NDP Desperation or Malfeasance? Alberta government to throw yet more public money away on high risk frac’ing, including to companies that break the law and contaminate drinking water

A few comments to the Calgary Herald article below:

Diana Daunheimer
This is hardly a surprising announcement, at a less obvious time, by the NDP to subsidize high risk, high decline and high cost fraccing operations in Alberta, with public money. After all, the NDP claim in their fluffy Climate Leadership Plan that fracced resources are “clean” with “limited adverse impacts”, have already implemented the lowest royalty payment structure of all time, endorsed play based regulations for the entire province and virtually exempt all of the oil and gas industry from the carbon levy.

Is this desperation or malfeasance? Because intellectually, environmentally, socially and economically this is a vacant and irrational program.

The real story here is just how was industry able to clone Allison Redford and get her elected? She looks really nice in that orange dress and blue boots, and the green sugar-coated tongue was a spectacular touch. Well done Suncor et al, that was a feat of engineering only the billions recycled through COSIA/CAPP could accomplish.

Steve English
This means more fracking, more air pollution and water contamination and huge increases in health spending.

When will Albertans realize thAt a 50percent cancer rate is not acceptable

Chris Larsen · Calgary, Alberta

First the real numbers are falling. Second you need to correlate cancer predictions to causes before you make claims like you have.

The article I posted shows cancer rates decrease at the very same time drilling and fracing was increasing.

Diana Daunheimer

Chris Larsen
This 2013 article is dated and does not delineate localized impacts, specifically first nations and rural areas inundated with oil and gas operations-particularly sour gas areas, the increased childhood cancer rates and the anticipated 60% increase of cancer in Alberta.

If you had 6 fracced sour crude, condensate and natural gas wells by your home, releasing some 60 million litres of negligent emissions each month and a sour gas plant built in the ’50’s spewing 5 tonnes of hazardous emissions out each day and also had a daughter with a rare and invasive tumour in her neck, you would think and know differently about statistics, cancer and fracking.

“According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, cancer was the leading cause of disease-related death in children under the age of 15 years.”

google: Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2015 and global news 60% increase in Alberta cancer rates. FB/Herald is once again allergic to links.

Rick Smith
Steve English: How much is George Soros, Rockefellers, Tide Foundation and etcetera paying you. A recent US senate hearing with the supreme court subpoenaed Obama appointed EPA head permentaly debunked the fracking crap you spew. Where is the alternative to oil Steve? The world oil consumtion rate is rising 1.5 million barrles per day per year on an already daily consumtion rate of 97 million barrels per day, and most experts of all forms of energy agree that it will be at least near the end of this century before an anywhere near viable replacement for oil is achieved in any appreciable form to replace oil……FACT, their are no carcinogens in frack fluid, they had a chemist from UBC point out that the arsenic David Suzuki claims was in frack fluid is present at even higher levels in water very commonly consumed by people on a daily basis world wide?

Rick Smith
Diana Daunheimer: How much is George Soros, Rockefellers, Tide Foundation and etcetera paying you. A recent US senate hearing with the supreme court subpoenaed Obama appointed EPA head permentaly debunked the fracking crap you spew. Where is the alternative to oil Diana? The world oil consumtion rate is rising 1.5 million barrles per day per year on an already daily consumtion rate of 97 million barrels per day, and most experts of all forms of energy agree that it will be at least near the end of this century before an anywhere near viable replacement for oil is achieved in any appreciable form to replace oil……FACT, their are no carcinogens in frack fluid, they had a chemist from UBC point out that the arsenic David Suzuki claims was in frack fluid is present at even higher levels in water very commonly consumed by people on a daily basis world wide?

Diana Daunheimer
Rick Smith

FACT: Not only are there carcinogens in frac fluid, but the carcinogens in frac fluid are now in our drinking water supplies, from the AER:

“On Sept. 22, 2011, workers from Crew Energy and service company GasFrac Energy Services attempted to frack a well in a liquids-rich gas reservoir near Grande Prairie…

… Workers on the well site failed to heed a number of warning signs and inadvertently perforated the well at about 137 metres below surface and delivered high-pressured shots of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the water table rather than the intended gas reservoir more than a kilometre further underground.

