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Friday, July 21, 2006

Don't Call Me Minister - Just the Local MLA

I have just read the July 20, 2006 EUB transcript of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier's testimony. Please do not confuse him with the Honourable Guy Boutilier, Minister of Environment for Alberta. Media quotes indicate he claims to have "turned off that half of his brain" - at least for these proceedings.

First he read his Resume into the record. Did he think no one would believe he really was the MLA for the Region?" Then he read a stump speech, even admitting he was not there to talk about the actual application that was before the EUB. So why was he there? Why did he want to intervene in the dying days of the hearing? What was so urgent that required his testimony, as the "MLA." Why was he granted intervener status as an exception to the rules? What exactly did he submit that was so critical and vital to the hearing. What compelled a Minister of the Crown, under the guise of "just being the local MLA," to personally intervene in a quasi-judicial regulatory process? Did he not understand, as a Harvard grad with a Masters degree in Public Administration, the potential risk and recklessness of his actions? Did he not consider that his request might be seen as political interference with the independence of the regulatory hearing process - even with his Minister's brain turned off. Did he seek any legal advice about the possible legal consequeces of his actions?

The locals will no doubt be asking themselves what he has accomplished for the Region since 1997, when he was first elected as their "local MLA" and the Fort McMurray growth explosion started to take off. In the hour or so he took to read in his resume, give his political speech and face two short cross examinations - he repeats that he is the local MLA 83 times. Too bad getting results has not been big on the local MLA's agenda too. One can only hope the EUB got the message... and can help get some results for Wood Buffalo.