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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Does EUB Spying, Muncipal Funding Fiasco and Royalty Rates Review Mean Trouble and Turmoil in Alberta?

Boy what a week – Quebec by-elections, real threats of recession in the States, a run on a British Bank, the US dollar in meltdown and then we have Alberta’s governance in turmoil in the face of a municipal funding fiasco, two damning reports on EUB and spying and the recent Royalty Review report just released.

MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING FIASCO:
There is plenty of consternation in the Edmonton region over the municipal funding for infrastructure. I have had my ear bent by a number of Edmonton politicians and officials on how unfair and damaging this funding approach will be to stability in the Capital City and the surrounding region. I need time to read and reflect on what happened and how it happened and to better understand the implications. Expect the City of Edmonton to take on the Stelmach government and all the other local regional governments surrounding the city. This political and governance turmoil is at play now because of the obvious unfairness of this municipal infrastructure funding model. Edmonton now has a central municipal election issue that will heat up significantly over the next month. Stelmach needs rural support and one of the major cities to retain power. He will not retrieve anything in Calgary and risks losing all of Edmonton with this municipal infrastructure funding formula.

EUB PLAYS "I SPY WITH MY PRIVATE EYE:"

I want to post on the EUB private investigator issues but need to find the time to read the two reports. The political responses to the reports are important and need comment. My sense is the government is under reacting and the opposition is over reacting. The implication for how citizens are treated by such agencies boards and commissions is critical and the security and protection of public officials is equally important. This is not about a trade-off of competing values. It is about what is a reasonable and responsible exercise of judgment and authority by public officials. More to come later.

ROYALTY REVIEW REPORT COULD AND SHOULD ENERGIZE THE STELMACH GOVERNMENT:
The Royalty Review is even more vital to the future of Alberta economically and politically. This report needs a thorough read and study. The importance of this report and the political, industry and citizen reaction cannot be over stated. It is foundational to the future of Alberta and not just the rates and payments. It is just as important to consider in terms of the relationship and roles of the development and management of this public-owned resource. How is the public’s government to behave as proxy for the citizenry? How is the oil and gas industry doing in the execution of its responsibility? How does it fulfil its various societal outcomes, ecological integrity and sustainable economic duties within the social license to operate responsibly and sustainably in this non-renewable energy resource sector?

IT IS TIME FOR CITIZENS TO READ AND REFLECT AND TO BE RESPONSIVE
Again I need time to read and reflect and respond to the reports and their recommendations. I encourage anyone who takes their citizenship seriously to read and reflect on these reports and to let their MLAs know what they think about the implications and impacts in each case. These reports identify issues that are all too critical to leave to politicians, government administrations, appointed agencies and industry self-interests to deal with alone.

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