Everything will be A-OK

“Well, I think we made a little history tonight!”— Rachel Notley’s victory speech  

Indeed we did! The 99% were jubilant. The 1% hit the panic button. And those who deflected political fearmongering with a healthy dose of hope and optimism found themselves facing a more insidious attack—fearmongering dressed up in a three-piece suit and renamed “economic risk and uncertainty”.

Here’s what fearmongering 1.0 and 2.0 look like.

Fearmongering 1.0

In the last week of the provincial election the Orange Wave became a tsunami. Corporate Alberta went into overdrive, flocking to the media to warn Albertans that the economy would be destroyed and their lives ruined if they failed to think straight and give Team Prentice another chance.

Editorial after editorial said the government needs to run the province like a business and Jim Prentice, an ex-banker, was perfectly suited to be the government’s CEO.

Mr Prentice quits politics

As we all know, it didn’t turn out that way.

Albertans rejected Corporate Alberta’s effort to colour the democratic process as an exercise in corporate succession planning. Instead they elected Ms Notley who promised to represent all Albertans, not just those in the corporate sector.

Team Prentice was reduced to 10 seats. Mr Prentice won his seat but abandoned his constituents before all the votes were counted (not very CEO-like behavior by anyone’s estimation).

We rested for a nanosecond; then the media (Corporate Alberta’s BFF) rushed in to finish the job. God only knows what they thought they were doing, the election was over.

Fearmongering 2.0

The media breathlessly reported that Albertans had made a terrible mistake.

The proof was right before our eyes. Canadian energy stocks plummeted overnight in response to the “economic risk and uncertainty” resulting from Albertans’ foolhardy decision to replace the business-friendly PC regime with an untested “left-leaning” NDP government that promised a royalty review, no further support for the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines and a two-point increase in corporate taxes.

Industry lobbyists demanded that Ms Notley clarify her intentions immediately.

She did. She told them everything would be A-OK.

Before someone circulates a petition recalling the entire NDP government, let’s look behind the curtain.

Plummeting energy stocks

Business columnists highlighted a 6% to 8% drop in share price at MEG Energy, Trilogy and Cenovus, but they failed to mention that Suncor, Husky and Imperial dropped less than half that amount (about 3%) and that all energy stocks were up by the close of business Friday due to higher crude prices and “a more positive sentiment for things oil-related these days.”

Fortunately, many energy companies filed their Q1 earning reports that same week, giving Albertans an opportunity to discover what energy sector CEOs really thought about the impact of an NDP government on their company’s business.

Of the 15 companies covered by the Daily Oil Bulletin, nine made no mention of the impact of the new NDP government.

Of the companies that mentioned the regime change, Crescent Point said the new NDP government wasn’t an issue because only 2% to 4% of its revenue was subject to Alberta royalties. Vermilion said it wouldn’t “pre-judge” the new government, preferring to wait until the NDP released its policies.

Ms Notley is A-OK

CNRL and Enbridge (the proponent of the Northern Gateway pipeline which would no longer be propped up by the Alberta government) said the change in government had created uncertainty but they were heartened by Ms Notley’s comment that the NDP would be a good partner for the industry.

Seven Gen embraced the change saying that while the PC government had been very good to the company, change creates new opportunities that they were eager to explore.

Husky said it operates in many jurisdictions with many regulators in Canada, the US and Asia and it enjoyed a good working relationship with the NDP governments in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. As far as Husky was concerned it was “business as usual”.

Keep calm and carry on

The mainstream media moderated its tone. Perhaps they’ve gotten over the shock of discovering that Corporate Alberta no longer runs the government. Or maybe they’ve come to grips with the fact that they have absolutely no influence over Albertans whatsoever.

In any event, even the right-leaning CanWest Foundation warned the energy industry not to rush to judgment, suggesting “the faster the energy sector moves from fear and resentment to constructive engagement, the better off Alberta will be”.

Thank you Ms Notley

In her victory speech Ms Notley said “Whether you are a business leader, a union leader, a municipal leader, someone who leads in civil society, or just a plain Albertan – the Legislature belongs to you; the government belongs to you, and you will be treated with respect.”

