Notley’s Royalty Review

Rachel Notley is driving Brian Jean and Ric McIver crazy.

Every time they think they’ve backed her into a corner on the energy file she comes out with a creative and pragmatic solution which has the industry’s backing.

What’s the opposition supposed to do?

The conservatives respond

Brian Jean (WR) and Ric McIver (PC) responded exactly as we expected they would—with bluster and righteous indignation.

mciver-jean

Mr McIver and Mr Jean

Mr Jean said the royalty review was a waste of time and created uncertainty which threw thousands of Albertans out of work.

Mr McIver said the review was unnecessary, damaging and confirmed the PCs had it right all along.

Both implied nothing changed.

Apparently neither checked the chart on page 62 of the Review Panel’s Report which set out 15 differences between the existing royalty framework and the modernized royalty framework.

What’s new?

Ms Notley’s “modernized” royalty framework shifts toward greater certainty by applying the revenue-minus-costs royalty model to all hydrocarbons and making the royalty calculation easier because costs are more clearly defined.

It rewards companies that reduce costs through innovation and efficiency and requires oilsands companies to become more transparent and accountable for costs. This in turn will reduce the number of disputes about cost deductibility, inconsistent royalty treatment and the lack of information about prices, the status of projects and the amount of royalty payable. All of which will increase public trust in the system as a whole.

The NDP government’s focus on costs is a startling turn of events for an industry that has long argued it deserves special breaks, including rock bottom royalty rates, because it operates in a “high cost basin”. Did they miss the fact that Alberta is a land-locked province requiring pipeline transportation for their products when they made their initial investments?

notley-cafe-1-size-xxlarge-letterbox

Premier Notley

Ms Notley’s new royalty formula (revenue-minus-costs) results in a flat 5% pre-payout royalty and a post-payout royalty that can increase as the commodity price increases. It applies to new wells drilled after Jan 1, 2017. Existing wells will remain under the old royalty structure for another 10 years.

What could be simpler than that? (Okay, it’s more complicated than that, but it’s a heck of a lot simpler than Ric McIver’s party’s royalty framework!)

Royalty Review PLUS

The Review Panel went beyond the number crunching to include recommendations to encourage the creation of value-added industries.

The Panel called for a natural gas strategy to support the Climate Leadership Plan by providing a “bridge” from the hydrocarbon based economy to one more reliant on renewables. It called for additional support to value-added industries including the partial upgrading of bitumen, which would increase existing pipeline capacity by up to 30% and the expansion of Alberta’s petrochemicals, fertilizers, biomedicals and pharmaceuticals industries.

Interestingly, the Panel was reluctant to tackle environmental issues like orphan wells, tailings ponds and the need to create an Alberta Environmental Information Agency similar to the US EIA. It stated such concerns were being addressed elsewhere.

Industry and media respond

Here’s where it gets embarrassing for the staunch defenders of the oil patch, Messrs Jean and McIver.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers called the Royalty Report a “balanced review” that was the result of a “fair and credible process, one Albertans can trust.” The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors expressed concern about the focus on cost reduction (read: our paycheques) but remained “cautiously optimistic”.  Precision Drilling was “impressed”, Seven Generations said the Report was “thoughtful and comprehensive” and MEG Energy was “pleased”.*

Deborah Yedlin, the Calgary Herald’s energy columnist (who was apoplectic when the NDP swept into power) praised the Review Panel for its “elegant and thoughtful recommendations”.

What?

Given all this praise from industry and media one wonders, did the Review Panel go too far?

I don’t think so. The Panel presented evidence that Alberta is in the “middle of the pack” when it comes to royalties collected and investment in the industry. It recognized that Alberta is at the mercy of global oil prices and our biggest customer, the USA, is eating our lunch. It presented realistic recommendations designed to enhance innovation and efficiency.

Most importantly, it recognized that Alberta’s economy is based on fossil fuels, but provided a blue print for value-added diversification, including the recognition that natural gas is the “bridge” to renewable energy.

Where do we go from here?

Ms Notley will continue to be a smart, realistic premier who consults with experts and the people before implementing policy based on evidence, not ideology.

Messrs Jean and McIver will continue to huff and puff and revert to ideology when the evidence doesn’t support their position because that’s what conservative leaders do to shore up voter support.

Albertans will continue to assess the NDP and the conservatives as they march toward the next election …and if the Royalty Review is any indication Ms Notley has a good chance of returning to power four years hence.

*Daily Oil Bulletin, Jan 29, 2016

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39 Responses to Notley’s Royalty Review

  1. Bill George says:

    Who would expect any thing less from these two losers.

  2. Sam Gunsch says:

    Reading Anielski’s report at the link in this article…ABs are not getting a fair share.

    ‘Critics Slam Alberta’s New Royalty Review as Policy Disaster’

    ‘http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/02/02/Alberta-Royalty-Review-Disaster/’
    ============

    That ‘policy disaster’ headline captures the gist of the analysis by Jim Roy, Mark Anielski, Reagan Boychuk, Barry Rodgers in this article.
    =============
    excerpt: ‘Alberta’s royalty policy, said Rodgers, is not consistent with the fundamental resource and environmental management notion of “In-Trust.”

    That notion, long abandoned by the Tory party, reflects the principle “that current generations have a moral obligation to not leave future generations worse off.”

    Missing comparisons

    Although the review claimed that Alberta’s royalty rates are comparable to other jurisdictions, it failed to compare Alberta to the jurisdictions that matter most such as Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. The review, for example, makes but one mention of Norway.

    Boychuk also said that the review failed to provide true comparisons that took a critical look at real government pricing around the world.

    To gauge the appropriateness of bitumen royalty rates, for example, the review hired Wood Mackenzie, a firm that advises oil and gas companies.’

    • Sam, thanks for the link. I’m not a royalty expert but I disagree with some of the points raised in the article:
      (1) It said the new royalty rate is 5%. That’s not correct. It’s a flat 5% pre-payout and the revenue minus costs (RMC) formula post-payout. The RMC formula will not necessarily result in a lower royalty as it can increase as price increases.
      (2) It said Alberta should increase royalties in order to decrease production and eliminate the inefficient high cost extractors. I don’t agree. The government needs to manage the industry in order to protect the environment and people (health and safety); it needs to collect royalties and taxes, but it’s up to the market to eliminate inefficient high cost extractors and that’s what the Saudis did when they pushed oil down to $30/bbl.
      (3) Barry Rodgers says the report should have made more of the Tory government’s failure to save revenue, collect our fair share or report in a more transparent manner. I don’t see what would be gained by this. The review panel was asked to look to the future, not rehash the past.
      (4) Rogers says the low royalties rates contributed to overproduction, reduced competitiveness, reduced innovation and overheated the economy. I’d argue that soaring oil prices had a far more significant impact on these areas than low royalties.
      (5) Roger’s chart comparing statutory rates wasn’t helpful because it appears to be based on 2013 rates (it’s hard to tell) and includes the corporate tax rates which means the impact of the new royalty framework, the new higher corporate tax rate and the new carbon levies are not reflected. Also it excludes oil sands royalties ($6 billion in 2014) which are determined by the revenue minus costs formula that will be applied to all new hydrocarbons post-payout after 2017 and will apply to existing wells still producing after the 10 year transition period ends.
      (6) I wouldn’t discount Wood Mackenzie as the best consultant without offering another consultant who would be just as knowledgeable.
      (7) The appendix includes WM’s presentation. It selected comparable jurisdictions based on competition for capital (the US is Alberta’s biggest competitor for investment followed by China, Australia and Norway) and comparable resources namely the types of plays (unconventional oil, unconventional gas and oilsands) and scale (deepwater projects as a comparable for oilsands projects). 70% of conventional oil and 85% of conventional gas has been developed, conventional hydrocarbons are in decline so they weren’t the focus of the analysis. This explains why Saudi Arabia wasn’t included. Data relating to Norway and Venezuela unconventional resources and oilsands is included in the presentation.

