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Monday, July 20, 2009

BOOTilier's Been a Problem for a Long Time

Here is another reason why the Premier is right to Boot Boutilier. Three years ago today I posted a piece about Boutilier as then Minister of Environment insisting that he be allowed to testify at an EUB hearing on an oil sands project...on two days notice.

He became famous for his testimony consistently saying he was there as the Wood Buffalo MLA and not the Minister of Environment. He assured the hearing that "he could turn off that part of his brain that was the Minister's role and just be the MLA." He became famous for that advanced neurological capacity.

I called him reckless then and he was. He could have forced that hearing to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court with his ill advised ege driven "intervention." I believed then and I still believe today that he was more concerned that the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo's legitimate intervention and that would somehow upstage him as the local MLA. This hubris was too much. But to take such a position and for the Klein government to allow that to happen meant Boutilier actually jeopardized the executive branch discretion of the Klein government in the oil sands project approval process.

Klein knew what Boutilier was up to but was either ignorant of the consequences or oblivious to the problem. Soon afterwards Ron Stevens, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Justice suddenly became the Chair of the all powerful special multi-departmental Cabinet committee that was dealing with the oil sands policy and strategy. I think the Minister of Justice took over that committee just in case the province got sued because of the rashness of the then Minister of the Environment.

The problem that is Boutiler goes back a long way and has persisted for many years. Stelmach has not over reacted to this. There is always a last straw.