, the Pembina Institute's Executive Director.
The Alberta government manages the development of fossil fuel resources in the province and has a duty to obtain maximum value on behalf of Albertans.
"This is a chance for Premier Stelmach's government to get it right by designing a fair and open reform process that puts citizens' interests first," said Amy Taylor, a senior economist with the Pembina Institute. "It's time to stop rubber-stamping existing policy and create a system that will meet Albertans' needs."
The Pembina Institute's blueprint calls for a reform process for Albertans, by Albertans, with three key elements:
- A Citizens' Assembly, in which everyday Albertans are empowered to learn about the issues, deliberate, and make informed recommendations on a new royalty regime for Alberta.
- A Royalty Reform Committee, comprised of third-party experts.
- Forums for input from the general public and from youth.
A Blueprint for Conducting Sound Royalty Reform in Alberta can be downloaded at www.pembina.org.
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For more information contact:
Director, Ecological Fiscal Reform
The Pembina Institute
The Pembina Institute
For additional background:
The Thinking Like An Owner report and the summary fact sheet are available at www.pembina.org/pubs.
Still images and B-roll footage of oilsands operations are available for use by the media at www.oilsandswatch.org.