      I’m looking forward to continuing our discussion…

      • Sam Gunsch says:

        I don’t have the training or experience to evaluate much of the issues that are technical or economic analysis.

        Just sharing the concerns raised by seemingly expert authorities, because I do think the process for both the climate consultation and this royalty review were done as mostly insider/expert/top-down corporatist policy-making processes. Citizens just expected to trust that the options chosen serve the public good.

        No options were tabled and explained publicly for discussion among the citizens before a decision was made on any option.

        Policy making in the West has increasingly left in the hands of experts in these sorts of processes…leaves the citizen in the dark regarding considering and comparing all possible serious options. Marginalizes the citizen AND the legislature/the opposition parties/civil service.

        And we wonder why such a large percentage of the citizenry is disgusted/disengaged/dismayed, just f’n sick of how elitist politics/public policy making has become. And thus the kindling for demagoguery. And the fuel for blowback’s on the carbon tax, and coal phaseout and so on.

        Corporatist policy making like the PCs have done for decades (and now the NDP has fallen into the same rushed timelines and patterns, driven by electoral calculations) has gutted democracy by teaching the citizen that it’s the interest groups that dominate actual policy making via their elite access to policy making committees. So pick your tribe and follow what they say, because there is little explanation of policy choices.

        Mark Lisac identified this dysfunction of the organized groups/experts dominating policy consultations in his book The Klein Revolution, Chapter 9, The Corporate Province. It’s not democracy, but a different form of governance where interests, and interest groups negotiate public policy and the public good just gets lucky if it’s served by the policy choices made.

        John Ralston Saul’s Unconscious Civilization also identifies how corporatism has emasculated democracy. Policy making is largely done by organized lobbying of vested interests and their experts, and gov’t experts, largely out of sight, and without deliberation that the public can understand. Corporatist insiders have a better representation system than the citizenry.
        Theodore Lowi, in the USA experience, labelled this sort of governance, ‘interest group liberalism.’ The dominance of corporatist decision-making in so-called democracies, is everywhere in the poli sci literature.

        The citizens who do want to spend the time on major policy issues like royalties and do want to try to understand the merits/demerits of all options are not given substantive opportunity or resources to help them, in advance of the decisions.

        E.g. NDP public consultation on the climate plan was seriously deficient.
        And I’m a supporter of the NDP generally on their stance on issues.
        But the backgrounder that was provided in advance of the two public open houses was seriously inadequate in terms of informing the ordinary citizen about the pros and cons of various options being considered.

        Unless you were a member of organized ‘interest’ group who got invited to the private consultation sessions or someone self-taught in some of the issues, it was an almost useless consultation process for the ordinary citizen who wanted to substantively participate.

        And btw if Anielski has concerns with AB royalty system, I’m quite persuaded something is amiss. But citizens shouldn’t have to rely primarily/exclusively on their judgement of the integrity and expertise of any given expert to assess whether some policy is good, bad or middling.

        Experts should be on tap for citizens, not on top of citizens.
        And gov’t’s should allow time for consideration and debate on a range of options. Then go into legislatures, deliberate and debate some more.
        But then I tend to idealism, I guess.

      • Sam Gunsch says:

        BTW… Susan… tone in posts is hard to read…I’m not yelling at you.

        I’m venting my exasperation about corporatist policy making.
        And my dismay that NDP are just doing the same old same old corporatist policy making approach.

        I get it why NDP are doing so. It’s over the top idealistic of me to expect them to have the capacity or inclination to do so.

        To understand exactly what I mean when I use the corporatism, consult the preface of the 2005 re-issue of Unconscious Civilization by Saul. It’s not the influence of big corporations. It’s a political system where legitimacy rests with groups (corporate, corporations) rather than citizens.

        Wikipedia gets lost in the weeds, parsing all the various versions.
        There has been since the 70’s a small army of ‘neocorporatists’, as Saul put it in 1995, writing in the poli sci literature, holding conferences, trying to claim that neocorporatism is not the same as old corporatism…and that it is a version of democracy… trying to put lipstick on a pig.

        Saul’s written a useful 2-3 page essay on corporatism in his Doubter’s Companion, too.

      • Sam, I knew you weren’t yelling at me. The commenters on this blog always treat each other respectfully even when (especially when?) they disagree.

        PS I found a link to part of Saul’s Doubter’s Companion. Here’s his definition of Florida: “Former American state. Latin Americans are now locked in a long-term struggle with Canadians for control. The Latin Americans are driven by their need for financial and political stability, the Canadians by theirs for warmth and a place to die.” I’m going to buy this book.

      • Sam Gunsch says:

        edit…oops…” inclination to do so.”

        Should read: inclination to change policy making away from corporatist toward participatory, deliberative, and to actually discuss in the legislature before deciding.

      • Sam Gunsch says:

        Lowi suggests a remarkable theory(link below), for the origins of reasons why the ordinary citizen might be skeptical of arguments made by neoliberal ‘markets before democracy’ economists or arguments by industry spokespeople to justify their take care of industry is the best public policy, that also, amazingly, seems to mesh, in their opinion, so wonderfully closely with the public good:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interest_group_liberalism

        Lowi’s seminal book, first published in 1969, was titled The End of Liberalism, and presented a critique of the role of interest groups in American government,[1] arguing that “any group representing anything at all, is dealt with and judged according the political resources it brings to the table and not for the moral or rationalist strength of its interest.”[2]

      • Sam, I’m ill equipped to respond to the positions advocated by Saul and Lowi (I’m aware of Saul’s work but haven’t read much and Lowi is new to me) so instead I’ll respond to your observation about the consultation process for the climate plan and royalty review. You said “I do think the process for both the climate consultation and this royalty review were done as mostly insider/expert/top-down corporatist policy-making processes. Citizens just expected to trust that the options chosen serve the public good.”

