Albertans aren’t about to settle themselves down.
That’s what industry and Alberta’s opposition are saying to Premier Rachel Notley after she said critics of an upcoming royalty review need to “settle down a little.”
Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver called Notley’s comments inexcusable and demonstrate how out of touch her government is.
“I just about fell off my chair.” he told the Sun.
“To tell Albertans who can’t pay their mortgage, are losing their homes and are forced to go to the food bank to ‘settle down’ is the most arrogant thing I think a premier of this province could say.”
Published in Sunday’s Sun, Notley made the comments during a sit-down with legislative reporter Matt Dykstra, suggesting royalty reviews weren’t a big deal under previous administrations.
“One of the things that I’ve learned in this process very early on (is that) under (former premier Peter) Lougheed’s regime there was a royalty review once every 18 months so,” she said.
“I think that folks need to settle down a bit.”
Reviewing royalties paid to the province by resource and energy firms was a key plank in Notley’s platform.
“I think Premier Notley needs to actually do her job — she’s been busy working for Thomas Mulcair,” McIver said.
“It’s about time she stared working for Albertans.”
Plunging oil prices have hit Alberta’s energy sector hard.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices closed at a three-week low of US$44.68 per barrel Friday — a trend not expected to abate anytime soon.
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) spokesman Jeff Gaulin said 36,000 jobs were lost this year as rigs sit idle and investors pull up stakes.
“We’re obviously already very nervous at low oil prices, rightfully even more so at more costs and the royalty review,” Gaulin said.
“We, too, would love to settle down — we look forward to the conclusion of the royalty review and getting on with business.
Gaulin said ensuring Albertans get the best deal in return for the province’s resources is in everybody’s best interest.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about raising royalties, it’s about getting fair value,” he said.
Critics want Notley to hold off on the review, fearing it’ll add uncertainty to an industry already in deep trouble.
Wildrose Shadow Minister for Finance Derek Fildebrandt said it’s not up to Albertans to feign calm when there’s real reason to worry.
“Only the premier can settle Albertans down in the climate that her government itself has created,” he said.
“It is not the job of Albertans to settle themselves down — that’s the job of the government.”