Albertans are asking a lot of questions about RStar, the $100 million pilot program designed to give owners of inactive wells a royalty credit on new wells if they clean up their old wells which they’re legally obligated to clean up in the first place.
The question asked by a savvy caller on Smith’s radio show was: why is she pampering oil companies by offering them corporate welfare instead of showing “strength” and forcing them to clean up their mess.
Why? Here’s why!
Smith’s convoluted and illogical answer was:
- 2 years ago when she was doing “business advocacy,” junior oil companies were decimated and facing a $20 billion deficit and ta-da! RStar! Fine, but that doesn’t explain WHY the taxpayer should clean up the mess the junior oil companies are obligated by law to clean up.
- legislation now requires companies to spend money to clean up existing liabilities. That’s nice, but that still doesn’t explain WHY the taxpayer should bear the company’s clean up burden.
- no one wants to touch wells that have been abandoned since 1980. Excuse me? What they “want” and what they are legally obligated to do are two different things. The law requires companies to clean up their mess. RStar will require taxpayers to do it for them.
Earlier in the week Smith issued a statement purporting to clear up “inaccurate claims” about RStar.
She said the royalty credit on new wells would not be available unless the amount spent on cleaning up pre-1980 abandoned wells is “over and above the amount the…companies are legally required to spend on regular well site rehabilitation.”
This raises even more questions.
Why would a company spend more than it’s legally required to spend to clean up a well site? Is the royalty credit so lucrative that a company would happily overspend on cleanup to get its hands on the royalty credit? Or is the cost of “regular well site rehabilitation” less than the cost to clean up a pre-1980 abandoned well? Pardon me if I sound skeptical.
And if that’s not enough…
Maybe it’s something about being back on the radio, but once Smith gets going she finds it hard to stop.
She said First Nations and municipalities like Medicine Hat would like to pursue development opportunities but are hampered by abandoned and orphaned wells. Sorry, this still doesn’t answer the WHY question.
And then she lost the thread completely.
She told the savvy caller that there’s a $50 to $300 million clean up job right here in Calgary’s West Village which is hampering Calgary’s development plans.
The West Village site was polluted by a wood treatment plant that operated from 1924 to 1962. It used creosote to preserve wood products like railway ties and power poles. The creosote leached under the Bow River and affected the North Bow communities. The contaminated soil was walled off in the mid ‘90s but never removed.
Surely Smith is not saying the creosote soaked West Village site would be eligible for RStar? (A wood treatment plant is not an abandoned well). So why is she talking about it?
Perhaps she got her wires crossed.
The City of Calgary has been negotiating with the Flames Hockey team for a new arena. The Flames liked the West Village site but the City preferred East Village/Victoria Park.
The West Village site was dropped until this February when Smith expressed interest in it. She speculated it would cost up to $300 million to remediate the site but this amount could be reduced with new remediation technologies.
Perhaps she got the Flames mixed up with an oil company like CNRL.
Or perhaps she has no idea what she’s talking about.
Either way her credibility on RStar is completely shot. The proposal violates the polluter-pay principle and the capitalism principle that private companies should take full responsibility for the liabilities they accept and the Mom principle that if you made the mess, you clean it up.
The more Smith tries to clear up the “inaccurate claims” RStar is attracting, the more befuddled she sounds.
One thing is perfectly clear, however. The Smith government fully supports corporations that privatize profits and socialize costs.
That’s something to remember on Election Day, May 29.
This whole story (R-star) reminded me of song on a children’s record my kids used to listen to: who made this mess ? I had to do some digging to find it again, but apparently it was by Bill Harley, from the record “Big Big World”. The last verse where he generalizes to pollution is apposite.
Michael, I love the lyrics to this song. “The one who plays is the one who pays” is perfect. I looked up Harley who said “People only deal with things that are right in front of their face” It’s absolutely bang on. Thanks!.
Oh how the socialist corporate and industrial elites hate the term corporate welfare but as usual you are very much right on.
Thank you for your intelligence.
Thank you Jim. You’re right, I’ve noticed they get very huffy when someone suggests they should pull their weight. The G&M reports that resource revenues at the second-highest in the Alberta government’s history. Surely with an 8% corporate tax rate and all sorts of subsidies, the people of Alberta have given the industry enough handouts.
