Last weekend, Danielle Smith, the leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance Party, was invited to address members of Reseau Liberte-Quebec (RLQ –Quebec Freedom Network) gathering in Montreal.
In her speech, Smith made the most spirited defense of Alberta’s oil patch that I have ever heard coming out of the mouth of a politician in Canada. What is more, she delivered it in Montreal, one of the most hostile spots to Alberta’s oil industry.
Well I’m here to tell you I’m from Alberta, Albertans develop oilsands, it’s good for Canada and the world, and I’m proud of what we do. Notwithstanding that oilsands have been subjected to the most effective smear campaign in the history of the transnational environmental movement, when you balance factual negatives against factual positives, oilsands are a homerun winner for Canada. They are good for the Canadian economy. They employ people in and from all parts of Canada.
Well aware of the existing misinformation against the oil sands, Smith systematically debunked the spin used in discrediting Alberta and vilifying its energy industry. For example, she tackled head on the myth that Alberta’s oil industry gets a pass from paying its share in taxes because, as Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton insinuated often during the past election campaign, the prime minister is from Alberta:
The truth is our energy industry pays a lot of tax – an awful lot of tax. In 2006 – the last census year we’ve got – our oil and gas producing industry paid $4 billion to governments for exploration and development rights, $15 billion in production royalties, $6 billion in federal and provincial corporate income taxes, and $1 billion in municipal property taxes.[…]
Besides employing more than 800,000 Canadians directly and indirectly, oil and gas support industries paid $9 billion in corporate and payroll taxes. Then there’s taxation on consumer products. In 2006 there was $5 billion paid in federal excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, $8 billion in provincial excise fuel taxes, and $2 billion in fuel GST. So the total taxes and royalties paid on oil and gas from concept to consumer in 2006 from this so-called “subsidized” industry was at least $50 billion.
Skipping the mildly partisan portion at the end of her speech, every Albertan should read this speech carefully. It sets much of the record straight. Alberta’s prosperity is a tide raising all boats.
Read the whole thing here.