Sunday, November 4, 2007

Responsible Ownership

Nation, today we're going to talk a little bit about the responsibility of ownership.

As the owner of several enterprises myself, I know all too well how difficult it is to stay on top of things - there always seems to be another complication, another document written in unintelligible legal-ese that needs to be reviewed and signed, another management issue that needs to be resolved... indeed, I found myself as recently as September debating whether hiking the price for one of my services (for the first time in 10 years) would cost me clients (it didn't). Luckily, they considered the small increase worth the investment, as they have been quite satisfied with the service they receive. I'm still also about 20% under the market-rate, as well, so there's something to be said for that as well. Any cheaper, and they could pay me in U.S. Dollars. :)

The parallel between my own situation and the recent Royalty Review shouldn't be lost on anyone. The problem is this: As Albertans, we are all shareholders in a 10.5 TRILLION dollar reserve of crude oil (175 billion barrels, at a low-ball figure of $60/per barrel). We OWN those resources. And we actually get asked for our opinion on the management of those resources once every 4 or so years, come election time. Not that anything necessarily changes with the management - we just have a chance to go into a voting station and express ourselves.

The fact is, each and every single one of us owns over 3.5 MILLION DOLLARS worth of the oil sitting in Alberta. And, until the release of the Royalty Review and the Stelmach government's soliciting of public feedback, we have rarely in our lifetimes been asked for our opinion on how the government is managing our own personal $3.5 Million nest egg.

Well, the recommendations have been made, the decision has been handed down, and there are random sample telephone polls all over the place. The only thing that all these polls have in common is the fact that most of them have an extremely large number of respondents who, in effect, told the pollster to shove off and leave them alone. Media outlets interpret this as meaning they don't like the decision made by the Stelmach government. I interpret this as "I'm eating my dinner, stop calling me". Slight difference of context, no?

Well, now you can express your opinion in an in-depth and thoughtful poll that pushes you neither towards a favourable or critical view or opinion of the Royalty issue. I would encourage each and every one of you to take a few minutes of your time and go to Policy Channel to take their "Alberta's Oil Sands Survey" (link is on the top left corner of their page).

After all, it's YOUR $3.5 Million. Shouldn't you have a better way to express an opinion than marking an "x" once every 4 years?

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