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.