Natural Gas

BC NDP should pay attention to a Republican Senator

Long time United States Senator Charles Grassley is an Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He joined with retiring Democratic Senator Tom Udall to state a position that current BC NDP members ought to heed.

Oil and Gas Companies Keep Taking From Taxpayers. And Taking, New York Times Opinion, by Tom Udall and Charles Grassley, December 2, 2020:

As senators from different parties, we have our share of policy differences. But we both believe in sticking up for the public interest and the taxpayer. In this case, we agree that oil and gas companies should pay fair market value for the public resources they extract and sell. They aren’t doing that now — not even close — and the American public is the big loser…

It should be noted that the low rents and royalty rate represent only taxpayers’ initial losses. When a company has finished extracting all the oil and gas it can get from the land, pocketing millions in profits, this broken federal system allows them to close up shop without setting aside sufficient funds for cleaning up the mess they created. This leaves taxpayers on the hook for cleanup costs.

When in Opposition, the BC NDP advanced arguments similar to those of Grassley and Udall. The 2013 NDP platform stated that all British Columbians should:

benefit from the sustainable development of natural resources while also preserving healthy lands, resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.

…the desperate BC Liberals signed sweetheart deals with LNG proponents that leave British Columbians without any real benefits…

The people of BC must get a fair return for our resources.

The promise was repeated in the 2017 platform, which proclaimed British Columbians should:

benefit from the sustainable development of natural resources while also preserving healthy lands, resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.

For reasons best known in the offices of Premier John Horgan, long standing NDP resource policies were ditched as soon as the party formed government. Instead of ensuring that every BC citizen benefits from values of natural resources extracted, the NDP has ensured that producers keep almost every dollar.

The Horgan Government sweetened the sweetheart deals made by Liberals by offering to sell electricity at prices lower than BC Hydro pays to acquire the energy, increasing tax breaks and subsidies, reducing royalties and eliminating competitive bidding for petroleum and natural gas rights.

Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark and Rich Coleman must be proud of John Horgan.

Seven thousand kilometres from Victoria, things are done differently.

Years ago, Norway proved it is possible to have a vibrant industry extracting natural resources while the public takes a substantial share of values. In November, the country’s oil fund hit a new all-time high value, an amount that is almost $300,000 for each and every Norwegian.

Canadian Dollar Equivalent: $1.595 trillion (Dec 2/2020)

Categories: Natural Gas, Norway

18 replies »

    • What is it about North America that the oil industry is able to get those sweetheart deal from every level of government, no matter what party is elected? I suspect its simply a matter of influence buying combined with the stick approach of supporting opposition or hand picked candidates if any elected official refuses to roll over. Would love to hear from others that might have insight to this question.

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  1. Norm, is it your understanding that these oil and gas policies are just that — and could be changed by a motivated government at any time… unlike the also-ridicuous IPP contracts, that will have us tied up for decades?

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    • Yes. Just as government can change sales or income tax rates, it could alter royalty rates and end very costly royalty reduction programs. It could also return to competitive bidding for petroleum and natural gas rights, a process that used to put billions of dollars into treasury.

      It could also ensure that industry posts bonds that ensure the public is not forced to pay to correct environmental damages and for ground restoration.

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  2. Good article Norm. What can the common person do? Is it possible to sue for breach of some sort of fiduciary duty, or breach of responsibility to the electorate?
    It’s almost impossible to vote ‘them’ out of office!

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    • It is virtually impossible to charge politicians for performing official duties poorly. Bad judgement is not a crime but can be used to excuse almost anything.

      The Canadian Encyclopedia notes very few examples of convicted politicians:

      …in 1873 Prime Minister John A. MACDONALD was directly implicated in the PACIFIC SCANDAL when he was charged by the Opposition spokesman and by newspapers with accepting $10 000, during the previous years, in return for his support in Parliament of a group bidding for the railway contract. The evidence took the form of one of the most famous telegrams in Canadian history; on 26 Aug 1872, Macdonald had wired railway lawyer and politician J.J.C. ABBOTT, “I must have another ten thousand.” Bribery and graft are also occasionally linked with government licensing or government contracts. Robert Summers, forestry minister for the BC government (1958), became the first Cabinet minister in the Commonwealth to be jailed for corruption in office when he was convicted of accepting bribes.

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      • It was rhetorical Norm. I assume the practice is rampant throughout our Governments.
        Fortunately, (for me) I’ll be overtaken by old age, CORONAVIRUS or global pollution before long.
        It’s the future generations that I have concern for. Will they have the resources to fight what has become an ingrained problem?

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  3. I received an e-mailed invitation to take part in an NDP survey. I’m not sure if every citizen gets a chance (I’m thinking not) — but anyone who wishes to take part can click on the link below.

    Just before the ‘submit’ page, respondents have a chance to freely speak your mind.

    Here’s what I said:

    “Let us know the truth about Site C. If it’s actually dangerous and built on unstable ground, as it seems it is: stop the insanity and shut it down.

    “Re-deploy or sell off any resources that have value. Don’t necessarily destroy the construction that has already happened, if it can be utilized. The diversion tunnel, for example, could be used for storage, or perhaps a huge greenhouse for northern food crops in the winter.

    “Spin the positives of the shut-down, so it won’t seem like a total loss — but DO IT!”

    https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6054262/BC-NDP-End-of-Year-Survey-2020

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  4. I also took the survey and told my wife I will probably never hear from the NDP again. Site C and LNG were my main focus. There are several areas where you can make comments. Select “Other” and let fly. The one thing that really annoyed me was asking several times about the election promise of $1000/$500 and whether it was on my priority list for the government to do?