Jim and Susan, I’m sorry to say there’s NEVER enough public cash for the oilpatch. Witness Alex Pourbaix’s whining that the Feds haven’t ponied up enough money to fund carbon-capture buildout. Never mind that Cenovus has massive cash flow from 1) Jason Kenney’s tax cuts and 2) the panic caused by Putin’s immoral, illegal war on Ukraine.
Just for laughs, I looked at the Wikipedia entry for the “Calgary school of economics.” (It wasn’t funny.) It’s not formally a “school,” of course, just a bunch of academics who happen to agree on some topics. Historically, they seemed to agree the oil patch should get whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted it.
I was not surprised to note that Barry Cooper was a founding member. I was surprised, a little, to see Danielle Smith is associated with the so-called school (though she’s never said she’s a member). I wonder if Cooper advises Smith on economic policy, as per the Calgary School’s mantra.
Always ready and willing to give public money to billionaire oil company/hockey team owners who don’t even live in Canada. That’s the UCP. Who needs things like public health, schools, universities, senior care centres, etc.? Oiligarchs should own Albertastan and everyone in it. Thus, in the land of magical thinking, a disused, toxic creosote plant is an oil well.
This reminds me of the IKEA commercial when we were asked if we felt sorry for the moo cow creamer. I do not feel sorry for moo cow creamer billionaires who want to…milk us dry, with the help of dairy maid Danielle.
MM: that was a witty analogy. And you caught my not-so-veiled reference to Murray Edwards. I’m baffled that more people haven’t called DS out on her attempt to lump in the remediation of West Village with the clean up of abandoned wells. It’s not like we don’t know the history of this mess.
I think we realize now that to put Smith in front of a microphone of any kind will start her mouth moving with no stopping & with no rhyme or reason to the endless words that come out.
Midge, the other thing I’ve noticed is she’s quick to give people the impression she understands their problem and will get right on it. On every episode of her Saturday morning radio show someone calls in to complain that people without kids who make less than $180,000 are not eligible for her $600 affordability plan. And every time she makes sympathetic noises and recites her bullet points that we have to take care of the kids. Of course we have to take care of the kids but we have to take care of the single people and childless couples who are suffering too, don’t we?
I wonder if our premier misses the days when she was the smartest person in the room, as she sat alone in the broadcast booth.
LOL! Thanks Bob, I needed that….
Bob, that was great! Thank you for making me smile. 🙂
🙂 🙂 🙂
Better than the 6 times alert this morning – I thought the Russians were finally here
Carlos, you made me laugh. I’m sitting here at the kitchen island with my phone and my husband’s phone. The painter is painting on the second floor and my daughter is doing something in the basement. We had 4 cell phones going off (not even at the same time but in some kind of sequence) over and over again. Like you said, it was a case of: are the Russian coming???
Danielle Smith lost all credibility when she was the leader of the then Wildrose Party thinking she would get a cabinet post in The Conservative Governments Cabinet.She lost her seat she had no credibility then and even much less now. The Clown Car is zigging and zagging and we know who’s driving. Let’s hope it’s over the cliff in May!!!
Paul, I agree 100%. I have a friend who knows quite a few UCPers who swore up and down they would never vote for her as a leader, then after she squeaked in on the 6th vote they because supporters (rather like all her leadership competitors who fell into line the minute they were offered Cabinet posts). Tells you a lot about their integrity, doesn’t it?
You mean like the famous Bad Man -Brian Jean?
One word comes to mind for me here – weaselly. I can understand that at one time Smith got paid to advocate for a half baked, bad idea, hey everyone has to make a living and some people don’t always make the best choices. However, she is now Premier and this is no longer the time to continue to advocate such bad ideas.
First, she is conflating orphan wells that have no one legally responsible to pay clean up costs with others where the owners may be reluctant to do so. Second, she adds to the confusion by bringing up the contaminated site in Calgary that was not an oil well, so presumably has nothing to do with her proposed program.
I suppose Smith is proof of that old glib saying that if you can’t convince them of your brilliance, baffle them with bs. I don’t know why she continues to try defend this poor idea, long after she presumably cashed her last cheque for being a paid lobbyist for it.
Weaselly. It’s a great word Dave. You make the very important point that she continues to conflate orphan wells (ie no owner) with inactive wells (ie owned but not producing). This was apparent even in Smith’s statement which was issued to clear up “inaccuracies” which weren’t “inaccuracies” at all, but true statements which illustrate how stupid RStar is.