… Neither the ERCB nor Alberta Environment intends to fine Crew or GasFrac.

… ERCB released an investigation report that cites inadequate management of risks as one of the main causes of a September 2011 accident that contaminated groundwater with toxic hydraulic fracturing chemicals, including the cancer causing agent known as BTEX…

Diana Daunheimer
Rick Smith

The EPA has known for decades that frac’ing contaminates drinking water supplies, and they can’t be “fixed.”

1987 EPA report to Congress: “During the fracturing process, fractures can be produced, allowing migration of native brine, fracturing fluid, and hydrocarbons from the oil or gas well to a nearby water well. When this happens, the water well can be permanently damaged and a new well must be drilled or an alternative source of drinking water found.

… When fracturing the Kaiser gas well on Mr. James Parson’s property, fractures were created allowing migration of fracture fluid from the gas well to Mr. Parson’s water well. This fracture fluid, along with natural gas was present in Mr. Parson’s water rendering it unusable.”

Where is the alternative to water Rick?

Diana Daunheimer
Oh, here it is.

From AER lead counsel Glenn Solomon: “‘Okay, we damaged your water well. We’ll just set you up with potable water through a tank system forever, because, you know, we just spent a million dollars drilling this well that we made a hundred million on. And it’s costing us an extra three hundred thousand. We’re okay.’

‘You know, we don’t need to litigate with you, we don’t even need to know that it was our fault. We’re just happy to pay you. And by the way by doing that you shut up, the regulators stay off our back, we get to do it again down the street. And so that’s the oil company approach on these (things).'”

Diana Daunheimer
Rick Smith
Not a penny, in fact we have spent tens of thousands and thousands of hours on records generation, research and legalities.

Greenpeace Alberta refused me membership, Environmental Defence and numerous other enviro law firms declined to represent us and Pembina Institute is too afraid to even reply to my emails. You have much to learn on the colluded state of eNGO’s as well.

As a matter of recorded fact, frac fluids do contain carcinogens, and teratogens, mutagens and a host of other Schedule 1 toxins, including crystalline silica (aka frac sand) a known carcinogen. You claim is astoundingly erroneous. Who pays you, CAPP, Synergy Alberta?

All 6 wells within 500m of our home were diesel invert drills with hydrocarbon completions. “Frac oil” contains kerosene, benzene, xylene, naphtha, petroleum distillates and other hazardous compounds, you can review the disclosure for well 9-15 on Frac Focus, Alberta Lic# 0449454. Have fun with the MSDS’s. They prove you dead wrong.

Tim Cameron · Lakeland (Limited)
Nora Abercrombie look at the recent articles by global on the wtate of power in Ontario. This isn’t some place we’ve never heard of, its in our very own country and people there are struggling with energy poverty due in part to the fact that renewables aren’t up to the task. If you truly want to learn and educate yourself, look at what Ontario is doing, then understanding that this provincial government has endorsed Ontarios methodology for power generation then ask yourself how it could turn out any differently for Albertans.

Nora Abercrombie
Tim Cameron, thanks for your comment. I understand the issues. What nobody who has yet commented seems to understand is that climate change is not going to just make life inconvenient, it is going to kill us. Literally kill us.

The comments here so far are like those I imagine people were telling each other when the Nazis were rising in Germany. Lots of people were urging their friends and family to get out, no matter what the cost. Some did and survived, others refused to recognize the scale of the threat, didn’t want to give up their comfortable homes to become refugees, etc.

Climate change is more of a threat than that. So….someone tell me why we aren’t doing everything in our power to make renewables workable.


[Are NDP using Encana’s Play Book? Avoiding the word “fracking” (knowing the public is becoming better educated on the many risks and harms caused by fracking) to con the public into thinking this industry money grab will be good for the public?]

