While lucrative, the offshore industry still needs the support of the provincial government to advertise the region and to implement the programs and processes that make the industry function. Unless the terms of the 2007 Budget are changed to offset the fiscal loss for the value of its offshore resources, the province’s financial incentive to invest in the industry is compromised, thus threatening the entire industry.
The visit to Halifax from Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last week shows that there is a dialogue taking place between the federal and provincial governments. This should be all that is needed to resolve the matter, as Mr. Flaherty’s own party, energetically led by then Opposition Leader Stephen Harper, had supported the terms of the 2005 New Offshore Agreement. Until the introduction of the 2007 Federal Budget, not a word of the Agreement’s legislation had been changed.