Redford backtracks on public participation–but only at the federal level

Premier Redford was asked to comment on the actions of environmental activists protesting a National Energy Board (NEB) review of the proposal to reverse Enbridge’s Line 9 oil pipeline.  The environmentalists say the NEB’s review process is too narrow and public participation is too limited.

Premier Redford said: “I think anyone who wants to have a voice should participate in the hearing process and we should ensure that that happens”.*

Wow!  This is a complete about-face from the position the premier expressed earlier this week when she said that it’s the government’s prerogative to decide who participates and who doesn’t.

It’s easy to for the premier to be inclusive when she’s commenting on the National Energy Board process—it’s a federal matter outside her jurisdiction—but a principle is a principle.

If Ms Redford truly believes that anyone who “wants to have a voice should participate in the hearing process”  she should put her money where her mouth is and table an amendment in the Legislature this fall.  The amendment would amend the Responsible Energy Development Act (REDA) by giving the public the right to participate.  This amendment would reinstate the “public interest” test as it was set out in the Energy Resources Conservation Act before it was replaced by REDA.

The people of Alberta deserve to have a voice.  Like Captain Picard, the premier has the ability to “make it so”.  All she has to do is do it.

PS  Dear readers, you will have noticed a series of micro-blogs on this topic over last week.  You’ll be seeing more of these rapid fire blogs over the coming months as Ms Redford approaches the opening of the House on Oct 28, 2013 and prepares for her own leadership review in November.  I welcome your input! 

*Daily Oil Bulletin, Oct 10, 2013 

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8 Responses to Redford backtracks on public participation–but only at the federal level

  1. Well I just hope they do not turf Redford at her leadership review in November as then there will be someone with some marbles to carry them to victory in 2016. I guess probably by now most albertans know her word means nothing and her spending habits have no limit. Comparing her to Wall the prem in Sask. she comes across like a bull in a china shop.

    • Apparently the prevailing view among people who follow these things is that Ms Redford will survive the leadership review unless something disastrous happens between then and now. The big question is whether the public understands that the comments made by Premier and Ms McQueen represent, in the words of law professor Nigel Banks, “…a fundamental misunderstanding (or the deliberate flouting) of the concept of the separation of powers and the related concept of the rule of law.” Nigel’s excellent analysis of this case appears at I urge everyone to read it.

  2. Robert says:

    We have included your post in our “Around the Blog” section at

  3. Carlos Beca says:

    This kind of behaviour is not new. She has been acting like this since day 1 and at first I thought it was just the usual politician dementia. Now we know this is a sad pattern of a tremendously unstable atittude. It is so obvious that even my aloof friends notice it.

    Well Tom I am not sure that Alberta can afford another 2 years of this disgrace.

    • Carlos, I too worry that Alberta cannot withstand another 2 years with this premier and this party. Law professor Nigel Banks refers to a legal decision by the wonderful Lord Denning that is extremely relevant. Lord Denning said “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.” The PC party should take a good hard look at their leader and ask themselves, is this the kind of person they want representing their party. If the answer is yes, this speaks volumes about the character of the PC party itself.

  4. Julie Ali says:

    I actually don’t think that Ms. Redford has politician dementia.

    She is a smart lady.

    She is also canny about winning us over.
    I mean we all thought the Tories would be torched by the Wildrosies in the recent election and she somehow managed to resuscitate that dead horse.

    She managed to harness the stay at home mummy vote (mind you that wasn’t hard since all she had to do was promise us money for the education of our babies); she got the teachers on board; even I suppose doctors voted for her–she seemed so progressive.

    What I think happened is the fatal matter that is recursive in Alberta politics–which is downward spiral in our revenue stream. We depend on one major revenue stream which is the poor revenue stream of our oil royalties and we aren’t getting enough for it. Plus there is the untidy fact that there is a gas glut and so we’re losing out in both oil and gas revenues. This may be the reason for the frantic approvals of a myriad of projects by the AER that I can barely keep up with. I only now just got the information from the nice man at Coalspur and I haven’t even looked at the other information that the AER made me pay for.

    Even this frantic sequence of approving oil and gas projects won’t bring money into the coffers quick enough to save Ms. Redford from being toast –either now or at the next election.
    I think that if the revenue stream from oil and gas had been sufficient —then Ms. Redford would be in the Klein error fantasy leader position where everyone thought Klein was a hero for killing the debt when all he was doing was postponing the debt position to now.

    Ms. Redford is reaping the harvest sown by the Klein guy and all those that followed after him. You can’t ignore important necessities of a society such as aging infrastructure. I mean how do the Tories expect infrastructure to stay immortal?