I am thankful that Ms Notley gave Albertans a chance “to make a little history”.

I can’t wait to make a little bit more!

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38 Responses to Everything will be A-OK

  1. Frank Horvath says:

    Thanks for another great blog, Susan. I especially like your focus on Ms. Notley’s reassurance that the government belongs to the people. While it should have sounded like a cliche, Notley’s statement was anything but! For years, the PCs governed for themselves and for corporations, and somehow we Albertans went along with it. Imagine, voting against our best interests!

  2. Frank, the Canada West article says: “There has also been a perception that governments and regulators have been in the pocket of industry – which has contributed to the negative perceptions of Alberta held in other parts of the country. The perception of Alberta’s government changed in this week’s vote – it will not be as easy to accuse an NDP government of being captured by the energy industry.” My thought was “No kidding!”

  3. anonymous says:

    When things start to get a little crazy, I try to mellow things out with a little cool jazz. 🙂

  4. GoinFawr says:

    “To every Albertan: you know the weather is what it is, but spring has arrived.” R.Notley

    • GoinFawr here’s another quote from Rachel’s victory speech: “Albertans have voted for change. One of the changes they voted for is a new kind of respect and a new relationship with their government.”
      “A new relationship with their government” …won’t that be a refreshing change!

  5. Brent McFadyen says:

    I feel good , maybe the Energy sector will pay a fairer share of tax and royalties. Now let us build schools, long term care homes, roads, and all those things that were put on permanent hold by the PC’s. Interest is low, labour is available let us move forward progressives.

    • Good point Brent. Interest is low, labour is available and oil producers negotiated reductions of 20% to 30% in their contracts with service companies. This will help offset the increase in corporate taxes and whatever may fall out of the royalty review process.
      And while I understand that energy companies are uncomfortable with uncertainty (who isn’t), they’ve come to terms with the biggest uncertainty of all–price uncertainty, and found a way to live in OPEC’s world. They’ll find a way to live in Rachel’s world too.

  6. Elaine Fleming says:

    I think the people of Alberta had enough of the fear-mongering by the PC government (Wildrose and federal Conservatives be warned!) and could see that Rachel Notley offered a more reasoned alternative. Plus, the NDP always fought for the best interests of every Albertan, not just the ones who had special “relationships” with the PC party.

    A great example of how people are laughing at the fear tactics is the t-shirt some clever entrepreneur is selling now (after Peter MacKay’s stupid remarks about our provincial election) that says, “Peoples Republic of Albertastan”, embellished with decorative drops of oil!

    There isn’t anyone who has been in this province for any length of time who hasn’t figured out how things worked in PC Alberta- from advancement in the workplace to receiving grants and contracts with the government, or board positions, and so on. As well, Albertans are so hopeful now at the prospect of liberation from the fear of retribution for speaking their minds about government behaviour and policy in public, in the workplace or even among circles of friends. I think it is really sinking in to people now how much of our democracy was lost under this party’s government.

    • Agreed Elaine. While many of us are delighted with the thought of a “new broom” sweeping through the halls of government, the mainstream media continues to cling to its tired narrative. Today the Globe & Mail described Jim Prentice as “a former banker and high-ranking federal cabinet minister…highly respected by the country’s business establishment”.

      I wonder what “the country’s business establishment” is saying behind closed doors. Mr Prentice didn’t have to call an early election in order to validate his pro-business budget but he chose to do so anyway.

      The result was that he shone a spot light on corporations and energy companies (why shouldn’t they pay higher taxes? why shouldn’t we have a royalty review?) when they were used to rolling along under the radar. Not a very smart way to treat your friends in the business establishment.