But if there’s one thing the conservatives are big on it’s repaying their loyal supporters (promise made/promise kept) especially promises made to car insurance companies, private healthcare providers, and, as we now see junior oil and gas companies.
Once a lobbyist always a lobbyist. She’s likely trying to set herself up for her next job because she won’t have this one much longer. The average Albertans deserves a better premier than this conspiracy theorist who is in the pocket of big Oil. As my mother would say “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”
Sharon, I agree. From what I’ve read about conspiracy theorists, their ability to think critically is compromised. They react emotionally, not analytically to the world around them. I raise this because you mentioned “average” Albertans, sadly many are so emotionally tied to the Blue brand (heck Kenney’s big blue truck was enough to convince them that Kenny was one of them) that they can’t conceive of voting for anyone else. This means they’ll accept the crap Smith gives them, (they may even say they’re not happy about it) but they’ll refuse to consider voting for the NDP or even staying home.
What a weird world they must inhabit.
Please stop calling them “Orphan” wells! These are simply abandoned wells. I only have a few examples but the ‘plan’ seems to have the big name petro companies sell off old fields to the ‘Juniors’ that we never hear about. They drain the field, go bankrupt and leave Alberta tax payers with the cleanup liability or live with the environmental damage (for generations).
Like the Sequoia Resources Group debacle – Perpetual Resources Group skidded hundreds of EOL wells to an offshore Sequioia Resource group who ended up holding the bag for $213 million of outstanding remediation. Lo and behold, Sequoia declares bankruptcy! No no one but the taxpayer is on the friggin’ hook! These wells pulled hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the chain of producers during their productive lifetimes and significant royalty payment to the resource owner – the PEOPLE OF ALBERTA!
See https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-alberta-appeal-court-keeps-217-million-oilpatch-cleanup-liability-case/ (sorry, this might be behind the G&M paywall)
Too bad the PostMedia chain will NOT report on this case.
Carl and Lee: you both make excellent points. The wells targeted by RStar are not “orphans” (ie without owners), they’re owned by bankrupt/insolvent companies who don’t have the financial means to clean them up, thereby foisting the cost of clean up on to Alberta taxpayers.
I looked up the status of the Sequoia Resources litigation. This long running litigation arose in 2016 when Perpetual put oil and gas assets (and embedded environmental liabilities) up for sale. Perpetual sold the assets to Sequoia (a company created just for this transaction) and after just 17 months of operation Sequoia applied for bankruptcy.
Apparently at the time of the sale the value of the environmental liabilities for the non-producing wells was roughly 40 times higher than the value of the producing assets.
There are a whack of legal issues here, but legal writers are saying that if the courts ultimately decide that the sale was void, this could stop “similar practices to evade environmental liabilities” and allow the trustees (in bankruptcy) and the regulators to go after previous owners of orphan or abandoned oil and gas wells. And “maybe the Alberta taxpayers will be shielded from some of the province’s regulatory mistakes.”
It’s a shame Smith is heading in the opposite direction.
Her credibility has been shot for years – but a lot of Albertans are choosing to ignore it. Ugh.
Grace: you nailed it!
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It’s not surprising that we have to deal with a matter that the oil companies in Alberta should have been dealing with to begin with. The accountability for the oil companies in Alberta to do what they are supposed to be doing was negated by Ralph Klein. This is who instigated this problem. It’s $260 billion, and maybe more, of money that we don’t have to solve this longstanding issue. Now, Danielle Smith wants to give $20 billion to these oil companies to rectify the damages that they made. So much for polluters having to pay. I’ll play some more fitting music. This is a song from the British blues/rock band, The Yardbirds, What Do You Want? It is from 1966, and was written by band members, Jeff Beck, Keith Relf, Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty. Chris Dreja, the rhythm guitarist, who later switched to bass, did the album cover artwork for this album. I have this in my music collection. We lost guitarist Jeff Beck, not long ago, at age 78. Keith Relf, the lead singer, and harmonica player, passed away tragically in 1976, at age 33. Two other well known guitarists were in The Yardbirds; Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. After the Yardbirds broke up in July of 1968, Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin.
Dwayne, these were both great song picks.
Given that the Yardbirds were singing about pollution in 1966 and Buffy Sainte Marie nailed it with her lyrics “Love junkies wanna change the world/it quickly stays the same/Money junkies hire all the smart ones/Power junkies run the game” I’ve got to ask myself why. Why is it that we’ve been talking about fixing injustice and inequity for decades and we’re worse off now than we were when we started.