NDP to move ahead with oil and gas incentive programs by Chris Varcoe, July 10, 2016, Calgary Herald

The provincial government will announce Monday it is revamping drilling incentive programs for the hard-hit oilpatch [Greed induced self-inflicted hard-hit?], as Alberta continues to overhaul its royalty system.

The moves, part of the NDP’s review of oil and gas royalty rates that began last year, will see the province introduce two new programs to encourage exploration and investment, replacing initiatives established by the former Progressive Conservative government.

The new Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery Program seeks to maximize production from existing oil and gas plays.

The Emerging Resources Program will attempt to promote high-cost, high-reward developments in areas with large resource potential, such as horizontal oil or shale gas plays in untapped areas of the province.

Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said it became obvious during the past year that existing incentive programs needed to be modernized.

“When we conducted the royalty review, it came out that there is a place for these programs,” she said in an interview.

“These are programs that are going to help in some of those difficult areas where (producers) normally wouldn’t go because it’s too expensive or just too difficult in these times. [If that’s the case, is it stupid to make Albertans pay for the risks and be burdened with contaminated land, water and air and damaged public infrasture?]

“This just provides a little bit of a break in the business case.” [What “little bit of a break” did/do Albertans with frac contaminated aquifers and ranches get?]

No cost estimate has been attached to either program. Both incentive developments will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Wells drilled under previous incentive programs will stay under the old rules until they expire, or for up to a decade.

“These programs serve to recognize the higher risks and greater project costs of drilling in emerging resource plays and implementing secondary recovery schemes,” Tim McMillan, head of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said in a statement.

Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, said the programs should attract investment “in the resource opportunities of the future.” [That are taking more and more oil and gas companies and the jurisdictions subsidizing them down in flaming bankruptcies?]

“We think they are competitive and will keep Alberta in the game,” [Like take Alberta faster and deeper into Hell?] he said Sunday.

Chip301014 Fracking debacle could be shale of the century for some cartoonThe new Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery Program will replace the province’s existing plan to encourage enhanced oil recovery from oil and gas reservoirs that are already producing. [How many more refracs and billions of barrels of drinking water will be injected and sacrificed?]

That initiative cost about $21 million in royalty adjustments in 2015-16, but contributed about $100 million in incremental royalties the previous year, according to Alberta Energy’s annual report. [Were the public infrastructure damages, environmental and health costs and bankruptcies included in the analysis?]

The latest program is also designed to promote incremental production through enhanced recovery technology, but it will apply to all hydrocarbons.

It will target tertiary recovery techniques such as injecting nitrogen or carbon dioxide into the reservoir to boost output, as well as secondary recovery methods, such as injecting polymer, water or gas. [Will Albertans finally be told all the chemicals injected on all wells to date and into the future in exchange for paying for the fracs and taking on the risks, pollution and harms?]

Companies will pay a flat royalty rate of five per cent on oil, gas and natural gas liquids produced from eligible wells for a set period of time, for up to 90 months.

Then, the well will face the normal rates established under Alberta’s revamped royalty regime, which kicks in next year.

For projects using secondary recovery methods such as polymer, the benefit period will be determined individually.

The new Emerging Resources Program will replace a suite of incentives that were set to expire in June 2018. The old program cost $223 million in royalty breaks last year, according to Alberta Energy’s annual report.

Under the new policy, projects must target plays with large resource potential but high costs. They must also be in an early stage of development and generate incremental revenues for Albertans.

Approved wells will pay a flat five per cent royalty until total revenues equals those wells’ total cost allowances.

“These applications are going to have to show that it’s going to create more jobs, more rigs and more resources for Albertans,” McCuaig-Boyd added. [And how many illnesses and deaths, contaminated aquifers, poisoned lands, divided communities and families, destroyed farms?]

The new programs come as Canada’s oilpatch has laid off thousands of workers due to low oil and gas prices, reduced drilling and slashed capital spending to an estimated $31 billion this year, down from $81 billion in 2014.

