Ever wonder how the world's oil tycoons feel about the royalty they are charged by the Alberta government? Movie theatre-goers can find out this month.
A 30-second commercial, which pokes fun at what Alberta charges oil companies in royalties, is running in theatres across the province this month - and while the ad is supposed to be cheeky and fun, it also carries a serious message, says the creator.
The ad features an older gentleman in an opulent office (complete with gold bars on his desk), being served an ice cream topped with gold sprinkles.
“Hello Albertans! I would like to thank you personally for making me so incredibly wealthy,” he begins.
“Charging me next to nothing in taxes and royalties to dig your oil really helped out.
“And your province’s government’s underfunding of health care and education, so I could make even more millions,” he adds.
The ad concludes with the tag line: “Alberta shouldn’t be running out of money for essential services.”
The commercial was produced for the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) by Better Way Alberta - a coalition that includes the AFL and Public interest Alberta - as a response to recent cuts in the provincial budget.
AFL President Gil McGowan told the Edmonton Journal the organization wants to create discussion about Alberta's low tax and royalty rates.
“What we were hoping to do with the ad, and the campaign that it’s a part of, is to start a conversation with Albertans and public policy-makers about how we pay for our public services,” he said.
"In a province as wealthy as Alberta, why the heck do we have a deficit in the first place?" McGowan asked in an interview with CBC Calgary.
The character in the ad has a Transylvanian accent. This choice was made partly to not "pick on anyone," McGowan told CBC, but also because the AFL feels "these oil companies — no matter where they're from — are sucking the blood out of the Alberta economy."
The $185,000 campaign, which was produced by Calgary-based Scott Communications and filmed at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary, will also feature three radio spots. They have not yet aired, but you can listen to them below.
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10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP
The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>
9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed
Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>
5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.
One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry
Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands
Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.