Saturday, January 18, 2014
Is It Really This Simple?
For some time I've put it down to the 'low-hanging fruit' theory. Fossil fuels are windfall revenue. Somebody else digs fossil energy out of the ground, hands government a royalty cheque for the privilege, and hauls the stuff away. Government takes that money, gives some of it away in tax breaks for the rich, and uses the rest of it as general revenue to appease the plebs. It sort of greases all the wheels.
Government doesn't collect royalty cheques from people manufacturing heat pumps or solar panels or wind turbines. There are taxes, if you're lucky, but that's not the same as windfall royalties from fossil fuels. As Dire Straits would put it, fossil fuel royalties are "money for nothing."
Fossil fuel royalties as graft? Sure, I suppose. Just contrast the difference between how fossil fuel revenues are handled responsibly - by the Norwegians - and how they're pissed away by Canadian governments and by the Brits. Here's another giveaway. One side acts openly, honestly and transparently. The other indulges in secrecy, manipulation and dishonesty. Do you think that's just a fluke?
I think the dishonesty, the secrecy and the manipulation the Canadian public endures from our politicians when it comes to our fossil fuel resources is the product of the horrible conflict of interest between our government and its people. They're putting their interests in keeping those royalty cheques coming ahead of their fiduciary duty to the Canadian public, today and for generations to come.