Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cabinet appointments announced

I could spend more time here talking about the Cabinet appointments, but frankly I don't see the relevance. I'd rather critique a policy than a person. Would you prefer good government from someone who isn't from or of your town, gender, or ethnicity or bad government from someone who is? In any case, more than 60 000 Albertans voted for the Wildrose Alliance and more than 40 000 voted for the Greens and they have no representation at all in the Leg, never mind representation in the Cabinet. If Stelmach were really interested in listening to those 65 000 Wildrose voters, he would have made note of that party's call for a 12 member Cabinet. Instead he balloons his 18 member Cabinet in the opposite direction to 24, and that doesn't include the legion of new "Parliamentary Assistants". When the NDP is taking issue with how bloated the new cabinet is, as Brian Mason did today, you know the size of the bureaucracy is getting out of hand. Mason also objected to Stelmach loyalist Mel Knight's continuation as Energy Minister, which is equally remarkable given the fact the oil patch had been hoping Mel Knight would be shuffled for some time now. I say "hoping" and not "publically calling", because no oil executive with a brain is going make an enemy out of the Minister that he or she is hoping to positively influence.

Barry Munro, an analyst with the consulting firm Ernst and Young, said yesterday that ... [f]ailing to review the royalty proposal ... could lead to an outflow of capital from Alberta. "There continues to be this very, very impassioned call on the government to just simply fix some things that were just badly flawed within the logic of the royalty recommendations. He's got to get on with that, and he's got to get on with that right now because business-planning cycles require certainty or else people just quit spending. When faced with an uncertain framework, people just allocate capital elsewhere." Moreover, Stelmach's government needs to gain a better understanding of how the oil and gas industry works, Munro said, noting "there's a perception that there's a lack of understanding ... immediately flowing out of that is this lack of confidence."
- Calgary Sun, March 5

The Sun elsewhere notes that Peter Linder, a Calgary-based petroleum analyst and principal owner of DeltaOne Capital Partners Corp, believes that "the royalty regime weighs most heavily on junior companies... who, unlike large producers, are unable to focus on operations outside of Alberta to avoid paying higher royalties. "Those are the ones that are really suffering," he said." Linder also "said he doesn't think Knight will survive in the energy portfolio" and "said he expects Stelmach to appoint a minister 'who is much stronger and much more knowledgable' than Knight."

I suppose this is where I retract all my speculation about merging with the Liberals and suggest we merge with Brian Mason's NDP instead!


Frank Oberle (Peace River) has been appointed "Caucus Whip" and Robin Campbell (West Yellowhead) as "Deputy Whip". Who needs to be whipped? Half the Cabinet alone would be more than enough to outvote the opposition!


Ken Chapman said...

Hi Brian - those quotes you use are more self-absorbed Calgary oil patch guys who are paid to say that stuff...and they are never chalenged to substantiate their facts or opinions.

They don't add much value and are mostly sour grapes and sour gas

Brian Dell said...

I'm an analyst myself, having received the Chartered Financial Analyst charter in 2006, so it may not be surprising that I believe industry analysts are amongst the most authoritative.