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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Stelmach Still a Target of the Energy Sector

Here is another piece out of the Calgary Herald that shows some folks are still thinking Stelmach isn’t up to snuff and that the energy business elites are still calling the shots in Alberta. Actually I am expecting Stelmach to evolve into a triple bottom line Premier who deals with the tax and resource revenues prudently. I expect his farming background will have him proving that he respects the environment even more prudently.

His election victory and new mandate with his experience as the Minister of both Infrastructure and Transportation will serve him well in addressing the growth and social pressures in Alberta. His experience as Minister of International and Intergovernmental Affairs will hale him be much more effective is dealing with determining Alberta' place in relation to the nation and the world too.

That means the business community has its place and creating jobs and wealth is a good thing so long as it serves the larger cause of a healthy society and a health environment. The need to design, develop and deploy an integrated effective public policy approach required of modern governments that must be individually accountable and still interdependent and interrelated on a global scale like Alberta will be much more difficult than the typical marketplace competition challenges of business.

With all the investment approved and in place in Alberta already we now need out government to start ensuring for citizens there are no are unintended secondary consequences of such accelerated growth. These unintended consequences don’t just emerge out of the Royalty Review for the energy sector but also for the rest of us. Look at the unintended consequences of unleashed growth in housing costs, inflation, family breakdown, gang crime, misuse of the environment including water, land and air plus an appalling lack of reclamation efforts, poor habitat protection - just to name a few.

Not all of the energy industry has this intimidation couples with an insouciant attitude…there are some absolutely wonderful exceptions and we all know them and are thankful they are here. But they don’t happen to be in the majority nor on the radar screen of this writer who implies the more condescending view that government is stupid and doesn’t knows its place. This is a very unwise stance for anyone who needs to acquire a lease, meet regulatory and statutory requirements to do their business.

Is it time for a change in attitude so some mutual respect can be developed between the Alberta government and the energy sector in this province. The coziness and favoritism and cronyism of the past relationship has to disappear and be replaced by a more open, transparent and professional relationship. If that were to happen I am willing to bet there would be more respect from the citizens of Alberta shown to both their government and the energy sector too. Voters have the real power after all. Anyone doubting that truth should have had it dissipate on election day.