EDMONTON, AB: The NDP government must stop interfering in the work of its own royalty panel by suggesting it is ready to rubber stamp higher rates on the energy sector, the Wildrose Official Opposition said.
“This review is creating nothing but uncertainty in an industry that is already being crushed by low oil prices, higher taxes, and more regulations,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “We never supported the review, but the least the NDP could do would be to stop interfering in the independent process by pre-determining the outcome.”
During the election, Premier Rachel Notley promoted the royalty review as an independent assessment operating at an arm’s length of government, saying that it did not guarantee higher rates.
But before the royalty review has even offered its submission, Finance Minister Joe Ceci all but gave the thumbs up to higher rates in his recent budget speech.
Late last week, Ceci went further saying, “we need to establish the proper royalty rate. As oil companies produce, we will take that profit of course,” and in the summer said the review would help “boost government revenues.”
Wildrose Shadow Minister Leela Aheer said Albertans concerned about the royalty review were hoping Notley would keep her promise and not interfere with the independent process.
“Alberta families relying on the strength and viability of the energy sector need to know they have an equal voice in the review process,” Aheer said. “The results of this review will directly impact Albertans’ livelihood. Government should not have more influence than industry, experts and ordinary Albertans.”