Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ed's "Pension Moment"

It's really amazing just how big the royalty review has become in Alberta. In just four days 210,000 people have read the report online - I'd always thought those kind of hit numbers were limited to youtube or porn sites.

The report calls for an additional 2 billion dollars in royalties a year and several sliding scale rates that would depend on the price of oil - makes sense to me. Those on the right are already gearing up to scream "Stelmach's NEP" if he brings the full report in, while those are the left will no doubt claim that Mr. Ed has sold out to big oil and shown a lack of leadership if he doesn't implement every recommendation.

This is quickly turning into Ed Stelmach's "pension moment" that will probably make or break his leadership. Back in 1993, the PCs were down in the polls and left for dead by most. A huge backlash over MLA pensions was brewing, but Ralph Klein went into caucus and laid down the law, telling his caucus they'd have to slash their pensions or they'd lose the next election. They came into line and Ralph's World was created.

The situation is similar now. Implementing the full report, would let Stelmach say he's standing up to big oil, that he's willing to make difficult decisions, and it would cut the Alberta Liberal Party off on one of their big issues. The fringe parties on the right aren't real threats and all Stelmach has to do is remind Albertans that it was Peter Lougheed who massively increased the royalties back in the 70s. "This oil belongs to Albertans, blah blah blah, we deserve our fair share, blah blah blah".

I hate to give the guy advice but I'm fairly confident that Stelmach will take a wishy washy middle ground solution that leaves everyone pissed off. If he surprises, he might be able to extend the PC dynasty another decade. If not? Well, all good things...

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9 Comments:

  • ...and bad things...

    By Blogger Cliff, at 1:47 PM  

  • If he takes the mushy middle what of Kevin Taft? The NDP has received better coverage than Taft on this issue and while I like the guy, he isn't exactly capitalizing on Eddie's woes in a way that makes him a clear choice for voters.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 2:10 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 2:10 PM  

  • I assume the Libs will say they should implement the full report...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:56 PM  

  • I got no predictions or real analysis, but I'm sure curious what's going to happen...

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:00 PM  

  • Actually the Libs have said they favour a 25% royalty structure, the report calls for 33%.

    If the Tories adopt the report, the Liberals will be the one with the most business friendly position on royalties.

    By Blogger Joe, at 8:44 PM  

  • Dan,

    O/T, here's my amateur guess at why Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament til the 16th of October:

    Liberal governments in Ontario and Quebec spell more votes for a Conservative government in Ottawa. Harper's plan is to wait and see what happens on October the 10th. He's preparing two very different Throne Speeches, and the outcome of the Ontario election will determine which one he'll use - ie. whether there'll be an election or not an election.

    Just a guess is all, of course.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:47 AM  

  • Liberal governments in Ontario and Quebec spell more votes for a Conservative government in Ottawa. Harper's plan is to wait and see what happens on October the 10th. He's preparing two very different Throne Speeches, and the outcome of the Ontario election will determine which one he'll use - ie. whether there'll be an election or not an election.

    I don't follow. Why does a re-elected McGuinty government result in greater CPC support in Ontario?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:43 PM  

  • Looking at Ontario voting history over the several decades, they tend to vote for opposite parties at the provincial and federal levels.

    Of course, this is by no means a guarantee that they will do so on any particular time, so I rather doubt Harper will bet an election on it.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 5:02 PM  

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