  7. Kathleen Lowrey says:

    pulling out my wet blanket… I wish Notley had let industry leaders twist in the wind for at least a full week. I read in Saturday’s _Globe and Mail_ that she had immediately made a series of calls late last week to reassure them that the sky would not fall with an NDP government. Have conservatives ever called labour union leaders the day after a victorious election just to say they really meant meant them no harm? A week of existential panic for Alberta’s pampered lap pets would have been very salutary, I think. Plus just the whole calling them to reassure them vs. graciously accepting their calls with reassuring words would have set a different dynamic in play, even if the content of the conversation were exactly the same in each instance.

    As a dual citizen (Canadian and American) who got my heart broke by Obama, I find myself prone to worried muttering these days.

    • cyberclark says:

      She’s doing more than calling. She has tasked Shell oil with selling bitumen taken as payment in kind on royalty. Article did not give any details as to amounts involved or commissions paid but it is an extremely alert move! It will provide them with much-needed cash. I missed the link.

    • I hear you Kathleen. The fact that industry has lost its contacts in government is industry’s problem, not Notley’s.

      The Herald ran a column by Deborah Yedlin on Sat. Yedlin is about as pro-industry as you can get. She said Notley should “seek out individuals who can be mentors and educators.” And just in case Notley is too dim to figure out who these individuals are Yedlin lists 16 people (complete with a brief synopsis of their credentials) that Notley should consider.

      Give me a break! Notley is smart enough to make the right connections on her own.

      Did Yedlin lecture Ed Stelmach on who he should enlist to be his mentor and educator? Would she have directed Brian Jean to contact Dick Haskayne or Andrew Leach.
      Frankly, her column was offensive; but a clear indication that the guys who’ve been in charge of government for the last four decades still haven’t figured out they lost.

  8. Liane Sharkey says:

    First we in Toronto finally booted out the Mayors Ford and got a different kind of Tory (the good kind, yes there is such a thing); now Alberta booted out Tories and brought in a breath of fresh air and hope with Notley. Dare we hope this brilliant move by the Albertan voters portends a bigger trend nationally? I’m almost afraid to hope, yet……

    • Liane, there are many of us here who are hoping exactly that. There’s a witty poster circulating on social media. It’s printed on orange paper and says
      Steven Harper
      You’re next sweetcheeks
      He may not have seen it, but you can bet his campaign staff has.
      Hahahahahah (that’s supposed to be a wicked laugh!)

  9. Brendon says:

    Great post.

    I welcome the change as I think it will be good for Alberta. That being said, I am a little nervous about this change. There is an interesting trend against big companies and the money they make. We often forget that for a lot of us, these big companies pay our bills, give us the discretionary spending that we love and help us maintain a lifestyle that we enjoy. When the companies do better, we do better. I hope that the NDP realize this, and that means working equally with ALL Albertan’s. Which includes big oil and other big companies. We voted the NDP in because they weren’t the PC. Hopefully the NDP realize that.

    • Thanks Brendon. Having worked in big companies all my life I don’t view a corporation’s relationship with its employees in quite the same way. In the mid 80s corporations decided that employee loyalty was passe and a corporation’s obligation to its employees was limited to providing an opportunity to do good work in a safe environment. If times got tough employees were cut loose with (hopefully) a decent severance package. The focus shifted to shareholder value. I’m not saying this was wrong. As a corporate lawyer I know better than most that a corporation’s duty is to its shareholders, not its employees.

      We got out of whack in Alberta when corporations developed so much influence over government that shareholder value drove everything. When royalty revenues weren’t enough to cover the cost of public services the government defaulted to cutting services rather than cutting waste, including patronage appointments to 320 agencies, boards and commissions or sweetheart deals with their friends (the Holy Cross Hospital springs to mind). The government was loath to tinker with the revenue model if it meant corporations would be expected to pay a little more.

      Now we have a government that represents all Albertans, not just business interests. I think it will work out better for everyone and, to borrow a phrase from Rachel, it will be A-OK 🙂 .

