Alberta’s new oil and gas royalties, introduced just 10 weeks ago, are little more than a memory now. Yesterday, in an effort to stimulate a morose conventional energy sector into drilling, Premier Ed Stelmach pulled back. Way back. Now, writes Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid, “the province gives back even more money than the extra revenue it promised to collect.” Stelmach’s original changes would have earned the province “an extra $1.4 billion a year,” Braid writes. “By Tuesday at 3:15 p. m., the government had pledged to rebate far more than $2 billion.” It’s yet another apparently self-inflicted blow for a province that will post its first deficit in 15 years next month. But who can blame the Stelmach crew? “Through incredible bad luck, the whole royalty process has proved to be the most ill-timed public policy launch since the National Energy Program,” says Braid.