Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last week’s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the “Dutch disease” debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page A4), I would be happy to debate Hoback on the substantive issues of resource royalties, the exchange rate and manufacturing employment.

A fairer return on Saskatchewan’s resources

To the editor: Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback says that my writing “attacked our province” (Hoback Video Goes Viral, June 5). What I have criticized is the giveaway of Saskatchewan’s non-renewable resources.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Energy and Resources reports that it collected only $2.2 billion of revenue from $17.6 billion of resource sales in 2010. To profit from this giveaway, foreign investors buy Canadian dollars to buy equity in Canada’s resource companies. This inflow of foreign funds drives up the exchange rate to the detriment of manufacturing and other exporters.

Statistics Canada reports that Saskatchewan has lost 5,000 manufacturing jobs since Premier Brad Wall took office, including the closure of the Prince Albert Pulp Mill and nearby sawmills. As the MP for Prince Albert, Mr. Hoback should be concerned about local manufacturing jobs.

The provincial government should collect a better return for Saskatchewan people from the depletion of nonrenewable resources. Additional royalty revenue could fund needed public infrastructure (such as a new bridge in Prince Albert) and be saved for future generations.

Higher royalties would also temper the inflow of foreign funds and moderate the Canadian dollar, which would help Saskatchewan regain lost manufacturing jobs.

In a committee meeting on the federal omnibus budget bill, Mr. Hoback strangely focussed on defending the provincial government and asking about my Saskatchewan NDP activity. However, resource royalties, the exchange rate and the future of manufacturing are worthy of further discussion. I would welcome the opportunity to debate Mr. Hoback on these important questions in Prince Albert.

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that Saskatchewan lost a further 200 manufacturing jobs in May, bringing Wall’s tally to 5,200.


  • I just ran a regression model on exchange rates and manufacturing and the relationship is massive.

    I am writing up a small piece on it will offer it for posting on Monday or Tuesday.

    One has got to look to the mid 90s when our exchange rate was a lot closer to our PPP and given our productive workforce it was favourable to investment in a massive way. The correlation holds almost the same for manufacturing outputs as well but definitely a lot stronger when comparing exchange rate to manufacturing employment.

  • Francis Fuller


    An open debate in a public forum? Sounds like a marxist plot.

  • Yes, Hoback has already seen through it. From today’s Prince Albert Herald:

    In regard to Mr. Weir’s request that I debate him regarding the merits of Thomas Mulcair’s politics of division, the answer is a resounding no.

    Anyone wishing to debate their support for siphoning wealth out of Western Canada simply doesn’t deserve a stage in Prince Albert. If Weir wants a stage, he can pay for it with his own money.

  • Piccolo Economista

    “siphoning wealth out of Western Canada”

    Isn’t that the business model of the Asphalt Pits currently, which in essence is the complaint being presented to begin with?
    Hoback seems to have a predilection for sticking his foot in his mouth. But to be fair, maybe he’s nescient regarding the strategic use of metaphors…that is, his subconscious is working against him.

  • Erin, You’ll just have to run in Prince Albert in 2015. Then he’d have to debate you, unless he’s one of those MPs that takes his constituency so much for granted that he doesn’t bother showing up for debates…

  • Actually, skipping riding-level debates has increasingly been part of the marching orders for Conservative candidates. The Cons seem very clear that discussion of the actual issues is a negative for them.

  • Tempting as it may be to pick up the Prince Albert CCF-NDP banner carried by my great grandfather in 1957, it’s true that Conservatives tend to avoid election debates in Saskatchewan.

  • I interviewed Erin in tongue-in-cheek style on June 12 about his experience before the Finance Committee. We also seriously discuss his concerns about job losses in SK and elsewhere due to “Dutch Disease.”

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