Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pen Meets Paper June 8, 2009

Opinion by Helge Nome
For those of us who take an interest in politics in Alberta, a troubling trend is developing: The government in Edmonton is concentrating more and more power in its own hands by having bills passed that marginalize other groups such as the judicial system (Bill 19) and municipal government bodies (Bill 36).
And we already know that the Stelmach Government has a very dependent relationship to Big Energy with blurred demarcation lines between the government bureaucracy and the bureaucracy of the large energy corporations operating in Alberta. So, in effect, those corporations do what they please on the land that legally belongs to the people of Alberta.
The evidence for this is found in Bill19 (Land Assembly Project Area Act), Bill 36 (Alberta Land Stewardship Act) and the latest, Bill 50, that seeks to give Cabinet unfettered power to grab land they consider to be needed for power transmission lines so that their corporate energy friends can export their product to consumers in the U.S.
And just to add insult to injury, we, the energy consumers in Alberta, have to pay for these lines through increased charges on our electricity bills so as to improve the bottom lines of the balance sheets of Stelmach's sponsors. We are also being forced, by our own government, to give $2 Billion to these corporations to help them develop a carbon dioxide capture technology, so that they can fit in with environmental regulations. The reason? Improved bottom line again. Alberta is becoming a corporate welfare state.
We are now reaching the sorry end of a road that started with Ernest Manning and the government of his day when he befriended the Pew family in the U.S. who were the owners of Sun Oil which has since evolved into SUNCOR of tar sands “fame”. When it was realized that Alberta was full of oil and gas the big vultures moved in and took control by using the governments of Manning, Lougheed, Getty, Klein, and now Stelmach, to perforate Alberta with holes in the ground and leaving behind a spider web of rusting pipelines and toxic tar sands ponds.
Rather than taking charge of our natural resources, successive governments have allowed them to be grabbed by outside interests at bargain basement prices and we have finally arrived at a point where these folks are forcing us off our land to make way for them and also pay them for doing it! It's pathetic.

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