  10. Ted says:

    Let’s hope that Alberta’s new NDP government will return to a democratic state of government. Five post Lougheed premiers from the previous government ushered in the concept of ‘economic freedom’ as espoused by the Fraser Insititute and how well did that work? Harperism author Donald Gutstein chronicles the rise of corporate friendly ‘economic freedom’ in his recently released book, Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tanks Colleaugues have Transformed Canada. With the election of the NDP to government it is refreshing that authentic leadership will replace manufactured smarm in Alberta. Perhps the next in line for a major demotion will be the federal government. It will depend if enough Canadians, like Albertans, will have reached a saturation point with their government and decide that it’s time to change the trajectory and course of government.

  11. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    I will divide up my long winded comment into parts since it is impossible to post the entire. This is part I.

    It is getting tiresome hearing everyone on the radio yapping about how voters were conned by the slick campaign machinery to vote NDP; or that we voted against the PCs rather than for the NDP; or that we were angry and so made rash decisions that we will promptly regret because everyone knows what a hash the NDP have made wherever they have reigned. I mean what about the hash that the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta has made of our province over the past 44 years? Is it OK for the PCs to trash Alberta but not any other party?
    It gets ridiculous– this sort of junk. Really corporate Canada seems to have brainwashed most of these PC supporters so that their thinking is addled. They should all get can openers and use them to open the sealed tin cans of their heads.
    I voted NDP because I wanted to vote NDP and because voting PC —had not resulted in good governance or any sort of decent representation. I want to say here that I was not convinced by the “slick” campaign run by the NDP nor did I vote against the PCs out of spite. Though I was annoyed with the Prentice and his tired crew of entitled folks–I did manage to pull myself together to think coolly and to decide wisely– that Dr. Bob Turner would make a better representative for me than the Mandel guy in Edmonton Whitemud.
    I mean I voted for Dr. Turner in the last buy-election and so my decision this time around was not a lemming rush over a cliff with all the other previously Tory voters to embrace communism in the shape of the NDP.
    In any case, why does voting NDP make me a communist? I mean I think that the PCs were far more inclined to be a communist group than the NDP.
    The NDP folks are nice and will do a good job in government; they will actually work rather than loll around in the house of corruption avoiding the questions of the opposition parties as I noted when I went to the legislature to present my banned self to my MLA–Mr. Mandel. The PC MLAs were a disgrace. They spent their time avoiding answers. They did not earn their pay in my opinion.

  12. Carlos Beca says:

    The reason for this fear mongering simply because there was no difference between government, corporate interests and the PC party. They were one. Losing that status is a big deal of course.
    I am very happy about Rachel Notley did so well in the election but I am old enough to know that my fireworks will always go in the end. I have seen these changes many times before and change did not come or if it came was so diluted that was not worth the mention.
    Rachel Notley has done an amazing job in defeating a rotten beast and that is what I am celebrating so far.
    Like Kathleen I was not impressed that she started by calling the big oil companies as soon as the following day. Personally I think that is an admission of inferiority and I thought that to be totally unnecessary.
    Alberta was a much more powerful province with a third of development we have now except the distribution was way different and the money for the most part stayed in the province. Now we get the crumbs. We can do better with less out of control development. We should not fear being independent.
    As far as I am concerned they should not be treated any differently. Like the rest of us they will pay the taxes and royalties we think appropriate. If they think that to be unfair, they are free to leave. This is not Albertastan after all.
    I for one would like to see more investment from our own government and take those profits instead of just the royalties. The idea that governments are more expensive and cannot do anything properly is just another fear tactic from those who want to own what is rightly ours.
    I have worked for some of the biggest and best known companies in the world and the level of waste and incompetence is really not that different than government especially in countries like ours where the public services are pretty good. Abuses exist everywhere.

    • Carlos, in support of your point, Barry Cooper, a man described in Wikipedia as “a member of an influential group of conservative political scientists, the Calgary School”, said the PC party lost its way in the second half of Ralph Klein’s tenure. Having balanced the budget the PC party became a machine devoted to providing those who greased its wheels “with handsome emoluments.” Cooper says that oilpatch oligarchs (his term) thought they could use the government to their benefit and missed the fact that the PCs were corrupt and the only way the oilpatch oligarchs could “conserve their interests” was by repudiating the PCs and switching to the Wildrose.

