Another ominous sign from Premier Ed's new Government. Fast Eddie said last month that he didn't want any bitumin shipped to upgraders built outside of Alberta for processing. He said he wanted the taxes on the value-added product to be paid in Alberta and not elsewhere.
That seems like a pretty sensible idea. And not only for the taxes he mentioned. There are also plenty of jobs that are generated both in the construction and production phases of these giant and costly facilities. It may be that there is a shortage of labour in Alberta now. However, times change, and there will come a day when Albertans will be happy we kept all those gazillion dollars worth of jobs and work in the Province, rather than export them, along with the bitumin, to upgraders in the United States.
Not so, his Energy Minister, the Member of the Legislature for Grande Prairie - Smoky, Mel Knight. He said yesterday, that he is not concerned with the export of bitumin and the value added to the product, outside of the Province. His view is that its the same as conventional oil and natural gas. "We've exported oil from the Province of Alberta for 65 years. Are we going to do the same thing (with bitumin)? Absolutely," says Mel. Dick Cheney will be happy to hear that. After all, the people of Alberta will have presented his United States with a gift in jobs and contracts worth countless billions for merely the market price of the raw stuff.
Does the Stelmach team know what they are doing? Don't bet on it.
Anyway, let's see how Eddie responds.