Is the lust for money and power so seductive that it warps us?
PS: it must have been incredible to see Buffy Sainte Marie live. Good on you!
Susan: Here is my second song pick. It is a Buffy Sainte Marie composition, The Big Ones Get Away. This was released in 2017. Very fitting. I saw her live a few years ago. A great First Nations artist.
If the oil industry refuses to clean up it’s oil wells, what are the chances for a Tar Sands cleanup when the time comes? My educated guess is none and none.
This is what happens when the Government of the day is bought and paid for. The majority of the voting public knew it and voted for them anyway. You get the Government you deserve. The rest of us are collateral damage.
Socialism for the rich. Capitalism for the rest of us.
We are already seeing the goalposts being moved re Tar Sands clean up – “some researchers” and industry types are advocating policy changes from the Feds to allow releasing untreated waste water from the tailings ponds into the Athabasca River – see https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bakx-oilsands-tailings-release-mining-effluent-regulations-1.6271537
What could possibly go wrong? What’s wrong with slowly poisoning the entire watercourse from Ft MacMurray to Coronation Bay on the Arctic Ocean? That’s got to be preferable to an uncontrolled release of this toxic water (aka a spectacular collapse of the leaking earthen works dams holding the ponds) in the equivalent volume of in 156,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools! Who needs Wood Buffalo National Park? C’mon Justin/Feb Libs, let little Carbon off the hook…. Gimme gimme please, please….
If remediation is so expensive and even technologically impractical/unviable, then where was the gating decision to weight the harsh reality that “we can’t clean up the probable mess” and just say “No” to the development in the first place? Its said the vaunted St. Peter (Lougheed) didn.t support rapid expansion of activity – ahhh shucks that is so comforting – too bad his successors have been, to every man-jack of them, such reduced intellectual and morally vacuous figures.
Ft McMurray was and is a global-scale mugs game, only financially viable if supported by massive corporate welfare in the form of royalty holidays until capital expenditure was fully recovered up-front. There is a reason all the Big Carbon players have ran like dogs from this play folks, its plain to see if you just look up from the paycheck stub.
Lord, I can’t really decide if Albertans are just dumb and stupid or are Albertans really dumb, stupid and ignorantly venal.
Going for a nap now.
Pardon – 560,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, which would stretch from Edmonton to Melbourne, Australia, and back if placed end-to-end.
Lee: thank you for this /sarcasm on-off recap. Your second to last paragraph got me thinking. Do most Albertans fall on a spectrum from dumb to venal? Originally I thought we could add “willfully blind” in there, then decided it would fall within the definition of “venal”. I also think we’re easily manipulated by the promise of money and good times ahead, maybe that falls into the definition of “dumb”.
Whatever it is, we have to find a way to get through to enough people so they understand this is literally a life or death issue. In the meantime we vote for those who at least acknowledge there’s a problem than must be addressed.
Jaundiced Eye: given that past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour I’d say the chances for a Tar Sands cleanup is, as you wisely predict, none.
Ms Soapbox: if I recall correctly, much of your former law practice was in corporate law involving the oil and gas industry, so I wonder if you might be able to shed some light on the following questions:
How many of those defunct “junior” oil companies that drilled those now-orphaned wells were paper entities with a small number of principals, that were wound up when the wells ran dry, and then those very same principals set up new paper companies, reshuffling themselves in terms of who owned what percentage of what anonymous numbered company? How many others got sold off to private equity firms and other investment vehicles with no purpose other than to extract profit by any means necessary? How many wealthy investors are being shielded from their responsibilities in this area by corporate liability laws and the “corporate veil”?
Jerrymacgp: Yes I was in-house counsel with two big gas pipeline companies, and before that spent a stint with an oil company. As the years rolled on many of my colleagues, like me, became increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of the fossil fuel industry.
So in answer to your question, I couldn’t tell you how many junior oil companies engaged in the Sequoia Resources shell game, but even if the transaction wasn’t as egregious as the Perpetual/Sequoia one (no sane company would buy oil assets where the environmental liability for the non-producing wells was about 40 times the value of the producing assets) these junior oil/gas companies went into the transaction with their eyes wide open. They accepted the risk and now they’re lobbying to escape the liability of cleaning up their mess. I have absolutely no sympathy for them.
Thanks again, Susan. I love getting your emails — they always bring such clarity and usually a wry smile as well … referencing “business advocacy” a case in point!
