We'd like an explanation, Mr. Prins

We'd like an explanation, Mr. Prins
Maureen and Mike Blessing - 2, 2008

Here is how democracy is practiced in Alberta today: you take the most contentious Bill in recent history (Bill 46), a Bill opposed by thousands of citizens, industry members, journalists, environmental groups, law societies, and academics, make minor meaningless amendments, invoke closure to cap debate, and ram it through at 3:30 am out of the probing eyes of citizens and the media. This is an outrage!

At the Lacombe public forum on November 7th, Mr. Prins was quoted as saying, "After second reading ... is where people can sit down and discuss every last section and subsection of this Bill ... It is a long, long, tedious process". Here is what happened: there was 2 hours of debate "allowed" between 2nd and 3rd readings, then the government invoked closure. 1 hour of debate was allowed after 3rd reading, then they invoked closure again. The PC government passed Bill 46 at 3:30 am on December 6th.

Mr. Prins told us all to "pay attention ... you can watch it on tv, or on internet live streaming, every day while we're sitting. So it's your responsibility to watch." Are we to believe this government expects us to be watching these proceedings at 3:30 am?

A reminder to all: Bill 46 will now allow this government to bring nuclear power to Alberta with minimal opposition. Proposed power lines, and all other electric energy and natural gas projects, will be subject to an advantage that the average citizen will not have. That is to say, corporations and companies proposing projects will no longer need to prove that you need them, even though you will ultimately pay for them. Bill 46 may put the purchase and sale of Alberta's water under the jurisdiction of the new Utilities Consumer Advocate to represent the public. The UCA is appointed by the government.

Let's all watch the speed with which Altalink resubmits its application to build a grossly expensive, EMF-emitting, antiquated power line down the Wabamun - Calgary corridor. And under Bill 46, let's all watch how quickly the approval is stamped. (Lest we get drawn into the fear mongering of this government that we will be vulnerable to rolling blackouts, brownouts, etc, there are many parts of the world that currently produce their local energy (and contribute excess to the grid in some cases) needs with diversified, local, sustainable projects. Ie. Wind energy, solar, geothermal, biogas, etc.) This government should be ashamed for treating the citizens of this province, and the democratic process, with such utter disrespect.