By adopting an energy policy founded on low royalties and pipeline development, the NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley squandered an opportunity to implement a program that could have strengthened Alberta’s economy while preparing it to deal with the inevitable decline in fossil fuel demand, author Andrew Nikiforuk told the final session of the annual Parkland Institute Conference Sunday.
In other words, oversupplying a global market that doesn’t need more oilsands bitumen will only lower prices, argued the author and journalist who has written about Alberta’s energy industry for three decades. “That’s Economics 101.”
Instead, the Notley Government has adopted an energy development policy little different from that of preceding Conservative governments or the United Conservative Party Opposition, Mr. Nikiforuk asserted, arguing that such an approach is more likely to intensify the province’s economic pain than ease it.
Shielding the industry from market forces through rock bottom royalties that effectively act as subsidies and using pipelines to create a supply glut of low-quality refinery feedstock is incompetent governance, whether it’s done by New Democrats or Conservatives, Mr. Nikiforuk said.
His message, delivered at the University of Alberta, is not likely to be welcomed by the political elites in Alberta, of course. They need not worry, despite Mr. Nikiforuk’s stature in Western Canadian energy journalism, there appeared to be no mainstream media journalists there to take note of what he had to say.
Ironically, Mr. Nikiforuk said, what the NDP…