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  5. If you set a fox to guard the henhouse, you can hardly blame the fox for having a meal… unless the fox is pretending to be your dog.

    Rich Coleman (Mafia Caporegime of B.C.) had the perfect front. Retired policeman (was he corrupted even then?) then a ‘politician’ in a safe seat where a dog (or fox) could run and be elected if it was with the BC Liberals. Then he snuggled up to some foreign mafiosos with big bucks that needed laundering and he ensured that his old buddies in the RCMP brass looked the other way.

    This all went well until the mafiosos informed him that they had Billions that needed laundering. Coleman and his gang cooked up an idea to push LNG (money losing businesses) throughout BC and cook the books and the load forecast at BC Hydro to force the construction of Site C (money losing business). SNC Lavalin, another Mafia connected business, stood to benefit and promised to funnel funds back to the mafiosos through bribes and sweet deals. Even the journalists were either threatened or bribed to look the other way.

    Sukanto Tanoto is one of the mafiosos that used Coleman and connected him to other big bosses in organized crime.

    Us BC voters are merely pawns in this game of international money laundering. Don’t expect justice or compensation for these wrongdoings. We will just pay more to more corrupt civil servants and become a defacto state of international crime. It’s already happened and we are all too naive to recognize it and powerless to stop it.

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  6. @ B.G. Stewart – Thanks I took the poll but I think the NDP will ignore it as it was definitely a push poll, nothing more.

    In the past 40 years, government, abetted by a professional bureaucracy has perverted democracy civically, provincially and federally, making democracy in Canada happen only once every 4 years or so and for about 14 hours, every 4 years or so.

    Big money, whether from the oil.gas folks, SNC Lavalin, Bombardier, and a host of other well heeled institutions, have ensured the public are dumbed down on politics and also ensured the most stupid of politician gets elected.

    The result is the taxpayer is getting fleeced by unscrupulous politicians and political parties and political friends are well rewarded.

    Corruption is the name of the game.

    It is all coming to a very bad end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The NDP’s 2020 election platform promised:

    “Reviewing royalties from an environmental lens: We will conduct a comprehensive review of oil and natural gas royalty credits.”

    Energy Minister Ralston’s mandate letter instructed him:

    “Undertake a review of oil and gas royalty credits to ensure they meet B.C.’s goals for economic development, a fair return on our resources and environmental protection.”

    The weasel words are embedded. “Reviewing royalties from an environmental lens,” and “…a review of oil and gas royalty credits to ensure…environmental protection.”

    My guess is the review will find that we can’t take any more from the poor cash-strapped industry because they’d then be unable to meet their environmental obligations.

    I’m also guessing noted environmentalist and Ralston’s deputy, Fazil Mihlar, is just the weasel for this review.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This video was on twitter recently of Rich Coleman being interviewed 10 years ago about money laundering. https://youtu.be/CeQDseROvAA

    Notice at 4-5 seconds the contempt micro expression on his face. He masks his contempt for the interviewer and the people of BC like a practiced sociopath for the rest of the interview.

    Why did we let sociopaths get elected? Why do we continue to promote and ekect them? Are we collectively masochistic?

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  9. I just watched the ‘monorail’ episode of the Simpsons with my daughter. Amazing to see how presient the show was about government’s ability and proclivity to waste money on nonsense projects.

    What will be the next boondoggle? A giant plane made of BC wood? A submarine to navigate the fraser river? Just make sure the idea costs billions and has zero chance of any economic benefits, guaranteed to be bought by our esteemed politicians and cheered on by both our media and public mob.

    Sheesh, we live in a cartoon Province.

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    • I have been told by several professional engineers, that the region has spent at least three times more to build with light-metro (SkyTrain) and for added insult, we are paying around 45% more to operate and maintain the often renamed and now called MALM proprietary railway used on the Expo and Millennium Lines. These massive added cost come without any benefit, rather it is the opposite, it costs the taxpayer much more to do a lot less.

      No one has copied Vancouver use of light metro and no one has copied Vancouver’s now almost exclusive use of a very stale dated proprietary railway.

      You cannot tell me that politicians were paid handsomely to allow for this.

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      • Mr. Eye,

        You mean to say the politicians were paid handsomely to allow this.

        In BC, it’s been my experience that the government makes decisions based either on corruption or ignorance and incompetence, sometimes both.

        It’s easier to identify and remove the incompetents. The corrupt? Well I guess us citizens have to speak out against them. Rich Coleman and Christy Clark should both serve time for gross incompetence and corruption causing malfeasance. This is where the list should start.

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        • Back during the the Canada Line/RAV planning, because of my membership in an international railway group, I was asked to clip news stories and provide local colour of the proceedings. I later found out that the chaps I was emailing to were from both Siemens and Alstom!

          Their one liners and comments on out transit planning, politics, and utter stupidity of the locals was so entertaining. When I tried to arrange an interview with charlie Smith and Rae Mair, they bolted because if they were quoted, they would end any chance of their companies getting contracts in BC.

          Before Rafe was canned from Dead dog 98 and his short tenure at CJOR, he was researching the relationships of prominent BC Liberals and Bombardier, SNC Lavalin and the Caisse in Quebec, all involved with the Canada line!

          No other BC reporter/journalist has had the guts to take on these guys and even the mighty Tyee, has been reduced to censoring, removing and restricting stories on urban transportation and SkyTrain/Canada Line.

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  10. nothing you ad really, besides I agree. The NDP needs to ensure they pay and we the taxpaying citizens of the province ought to be able to benefit, not just those oil and gas companies. In the long run, I’d rather leave the stuff in the ground then sell it off for nickels and dimes.
    Thanks for the article.

    Like

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