Thursday, August 02, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mitchell Anderson reports on how Norway has assured itself of long-term fiscal security by saving a fair share of its oil resources:
Norway produces 40 per cent less petroleum than Canada and has one-seventh our population, but has saved more than $600 billion in oil revenue and counting. This is equivalent to about 140 per cent of Norwegian GDP, or about $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. In contrast, every Canadian is in the red about $16,000 due to our $566-billion national debt.
While Canada is eliminating 19,000 public sector jobs in an effort to balance the budget, Norway is debt-free, enjoys full employment and has fourth highest per capita GDP in the world. Canada is twelfth.

Beyond economics, Norway is an obviously fortunate place to live. It is routinely ranked number one in the world on the Human Development Index, is the world's best-governed nation according to the Democracy Index, and is the best country in the world to be a mother.

And in spite of being the world's third largest exporter of crude oil, Norway is ranked number three in the world on the Environmental Performance Index. Canada is thirty-seventh (behind Nicaragua, Albania and Columbia).
How is all this paid for? Since the 1970s, Norway as a matter of policy has collected between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the resource wealth generated from their oil industry through corporate taxes twice as high as Canada, and a special tax on oil profits. In Alberta, royalties collected on all oil sands production in 2010 were 10 per cent of industry revenues.

Norway also required that foreign companies train Norwegian workers, transfer proprietary technologies to their state-owned oil company Statoil, and in some cases even hand over producing oil platforms free of charge after a predetermined period.

This insistence on national participation has paid off. Companies controlled by the Norwegian taxpayer now directly own about 30 per cent of the nation's oil production, providing another significant source of income as well as technical input on how their resource is developed.
 - Michael Harris questions the RCMP's move into environmental politics:
What a remarkable coincidence. The Mounties are worried about those very same radical environmentalists that Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver says want to use foreign money to hijack hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline. The same ones that the man who is cornering the market on Fossil Awards, Environment Minister Peter Kent, said might be “laundering offshore foreign funds.” No really, David Suzuki is Meyer Lansky with an electron microscope.

And here I thought the RCMP was about enforcing the criminal code in federal matters, not the government’s energy policies. I wonder if this transforms Christy Clark from a poker-playing politician into a radical environmentalist? I wonder if farmers who opposed ditching the Canadian Wheat Board will show up in some future de-classified RCMP threat assessment for opposing government policy? (Never forget, they have combines.) Or maybe there will even be a thick file on poor scribes critical of corporate wars, sleazy politics, suppressing public information, ministerial mendacity and forbidding Canadian public servants and scientists from speaking?
- Meanwhile, the Cons have made clear that they feel entitled to proclaim their supporters free of any law they don't like. And apparently the rules surrounding honesty and transparency in government advertising are on that list.

- Finally, CTV reports on the latest steps in the New Union Project which could see a merger between the CAW and CEP.

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