Gas company pulling $125M from B.C. project sparks words over energy sector’s fate
Chevron’s plan to offload its 50 percent share of the nascent Kitimat LNG project was another blow to Canada’s energy industry on Wednesday.
The massive British Columbia natural gas facility and export hub was so crucial for the Canadian economy, the Trudeau government gave a tariff break to China last summer so the communist regime’s cheap, fabricated steel could fast-track construction.
Albertan oil and gas companies owe the province’s rural municipalities unpaid property tax, and the amount has doubled since the beginning of last year. Some people are referring to this trend as a tax revolt according to CTV News.
“If Alberta’s property tax system is not amended to prevent oil and gas companies from refusing to pay property taxes, many rural municipalities will struggle to remain viable,” association president Al Kemmere said in a release.
The municipalities want the province to change the rules in order to force companies accountable for the taxes they owe Kemmere explained. As it currently stands property taxes are controlled by the province and not the local communities.
“A lot of the oil and gas is doing their fair part as citizens, but we need legislation to force others to pay much like everybody else has to pay,” said Kemmere.
Rural Municipalities Alberta conducted a survey of the owed taxes and found that the number has increased 114 percent from a similar survey they conducted in the spring of 2019. According to the survey, oil and gas companies owe a total of $173 million.
Reeve Paul McLauchlin estimates that his municipality of Ponoka County, south of Edmonton, is owed about $2.6 million out of a total of $27 million. The oilpatch consultant said, “It creates operational constraints, our ability to provide community services. We have nonprofits asking for assistance. We say ‘no’ more and more.”
Many people in the industry believe that it’s the way that taxes are assessed that is driving companies out of business. The provincial government is in charge of assessing properties however they evaluate them based on replacement cost and not market value.
“We defend the need for the province to take a look at how assessment works and have it reflective of the market,” said Ben Brunnen, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
“A lot of these unpaid taxes are coming in jurisdictions where you’ve got assets that are older and not as productive or economic. The choice for these types of assets is to shut (them) in or find a way to reduce costs.” he said.
Brunnen suggested that some municipalities are going to have to accept less revenue from oil and gas companies as a result of such shut-in walls which are often abandoned or never reclaimed after bankruptcy.
Last year it was ruled that municipalities are unsecured creditors by the Alberta Court of Appeal. This ruling effectively puts them at the back of the line when it comes to tax collection following a bankruptcy.
The Alberta Liabilities Disclosure Project works to comprehend the impact of old energy infrastructure on the province. Regan Boychuck, a researcher working for the project claimed, “Oilpatch property tax are now voluntary.”
About 40 per cent of unpaid taxes are from distressed companies that are feeling the effects of an industry hit by lower resource prices according to McLauchlin. The rest belongs to companies that continue to operate without paying.
“My personal opinion is that this is a tax revolt,” McLauchlin said. “They are using this as a lever to decrease their assessment and change those costs.”
One could argue that in a sense the process has already begun. Alberta’s United Conservative government brought in legislation that allowed municipalities to cut taxes on specific well by up to about one-third last year.
Initially, the cuts would be reimbursed by the province but the municipalities said that the program has been abandoned and they are left to deal with the loss.
Boychuck said despite the decline of oil and gas reserves the mill rates on wells and other facilities have remained unchanged for years.
“What industry is really saying is that they’ve depleted their wells so far they can’t cover operating costs. The wells are done and whatever wealth remains needs to be directed to clean up rather than looted any further before bankruptcy.”
The Orphan Well Association is an industry-funded group that was created to clean up abandoned wells. They currently have 3,400 abandoned wells under their care and that number is up by 300 since the beginning of last year.
Trudeau cabinet’s Bill Blair has revealed that their gun control plan will be rolled out in a “multi-step process” which will include the prohibition of the sale of assault weapons.
While the Trudeau government aims to prohibit assault weapons quickly, other measures, they say, will take more time, including the partial handgun ban that will require talks between the federal and provincial governments, according to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
Trudeau had specifically called for the banning of “military-style assault weapons” during his 2019 campaign, with a primary focus on weapons that farmers “did not” need that were designed to kill “the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.”
Blair went on to tell reporters Tuesday that his government will implement their agenda on firearms as the steps become ready to implement by the federal government or by the country’s minority parliament.
“Our work is to reduce the supply of guns getting into the hands of criminals, but you also have to interdict the demand for those guns,” he said. “We have just gone through, for many communities across Canada, a very difficult summer last year. And so we want to make sure we are there for those communities and work in those communities to make substantive changes and investments that will help to keep them safe,” Blair told The Globe and Mail in Winnipeg.
Blair said that new rules being put in place “could be accomplished in the near term,” going on to say that programs like an assault weapon buyback “will take a little bit more time.”
When Prime Minister Trudeau was asked in September about those who would not want to participate in a gun buy-back and “making law-abiding citizens into criminals,” Trudeau did not give a direct answer.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized for splashing out on gourmet doughnuts this week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, according to Global News.
The doughnuts in question were purchased at Oh Doughnuts, which, as discovered by True North Centre, cost an eye-watering $47 per dozen.
The owners of the restaurant, however, said that the $47 doughnuts were their “most elaborate, fancy doughnuts… which they didn’t get. They just got regular variety doughnuts.”
As well as this, the doughnut shop stated that Trudeau ordered the product online, resulting in a ten percent price decrease.
This, compared, to Canada’s favourite doughnut shop Tim Hortons, who sells doughnuts for less than ten dollars per dozen, will lead to questions about Trudeau’s inclination to fork out taxpayer money on unnecessary expenses for himself and his Liberal team, all while his government fights veterans and Indigenous people in court over money.
Justin Trudeau is in Winnipeg for a cabinet retreat where he re-groups with his executive in preparation for the upcoming parliament. Trudeau’s retreats have often been stamped as needlessly expensive. Take, for instance, the Liberal cabinet’s trip to St. John’s Newfoundland, where Trudeau visited the theatre, leaving Canadians to foot the tab.
As well as this, in 2018 Trudeau splurged on a cabinet retreat to Vancouver Island amid the on-going wild fire crisis in the province at the time.
Malaysia is intending to ship 150 containers of illegal waste back to the countries of origin. These countries include Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada.
Malaysia’s Environment Minister Yeo Be Yin, told reporters that “it is not about money, it’s about dignity. When people dump garbage into your country, you are not supposed to pay them to send it back, you expect them to send it back by themselves.”
Yin further added that Malaysia will “stick to this line, we are going to send it back, and we are going to make people who export here and the shipping liners pay for it.”
Yin ended her speech by saying that this new policy “was unprecedented … we will hold the people to be responsible for their actions. They should be paying for the logistics.”
Yin’s comments may be seen as a provocation in what has been described as a “garbage war” by those in the media. Previously, tension rose as Canada sent non-recyclable trash to the Philippines that had been labelled as recyclable. Now, Malaysia is upset for similar reasons.
The garbage dispute between Canada and the Philippines got so bad that the leader of the country threatened to declare war if Canada did not allow the return of the garbage.