Friday, October 05, 2007

R o y a l t i e s. Royalties.

I remember that Trailer Park Boys episode where J-Roc put out an album using the tunes of another rapper, Detroit Velvet Smooth (DVS.), and called it "cross promotion, mafa." Then the evil Mr. Lahey called DVS and told him about all this. So DVS shows up at the rap concert party at J-Roc's, shoots a gun in the air for attention, and tells J-Roc that he's a punk for "jackin' my tunes" and deserves a thing called "r o y a l t i e s ... royalties".

First off, it makes me laugh that rappers are going after other rappers for jackin' their tunes when everyone knows that everyone does it and a lot of it is simply unoriginal.

Secondly, it reminds me of the whole "sitchiation" in Alberta with the oil sands, the missing $6 billion in r o y a l t i e s, and the provincial government's ineptitude. In this case, J-Roc is the oil company, DVS is the Alberta government, and Mr. Lahey is the auditor general who brought this to our attention in the first place.

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue. It's complex... formulas, backroom deals, and stuff.

But what I do wonder is, even if we got that $6 billion, what would the provincial government do with it anyway?

I mean, they already have large surpluses and squander it away. MLAs and bureaucrats already rack up high expenses on trips and the like. All while, cities are still under the crunch and raise property taxes, lack of affordable housing, lower-middle class hurting health care insurance premiums are still around, power bills are still high, tuition is high, taxes are high, and our roads, highways, and infrastructure are at least a decade behind in maintenance, upgrades, and creation.

Yet at the same time, what do these big energy companies do with that massive profit? Some of them have threatened to pull out of Alberta. Yeah, right. Callin' you on that bluff there, sharky.

So to me, it really doesn't matter who has that $6 billion. No matter what, the average Albertan still gets screwed and we wouldn't see a dime of it anyway.

That said, we need a decision on this, immediately before it gets muddled. It's obvious what Albertans will say, so why have a citizens' review? Premier Stelmach should have the interest of the people of Alberta and the government in particular, not bow to idle corporate threats and simply needs to act like Detroit Velvet Smooth, shoot a gun off in the air, go up to J-Roc Oil and say, "You jackin' our oil? R o y a l t i e s... royalties".

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