      When you follow Cooper’s logic what he’s really saying the oil industry lost its access to a puppet government because the PCs became so corrupt the people threw them, but if the industry had supported (presumably financially) the Wildrose and the Wildrose formed government the industry could continue on its merry way.

      Seems to me Cooper doesn’t quite get the bit about it being wrong for any interest group to take over government to “conserve their interests”.

      But hey, what do I know, I’m not a member of the influential group of conservative political scientists known as the Calgary School.

  13. Julie Ali says:

    Part 2

    I can’t see why anyone would think that the PCs are worth keeping. The smearing campaign should be directed at this political party rather than the NDP. There seems to be a smearing campaign run by the business sector. But the business sector is not alone in smearing the NDP and praising the non-existent performance of the PCs. The newspapers chirped out propaganda on demand before the election and now are pointing out that we have to live with the sorry business of voting NDP until the next provincial election. The opinion columns are all yapping about the destruction of lifestyles as we know it— and the major problems that the NDP will inflict on all of us by simply giving school lunches to kids or perhaps increasing the rent on the oil and gas resources. What’s wrong with these moves? Nothing. If the PCs had done this sort of sensible representation of us they would still be in power forever and ever (even more so since they had the Tapcal Fund to pay for their out of pocket expenses).

    Everyone needs to think back on the the history of the PCs before trashing the NDP. I mean they haven’t even begun to govern us. Meanwhile the PCs had 44 years to learn to govern us properly and they failed to do this even with the oodles of cash that were generated in boom years. Instead of being fiscally conservative and saving the cash or even getting appropriate returns for our non-renewable resources, the PCs were the tails on the dogs of the corporate masters wagging to their every command. In my opinion, the PCs served the corporate masters most of the time and only deigned to look at the serfs (us) at election time when they had to go through the pretence of democracy. For whatever dumb reasons we all were mesmerized into voting for these critters like robots for 44 years.

    But even dumb bunny voters wake up when they are slapped in the face.
    The last straw in this ongoing political fiasco was the budget where the Pickpocket Prentice basically told us to pay for their incompetence and our stupidity for hiring their incompetence–while the corporate sector got off the hook. The crying of the corporate babies over a 1-2% increase in their tax burden is ridiculous. If they can’t make it in the super corporate environment here in Alberta where the politicians subsidize them with public money for everything from grants to make continuing care facilities that they get to keep as major assets to giveaway contracts/ transactions / money of the Katz Arena sort –well then I think they should simply pack their bags and go find another province to pillage.

    The shameful behaviour of these entitled corporate leaders mimics the shameful behaviour of the PCs we have just dumped.

  14. Julie Ali says:

    Part 3

    And it is not just the corporate sector that provides the manure that is flung at the NDP.
    The attacks on the NDP include folks who are in public positions.
    The chair of the University of Alberta board of governors –Mr. Doug Goss joined the crusade to save the PCs despite the fact that he is part of a public body and should not have been proselytizing for the PCs.
    In my opinion, Mr. Goss misused his public position to do Navigator type spin for the Prentice and now is weakly telling us that his advertisements were personal opinions -that he is a passionate Albertan and that he was only speaking for himself. He indicates that he was not representing the university in his capacity as board chair. This stance is very rich in hypocrisy.
    Why would we think Mr. Goss did not understand the ramifications of what he did? He is a public figure of the highest sort. He represents the University of Alberta. Folks like myself who graduated from the University of Alberta might have been swayed by his baloney (if we had not already seen this sort of poor behaviour in Danielle Smith’s anti-democratic crossing of the floor to the PCs.)
    These highly placed, public figures do all sorts of praising of the non-existent PC brand until the firecracker bursts in their faces and they then plead ignorance or naivete.
    Mr. Goss knew exactly what he was doing. He was putting his thumbs in a dam that was leaking but could not stop the collapse of that dam.
    I mean this guy is a lawyer.

