Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties
Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last weekâ€™s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the â€œDutch diseaseâ€ debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair.
He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in todayâ€™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 Saskatchewanâ€™s resources
To the editor: Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback says that my writing â€œattacked our provinceâ€ (Hoback Video Goes Viral, June 5). What I have criticized is the giveaway of Saskatchewanâ€™s non-renewable resources.
Saskatchewanâ€™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 Canadaâ€™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.