    Really these folks have their heads in the tar sands. They are giving away the resources to the oil industry; they are pawning our kids’ few valuables with the P3 project nonsense to solve the infrastructure deficit and maintenance bills; we are getting further in debt with the transfer of public services to private sector industries who can’t seem to do the job of taking care of our most vulnerable citizens in a profitable way so that they want to continue to keep doing this (no surprise–since extended care and home care has poorly paid employees and the turnover is terrific). It’s a real mess but of course it isn’t all Ms. Redford’s fault. The folks before here played and had fun in the tarsands and now Ms. Redford has to solve all their messes and it’s a big bag of problems. No wonder she looks increasingly frayed.

    She has to do a great deal of junk and most of this junk is being resolved on the fly because Premiers in Alberta have had no real need to do anything in the past other than be figure heads. She would have done well as a figure head but unfortunately voters are fed up and want substance where before we were willing to put up with myth and fantasy of the Klein error sort. Now we don’t want the dumb ideology, the bogus news, and the cheerful positive spin Action Plans.
    We want solutions to real problems that we are only now learning about –such as golly gee–the folks have got some chemicals in the fracking cocktails that are propriety in Canada but can be revealed in Europe. Why is this?
    Why can’t we find out what is being used in fracking cocktails that are being used in Alberta?
    Good question.
    Another good question is why can the AER and its previous regulatory versions of null and void–not be prosecuted for criminal negligence in terms of citizen health and welfare? Why are they above the law? Why are they exempt from review by the judicial system? Why can they in fact–tamper and obstruct us in the exercise of our democratic rights that are constitutionally guaranteed and this is permitted? How is it possible that constitutionally protected rights can be negated by the province of Alberta? What justification is there for such Putin laws?

    In my mind there is no justification for the AER or its previous forms –to be exempt from citizen inquiry, investigation, censure and lawsuits.
    But this is the state of deMockracy in Alberta today.

    But it’s also our fault.
    We have been afraid of them.
    What can one stay at home mummy do about the myth making?
    What can one citizen do against big oil?
    What can a single woman with a dog (Jessica Ernst and Magic) do against EnCana?
    What can we do?
    We have to do something.
    We have put up with this junk for too long.

    In fact, all the Tories have done in Alberta has been to ride the bitumen wave and I guess the days of surfing are finally done. It is done and Ms. Redford is the one who has been tossed into the ocean.

    Now will she surface?
    Or will she sink?

    I think big oil will keep her in power.
    I don’t think big oil is going to let Ms. Smith become premier–she is being used as a fun example to the Tories that if they don’t toe the line drawn in the bitumen sands by big oil —well they have an alternative party in the wings.
    The Wildrosies are the second choice only of big oil because they know that their first choice will do what they say.

    I don’t think the Wildrosies have much of a chance making the next government.
    We already see the anti-democratic performance of the federal Wildrosies in Ottawa and I –for one don’t have the stomach for a more rabid form of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

    It would be best if the other parties in Alberta and really in the whole of Canada got out of their fantasy states and merged together–if only temporarily to defeat the Tory Borg.
    It’s a shame that the center and left parties won’t use their brains and form a temporary coalition to boot out these shysters.
    It doesn’t have to be a permanent fusion of Liberals and NDP and Green but certainly it would be somewhat useful to come together under a common causes banner –just for these next few elections—and defeat this most incompetent group of managers that we have hired over and over again like mesmerized fools for four decades.

    It is time for a change.
    In a different economic error (Klein’s error) she might have been revered as Chairman Redford.

    But right now, as I look at the cuts at Edmonton Public Schools, as I see the homeless on the streets of Edmonton, as I read about the working poor in Alberta, I have no sympathy left for the challenges of leadership.
    I have no sympathy left for a woman who played us skillfully, pulled us in with her line and got us gasping to the shore.

    I’m done with Redford and these shyster Tories.
    I won’t vote Wildrosies.

    I will go the Third Way and vote for the NDP.
    I don’t care if they win or lose but I am never voting Tory again.
    It is time for a change.
    It won’t come from the Tories.
    It will come from each of us working hard for a change in our deMockracy in Alberta, and in Canada.

    As Elizabeth May would say it —“The work of democracy is work” and it took us only the hemorrhage of our bitumen dollars for forty years and more to realize this.

  5. Julie, you’ve listed all of the issues that every Albertan should put their minds to when they’re deciding who to vote for in the next election. I was interested in your comment about the centre and left parties coming together. From what I’ve seen so far I would agree that these parties will not be able to get their collective act together in time for the next election, Unless one of these parties puts forward a slate of compelling candidates who are capable of pulling votes from the other parties the progressives will neutralize each other and we’ll end up with a WR minority government and a PC official opposition…god help us.

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