        I think I agree with the first part of your statement that the reviews were “mostly insider/expert/top-down corporatist policy-making processes”, based on my understanding of the definition of “corporatist” — the state is run not by citizens who vote but rather citizens’ “corporations” (the professional or expert groups to which citizens belong) that negotiate with the state to further their various interests. Both panels were run by experts and received presentations and feedback from industry groups, environmentalists and lobby groups in addition to individual citizens.

        Where we may not see eye to eye is on the second part of your statement: “citizens are just expected to trust that the options chosen serve the public good.” I’m not sure if you’re proposing that once the options have been identified they should be put back in front of the citizens for sign-off.

        I voted NDP with the expectation that Notley’s government would review the evidence they receive from these panels and select the options that serve the NDP’s long term strategy which I understand to be diversifying the economy and helping it transition away from fossil fuels while at the same time keeping the economy going and optimizing royalty revenue, which together with the carbon tax and increased personal taxes will fund public services.

        I expect Notley’s government to make the right policy decisions based on the NDP’s campaign promises and the evidence. If the evidence requires Notley to amend an election promise I’m okay with it.

        Of course this raises a number of other questions including did the panels structure the reviews properly by asking the right questions to ensure that the evidence they received led to the right answers.

  3. Carlos Beca says:

    First of all the only use I have for both McIver and Jean is as King of the Edmonton Klondike parade.

    Thank you for your analysis. I mostly agree. I say mostly because I truly believe the review to be a waste of time and money. I explain why I think so.

    I am quite surprised that Rachel Notley, with I am sure, the support of her caucus requested this review. It tells me either Rachel Notley does not understand social democracy or she is an ideologue and made a mistake.

    The reason why for example Norway has been so successful in its oil strategy is because they are true social democrats. They use capitalism to serve the country and not the other way around.
    The very first thing they did when they found oil was to make it full property of the state. We on the other hand make it property of the companies that extract it.

    After, they created Statoil which got 50% of the production licenses. Statoil is approximately 60% owned by the government and the rest is owned by the public. Furthermore oil companies’ profits are taxed up to 78%. So summarizing they are rich not only on royalties, in fact they are taking the biggest piece of the pie on profits of their state company. They now have more than 1 trillion dollars and started only in 1990. They have no deficits and no debt.

    Instead of our pitiful ‘the government is not in the business of doing business’ and of shaming their own public servants like we so proudly did in the 90s, they created a company to get the most out of the situation.

    So why do I think what I previously said about Rachel Notley? Well if she knows these facts, she would never consider the review because the royalties alone will not change much. Furthermore I am sure that she was not prepared to create a provincially owned oil company and change the philosophy behind our approach. Even if she did I think now is too late to make that kind of gargantuan change. I do not believe she would anyway because she would be shot before the end of her term. Not by ISIL but probably by the CIA.

    Within the cowboy capitalism we so dearly protect it is not possible to do much better than we do. We could do better but I do not believe that it is time now. This should have been done 30 years ago. Oil will soon be a sunset industry and within the next 20 years probably just used for plastics if something else is not created.

    • Carlos, you make a very important point–Alberta is not Norway. One is a social democracy, the other is not. Norway provides a full range of public service programs that are supported by a tax regime that’s been characterized as one of the heaviest in the world. Norway’s VAT is 25%; Alberta’s is zero and people flip out at the suggestion that a sales tax might be a good idea. Personal taxes in Norway run as high as 55%, Albertans went into shock when Notley imposed a max personal tax rate of 15%. Norway’s corporate tax runs between 28 to 78%. Alberta increased corporate taxes by 2 points (max is 12%) and corporations threatened to up stakes and move to the US.

      The question of why Notley went ahead with the review given that she could not transform Alberta into a social democracy is an interesting one. Perhaps that wasn’t her objective. Maybe she’s pushing Alberta to become a more “progressive” province incrementally. Although when you look back on the last eight months you’ve got to admit she’s made amazing headway. She raised the minimum wage, implemented the carbon tax, set up a new royalty regime, imposed higher personal and corporate taxes, provided incentives for industry and will provide even more to support greater diversification, more upgrading within the province and greening the economy. This is quite an achievement given the “cowboy capitalism” (great expression) that controlled the province before she arrived on the scene. (The mental image of Notley striding into a western saloon wearing chaps and a cowboy hat just flashed into my mind).

      • carlosbeca says:

        Susan after carefully reading your comments on the changes that were made I agree that the review, within our context, will probably be beneficial. I certainly hope so. I also think that your comment about Gil McGowen is correct. As you know from previous comments I made to your blog, I am not a big fan of the attitude the Unions have displayed for many years. I do support unions but I see their role as way more than just fight for more money. Salaries in Fort McMurray, just like in the previous booms, reached absurd levels and to me both the companies and the Unions are responsible for the ripple effects it creates around the province and even in Canada.
        I also agree with you on what Rachel Notley has accomplished so far and I do not mean at all to be negative or not help her along on what I true believe to be a tremendous difficult job to do. Some times frustration drives me to be a bit too harsh in my comments but believe me it is more passion than destructive criticism. I am one of those human beings that truly believes that we could have a way better world if we just would accept to have an honest approach about what needs to be done. It is not that difficult really. The issue is US not the problems themselves.

      • Carlos, you’re absolutely right in your comment that the world would be a better place if we could have an honest conversation about how to fix our problems–you said the issue is US not the problems themselves. That reminded me of a conversation I had a few years ago with a friend who had new neighbours from Norway. They were delighted to be working in Canada (in the oil patch naturally) because as a result of our tax structure they got to keep a lot more of their wages. What they didn’t understand was that the trade-off for more takehome pay was a decrease in the quality of healthcare, education and seniors care. Sadly money can blind us to what really matters.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Susan your reply to my comment is absolutely right.
        Thank you for always taking my comments, crazy as they are, with respect and always offer your opinion. I value and appreciate that a lot. I have no doubts that people that read your blog, agreeing or not, will learn one very important lesson – the problem is actually our attitude about how we interact with other citizens.
        I certainly have learned a bit about this review and what other people think about it. I have adjusted my opinion about it as well and more favourably.

        Thank you

    • GoinFawr says:

      A most excellent comment Carlos, thank you very much.

      Susan, re: Alberta is not Norway

      Indeed.

      Norwegians pay, on average, around 49% of their income to taxes, while Canadians pay ~30%.
      But Norwegians gross around 89,000 USD/year in pay, while Canucks average around 45,000 USD/year.

      Take home for Norwegians: 89,000-43,610= 45,390 USD/year (net)
      Take home for Canucks : 45,000-13,500= 31,500 USD/year (net)

      So even though Norwegians pay a higher rate, they have more take home pay (14,000 USD); or roughly 44% more than Canadians, after income taxes.

