Week in Review - August 30, 2015
Posted on August 30, 2015 by Greg Clark
This week the province unveiled the Royalty Review panelists and their terms of reference. In this low price environment there is always a risk when talking about policies that will impact Alberta’s energy industry but at the same time, conducting regular reviews of Alberta’s royalties is an important means to ensure Albertans have faith that we, as owners of the resource, are getting a fair return.
The panelists chosen are true experts in the field and the terms of reference seem balanced and reasonable. I’m also pleased to see that any changes won’t be phased in until 2017 (and I’m also reassured by Chair Dave Mowat’s reminder that this is a royalty review, not necessarily a royalty increase).
And “acting like owners” means we need to be open to the idea that certain royalties may actually need to go down to stimulate investment when prices are low and competition is increasing. It’s also important that the royalty panel work closely together with Dr. Andrew Leach’s panel reviewing Alberta’s carbon pricing framework to ensure cumulative impacts are considered.
I’ve said from the beginning that when I disagree with the government I'll offer alternatives, and when I agree I'll say so. I like the approach they’ve taken with the royalty panel and conducting the review quickly will give the industry certainty and hopefully unlock increased investment in Alberta.
Having said all of that I will keep a close eye on how this government interprets and implements the recommendations coming from the panel. Experience tells me that governments can get creative when choosing panel recommendations they like and I’ll be keeping a close eye out for any evidence of a particular agenda at play.
Around the constituency
It’s been another busy week in the Calgary-Elbow constituency office. We continue to hear from a lot of people hoping to finally close out their Disaster Recovery Program claims and we are chasing down cases where it appears one neighbour may have received more than another even when they both had the same amount of damage. I will continue to work to ensure all Albertans eligible for DRP get what they're owed and that there is equity in the distribution of funds. If your DRP file is still open please contact my office at Calgary.Elbow@assembly.ab.ca and we will do our best to help.
We also continue to work to help those impacted by changes to building codes for houses or condos rented to people with developmental disabilities. I’ve talked about this issue previously but in brief, the province has adopted a ‘one size fits all’ approach that requires landlords to install expensive sprinkler systems in homes where people with developmental disabilities are living, and as a result many landlords will turn over their properties to the general market because they can’t afford to retrofit their units to meet the new standard. This means people with developmental disabilities will be evicted and may end up re-institutionalized or worse yet, on the streets.
I wrote to Minister Sabir expressing my concerns and asking him to rethink the policy but so far we haven’t heard that he’s willing to change his views on the wrong-headed policy the PCs put in place. But we will keep pushing.
As always we love to hear from our constituents in Calgary-Elbow and from people all around Alberta. You can reach us at Calgary.Elbow@assembly.ab.ca or leave a comment below.
Foothills Byelection - Vote This Thursday!
The voters of Calgary-Foothills have a clear choice. This byelection offers the opportunity to reject the politics of division and elect an MLA who will work full time for his constituents, listening to your views and taking them to the Alberta Legislature. Mark Taylor has shown throughout this campaign that he's willing to work day and night. I encourage the voters of Calgary-Foothills to elect Mark on September 3rd.
And for those who want to help get us over the line, we're doing a big final push this week and we need all the volunteer support we can get. To learn more about Mark or to sign up to volunteer, visit www.votemarktaylor.ca.