Monday, March 16, 2009

Pen Meets Paper March 16 '09

Opinion by Helge Nome
The Stelmach government in Alberta has let another animal out the back door. It is called “Bill 19” and makes the previous Bill 46 look like a rather tame puppy.
Just to tickle your memory a little bit: Bill 46 poked its nose out the door in 2007 amongst all the controversy over the proposed 500 kilovolt power line between Edmonton and Calgary. It was an aggressive little beast seeking to limit landholders' rights to oppose power corridor developments over their lands and retroactively legitimized scandalous actions by the Energy Utilities Board in its dealings with the public. During this time, the EUB was also found to have hired spies to listen in on the conversations of objectors to proposals being heard by the board. As the dust settled towards the end of 2007, a slightly muted Bill 46 was passed by the legislature, creating the Alberta Utilities Commission and so splitting the EUB into the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the AUC. And nameplates were shuffled on the doors of the various operatives without any evidence in a change of attitude as is now indicated by the emergence of Bill19.
Here is a quote from the Edmonton Journal:
“Alberta Green Party leader Joe Anglin, who spearheaded landowner opposition during the first hearings into the Edmonton-Calgary 500 KV transmission line, called the bill "one of the most draconian attempts to streamline the expropriation process of private property known to a democratic society."
Bill 19 makes it legal for any cabinet minister to take away anyone's home, land or property "for pretty much any reason they so desire," he said.
"If the minister thinks you are going to contravene his or her orders, they can order you to stop what they think you are going to do, and if you don't stop what they think you might do, they can put you in jail."
The bill carries heavy penalties for people who break regulations. Violators face fines of up to $100,000 or up to two years in prison or both while corporations can be fined up to $1 million.”
Fancy that; the agents of Big Energy are at it again, using the Stelmach puppies to look after their interests by trying to coerce Albertans into letting them do whatever they want.

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