      Now, as you mentioned, the Norges do have other consumer taxes that take their rate even higher, but there are a lot of expensive services that Albertans (should they wish for the same level of service) have to pay for privately that Norwegians don’t.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Thank you GoinFawr.
        I had read about what you clearly explain about take home pay and it does not surprise me. In the end we have less financial freedom. They do not have to worry about education for their kids and they have decent pensions and free health care.
        Despite all of it our geniuses like Brian Jean do not even mention them but choose to simply dismiss it as ‘Socialism’. I wonder what he calls his only suggestion I have heard so far of sending patients to the US when they need health services. Just brilliant. I wonder what moves these people other than possible mental issues. Seriously, what moves a person like Alison Redford to decide to build a condominium at the top of the newly renovated Federal Building for herself?

      • GoinFawr says:

        Susan I would like to add one more thing to the ‘Alberta is not Norway’ meme:
        According to the Parkland Institute,

        “Newfoundland/Hibernia takes 30% to 50% of profit plus 7.5% of gross revenue – twice as much as Alberta.” (in royalties)

        Alberta may not be Norway, but it’s still Canada.

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  5. political ranger says:

    Wow! just WOW!
    I like your blog Susan because of how really, really smart your writing and viewpoints are and because you get some really very smart comments.
    But I think your completely wrong in this case. I hope you will expand on your reasoning on why you think Notley is “a smart, realistic premier”. I’m hugely impressed with her smarts too but I’m hugely disappointed in this decision. Carlos and Sam say it much better than I.

    • Political ranger, thanks for liking the blog and caring enough to tell me when you disagree.

      I’m supportive of Notley’s royalty review because it will change the way the industry does business by forcing companies to become cost effective or die. The old royalty system gave Albertans a percentage of whatever was left over after companies deducted every cost they conceivably could. It’s been suggested that companies padded their costs in order to keep paying the low pre-payout royalties instead of the higher post-payout royalties. Now they’ll have to be more transparent about all of their costs and the government is going to hire oilsands costs experts to keep them honest.

      This will move companies to the post-payout royalty sooner and according to TD Securities may result in a two-to-four times increase in royalty rates across the board.

      I think it’s premature to judge Notley harshly on the basis of the royalty review alone, especially given all of the other steps she’s taken to make Alberta a more progressive province (see my comments to Carlos).

      I also wonder whether one reason Gil McGowen came down so hard on Notley is he’s worried that as the industry becomes more cost effective it will hire fewer workers and pay them less.

      • Julie Ali says:

        HI Susan,

        I have to admit that I am puzzled as well why you think this royalty review resulted in good things for Albertans. I don’t feel we ever got a good return on our non-renewable resources.

        If I look at the yearly returns of oil companies and the billions of dollars in assets they own and I see how much money we have in our Heritage Trust Fund plus how much we get in royalties in the yearly accounts I am not convinced that we are getting enough from the industry. I don’t believe this royalty review has changed this state of affairs in Alberta.

        I am not as impressed by Ms. Notley’s performance as you are either.
        I feel that we were fooled by the NDP actually. They don’t seem any different than the PCs were. Certainly they are not transparent, some of their MLAs are not available to constituents, Alberta Health hasn’t bothered to help my family with my handicapped sister and we feel actually quite betrayed by the folks at AHS and Covenant Health who are working under the direction of Alberta Health to move my sister to an inappropriate SL4 status.

        My feelings about the NDP government are coloured by these events of what I consider to be failures in performance and assistance to citizens of the sort my family is enduring.

        I guess we will only know at the end of this first term of the NDP whether we got a good group of politicians or whether we have a group of folks who were able to convince Tory voters that they would make change happen, when in reality there has been no change of worth.

        I don’t consider the changes that the NDP have made to be helpful or useful.There seems to be a lot of photo-opportunities but no sort of deliverables that matter. This is especially true with reference to changes in continuing care.

        I see no changes in continuing care. I was hoping that there would be amendment to the Trespass to Premises legislation to require a mandatory appeal, that there would be resident rights that forbade evictions of the sort my sister endured and that there would be a whistleblower law to protect advocates who pointed out non-compliances and safety issues at facilities. Instead, we have no changes, there is complete stasis at AHS and there have been no explanations for the failures of AHS to provide an appeal process mandated by legislation. For 44 years, families have had no ability to appeal evictions, banning or other retaliatory actions in the system. Certainly we got an appeal process right now after months of yapping but this appeal process access is controlled by AHS, and is internal to AHS. Not good.

        Maybe you can see the big picture and I can see the close up microscopic view. The microscopic view is not friendly.

      • Julie, you make a very good point about assessing Notley’s government’s performance overall, not just based on the Royalty Review (which you can tell from my comments I support).

        I share your view that there’s been a lack of progress on the healthcare file. Like you my concern arises from personal experience and anecdotal conversations with healthcare professionals who report that there has been little improvement, if any, with respect to wait times, access to specialists, the right balance of staffing both at the nurse and doctor levels and ongoing confusion within AHS as to who can make decisions (many decisions are still run up the flag pole). I don’t know how much of this inertia is the result of the magnitude of the problem or the challenge of having to take on the medical establishment (including the nurses’ union) but the quality of healthcare in Alberta is still not as good as it should be. Your experiences with your sister are a classic example.

        I don’t think the NDP fooled us into electing them (although many people voted for them just to get rid of the PCs); I think they inherited a real mess and while there are many bright lights in the NDP government, they won’t be able to turn Alberta around quickly. Unfortunately this creates great hardship and stress for many Alberta families.

        My heart goes out to you and your family Julie.

      • political ranger says:

        Susan, I agree that the effort to support efficient costing is worthwhile; that is the one thing that stuck out to me in this ‘review’. Back in the distant past, before the neo-con, corporatist dogma of only market solutions (35 years ago) the BC gov’t had a strategy of using the average cost of production to calculate stumpage (royalty) rates on Crown timber. This rewarded low-cost producers while at the same time driving down costs over time. Very smart and of course, very corporate un-friendly. That’s why it doesn’t exist anymore.
        So while there is some smart moves for future production in Notley’s review, it still doesn’t warrant the moniker “new” as you casually referred to it in a reply to Carlos; it’s still the same ol’ royalty structure with, perhaps, some new reasoning.
        As long as Protti and his mob of thieves, thugs and propagandists over at AER are in charge the petro-corps will continue to do as they please and any ‘unpleasantness’ will continue to be covered up, excused or apologized for. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not blaming Protti, he is a corporate criminal and will do what all criminals do. No, the problem sits squarely on Notley’s shoulders. She should have, and still must, turf that turkey. Nothing changes out on the landscape with him around, least likely, the verification of production volumes.
        Secondly, who’s going to count all those costs? The same staff who have been rubber-stamping every lie and fabrication, every bit of rubbish the industry has passed on? Yeah, right! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it bears repeating until it’s understood; unless and until 30% of the gov’t workforce is fired and replaced nothing significant will change.
        You can quibble about the percentage and I’ll say fair game but the Notley regime has not changed even 1%! A few political advisors; that’s it. The people in charge of administrating and operating the gov’t have been doing it for a long, long time; they ain’t about to change anything unless they’re forced to.
        It is, as you say, premature to judge Notley. But there is no way towards a “progressive province” that includes the business-as-usual strategy for regulating the petroleum business. That is the dismay and disappointment with this gov’t.

