In the spirit of the season, your editorial 'Christmas Tidings', St. Albert Gazette, Dec. 25, expressed good wishes to our leaders of local, provincial, and federal governments. Most of the wishes were for sagacious and meritous decisions.
I question one wish, "the approval of the Tech Resources Oil Sands project".
I appreciate that Alberta, many of our citizens and industries are crippled by the lack of work in the oil industry. Is a wish for more of the same old "boom and bust" polluting industry a morally defensible desire? Is this a wise wish in the face of the costs and havoc wrought by devastating forest fires, floods, personal losses, and increased insurance rates caused by climate change.
Our provincial government says Alberta has "a spending problem". The UCP is shortchanging our schools, hospitals and provincial employees to fund a $30 million per year "war room", Canadian Energy Center (CEC), a private company, (to avoid responding to freedom of information requests) to expose false claims about Alberta "dirty oil', when in fact, Alberta oilsands operations are among the most carbon polluting oil recovery processes in the world. The CEC chief executive officer is under the direction of a failed UCP candidate. They are presently experiencing difficulty in establishing an original company logo. Under CEC accountability and transparency are nonexistent.
Further, Tech Resources' Frontier Project plan is a "shovel and truck method", as employed by Suncor in their initial 1967 operations. The promise to maintain the "industry best standards" does little to allay concerns about pollution, with similar truck haul, holding ponds and reclamation processes. In the resource industry, when things go sour, they have a habit of walking away and letting governments clean up. Orphaned oil wells are an Alberta $47 billion problem.
Our provincial government is funding the "war room" on the backs of our nurses, teachers and provincial workers. The UCP government legislated their pension plans to Alberta Investment Management Company (AIMCO) control. The Premier's fishing trips to London, with a "well connected" financial expert, to recruit investments in Alberta, have failed to catch any fish.
Will the UCP now legislate access to the AIMCO funds to further their oil interests?
If UCP needs to run roughshod over legal labor unions, grab their pension funds and legislate "non-strike" legislation, wouldn't it be wiser to put that $30 million per year into funding our schools, trade schools, health care and research and development of alternate sources of energy?
Be "careful what you wish for".
Howard Schettler, St. Albert