When canvassing, RStar (or whatever she’s calling it now) is a great talking point; people at the doors are in general agreement that it is a terrible idea. But I just read this in an analysis by CBC Jason Markusoff:
“Amid criticism of a key plan to pay companies to clean up inactive oil and gas wells, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has stressed that it will face months of consultation, and her cabinet may decide to nix it.” (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/danielle-smith-rstar-well-cleanup-kris-kinnear-advisers-1.6760181)
How convenient … put it off until just after the election?
Mare: isn’t it amazing how Danielle Smith’s big ideas wither and die when someone qualified examines them? You know…like actual experts.
RStar and health-care accounts have been pushed back. The Sovereignty Act has been passed, but Smith about-faced and said she doesn’t intend to use it (because Trudeau has backed down. Right). Turns out it ain’t as simple as Smith believed. Whoda thunk it?
Now we’re gonna get more “advisory panels.” The grey old man of Alberta Conservatism, Preston Manning, will write a report on Covid-19 (actually, he wrote it last year. Change some names and get the other panel members to sign it–done!). Another new panel on Alberta’s “energy future.” How long does it take to write, “Drill, baby, drill!”? Oops, that’s been used before. That report might take a bit longer.
Mike, now that I think about it, many of Danielle Smith’s big ideas have died on the vine. She was going to change the Alberta Human Rights Act to include the unvaccinated as a discriminated group (didn’t happen). She was going to pardon the unvaccinated who “suffered” as a result of the public health restrictions (that didn’t happen). She was going to fix healthcare in 90 (!) days (that didn’t happen). Then we have the Sovereignty Act which was going to put Trudeau in his place (that didn’t happen). And so on and so on.
I wonder if someone has a complete list of Smith’s promises made/promises NOT kept lying around. Would make for interesting reading!
I’d forgotten about most of those, but they’re relatively minor anyway; just more campaign promises. And hey—they DID fix health care! John Cowell, himself said wait times are better!
Oh, wait. It was Queen Dani who said “”The system is not in crisis. It’s not going to collapse…. People now have confidence.” NDP Lori Sigurdon said—direct quote from the article–“This is simply a lie.”
No word on whether Sigurdson spoke in the Legislature (protected by parliamentary privilege) or outside (subject to litigation). But no word yet that Smith’s gonna sue….
Mare: thanks! The RStar pilot program was supposed to be rolled out at the end of March, then people woke up to how awful it was and started to push back. Now Smith is downplaying it, it’s just a $100 million “pilot” program (as if we don’t know that the $100 million pilot will lead to a $20 Billion program if it’s implemented).
What’s interesting about this debate is it creates even more division in Alberta by pitting the junior oil companies against the majors, some of whom have said it makes the industry look bad, like they’re shirking their legal responsibility and have to be paid to obey the law.
Seems to me every iteration of the UCP creates more fissures in our community.
Exactly! Thanks for your thoughtful responses, Susan. After writing your excellent pieces, you still take time to reply to all the comments. Not sure how you do it, but thank you!
The whole Alberta abandoned well situation is the result of a deliberate policy vacuum – this can laid at the feet of OG-captured Progressive Conservative /Wildrose and now the UCP administrations.
There are many jurisdictions in Canada and the US that do not tolerate this behavior from the OG sector. Those jurisdictions insist on bonds for remediation up front AND put strict timelines for well remediation /clean up. Their regulatory regimes have teeth and are enforced. As a consequence, those jurisdictions do not have abandoned wells!
Duh-duh Danielle and her host of UCP remedials, like their PC forebearers, have utterly forsaken who they represent and work on behalf of. They are not worthy of public office. Come May, they must be swept from office.
Well then, there’s that done right?
Nope – there is concrete work to be on regulatory reform – over 800 wells are up to be punched this season – so have regulations been tightened up? Or are we just seeing the development of future problems? Best way to get out of hole is to stop diggin’ as my grandad said.
We need to get off our asses and start putting sustained pressure on our MLAs for specific regulatory reform to encircle the abandoned well problem.
The provincial NDP put $300 million into the OWA and an additional $500 million to the same came from the Feds – we need a detailed accounting of whats been done with that funding. Why is the OWA so coy?
The taxpayer is already on the hook folks, sadly, as we should be – after all, we enjoyed the royalties benefits these wells brought in. We need to ensure the producer pays their regulated share for remediation.
“Fairness” has nothing to do with it as Susan so aptly pointed out.