      • Political ranger: you’re right, I shouldn’t call this a “new” royalty structure, even Notley doesn’t go that far, she calls it “modernized”. I do however believe the shift to the oilsands “revenue minus costs” formula for the calculation of all hydrocarbon royalties and the imposition of the requirement of transparency and accountability for costs are significant improvements. The focus on costs is a double whammy for energy companies, first they have to disclose all their costs to the government who is supposed to be hiring experts in oilsands cost accounting to ensure the companies are honest (I’m sure there are a few of them floating around after this last round of layoffs) and second, company CEOs will have to bring their costs way down or get canned by their boards of directors. That is brilliant. By making the market punish CEOs who can’t get their costs under control, Notley has increased the amount on which the royalty can be calculated.

        I agree with your second point. I worry that Notley will not succeed if she continues to allow industry insiders like Protti to run government agencies and allow the 30% or so of the government workforce who grew up under PC reign to implement her policies. As I’ve said elsewhere the fiasco that resulted from the roll out of the farm safety bill (Bill 6) wasn’t entirely Sigurdson and Carlier’s fault.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Political Ranger, your comments about the ‘no-change’ to a progressive province are in my opinion correct. We agree that progressive Alberta will not happen until Rachel Notley makes real changes. The problem is that we veered too much to the right. We also allowed money to be the primary mover in our parliaments. In the US for example there are no limits on contributions from corporations to Congress or Senate. Furthermore corporations are now legally considered individuals. I do not believe incremental changes work anymore. Corporate and market forces will not allow any kind of substantial change. The NDP or any other party for that matter are not ready to challenge those forces which in my opinion are also very political. Most politicians even on the left are in the pockets of big money.

        My point is and has always been that we cannot make any meaningful changes in our present democratic institutions. They are mined with lobbyists and outside forces that I mentioned above. So the only solution is a very substantial democratic renewal that I have been advocating for a while. We need a complete change to our voting system as well as very radical changes to the way our legislatures work. The idea that we can as a country be governed with majorities which are efficient and can make changes fast has brought us to where we are. The changes to the extreme right have gone very fast indeed.

        The problem is that I do not see any appetite for real change. It seems to me, and I stand to be corrected, that even the NDP is happy with a 2% tax increase here and a little greener law there and we are fine. Well if that is the case then forget about change. We just have cosmetic changes and the disappointments and frustrations continue until the process ends in total collapse or the old type revolution with major consequences. Canadians tend to think that does not happen here. One just has to look around to understand that is naïve.

        No party in Canada is interested in real political change that can bring about a better life for its citizens. This is where the difference exists between us and the Nordic countries. They are not by any means perfect but they are 30 years ahead of us. Their success is clearly a very simple rule – the state works for its citizens. We on the other hand believe that the state works for the elites and the ripple down effect will reach us somehow. IT DOES NOT WORK.

        We are trying to fix rotten wood. Alberta needs real change and I doubt that Rachel Notley and the NDP are that change. They are much better than the PCs and the Wildies but so far, and this is where I disagree with Susan, I do not see real change. I see what I call ‘Duck Tape social democracy’.

        Democratic Renewal is fundamental to help us avoid drastic disruptive changes in the future. We need our voices to be heard. We need the influence of a very educated society to be at the table, not just the Conrad Blacks and Katzs.

      • political ranger says:

        I’m in complete agreement with you Carlos. We need courage and leadership; if it’s not forthcoming from elected individuals then it might just come from ‘some others’. Without courage and leadership in the Legislature I fear that the Wiebo Warrior Way and the Pouce Coup strategy will be all that’s left.
        The current situation cannot stand.

  6. Carlos Beca says:

    Sam, I think that Lowi knew exactly what is was talking about. Unfortunately when these issues are raised they are always dismissed as paranoia and left wing ideology and pushed aside quickly. It is no wonder we keep reading old books to understand what is going on.
    Corporatism was used by fascists like Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal and Mussolini in Italy. They used it to their benefit to easily control the masses. 🙂

  7. Kris says:

    I will admit that I think Alberta should be capitalistic with our oil and sell it to the oil companies for the best price we can get instead of this communistic share the resources bs that the PC and WR go for. I do seem to remember Notley saying a few months ago that she wouldn’t raise royalties if prices were low. If I’m not misremembering, this means that she didn’t change her mind but rather kept her promise.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Kris I’m not sure that I understand your comment:
      You effectively refer to “Alberta” as a (our) collective, say it (we) should be capitalistic by selling assets to the oil co.s for the ‘best price’ we (as a collective) can get, which is obviously less at the bottom of a market, and then call the purported ‘laissez faire’ stance of the PC and WR ‘communistic’?

      Why not suggest that the collective “Alberta” be ‘capitalistic’ by BUYING assets at the low of the market, instead of selling; that’s actually what capitalists do, successful ones anyway.

      And I really don’t get why you tar the WR and PC positions with the epithet ‘communistic’, could you please explain?

      Maybe for you this royalty review indicates a promise kept by the NDP, but if it is it is a promise kept to those who didn’t vote for them, not to those that did.

    • Kris, I like your comment that Notley didn’t change her mind but rather kept her promise. People argue that she’s being hypocritical, she sold out to industry, she’s acting like a politician, etc. but I think she’s doing what she’s always done, making decisions based on evidence not ideology.
      And while it’s fair for people to question the Panel’s methodology–did it pick the right comparable jurisdictions, did it attach too much weight to being attractive to investors–if you go through the report and the appendices attached, the Panel’s conclusions appear appropriate given how the review was structured.

  8. GoinFawr says:

    Another Alberta Royalty Review over with, in my opinion, very little to write home about, just like 2009; time to get bullish on oil again? Apparently so.

    Eg. Western Texas Intermediate (the price media loves to quote) is up ~9%, for the day, on ‘bearish’ inventory news. That is what? a 15% rise since the royalty review was released?
    Not so much for Western Canadian Select though; IE what the lion’s share of Alberta producers get paid; thank you so much NAFTA’s ‘proportionality clause’ (“Go ahead, make your damned pipelines to your west or east coast; I double dare ya. Do it and I’ll see you at the unaccountable-to-any-elected-government tribunal” – The US).

    http://www.parklandinstitute.ca/billions_forgone

    Must be coincidences, if I believed in coincidences that is.

    Albertans would have been far better served if the NDP had used their tax dollars to gobble up assets when (while) the price is low, instead of making the EXACT same mistake Steady Eddy made in late 2008: conducting and releasing a royalty ‘review’ while the industry is deep in the dumps.
    Why?
    1. Such purchases would increase, or least help to maintain, asset values for the entire industry, including private companies, by serving as a degree of ‘demand’

    2.It would set up Albertans on-the-cheap with control of a tangible asset for the future, should demand (which is still growing worldwide last time I checked) approach supply ever again.

