Bruno Francouer, the Suncor Senior Vice President of Operations and the Regional Recreation Corporation chairman, had some things to say during the February 25 Fort McMurray Construction Association 2016 Summit, including harsh criticism as well as praise. Francouer praised local contractors in the Wood Buffalo area and offered them mild encouragement, but criticized the municipality and encouraged more belt tightening. During the speech the executive had some very pointed remarks about the municipal taxes that the industry faced and pointed out that companies in the oilsands have cut costs while the municipality spending has increased at the same time. Instead Bruno stated that the municipality should be engaged in the same belt tightening and cost cutting that oilsands companies are engaged in, then explained “And that’s not what’s happening. Year after year it keeps going up.”
The Suncor Senior Vice President shared his belief that the expected belt tightening and cost cutting at the municipal level should be used to help offset lower industry taxes. One fact that can not be denied is that oil prices are very low right now, and that has forced many oilsands companies to cut positions and lower capital spending. In spite of the current price of oil and the still struggling economy many believe that the municipality continues to spend at previous levels when oil prices were at record highs. The oil industry faces rising municipal taxes at a time when they can least afford it and industry leaders like Francouer believe that the municipality should do their part to keep costs and taxes down during this difficult time.