Lee, well said. You hit on something that’s been bothering me for a long time. Millions and millions have been poured into efforts to clean up orphan wells and yet we have no idea, zero, zip, how many wells have been cleaned up (if any). This is our money, we paid it in taxes to the provincial and federal governments. Both levels of government are accountable to us to demonstrate our tax dollars have been well spent.
I borrowed your post and put it up again with no changes.
OK, thanks John!
Listening to CBC the current about how BIG PROJECTS get done includes: under-estimating the cost, begin a project without a detailed plan,
amplify the urgency, and allowing a whole lot of CHEATING to go on at all phases. Ignore auditors until after the fact…… now if your plan is only in your head, or someone with nefarious intention the outcome will be a “boondoggle”. Beware the IDES Of March to see if the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has knife to someone’s back. Remaining silent on the plan would indicate collusion or something 🤔 blind to conflict of interest the public has already perceived. Seems they never lose no matter how hard or how little the cheaters try.
Papajaxn: your comment reminded me of how good project management is done. I saw some billion dollar projects completed when I worked in the industry. The management team (CEO plus VPs) put together detailed plans. These plans were reviewed (at a high level) with the board which was focused on staying on time and on budget. If the schedule or the expenditures got out of whack the board demanded detailed progress reports.
I recall one instance where the VP in charge of a big project was fired because he failed to stay on top of schedule/cost.
The problem RStar is purporting to address was created by (a) junior companies thinking they would make money on a well the majors had given up on or (b) companies unloading high environmental liability wells on shell companies like the Perpetual/Sequoia transaction.
As Lee so eloquently put it, both of these problems could be address with tougher regulations. That’s what Danielle Smith should be proposing, but she won’t because…well…promise made/promise kept.
I think now is definitely the time to be giving the oil companies hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up messes they’ve long known they’re legally obligated to clean up,
I mean, just look at those revenues, Albertans can so afford to do their part to create a friendly environment for the oil companies ‘pulling themselves up by the bootstraps using the invisible hand of the free market’ in their province.
Unfortunately, like education and decent senior centres, public healthcare is far too expensive for further investment. On the other hand, inscrutable yet allegedly more efficient for-profit, privately owned and operated health’care’ could really use an influx of public dollars in order to subsidize the good health of the wealthy, and you wouldn’t want tuitioned private schools exclusively teaching creationism without the latest ipads, would you?
Also, here’s a few hundred bucks, and no, it’s not to vote for UCP silly, it’s for your kid. Really, that is the UCP story and sticking to it, like Tyler Shandro to a vital partner.
GoinFawr: “Pulling themselves up by the bootstraps using the invisible hand of the free market”. Brilliant!
Thank you for the smile!
Susan: Here is my final song pick. This is Avenue A, from Tom Cochrane & Red Rider. It is a Tom Cochrane composition, and was recorded live in Edmonton, with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1989. This is also in my music collection. I saw Tom Cochrane a few times live & met him.
Great lyrics Dwayne: “Don’t forget about me when your name is on the marquee and the rich men come to stay…” That sums up exactly where we are with Danielle Smith.
So I’m still trying to figure out how you find the exact right song to represent the issue we’re discussing. Either you have a photographic memory (for songs) or you’ve got an amazing index system. 🙂
Susan: Why is Danielle Smith changing her opinion on the arena issue? I thought she was opposed to corporate welfare? It appears she isn’t anymore, like she once was.
Well gee, Dwayne, that was before Queen Dani realized she needed a few seats in Calgary to be sure she’d win the election. Can’t let Notley have ’em all; she might–oh Gawd I can’t believe I’m sayin’ this–Notley might WIN!!!
Dwayne and Mike: I agree with you both. Smith is against corporate welfare…unless a major block of supporters want it, then she’s all for it. And yes, when the polls started to show weaker support in Calgary than she expected she waded into the Flames arena mess.
What she doesn’t realize is at least half of Calgarians opposed a new arena, even if it was built on the East Village/Victoria Park site which doesn’t require a major creosote cleanup.
This is a very divisive issue in Calgary and a stupid one for Smith to latch on to.
Please let this (and more) be talked and written about in as many venues as possible everyday between now and May 29. I don’t need convincing to not vote UCP, but too many people still do.
“But we according to Saint Dani and the shills at Postmedia and the Western Standard we JUST CAN’T AFFORD for the NDP to get back in, I mean, just look at how much they SPENT…!”