    I find it hard to believe that he did not know that he was acting as a powerful, respected advertiser for the PCs when he spoke with the other corporate bigwigs as noted here:


    The news conference, held on May 1 — four days before the provincial election — set off a storm of backlash on social media.
    Goss, Melcor Developments chairman Tim Melton, Clark Builders CEO Paul Verhesen, Keller Construction CEO John Cameron and NPO Zero CEO Ashif Mawji complained that a rise in corporate taxes would lead to job losses. Mawji even suggested companies would stop making donations to charities and the Stollery Childrens Hospital if the NDP were elected.
    All five men are PC party donors.
    Following the meeting Friday, Goss pledged to work with the government of premier-designate Rachel Notley. He said he regrets speaking out last week.
    “You kinda go, geez, that maybe didn’t come out quite the way it should have,” he said, adding that he has always been open about his political leanings.
    “As a private citizen, I’m entitled to those opinions … in no way, shape or form did I represent the University of Alberta.”
    Mr. Goss should be terminated from his current position as should the rest of the board who can’t seem to see the unethical aspects of the anti-NDP chatter Mr. Goss engaged in. In addition to the unethical aspects of his chatter, doesn’t the board of governors find itself in a rather embarrassing position now that they will be working with the NDP government that their board chair was trashing?

    This sort of propaganda against the NDP– is just the beginning of the chest thumping, the innuendos, the caterwauling and the outright backstabbing that will occur with the business sector and the cheesed off PC supporters (if there are any left). Thankfully Danielle Smith has created a temporary rupture between the Wildrosies and the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta for a millisecond so that they won’t marry for at least a six month period. But I’m sure they will eventually marry. The two ends of this Conservative snake might be severed for now but they will fuse. A chance at the major oilsands money and the prospect of endless power has that sort of effect on enemies.

    Ms. Notley and her team need to be smart and vigilant. The radio chatter alone is enough to make me feel ill. The poison pills will be scattered everywhere.
    Albertans should not put up with it. We should all yap as I am doing and tell corporate Canada to back off. We voted Ms. Notley and her team in. We did not vote for the Prentice. We voted for the leader we trust and believe in; nothing that corporate Canada or the oil/gas sector says will alter our positive feelings about the NDP. And these feelings are everything. They were enough to get us to stop voting Conservative and choose a new way-the NDP way.
    We’re doing this sort of transformation of ourselves –for our families. We’re also doing the change in our voting patterns to really have “new management”; we want to ensure that we will have some money left in the Heritage Trust Fund so that our grandchildren will be able to pay for the land, air and water that the oil and gas industry has contaminated — that they will not do the remediation work on — before they leave Alberta. Why would they do this remediation work? That’s what the taxpayers of Alberta are here for right?

    • Julie, let me pick up on one of the many good points you raise in your comments. You nailed it when you discussed Prentice’s budget and the pathetic reaction of the five Edmonton businessmen (who Rachel Notley referred to at the Monopoly Men). Albertans believe that in tough economic times everybody has to pull their weight. The fact that Prentice let the corporate sector off the hook and the corporate sector, as represented by the Monopoly Men, had a meltdown at the suggestion they should pay 2 points more in taxes convinced us that the business sector had been coddled for far too long.

      Today Martin Pelletier, a portfolio manager at TriVest Wealth Counsel, wrote in the Financial Post, that he believes “industry, even the energy sector, can easily handle” the 2 point tax hike.

      Guess what. We knew it!

  15. Ted, the fact the NDP have a majority is critical. They have 4 years to develop a democratic state of government which isn’t driven by “economic freedom” thinking. It would appear that “economic freedom” requires unreserved support from the government of the day. As you so rightly point out, we’ve had that for four decades and it hasn’t worked out very well for anybody.

