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