Yeah, Notley actually REFUSED to slash spending. In a RECESSION. She REFUSED to lay off nurses and teachers. I mean, what a NERVE. What is WRONG with her?!?
Comment and Riles: I get silly comments from UCP supporters on many of my posts. The ones that are coming in on this one are either (a) I don’t like RStar but I’d rather vote Smith than Notley and (b) the Liberal media always support Trudeau and the NDP. That last one cracks me up. Has the commentator never read any of the Postmedia papers, the National Post, the Western Standard or listened to Smith’s Saturday morning radio program. Those media outlets eat out of her hand.
Thanks again, Susan! Albertans may have become ‘numb’ to Billions” having enjoyed surpluses of 4, 5, and 7 Billion during several Klein years. (And shamefully, Billions in Debt just a few years later.)
However, the expected surplus of $ 28.1 B in tomorrow’s budget has been put in a perspective much easier to visualise and comprehend:
“If you were able to sock away $10,000 per day, each and every day, it would take you more than 7,600 years to amass that much cash.”
Remind me again, Susan: Just how much is Danielle Smith willing to ‘forgive’ the oil/gas corporations’ royalties? Only $ 20 B…a whole $ 8 B less? No problem! That easily saves at least a couple of Thousand Years to recoup it for our future generations!
Verna, thanks for reminding us that we’re talking about BILLIONS of dollars. Smith is suggesting we spend our hard earned tax dollars on saving oil and gas companies from their own actions. Actions they undertook with their eyes wide open.
And now that RStar is under attack, Smith is saying it’s only $100 million (for the pilot), nothing to see here. Well, except for the bit about paying someone to do something they are legally obligated to do and using my money to pay them with. It’s insane.
All I can think of these days is the phrase ‘People have the government they deserve’ – in Alberta somehow it sounds so true.
The insane support these morons get in Alberta is a good sign that this phrase is true for us. Conspiracy theorists and fake news is winning in Alberta and it makes me wonder if we deserve any better. The only show worse than ours is the Marjorie Taylor Green parallel Universe in the US Congress.
Pierre Poilievre is denouncing his MPs conversations with Germans Nazis while he himself walks around Ottawa with White Nationalists.
The pandemic was very hard on all of us but the extreme right wing fascist acceptance is too me the greatest problem in the world today and we are no exception.
Greatest threat indeed Carlos.
Carlos, great point. Although I think some of us believe we deserve better and are going to do whatever we can to ensure we’re not “collateral damage”.
You’re absolutely right in your comments about the extreme right being the greatest problem in the world today.
Today’s Globe and Mail ran a column by Campbell Clark who said Christine Anderson’s AfG evolved into what it is because of how it dealt with extreme elements 10 years ago. The AfG was born in 2013 out of an anti-EU splinter groups (formerly conservatives). In 2015 it was taken over by xenophobic elements and two leaders, one after the other, quit because it had become too extreme even for them.
Sounds familiar, right?
WordPress is not allowing me to do a reply to Susan so I am going one level up to try to stay within this conversation.
Hi Susan – I am with you as far as the people that expect not just better but WAY better.
I am in shock that in our Canada we have so many people that actually support the kind of politics now infiltrating our democratic process. From the UCP in Alberta to Pierre Poilievre at the Conservative level in Ottawa it is to say the least disturbing. Talking to Nazis is now an accepted version of Conservatism.
If I am not mistaken, the last time we accepted this kind of intrusion, it resulted in the Second World War. Is this what actually 45% of Canadians really want? If it is then I have a big concern about our future.
Lessons are not obviously learned at all.
Our glorious premier Ms. Smith had credibility to lose? How did THAT happen? Did she get a credibility gift card for her birthday? Because insofar as I can make out, if Danielle is speaking she is 1) misinformed; 2) mistaken; 3) misguided; 4) just plain old missing any sense, logic or credibility whatsoever. May will be one merry month if & when the good folks of Alberta vote for someone else other than Smith & crew.
Linda: I love your list of all the things Danielle is missing. In May we’ll find out whether the majority of Albertans understand why she and the UCP are not fit to govern this province.
OK, one minor question. The RStar royalty credit is for cleaning up wells left by bankrupt oil companies. I get that. It’s even supposed to be “over and above” the amount paid out to clean up the active company’s existing wells. OK. So let’s say some CEO with extra money (ha!) cleans up a well on—presumably—the orphan well list.
