Despite a scathing report by Alberta’s auditor general, who chastised the government for missing out on $1 billion a year in oil royalty revenues, his predecessor says that’s not the case.
“To answer the question that is on everyone’s minds is I could find no evidence that the government is miscollecting over a billion dollars in royalties,” said former Auditor General Peter Valentine yesterday after releasing a new government report that praised the Tories on how they’ve handled the province’s royalties.
Alberta’s current auditor general, Fred Dunn, came down hard on the government in his annual report in October 2007, saying the government identified roughly $1 billion a year in royalties owed by energy companies, but never collected. Dunn’s report also says the province’s royalty system lacked transparency and accountability.
“In fact, Alberta is a leader in terms of how the royalty system is evaluated when compared to other jurisdictions,” wrote Valentine in the new report, which included13 recommendations on how to “enhance” Alberta’s royalty system.
Those recommendations include making new standards to keep track of royalties, along with making sure department staff are kept informed. Valentine’s also called for the government to make sure decisions are properly explained to the public.
“We’re very serious about accepting these recommendations and we will move forward with this,” said Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight.