Recently, I sent a letter to Minister Michelle Mungall asking that subsidies to the fossil fuel sector be eliminated. Some time later, a letter from her office informed me that there are no subsidies – no public money is paid to the fossil fuel sector; but rather “targeted royalty programs.” With the announcement on March 22nd that LNG is back on the table and would include tax cuts and incentives, I drew a little flow chart.
If a subsidy involves paying out money from the public purse, then tax breaks, incentives and targeted royalty programs are a case of money not being paid in to the public purse. Although the spelling might be different, functionally they are all subsidies.
This has a big impact on the scale of investment in the alternate energy sector and its related research and employment opportunities. It has been 50 years since the Stanford Research Institute issued their cautionary report to the American Petroleum Institute. Both industry and government are still behaving as though this is a totally new concept. Expanding the extraction of fossil fuels and investing in an infrastructure for its off- shore sale seems foolish at best and ultimately irresponsible.