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The Tar Island facility at the Athabaska oil sands north of Fort McMurray, Alta. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
The Tar Island facility at the Athabaska oil sands north of Fort McMurray, Alta. (KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Should oil be nationalized? Fort McMoney players say ‘yes’ Add to ...

As part of the documentary game Fort McMoney, users get to help shape the future of Fort McMurray and Alberta’s oil sands. They do this by voting in surveys and weekly referendums. The results of these votes will affect a virtual version of Fort McMurray, letting users see the consequences of their decisions.

This past week, the referendum question was: Should oil be nationalized?

Voting has closed and the results are in: 75 per cent voted 'yes' (with 488 174 votes), and 25 per cent voted 'no' (158 533 votes).

Globe and Mail columnist Eric Reguly weighed in on the debate.

Mr. Reguly in Rome arguing 'no':

"I argued before that Canadian oil should not be nationalized, even if we should have at least one national oil company to provide a window on the industry for taxpayers. But what we do need, really, is a new national energy program that would provide more benefits to all Canadians, not just Albertans.

I know that Canada does benefit to some degree from the oil sands, through federal taxes paid by the oil companies and contracts for services and equipment to non-Alberta companies, but the benefits are really lopsided towards Alberta. Alberta has almost all of Canada's oil and, by law, he or she who sits on top of land owns the mineral rights below it (unlike, for example, in the UK, where mineral rights are held by governments). If the oil sands were to provide more benefits to more Canadians, opposition to the development would be less intense and national political debate greater. All Canadians would be engaged in developing an environmental and economic strategy for the oil sands that would be in the national interest."

What do you think? Leave a comment here or go play the game and get involved.

The referendum question for this week is: Should we stop exploiting the oil sands?

To have your say go to tgam.ca/fortmcmoney on a computer, start playing the game and click on “debate”.

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