It was with great interest that I read recently that Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. have united to form the New West Partnership. The purpose of this partnership is to improve access to the Asian energy markets and to promote resource development partnerships with Asian investors.
At first blush this newfound western fellowship would seem to be an admirable achievement if it weren’t for one thing that I find curious. Why is it that these ministers can unite when it comes to developing a demand for a product that the whole world is clamouring for, but these same ministers cannot get their heads together to ensure that the citizens of Western Canada, who are the true owners of the resources, get a fair deal for royalties?
If the western provinces set royalty rates as a block, like Norway does, then we would all be getting the rightful royalty benefits that the Norwegians get. But that never seems to happen.
Instead, if one province raises royalty rates like Alberta did a few years back then the oil companies immediately punish the province by moving their exploration efforts to the other two provinces.
This punishing practise would be stopped immediately if the ministers would work together to set the royalty rates that would pay us the royalties we deserve. But this never happens.
It is almost like the ministers are working in the best interest of the oil companies and not the people they are supposed to be serving. At least that is my opinion.