Saturday, March 03, 2007

Environmental Policy We Can All Agree On

From Today's Globe:

OTTAWA — The Conservative government should scrap the generous tax breaks for the oil sands that some say are worth hundreds of millions annually, recommends a draft report by the Commons natural resources committee.

The accelerated capital-cost allowance program was brought in by the Liberals in the 1990s to encourage development in the oil sands, then considered a risky proposition. With oil at about $60 per barrel, however, it has turned into a $1.4 billion corporate welfare scheme.

And that's how the Tories can justify killing the program to their own base: corporate welfare bums are the worst kind of welfare bum, and its time to apply some tough love.

Once the program has been killed, the freed up cash can be redirected toward production of cleaner energy sources, which makes the whole process a piece of environmental policy.

Frankly, I don't even care if the same companies that lose their breaks can reapply for them once they've cleaned up their act. I am just against giving them free candy.


JimBobby said...

But... but... but... I thought it was the other way around an' Alberty was subsidizin' us eastern bastards. You mean it's us subsidizin' their greasy oil patch? Say it ain't so, BigCity.

The Green Party has been slammin' corporate welfare t' the oil & gas industry since fer years. Us Greenies is always happy t' see other parties use our ideas so long as the end result is the same. I hafta admit, though, I'm SLAGPP* just thinkin' o' how the Grits'll get called flip-floppers fer takin' away the gravy they started givin' the BigOilBoys.


*Smilin' Like A Girl Pig Peein'

Olaf said...

Seriously though,

There is absolutely NO REASON that oil companies should be getting subsidies. I don't like the public subsidizing ANY private company, let alone ones who don't need it to stay afloat.

This should be a no brainer for Harper - would make the environmentalists happy (at least somewhat), and it would make the genuinely economic conservatives happy.

No one in the patch can legitimately claim with any credibility that taking away free money is any sort of attack on their livelihood. I think Harper might be saving this one for closer to election time (maybe the budget).

bigcitylib said...

Well, Olaf, this report has been delayed until after budget day, so one possible interpretation is that the CPoC doesn't want this committee stealing the thunder of their announcements. Hope so anyhow.

Anonymous said...

1. Accelerated depreciation is not a subsidy. No cheque arrives from Ottawa.

2. Accelerated depreciation is common in many industries - check out the high tech and aerospace industries.

3. Accelerated depreciation means these companies have a better bottom line sooner. Cost of business goes down, but then they pay more corporate taxes to the province & Ottawa and have higher returns to share holders i.e. your pension plan most likely.

Accelerate depreciation is financial incentive for high capital, risky industries so they can take root.

Ti-Guy said...

Hey, Mr. "Accelerated Depreciation." No one thinks you're credible with the handle you chose.

Is it just me, or all capitalists these days falling over themselves to prove just how desperate they are?

McGuire said...

This is something I do support. Take the subsidies away from oil exploration & put it into carbon sequestration. A far better use for the money at this time.

canuckistanian said...

i have no problem if we keep providing incentives to the oil sands. in the 90's they were unprofitable and needed incentives to get going, now they are hugely profitable and need to get green. if the incentives are to continue to flow to the oil sands, let it be in the form of incentives for cutting ghg's.

Anonymous said...

I have no sympathy for these oil companies...near as I can figure outside of whatever federal taxes they pay, they are only paying Albertans 1% in royalties as part of that incentive to get started in the oil sands way back when.

For those of you anonymouses and Lieberal haters out there who think only the Grits steal, how about that Ralph Klein flatly refused to revisit the 1% rule even though oil was over $70. Now Steady Eddie has put together a panel of experts that include an ex-Shell CEO(Corbella's hubby??) to review the 1% and I'm sure it's completely unbiased.

I know emissions and royalties are two different things, but it tells me that the oil companies are getting off really easy and that when all of them are posting record profits it's probably a good time to reel them in. Nobody will want to spend more money of better technology or pay more in royalties if the bottom falls out.

Anonymous said...

Hey, chill folks . . . I bought oil companies for my RRSP and now can retire at Freedom 55 . . I actually made it due to all that oil profit.

Me & millions of others who paid maney to become shareholders.

You could have too if you socialistic blinders didn't prevent you latte liberals and champagne socialists from improving your lives through business

Anonymous said...

EnCana gets rich and we pay the son of ... witch.