    And

    3.Obviously waiting to conduct the royalty review once the price of oil recovered at least somewhat would have put Albertans in a much better bargaining position, rather than standing at the door hat-in-hand.

  9. Goin’Fawr: you’ve provided a lot of points for discussion and I won’t be able to address them all. So let’s talk about Alberta/Norway/Newfoundland. You correctly point out that Newfoundland has a higher royalty rate than Alberta. I re-read the Panel’s Report and note that it did included NFL in the “comparator” group based on NFL’s offshore projects which are comparable in scale, complexity and investment to the oilsands. I couldn’t find a detailed discussion about why the Panel didn’t raise the royalty rate as high as NFL other than the comment that Alberta was “middle of the pack” and the Panel was satisfied that that was good enough considering investment, resources and our financial regime (not terribly helpful, but there it is).

    With respect to the Stelmach/Notley royalty review discussion, one of the most important things to come out of the Notley review (which was missing from the Stelmach review) is the recommendation that energy companies annually disclose individual project costs, investment levels, job creation effectiveness, environmental performance and the project’s royalty returns to the province, plus the recommendation that the government hire oilsands cost experts to keep the energy companies honest. Not only will this actually drive down costs (no self respecting CEO is going to want to explain to his board of directors and investors why his company is at the high-cost end of the spectrum), it also gets around the problem of energy companies padding their costs to reduce the royalty owed and fueling the inflation that drove up the cost of absolutely everything.

  10. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am not as sympathetic with reference to the mess left to the NDP by the Tories.
    The NDP need to have some balls and get going with changes to AHS, Covenant Health, Alberta Health and the continuing care system. The junk in this entire system is amazing.

    I admit that there are problems what with the low oil prices and the presence of a politicized bureaucracy that does not work hard or provide us with deliverables that matter but this is the way of all new governments. The NDP have to simply meet with these problems and solve them.

    Ms. Notley was given a mandate by families to do the work of ending the corruption of democracy in Alberta.That means she should have got going making the changes we wanted done right away. She should have got Ms. Hoffman working on the problems in continuing care where there have been abuses of residents, non-compliances by providers and retribution by health care/continuing care providers to shut up advocates/ families who raised care issues to the public.

    I am disappointed with Ms. Notley for her lack of emphasis on continuing care.
    My area of interest is continuing care.
    I wanted the changes in continuing care to be done to ensure the protection of vulnerable citizens who are sitting ducks for understaffed facilities where the staff do not receive the training required to operate effectively.
    I can’t imagine why the NDP would wait on helping such at risk folks but they are sitting around doing nothing.

    I will use my sister’s case to tell you the mess in continuing care to date according to our family experience of the system.

    My sister Rebecca went through two adverse events. These adverse events were due to the same problem. Staff did not know how to press a button on a BIPAP machine. They did not put the machine on, my sister had a build up of CO2 due to a constellation of respiratory conditions and ended up in ICU in the first adverse event.

    Of course I did not understand that the staff did not know how to put the machine on. I was told that the problem was my sister. She was non-compliant. At the Grey Nuns ICU the folks there tell me as my sister isn’t compliant they will ignore her Goals of Care designation which was R1 (full resuscitation) and simply put her code at R3 which is do not intubate if she comes into emergency. If they do not intubate my sister she will die. This doesn’t bother the staff at the Grey Nuns Hospital. They are tired of resuscitating my sister.

    This change in the goals of care designation was done based on a report generated by a handy dandy consultant; hospitals use these consultants to do this sort of junk. The staff at the Grey Nuns Hospital are told what they want to hear and tell our family they will not bring my sister back the next time she enters emergency anywhere in Alberta.

    No one bothers to review my sister’s respiratory data which can be obtained by doing data card downloads from her machine. I do the datacard download for the ICU visit and I find out that the machine has not been put on for 55 days out of 60 days. I am stunned. Why had the machine not been put on? What the hell is going on here? I mean I am a stay at home mummy. Folks at the facility tell me my sister is not compliant; I am not so sure; I think maybe I should get some help.

    I yap to everyone about the first adverse event—all through the system up to the Minister Horne guy. Nothing gets done. I go to the UAH for help. There is an integrated care plan developed; no one explains the data card download information to me from the ICU visit.

    I take my sister back to the facility. I go to the facility every day to ensure my sister has the BIPAP mask on and is compliant. The only thing I do not check is to ensure that the BIPAP machine is on. I mean why would I think that the machine would be off? I am in the room with the staff. Surely they would put the machine on knowing I am there?

    Of course this is not the way the real world operates. The BiPAP readings done every month show the machine is on–until again there is a second adverse event with my sister in emergency. The machine had not been on for 17 out of 30 days. At this point it clicks that it is not a machine problem, it is not my sister who is the problem since I had been there to ensure compliance. This was something else. I watch the staff. I see problems. Some staff don’t know how to put on the machine; some aren’t familiar with the machine; some have problems with the leak; some have problems with the mask etc. It’s a staff training problem.

    I ask for staff training. It gets done by AHS in January 2015 after two adverse events. On February 19, 2015 my sister is evicted, and ends up for a year at the Grey Nuns Hospital. The Grey Nuns Hospital is evicting her on Monday February 8, 2016. Today I asked Lana, who is some sort of administrator at the Grey Nuns, a doctor who is the attending physician for my sister this week, and a nurse practitioner how they could send my sister who belongs in long term care to the SL4 site. The doctor told me that if the family has concerns we could hire a private nurse. So what about patient care based funding? We are supposed to have funding in place for all services and supports required without having to provide private care at public facilities but nope, we are to provide our own nursing staff. It’s a joke.

    Imagine that. We –the citizens have to hire supplemental staff because of inadequate staff numbers/ or background at the facility. The SL4 site where they are dumping my sister—has 180 patients, one night LPN and for my sister’s sector there is a health care attendant for 50 patients. Not one of these trained folks have ever dealt with a patient on a BIPAP before. There is no on site respiratory therapist. The poor RT has to deal with all the assisted living sites and group homes in Edmonton; by the time he makes it to my sister she will be chopped liver. The folks at AHS supply administrative RNs for the day shift; my sister goes bad during the night and on weekends where there will only be an on-call RN. The LPN will not have the background to diagnose carbon dioxide narcosis. But that’s just fine for the Covenant Health staff. My sister can handle it. Yeah, without family my sister would not be here today.

    Covenant Health, AHS and Alberta Health are going to be responsible for any care incidents that result from this mess. Families need to be vocal and publicize this junk. Even if this junk is going on without any sort of interest by the media we should go on blogs and use social media to tell all Alberta families what the true problems are in health care and in continuing care.