Monday’s changes are another step for the provincial government following the creation last year of its royalty review panel.

The NDP promised during the 2015 election campaign to review royalty rates, saying the governing PCs “failed to earn Albertans full and fair value for their oil and gas by maintaining one of the world’s lowest oil royalty rate structures.” [And Notley’s government lied and lowered the rates, further enhancing the rip off]

[of course] The [industry biased] panel found producers were paying an “appropriate share” of royalties, but suggested changes to encourage companies to lower their costs. [Translation: Under the guise of promising prosperity and riches for Albertans, steal even more from ordinary taxpaying families than PC Ralph Klein did to give to multi-billion dollar profit-taking multi-nationals]

The province will keep existing royalties in place for wells drilled before 2017 for the next decade, and there will be no change to oilsands’ rates.

Other wells drilled starting next year will pay a flat royalty of five per cent until payout, followed by a higher rate once costs are recovered.

The panel also called for the province to implement strategic programs to promote enhanced oil recovery to tap into “significant amounts of oil and gas remaining in legacy fields,” and to encourage high-risk experimental wells that could open up new plays or lower industry costs. [Emphasis added]


Alberta completes its energy U-turn with new royalty incentives to encourage drilling | Financial Post email by Stewart Shields to federal and provincial authorities and politicians, July 12, 2016

Here we go again—with a NDP solution that mirrors the already failed Tory solution of past years!! Why “o” why do we want to drill and put found petroleum on a glutted market??

Albertans should be dead tired of packing an overfed petroleum industry around on their backs!! More production is not the solution to increase petroleum prices that would demand more positive drilling—indeed subsidized drilling is what got us exactly where we are with low prices that doesn’t justify profitable expansion!!

I fear the NDP have just turned out to be as little in control of our petroleum as the Tories they replaced?? What really has been the difference?? Allowing the industry owned AER to continue as the Alberta regulator should have been the signal that the NDP want the job of industries top table waiter-given up by Tories!! There is no question the ownership of the petroleum resource should switch from Provincial to Federal bodies to be managed by a professional Crown Corporation—for the owning public’s benefit!!!

Stewart Shields, Lacombe Alberta [Emphasis added]

Alberta completes its energy U-turn with new royalty incentives to encourage drilling by Claudia Cattaneo, July 11, 2016, Financial Post

In barely a year, Alberta’s NDP government has gone from threatening to increase oil and gas royalties to having to provide royalty incentives to stimulate drilling activity.

The province said the incentives, announced Monday and effective Jan. 1, make good on the recommendations made by its royalty review advisory panel and adopted in January.

“The biggest factor (depressing activity) is the price of oil right now,” Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta’s energy minister, said in an interview. “We worked with industry [WHY NOT WITH ALBERTANS, ESPECIALLY THE MANY HARMED BY FRAC’ING?], collaborating to get these programs modernized and we do believe there will be more rigs out there drilling and more jobs will be created and there will be increased revenue to Albertans.” [HOW CAN THERE BE INCREASED REVENUES WHEN ROYALTIES HAVE BEEN FURTHER DECREASED, REGULATIONS FURTHER (MASSIVELY) DEREGULATED LEAVING ORDINARY CITIZENS TO CARRY AND PAY FOR THE DAMAGES AND POLLUTION, AND MORE AND MORE COMPANIES DEFAULTING ON THEIR LOANS, ABANDONING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES AND “BEST PRACTICES” BECAUSE OF THEIR ESCALATING INSATIABLE GREED?]

Still, it’s a big U-turn for a government that campaigned on giving Albertans a “fair share” of resource revenue — and implying they were getting ripped off by the previous Conservative government because of its cozy relationship with the oil industry — to announcing two new royalty breaks to give the sector a hand-up.

The NDP announced its review of the fairness of Alberta’s royalties on June 25, 2015, which took more than six months to complete.

In the end its panel, headed by ATB Financial CEO Dave Mowat, concluded the government’s take was largely appropriate, and indeed highlighted that Alberta was losing ground to more competitive jurisdictions, particularly the United States, where a surge in shale gas and tight oil was squeezing out Alberta’s higher cost production.

