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Monday, September 25, 2006

Hancock Stakes Out the Environment

The Hancock Campaign had just released his 13 Principles on the Protection and Enhancement of Alberta’s Environment along with an Open Letter Albertans on what he calls his “21st Century Environmental Plan for Alberta.” The stuff is all on his website http://www.davehancock.ca/. For purposes of disclosure – I have had a hand in the development of this policy. You are entitled to know that. His complete and comprehensive detailed policy platform is being released on October 4th.

It’s interesting that no candidate has staked out the environment yet. Hancock seems to be the first into the issue – and with a long term integrated comprehensive approach. He reflects the spirit and intent of Preston Manning’s writings last spring that the economy and the environment are complementary and not adversaries. We can and must see the links as synergistic and not competitive. Manning caused quite a resonant stir amongst Albertans when he made those observations in his op-ed pieces.

The feeling then (and now?) was that the population gets it and wants it to be that way but where has government’s environment political champion been? This policy position needs an effective political leader or at least an effective Cabinet Minister to make it happen? To date the old guard has been more about “Missing and Inaction.”

For example, Hancock says there are a number of significant environment plans in place (like Water for Life) or finally in process (like Integrated Landscape Management and the on again off again Oil Sands cumulative impact consultations) but they have not been implement, funded or advanced by the old government.

I think this issue has real legs. In the last federal election Alberta had the large percentage of Green Party supporters in the country outside Vancouver Island – ‘nuff said. The Greens finished second to Myron Thompson in the Bow Valley area – a distant second to be sure but who would have thunk it - second! The environment has not yet had a credible and balanced Progressive and Conservative politician take up the cause. Now it has. Give it a "boo" and let Hancock know what you think.