    The Herald published an op-ed by Tory LLP lawyer Dany Assaf and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Goldy Hyder. They said Rachel must do two things: (1) make Alberta conducive to foreign investment in the energy sector (if “conducive” means keeping corporate taxes at 10% and scraping the royalty review, it ain’t happening) and (2) be an unabashedly advocate for pipelines. Rachel says she’s not spending any more time on Keystone XL (it’s stuck in the US political process, there’s nothing she can do to unstick it) or Northern Gateway (it’s been approved by the NEB with 209 conditions. It’s Enbridge’s job, not Rachel’s, to satisfy them). Rachel supports TCPL’s Energy East pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Most people in the industry agree that those two pipelines will be enough to transport oilsands oil for quite some time.

    Seems to me it would help if the Herald balanced op-eds by Bay Street lawyers and Harper advisors with op-eds by people who aren’t wedded to the “economic freedom” style of government.

  16. DHT says:

    I’ll keep this comment short relative to past posts… to quote – “fear-mongering dressed up in a three-piece suit and renamed “economic risk and uncertainty””. First off, Thank you Albertans who voted to stop drinking from a poisoned well. Any shady entrepreneur knows that one way to create a market is to remove all other options. You just taint everyone else’s supply source, and they’ll all come to your door.
    Now the trick for all Albertans will be to maintain a watchful eye as the influencers in the “three piece suit racket” continue to go back to the well of ‘creating fear around uncertainty’.
    Funny, but in my line of work, the concept of uncertainty is a euphemism for opportunity. These suit guys have somehow come around to the mindset that IF they are going to “risk” capital, then the political conditions are going to remove as much of that risk as possible. How convenient!
    I’m sorry, but not all of Alberta is set up for the 6-12% ‘virtually guaranteed’ ROI that a couple of billion in investment is supposed to be able to buy in this province. It was this messed up sense that ‘money buys certainty’ that had me particularly unsettled at the recent Cenovus AGM. Mr. Ferguson’s comments made me cringe, as I thought he’d end up being on the wrong side of history (at that point I wasn’t certain, but I certainly hoped he was), and then the value of my investment in CVE would suffer as a result. It is this kind of thinking and yapping (the earlier cited Mr. Goss being another example of ineptitude) that has me asking: Why can’t these people (PC supporters) be CERTAIN that their comments WILL negatively affect the investment climate more than anything Ms. Notley can do in the next three weeks? After all, they are the ones, in their official roles as current corporate and institutional leaders, who should be smart enough to keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics, and maintain their focus on being good partners with the people’s choice.
    Thanks again Susan for your insights. I always worry a little that I’m checking in because I want to be part of an affirmation echo chamber, but there is this other really big piece that tells me the threat hasn’t picked up and moved to Vancouver Island (yet). All my neighbours who are fretting about the uncertainty know my position. While they quietly scheme on how to ‘return to the good old days’ (heck, the new order isn’t even in place yet so how bad can it be?) I remind them that perhaps they should consider hustling a little like the rest of us who didn’t submit to the corruption, and are now ready to get to work even harder because “Risk” leads to Rewards.

    • Kathleen Lowrey says:

      I love your phrase about “money buys certainty” and how ironic it is coming from supposedly pro-competition arch-capitalists. You are right — placing all your bets in the wrong place, reading all the signs and circumstances incorrectly, and trying to capture the state in order to create the outcomes you want are exactly what free market bravadeers are supposed to want to punish. So following their own logic, they should be happy with this outcome. Right? Right? [crickets]

      • DHT says:

        And beyond the “ain’t Karma a B*tch”, you feel a certain compulsion (at least I do) to elaborate on who is really behind any potential “Stanification” process, as in who is the greatest threat to create “Alberta-stan”?

        Irony – yes,
        Brave – only if defined as, “I warned you…now I’m going to obfuscate” (punish),
        Happy – they aren’t and I am, despite the drop in value of my investment
        CRICKETS – Priceless! 🙂

      • Kathleen, loved the [crickets].
        DHT on the topic of Karma, there’s a delicious irony in the fact that Redford built the Premier’s Suite and Notley gets to enjoy it. And Prentice spent $13,000 on four 80 inch video screens and Notley gets to use them.