The largely hands-off [IS THAT A BAD JOKE?] approach won praise, considering many were bracing for another government grab.

McCuaig-Boyd said the province is done with royalty reviews for now, but there will be annual assessments to ensure they are still competitive.

“There may be tweaks along the way, but we want to make sure we have positioned Alberta to be globally competitive and we believe this new royalty framework will do that,” she said.

Unfortunately, policy uncertainty during one of Alberta’s most devastating oil downturns scared away investment, sinking drilling activity to the lowest level since 1986. [WILL INDUSTRY, REGULATORS AND GOVERNMENTS NEVER LEARN? INDUSTRY’S OWN GREED CREATES THESE CRASHES EVERY TIME.]

Royalties from oil and gas also collapsed to levels not seen in 40 years, the government said in its 2016/2017 budget, which predicts revenue from non-renewable resources of $1.36 billion, from nearly $9 billion in 2014/2015.

John Bayko, vice-president communications at the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, said it’s nice to see some policy supporting the sector, but it’s unlikely it will quickly bring back capital that has left Alberta for other jurisdictions. [THAT’S THE SAME THREAT COMPANIES USE IN EVERY JURISDICTION THAT TRIES TO REGULATE IT, OR GET THEIR FAIR SHARE. IT TAKES COURAGE TO STAND UP TO THE THREATS AND MAKE SURE THE PEOPLE GET THEIR FAIR SHARE AND THAT THE PROFIT TAKING COMPANIES PAY TO CLEAN UP THEIR POLLUTION AND DAMANGES]

He also said the incentives may not be enough to offset increases in corporate taxes or the coming carbon tax that are also discouraging investment.

Only 65 rigs were drilling in June, while 606 were idle, resulting in a 9.5 per cent utilization rate, and making 2016 the toughest year to date experienced by his group, he said.

The saddest part is that it was all predictable. Former Conservative premier Ed Stelmach had to backpedal after increasing royalties and losing activity to competitors. His royalty increases in 2007 were motivated by the same perceptions that Albertans weren’t getting their fair share. Incentives to bring activity back came two years later, after industry activity dried up.

But that review got under way when the oil industry was booming and reaping windfall profits.

The NDP’s review started and finished in the middle of a severe recession and despite the benefit of Stelmach’s experience, raising the question: Was it worth it? [Emphasis added]

A few of the comments:

Diana Daunheimer
U-turn? Acting out the script would be more accurate.
Notley, Edwards, Williams, Whittingham, Mowat, Ferguson, Mitchelmore and McMillian had the pigs will fly plan in place leading up to the election.

I gotta admit, they executed a brilliant campaign, have managed to enact unbelievable and horrendous legislations and deregualtion to date, while having people so distracted by factions and labels, they are oblivious to the corporate manipulations controlling, impoverishing and contaminating the majority. 

Jim Szpajcher · Saint Paul, Alberta
Prague Ivan – Please, can you tell me: what hallucinogen are you ingesting?

They most certainly threatened to increase royalties: why else would they “review” them? To lower them?

You are too funny for words. 🙂

Mark Klum
It took them too long to complete the review only to find out the Royalties were correct. By taking so long many industries already left for fear she might raise them. The threat of carbon tax and these ridiculous emmission targets will drive them out. They don’t make money they leave. They don’t care about the minimum wage because they had already paid them very well therefor providing more taxes to Alberta. Socialists need our money to run and since they are running out of it all of sudden oil is great.

Diana Daunheimer
Jim Szpajcher
Well Mr. Szpajcher, that is exactly what they did do, lower the royalty rates and yes, many appreciate this was indeed the plan all along.
The “fair share” bit was a conniving and clever campaign tactic, capitalizing on increasing PC entitlement angst.

