Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Royalties Day

To listen to some of the media, and some of the Tory caucus, you would think the Royalty Report was written by some anonymous group of Marxists (The People's Revolutionary Royalty Front?) sending it as a manifesto to select media outlets from their secret lair. In fact, it was written by a panel of primarily businesspeople, some from the energy industry, hand-picked by the Premier specifically to re-examine royalties in Alberta in the fulfillment on one of his leadership campaign promises.

Any cries from the oil industry about the unfairness of the findings are nothing but short-sighted NIMBYism. We all know that as buyers of this resource - owned by Albertans - these companies naturally want to get it at the cheapest price possible. But we're the sellers of the resource, so we should be interested in getting the best possible price for it. The Government of Alberta has a responsibility to get that price for us. The Royalty Review Panel attempted to determine how much that price could be, based on what the market can bear and what other jurisdictions charge.

This is why it's been so disappointing to me that the government has taken this long to announce how much of the report they're willing to accept, and (judging from the hints dropped so far) that they won't take the entire report:
The premier says the government's response will be balanced between what Albertans deserve for the province's resources, and the interests of the big oil and gas companies.
Wait - what? The government has a responsibility to the former, and none at all to the latter. If a government anywhere said that they were offering their unions a contract that strikes a balance between what the workers deserve to be paid based on what the market will bear, and the workers' desire to become independantly wealthy, the voters would rightfully scream bloody murder.

But it's been almost as disappointing to me that Kevin Taft wouldn't come out in full-throated support of the report at a minimum until yesterday, when it became clear that supporting the report would tactically be a position that would put the Liberals at odds with the government. Had he taken leadership with that position much earlier, would the government have felt more pressure to accept more of the report? It scares me more to consider that had the hints coming from the Premier indicated the report would be accepted wholesale, the strategy of differentiation pursued here by the Liberals might have led Taft to suggest that the report went too far.

Regular readers know I don't spare criticism for the NDP just because they're my chosen party. But in this, I'm proud that Brian Mason came out early and strongly to say that accepting the recommendations of the report is the minimum the government could do in order to execute their responsibility as custodian of this non-renewable resource.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A collection of random stuff

- In the wake of the Ontario referendum vote, I'd half-written a post about my opposition to PR. And then I had a conversation with an old friend, and now I'm rethinking it. I would have posted "I dunno", but that doesn't sound very engaging.

- It's municipal election day in Alberta. If you haven't given it any thought at all, and need to rush a decision, Daveberta likely has the links you'll need to do the reading before you head to the polls, at least here in Edmonton. For the record, it's pronounced "mu-NISS-i-pull", and I will not cast a ballot for anyone that pronounces it "mewn-i-SIP-all".

- The Sunday Family Circus actually made me laugh. Out loud! Surely, the apocalypse is at hand.

- Confidential to Caribbean Cutie: One piece of cake won't kill you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Once a year, I can be bought

Notwithstanding my "ad-free" declaration on the left, once a year I let my poker freak flag fly. Here we go:

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 5248482

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Small Potatoes

Maybe it's because the smaller sin is easier to understand, or because it was more obviously unethical. But honestly, in the face of giving away our resources at fire sale prices, foregoing more than enough revenue to make Alberta Health Care premiums disappear, how can anyone get worked up about Ron Stevens' little three-day Hawaiian vacation on our dime?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another reason to get out of that car. Or city.

Toronto has long been known as The Boringest City in History, at least in my circles. I'm sure maintaining that reputation is a full-time job. As Torontonian Bruce McDonald over at Canuck Attitude points out, the Dullification of Toronto is currently being perpetuated by the Toronto Parking Authority, because can you imagine a more Kafkaesquely-appropriate wing of government to be the iron hand of The City That Flavour Forgot? (Be sure to follow the link if only to see the great Leonard Cohen)

Torontonians, am I being unfair? Prove it, and stand up to this plan to mow down a great old club in favour of twenty - twenty - parking spaces.