    • DHT, how refreshing to hear a real world take on the meaning of risk. When Mr Soapbox worked for the municipal government years ago, he was told that the reason why he was paid less than the private sector was because a government job was secure and had less risk…then they laid off 40% of his department. So I find it laughable when the energy industry suddenly realizes that the royalty review is real and, as you point out, flies off the handle in public. If the investors and analysts weren’t worried about it beforehand they’d certainly be worried about it now. Incidentally, the CEOs seem to have moderated their tone. Encana’s CEO told his shareholders at his AGM that he’d talked to Rachel and offered his support as she works through the policy issues. CAPP, the industry lobby group was unavailable for comment, which makes me think the CEOs finally told CAPP to button up.

      PS I’m sure you’re not part of an “affirmation echo chamber”…you’re part of a wise group of Albertans who can see through the histrionics emanating from a bunch of sore losers, IMHO.

  17. jerrymacgp says:

    Firstly, we’re seeing a lot of commentators suggesting that the new NDP government drag its heels on a royalty review commission, corporate taxation, and a number of other campaign pledges. People like those commentators get all hot and bothered when politicians break campaign promises… except, I guess, when they’re promises they don’t like all that much. I for one hope Rachel goes full speed ahead on her party’s commitments, once of course her government is actually assembled and in place (they’re still looking for the light switches in their legislature offices, so we will need to wait a bit longer).

    Secondly, there has been a lot of speculation about how the Alberta NDP victory will play out on the federal scene. IMHO, there tends to be little electoral overlap between the provincial and federal levels, at least in this province, and in fact the vote splits between right, left and centre are quite different with one unified Conservative party (more aligned with Wildrose than with Alberta PC), and a not-quite-as-moribund Liberal party in play. However, there is one effect that has not been widely discussed: morale. NDP activists, donors, volunteers and candidates in Alberta will be energized, indeed really pumped, by the Notley victory, and I predict that as a result there will be some surprising wins in the fall federal election. OTOH the Harperistas are still very strong in Alberta, and they will still pick up the majority of the province’s federal seats; but hopefully fewer than in 2011 (I’m sure Linda Duncan would love some company).

  18. Jerrymacgp I too was puzzled, well amazed actually, by the commentators who want the NDP to go slow with the royalty review, the corporate tax hike, etc. It’s as if they think Notley’s promises were the same as Redford’s promises to the nurses and teachers–a last ditch effort to get elected. Notley’s promises were part of the NDP platform from the getgo. Notley tabled Bill 209 (royalty commission) in the Leg before they broke for the election. The corporate tax hike was part of her strategy to demonstrate that the WR were just PCs in wolves’ clothing, equally intent on letting the corporate sector off the hook.

    But the media is still in denial. The headline on the front page of the Herald today was “Royalty review to proceed”. Someone should send in a letter to the editor that says “Duh”.

  19. John Wodak says:

    Have I missed something? In all the doom-and-gloom commentary from the right wing, I haven’t noticed any mention of Danny Williams (a devout Tory) and his take-it-or-leave-it negotiations with the oil industry. (“Take your marbles home if you like. The oil will still be here when you come back.”)
    And, to be fair to Jim Prentice, there is a maritime tradition that the captain should go down with his sinking ship. Would that explain Jim’s E-night resignation, even in landlocked Alberta?

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Re Prentice, I agree resigning as Tory leader is defensible, to an extent…but resigning the seat he had just won back on E-Day, leaving his constituents unrepresented and putting us all on the hook for an unnecessary by-election was crass and cowardly.

      • I agree Jerry. Prentice said he was leaving to attend to his duties as “a father, a husband and a grandfather.” Let’s face it, these duties were just as pressing on the day before the election as they were on E-day. But then again, that’s the verbiage we’ve come to expect when someone steps down or is pushed out of an executive position. It fits here.

    • John, I like your explanation of Jim Prentice’s departure but I think Jerrymacgp is right, resigning as party leader made perfect sense. Leaving ones constituents high and dry was a bit much. Barry Cooper, the Calgary School political scientist, referred to it as “the final ignominy” and an “abrupt and shameful departure.” Unfortunately that’s how it will go down in the history books.

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