Now we have the Modernized Royalty Review, that obviously most Albertan’s have not bothered to read in full, if they did, they would come to realize the NDP are implementing the lowest royalty rate structure of all time. On top of that there are broad based exemptions for the industry from the carbon levy, drilling incentives and the new “revenue minus costs” formula, all which will contribute to deep royalty reductions.

Take a look at the producers at the podium with Notley and give them a big round of applause for grooming the new petro molls of our province.

Diana Daunheimer
Mark Klum
Industry are exempt from the carbon tax sir, and what emissions targets do you speak of? The oilsands cap that allows for unabated growth for the next 30 years or the voluntary and non-regulatory methane reduction emissions that will never see a molecule of decreased emissions?

Companies and investors are not just able to “leave”, they have contractual obligations and trillions in debt to service. Hundreds of producers have non core assets up for sale, it is just that most are not able to sell in the current commodity environment.

Alberta launches 2 programs aimed at boosting oil and gas exploration, Royalty rates will reflect extra [KNOWN HIGH FOR DECADES] risk taken by companies doing new [OR OLD AND KNOWN] exploration and enhanced recovery by CBC News, July 11, 2016

The Alberta government is introducing two incentive programs aimed at getting companies to embark on new exploration and to invest in enhanced recovery at existing wells.

The province revealed two plans Monday aimed at encouraging oil and gas companies to invest in new exploration and enhanced recovery of existing wells.

The Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery Program and the Emerging Resources Program are part of the NDP government’s newly revised Modernized Royalty Framework, as recommended by the royaltyreview advisory panel early this year.

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd says she has heard from the oilpatch that the new programs will help get laid off workers rehired. (CBC)

“I has to be a fairly big resource, and it has to be for the benefit of Albertans, and it has to obviously bring jobs back.”

The two programs will take into account the higher costs associated with enhanced recovery methods as well as the higher costs associated with developing emerging resources when calculating royalty rates for qualified companies.

“These programs serve to recognize the higher risks and greater project costs of drilling in emerging resource plays and implementing secondary recovery schemes,” said Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

Enhanced recovery refers to the injection of gas or liquids into wells to stimulate increased production from a site.

The emerging resources program applies to wells drilled in areas with large resource potential that are in the early stages of development.

Companies will have to apply to take part in the programs. They are set to take effect at the beginning of 2017.

Under the Emerging Resources Program, wells will pay a flat royalty rate of five per cent until their combined revenue equals their combined program-specific cost allowances. After that, the wells will be subject to the normal royalty rates under the new royalty framework, the province says.

Similarly, companies whose projects are accepted into the Enhanced Hydrocarbon Recovery Program will pay a flat royalty of five per cent on crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids produced from wells in an approved scheme for a limited benefit period.

After that, the wells will be subject to the new royalty framework rates.

“We can get more rigs out there drilling, create jobs and help generate greater long-term returns for Albertans by promoting production in underdeveloped or yet-to-be-developed areas,” McCuaig-Boyd said in a release.

Wells operating under existing programs will continue under them until those programs expire, or for up to 10 years.

North American Product Classification System (NAPCS) Canada 2012 Version 1.2

1.2Introduction Hierarchical structure

6711113 – Enhanced recovery techniques for oil and gas

All examples – 6711113 – Enhanced recovery techniques for oil and gas

  • carbon dioxide (CO²) injection services for oil and gas fields
  • chemical flooding services for oil and gas recovery
  • coalbed methane (CBM) fracturing services
  • coiled tubing services for oil and gas well production stimulation
  • enhanced recovery techniques for oil and gas
  • fracture acidizing services for oil and gas wells
  • gas drive recovery techniques for oil and gas
  • hydraulic fracturing services for oil and gas fields
  • liquid carbon dioxide flooding services for oil and gas recovery
  • matrix acidizing services for oil and gas wells
  • nitrogen injection services for oil and gas field production stimulation
  • polymer flooding services for oil and gas recovery
  • steam flooding services for oil and gas recovery
  • steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) services
  • thermal recovery techniques for oil and gas

[Refer also to:

2016 05 31: Insolvency rate jumps 43.5% in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan also recorded sharp increases [CANADA’S BIG PETRO-STATES!]