    Change will come but it may not come in time for my poor sister. We have indicated our family’s opposition to this harebrained downgrade done solely for the prevention of an appeal of the eviction from the Good Samaritan extended care at Millwoods. They could have put her in Norwood but that would have required keeping her as a long term care resident and that would have allowed the appeal back to the Good Samaritan Extended care. So why don’t the folks at Alberta Health, AHS and Covenant Health want this appeal? I’d say because everything would be public, the government would be exposed as being unable to force a private not-for profit organization to take back my sister and this means that the Minister of health has not power with the continuing care industry but does have the power to force a powerless Ali family forward and put my sister at risk for further problems at the SL4 facility that will not be able to help her if she is in respiratory crisis.

    The NDP government and Ms. Hoffman have failed my sister. Worse than failing her they have shown their contempt for families and their apathy for vulnerable at risk citizens who cannot tell us their abuses. My sister lacks insight and could not even tell me when the machine was not on. I had to be the witness to the failures and figure out the problem of lack of staff training— while the entire system was yapping about my sister’s non-compliance.

    No one speaks about the non-compliances of the facilities, the non-compliances of AHS that failed to detect these abuses/ problems; and of course the non-compliances of Alberta Health that has through three ministers of health ignored my sister’s problems because they can. No one speaks about the failure of Alberta Health to discipline AHS for their non-compliance for not having an appeal for evictions/ inappropriate transfers as mandated by law. Government and public bodies never get disciplined do they? But abused patients like my sister gets disciplined by a downgrade from long term care to SL4, I get sued and the entire mess is covered up.

    The system is broken. The NDP government will not fix it. But citizens like myself who are being sued by the Good Samaritan Society will have to go to court to show the abuses of handicapped citizens and make the changes that the NDP refuse to do.

    Why do they refuse to do the changes? Seniors and handicapped citizens are not sexy subjects. Media does not bother to interest themselves in old people being abused or nearly dying or dying in continuing care. After all these folks are just wasting health care dollars aren’t they?

    It is only the families who love these old folks and handicapped folks who put the time, interest and money into advocating, publicizing and changing the system. We have to go to court to show that the public disclosure of abuses or problems in care that we witness are true. We have to spend our family’s income/ life savings to do the work our NDP government cannot and will not do.

    I ask all of you to work for change in continuing care. You won’t know the games that are played at AHS and Covenant Health or how you will be moved forwards so that the abuses and deficiencies in the system are covered up until you have a loved one who is almost killed due to failures in care. I ask all of you to think about your mum or dad or sibling and wonder what if? What if they were abused? What if they can’t tell you what happened like my sister could not tell me what happened? What then?
    My sister had her family.
    But what about all those folks who do not have advocates.
    What about them?

  11. Oh Julie, I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through in your battle to get the proper care for Rebecca. Your experience highlights the life-threatening consequences of an understaffed and poorly trained public sector attempting to provide healthcare to a growing population. It’s inconceivable to me that the government would take the position that the level of care being provided is adequate when the caregivers are telling you to hire a private nurse to ensure your sister doesn’t have another “adverse event” and is left to die.

    I talked with a friend who’s very familiar with the workings of the Dept of Health and AHS. He said there is a phenomenal lack of trust in the system. Medical professionals (doctors, nurses) don’t want the Dept of Health to meddle with AHS because they say too many decisions were made for political reasons in the PC days. He said AHS is a bureaucratic nightmare with managers managing managers and no decisions being taken and people still fearful they’ll lose their jobs if they speak up, so they keep their heads down. You can imagine what this does to the culture of the place.

    People like Ralph Coombs, a brilliant man who ran the Foothills Hospital years ago, say it’s time to go back to the regional model of healthcare where its easier to see whose accountable when things go wrong.

    I don’t know why Notley’s government has not moved ahead with this. Perhaps they think the new AHS Board of directors will implement meaningful change, but I worry that without the support of the 100,000 employees at AHS nothing much will happen.

    • Julie Ali says:

      Hi Susan,

      The politics at AHS and Covenant Health are an education for ordinary citizens that is quite PhD in nature.

      So here we are like babies among wolves.
      We think we are dealing with puppies and in reality we’re just fresh meat for major carnivores.

      We go into the request for an appeal process that Alberta Health has told is required by law. I mean the Mandel guy did nothing useful for us but at least– someone at Alberta Health under Mandel told us that we had to have an appeal. It was the law. Only problem is that no one had been following this law. We were faced with an anomaly.

      We tell this anomaly to the AHS folks from continuing care and Patient Relations (plus the legal representative that had to be there because everyone was afraid of the babies among the wolves).
      They look at us as if we had grown horns on our heads. Devil babies.

      We had no idea that asking for an appeal would cut short our meeting and end the universe as they knew it.
      They flutter off like bees with fire on their bums.

      We wait months for action.
      We get filibustering for ages from Patient Relations. If you could just see the e-mail trail it would give you hives. Poor Sue had to deal with this sort of junk in e-mail delaying.

      Because of my past history of e-mailing everyone, I –was told to stop yapping with AHS staff because Sue had to be the single point of contact for our family.
      As you know I can’t figure out why I have to shut up. We live in a democracy. So I decided to ask Ethics and Compliance about the anomaly.

      So I write to the Ethics and Compliance person at the AHS place and tell them all about the requirement for an appeal process and why we had to wait for months for something that should have been in place for the last decade at least if not for the last 44 years. Ethics and Compliance has a grumpy person working there who tells me to bugger off or at least the approximation of that advice. She tells me not to yap to her as this problem needs to go only to Patient Relations.

      This is odd I think. Why can’t I complain about the lack of an appeal process to Ethics and Compliance? Isn’t the lack of compliance to Alberta Health legislation by AHS a case that Ethics and Compliance should look into? But nope, I am given this spurious excuse that they do not do duplicate complaints.

      Why is this a duplicate complaint? Sue is trying to get an appeal. I am complaining about the FACT that the folks at AHS were non-compliant and I am told to get lost. It’s shameful. The only reason Ethics and Compliance doesn’t want my compliant is because my complaint points out the lack of ethics and compliance at AHS that the ethics and compliance person does not want to deal with.

      Instead she sends me back to Patient Relations which is the maze section of AHS that is designed to manage issues so that the public never hears about these issues on Facebook, Twitter and on blogs. AHS has not yet figured out how to silence yappy mums who have learned to blog and who can hopefully master Facebook if not limit herself on the Twitter challenge of short posts.

      Where was I? So there we were waiting months for the appeal. The Grey Nuns Hospital has regular meetings to push us forward. We tell them that we are waiting for an appeal. They construe this matter of not wanting to meet for moving forward early on—as abandonment of Rebecca.

      What the heck? Just because we don’t think there is any point meeting with Covenant Health about moving Rebecca to another long term care facility (Norwood)-they construe this as disobedience that must be punished by going to the Public Guardian? Apparently if you do not obey the dictates of AHS and Covenant Health ASAP you get to have your personal directive instructions ignored and you have the sad problem of the supported decision making agreement seen as abandonment of the hospitalized sister.