Here’s that minor question. How much of a break does he get for his public-spirited investment? Cost plus? Plus 10%? 20%? Maybe 50%?
For sure nobody’s gonna bother unless he gets money BACK from this deal!
Mike, the RStar royalty credit is for inactive wells owned by viable companies (the orphan well fund is supposed to clean up wells once owned by a company that’s gone bankrupt).
Having said that you raise a good question. The only reason a CEO would pay “over and above” the amount he’s legally required to pay would be if there’s something in it for him. So those royalty credits must be pretty damn lucrative to make it worth his while.
Right, I misstated the first part. It’s to encourage more-or-less viable companies with active wells to clean up someone else’s mess. But how much $$$ would that take, for someone who’s paying off debts and uncertain oil prices will stay high? This whole idea seems both stupid and unworkable.
Hmm…guess I misstated it twice. I keep remembering Smith says it’s to clean up wells older than 1980. I dunno anymore–and I doubt Smith does, either.
You know, it just occurred to me that she could really improve her credibility rating by adding a laugh track to all her monologues and press conferences. Come to think of it, I wonder if the Speaker would allow her to add a laugh track to her statements in the legislature. Just trying to help. Do you think Albertans would begrudge her this device?
I’ve got it! Smith can borrow the audience Lavrov had at the G-20 conference!
Think about it, an audience with proven capability to instantly & spontaneously mock a lying politician.
Works for me!
-Danielle Smith Disease –
( a parody sung to the tune of Dire Straits, “Industrial Disease”)
Now warning lights are flashing down at quality control,
Danielle,she threw a spanner, she threw it in the whole.
There’s rumours in the parliament, and anger all around,
Somebody blew the whistle and the walls came down.
There’s a meeting of UCP caucus:
They’re trying to trace the smell,
There’s a leaking from advisors; they’re taking us to hell.
Somewhere in the ‘commons someone was heard to sneeze,
Goodness me, could this be the Danielle Smith Disease?
Teachers’ pensions crucified for working hard the most,
Their resistance to the lunacy is why Kenney blamed them the most.
The ethics commissioner was appointed by Tyler Shandro’s UCP?
Every Albertan’s concerned about the Danielle Smith Disease.
There’s panic in the caucus room since Danni’ spoke rot,
Some come out in sympathy, some come doing shots,
Some blame the federal liberals and provincial NDP but,
Everybody knows it’s the Danielle Smith Disease.
Yeah, now all labour unions busted, public healthcare: balked,
Innocence is injured, but oil money still talks.
Public works are ruined and every UCP agrees:
“these are the classic symptoms of a monetary squeeze.”
On CBC and Danny-TV she whines about ‘our curse’,
Her philosophy is useless, her theology far worse.
Oil’s cup runneth over, there’s a windfall yet to seize,
Rstar that back to industry says the Danielle Smith Disease.
Dr.A.Zaidi declares, “I’m not surprised to see you here,
you’ve got screamer’s cough from screaming, bleary eyes from shedding tears. I don’t know how you came to get the ‘Victor Toews knees’, but worst of all young man you’ve got the Danielle Smith disease!”
He wrote a prescription to Tyler Shandro that said, “You are depressed. I’m not glad
you came to see me to get this off your chest. DON’T come back and see me later (ding!), next patient please. Send in another victim of the Danielle Smith disease!”
I go down to Susan’s soapbox and I’m thunderstruck,
She’s got free speech putin tourists, lawyers, and TRUX.
Two ‘bots think they’re Jesus… one of them must be wrong.
There’s a protest singer, singing a protest song, he says:
“They’re gonna have a war, to keep oil factories. They’re gonna have a war,
To keep Albertans on their knees. They’re gonna have a war for to spread their maladies,
unless you vote in May to stop this Danielle Smith disease.”
She’s pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind,
She wants to suck your energy, incarcerate YOUR mind.
Give you ‘Rule Diagalon’, gassy beer and ATV’s,
Two weeks in the foothills and a Sunday striptease.
Meanwhile the first Jesus-bot says, “I’ll cure it soon:
ChatGPT will write amusing tales that will help you see it through.”
The other one’s out bitcoin mining, it’s dying by degrees,
How come Chatbot gets the Danielle Smith Disease?
LOL … just priceless. Well done!
thank you. ‘s fun.
“Teacher’s pensions crucified, for working ’til they’re toast”
(I’ve seen it)