The rate of insolvencies in Alberta jumped 43.5 per cent in the past year, according to the latest numbers from the federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada.

There were 4,767 new personal and business bankruptcies in the province in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2016.

There were another 6,157 proposals, the term given to a formal agreement with creditors under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to settle debts under conditions other than the existing terms.

Edmonton’s 53.3 per cent spike in insolvencies was the sharpest in Canada in the past year. In Calgary the rate rose by 18.3 per cent.

The dramatic drop in energy prices and the subsequent layoffs left Alberta with an unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent

Most other provinces also saw an uptick in insolvencies in the past year, particularly proposals.

The rate jumped by 37.7 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, 10.4 per cent in Prince Edward Island, 22.9 per cent in Manitoba and 30.2 per cent in Saskatchewan.

Ontario and Quebec were the only provinces with a decline in their insolvency rates.

In Ontario, the overall rate declined by 0.3 per cent in the past year — with a 4.4 per cent jump in proposals offsetting a 6.1 per cent drop in bankruptcies.

In Quebec, insolvencies were down by 2.8 per cent — with proposals down 5.6 per cent and bankruptcies down 0.4 per cent.

In British Columbia, the overall rate remained steady, as bankruptcies dropped off by 11.5 per cent while proposals were up 12.4 per cent. [Emphasis added]

2016 04 29: Calgary bankruptcies soaring

Feeble oil prices are driving an 18% insolvency increase in Alberta, leading the nation in red ink. [If fracing unconventional plays is profitable, shouldn’t Alberta be at the bottom of the nation in bankruptcies?]

Among major cities, consumers in a Calgary broadsided by slumping oil prices were the hardest-hit, with a 19.2% hike in bankruptcy and those renegotiating their debts, says Statistics Canada.

In contrast, there was a 6% decrease in insolvency among consumers in Toronto, highlighting a dramatic west to east shift in economic fortunes.

Further emphasizing that was a 525% increase in the number of insolvencies in Alberta’s mining and petroleum sector — leaping from four businesses in 2014 to 25 last year.

There’s nothing surprising in the numbers that simply continue a grim march into the red and a second year of recession in Alberta, said Todd Hirsch, chief economist at ATB Financial.

“Given the circumstances, I would question the validity of data if we weren’t seeing this,” said Hirsch.

“These are pretty dark days right now.”

The only other province with numbers to match Alberta dire figures is oil-rich Newfoundland where total insolvencies rose 17.4%

In Alberta, consumers declaring bankruptcy and desperately seeking to renegotiate debt amounted to more than $1.7 billion in liabilities in 2015, says StatsCan.

Calgary accounted for $668 million of that red ink.

Those numbers give a glimpse to the financial over-extension and suffering on a personal level, said Hirsch.

“On an individual basis, it’s horrible what’s going on.”

Meeting those people face-to-face on a daily basis is Calgary credit counsellor Nadia Graham, who says that clientele’s numbers aren’t shrinking.

“We’re seeing a lot of tough cases, we’re seeing the full force of the downturn in the economy,” said Graham, of the Credit Counselling Society of Calgary.

Petroleum’s plunge continues to ripple through the economy among those she assists, said Graham, especially hurting those reliant on sales commissions or construction work.

About 40% of her clients, she said, are referred to a bankruptcy trustee while increasing numbers of business owners are turning to personal credit to stay afloat.

“That often doesn’t end very well,” said Graham. [Emphasis added]

2016 02 06: NDP Royalty Fraud? 3rd most profitable industry in the world assembles crack team to ‘quietly’ seek more subsidies, loyal media cheers. Alberta’s Big Oil Bias: Billions in subsidies & lies for oil, gas, bitumen, frac’ing; $5 million for municipal solar, $0.5 million for farm solar, $0 for home solar, $0 for the many poisoned by oil & gas, $0 for families with frac health harms, 0$ for contaminated or lost water ]

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