      So they go to the Public Guardian and when we ask them about this after we get my sister’s medical file they tell us –oh that was early on-so it doesn’t count. What the heck? These folks at AHS and Covenant Health yap endlessly about going to the Public Guardian, checking for my sister’s competency and then say this is all early strategy /games—and we can ignore it all? Do these folks understand how they are coming across to families? If they don’t I can tell them here. They aren’t coming across as very family unfriendly and their philosophy change of being patient and family centred is not being expressed in such tactics to overcome the resistance of families to their move forward business.

      Meanwhile as you know— we get thumped in another direction by the lawsuit directed at the blogging of the abuse.

      As AHS and Covenant Health act to overcome the advocates (pesky and determined) of the sister who they are trying to show as incompetent so that they can say she really doesn’t want to go back home to the Good Samaritan Extended care at Millwoods— the Good Samaritan Society joins in on the fun and games and send me a half a million dollar lawsuit bid.

      Maybe they imagine that the “toxic connotations ” that the folks in Hinton had complained about was also being created in Edmonton by this yappy mummy. Here is the toxic connotations link so I don’t get sued yet again.

      http://www.hintonparklander.com/2013/04/30/good-sam-needs-changes-long-term-care-working-group

      Hinton’s Good Samaritan Mountain View Centre has developed a “toxic” image and should consider an ownership change, according to a report given to town council last week.
      The report, drafted by the Long Term Care Working Group, was discussed at the town council’s standing committee meeting last Tuesday. The LTC working group of six community leaders was established by council at the beginning of 2012 to address the need for long-term care beds in Hinton. The report investigated the quality of care provided by the Good Samaritan centre, located next to the Hinton Healthcare Centre, and made several recommendations for improvement.
      “An improvement in their image would help the community embrace the facility without the toxic connotations that the community recently and some still currently attaches to the Good Samaritan Mountain View Centre,” notes the LTC group’s report.
      Family and Community Support Services coordinator Lena Greening-Davidson conducted “private, anonymous conversations” with family members who have or had family live at the Good Samaritan centre.
      “Concerns were expressed about some operations at the Good Sam, with safety and low staffing and poor staff morale being at the top of the list,” reads the report.

      ***********************************************
      So on one side the Ali family have AHS/Covenant Health working together to discharge Rebecca to an SL4 site that is unsafe and inappropriate for her needs; on the other side there is the Good Samaritan Society firing revolvers at the stay at home mummy who has done the work of investigation of respiratory care at the Good Samaritan Extended care at Millwoods for AHS and Alberta Health for free and it’s becoming clear to me at least —that for some strange reason everyone considers me to be a threat.

      It’s so odd. I find out that 15 respiratory patients at the Good Samaritan Extended Care at Millwoods had crappy care for as long as Rebecca has been at this facility with a respiratory therapist being absent for more than a year of that five year period, no sort of regular updating of care plans, no machine or supplies being monitored, no regular disinfection or infection control plan that I can determine, no regular tubing/ masks being replaced according to yearly schedules -and no sort of oversight of the failures to provide integrated care plans that resulted in my sister’s major hospitalizations and near death experiences–and I am now the criminal of the piece.

      And what was my crime? I yapped in public about the failure of AHS, Alberta Health, the Good Samaritan Society and now Covenant Health to do their responsibilities to our most vulnerable patients at this facility. Honest to goodness, if I had known curiosity would have ended up a lawsuit I would have read Jane Austen and stayed locked up in my room.

      It this all wasn’t bad enough I find out more bad stuff. The two adverse events I yapped about earlier aren’t the only problems I have found and there will be yet more chatter about more problems in care that I find in my sister’s medical files.

      The entire situation is a scandal. Other families have been complaining for years. Some had to do the Protection for Persons in Care business more than once. These are MS patients, folks with cognitive difficulties, folks like my sister who lack the insight to tell me that her machine was not on and that she was building up CO2 and being harmed.

      What did Alberta Health do about all my yapping day and night in 2014? They did a CCHSS audit in January 2014. They did a Quality Assurance Audit in October 2014. AHS supposedly did an audit in 2014 as well. Then in January 2015 after my sister had the two identical adverse events, AHS finally trained the staff to put on the BIPAP machine for my sister. Then on February 19, 2015 my sister got evicted.

      The Grey Nuns Hospital then followed in its eviction plan since they could not get us to agree to the SL4 placement. Rebecca will be evicted from the Grey Nuns Hospital on Monday February 8, 2016.

      The Hospital Act, section 31 will be used to evict her. I told the folks at Covenant Health, AHS and Alberta Health that our family does not agree to this eviction but they don’t care. As the executive at Covenant Health told us repeatedly on tape, “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.”

      We tape all conversations just in case they ban us for their usual reasons of not agreeing to what they want. The condition of these folks is simply unbelievable. They really believe that they can do whatever they want to do. Hmm..maybe they can do whatever they want to do.

      Despite two sets of registered letters to Hoffman and Notley they are all in agreement that a long term care patient that could not be serviced appropriately by the former long term care provider until the stay at home mummy got involved–can now be serviced by the SL4 site where the lowest level of staff–personal care attendants will magically detect carbon dioxide narcosis, call 911 and save my sister as she goes bad.

      I believe that AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Health will be liable for the consequences of this move but it is my sister who will suffer.

      The endless drama of this junk is of course only matched by the major story of the lawsuit which no doubt will bankrupt this stay at home mummy. But what can you do?

      It’s all a pretty maze in health care and continuing care and my legal case will be an education for all families. I will write about the lawsuit and tell you all how it goes; it will make a fine education for families who thought that the family friendly NDP were different than the useless PCs.

      There is no difference folks.
      The NDP are the new PCs.

      As for Rebecca?
      We have a rap song we will play at the next provincial election.
      It’s called “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care.” We figure it’s a good way to vote out the NDP.

      • Wow Julie, the saga of the care, or should I say lack of care. that Rebecca received and the problems you and Sue have run into trying to rectify the situation leave me speechless. You’ve told your story very well. Between that and the link to the “toxic connotations” article there’s really nothing I can add to this sad, sad story.
        My heart goes out to you and your family.

  12. David Grant says:

    I think what has surprised me is that the NDP receives such business friendly praise that is out of step with the rhetoric. You would think that Chairman Notley is sending out 5 year plans and confiscating businesses left, right, and centre. I think that I could make a case that the government is too timid, except that I am living in a deeply conservative Alberta despite the results last May. While it isn’t clear that they will elected, it also isn’t clear that they won’t get elected either. A lot will depend on the external forces, the government’s own policies, and the strength of the opposition parties. These factors make the next few years very interesting indeed.

    • David, that’s a very interesting point. Notwithstanding how carefully Notley implements these changes (a gentle royalty review and a gentle climate leadership plan…I say gentle because the changes aren’t dramatic and they’ll be phased in over a number of years when presumably oil prices will rebound), the WR and PCs continue to hammer her for not supporting the industry. I don’t know what they expect her to do…declare war on OPEC?

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