Monday, May 15, 2006

Why Conservatives need privicy protection.

Honorable Ralph Klein, May 13, 2006
Room 307
Legislative Building,
Edmonton, AB T4K 2C6

Re: - Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Legislation

Dear Premier:

This province has the most restrictive Freedom of Information programs in Canada. Now, you are going to introduce legislation to make it even more restrictive by enabling you to capture any documents regardless of subject into a 5 year no disclosure minister’s folder!

This would indicate a whole battery of programs you are about to bring in that would not sit well with the electorate. You have resorted to secrecy and back room meetings to move your political agenda forward.

Albertans must be made aware that you have an agenda going on various levels that is so completely against the wishes of the electorate that you need to lock your doors and hide from those you profess to serve. Thanks to Graham Thomson of the Journal gthomson@thejournal.canwest.com today’s paper “Klein thickens shroud to hide skeletons” a larger segment of Albertans are aware of your plans.

I ask why a further barricade is needed. What is on the table that is not fully in the public eye?

Coal bed methane is a hot issue. Before drilling for coal bed methane on a large scale Alberta’s water aquifers were punctured at a rate of 5.5 wells per square km. Even though the wells were cemented to prevent water from draining from the aquifer, there is evidence of wide spread degradation of these cement plugs.

Where are your programs to open these wells and re-cement? You are quick enough to open wells for further exploitation!

A battery of coal methane wells will puncture the water tables 5 to 20 times. In a very short time and the perforations of the water table will be at 20 per sq km!

Your government’s outright disdain of public opinion is noted! Environment Minister Guy Boutilier has said “If I see” any leakage or contaminants getting into our drinking water he would bring “that well” to a stop. Your absolute abandonment of stringent monitoring of these gas methane is making sure “is seen” is very limited. We have more gas and oil than we have drinking water! Certainly this simple fact would have you change your priorities some. Despite decades of bad experience in drilling you push ahead with your blind exploitation of resource in this province returning the lowest royalty rates in the word to the people of this province.

While farms and acreages are told they cannot dig wells and must put in cisterns you still allow the oil and gas industry to pump water down hole measured in cubic foot ball fields. Out of sight, its okay seems to the policy.

Yes, that would be a reason to limit information.

Still on water:
In the ‘80s the Alberta Government commissioned a study by Weatherford on moving water from the Peace River into Southern Alberta, using it to irrigate and provide drinking water along the pipeline corridor and export huge amounts into the American northern states.

This plan calls for an immense pipe lines capable of moving two-thirds of the Peace River Flow through the pipe along with the assurances it will not harm the wild life. This same plan calls for 8 lift stations to move the water; each of them using the electrical power of a small city.

Further, this plan was approved, only shelved, until the weather gets dry enough and the public can see the light.

Your policy will turn this over to ATCO or a like company to operate. Soon enough Alberta will be buying its water from ATCO and Coca Cola!

Mr. Lougheed of ATCO has recently been talking publicly about the merits of moving the Peace River south. Your polices will have a cost plus private pipeline with ATCO providing a water service to Albertans while being guaranteed an annual profit of 10% or more, that percentage according to Mr. Lougheed who at the time said building power lines paid more money.

Lastly the CBC documentary we corresponded about. Your Senior Hydrologist confirmed there would be no saline discharges at the “pristine” Alberta location shown in that CBC documentary so it would be impossible to get the Montana situation at that site. It ignores the fact that Montana situations exist in other parts of Alberta and BC. The CBC documentary was grossly misleading to say the least and, I know they are capable of better. So, the question comes.
Yes, lots of reasons to close the door to public information!

Moving onto power:

ATCO has announced to shareholders it plans to build a power line on the eastern Alberta border to facilitate the import and export of power. Looking along our east border we can see Saskatchewan exporting to Alberta and looking north-east we can see the ATCO Talston River dam in the NWT which is going to go into an expansion stage, no numbers available yet. http://www.nwtec.ca/publications/documents/taltson_newsletter_sept2003.pdf

ATCO have huge amounts of cash sitting idle (serving northern Albertans) they want to invest and are talking 4 years before they go to regulators with their project; that would take care of expansion plans of the power plant at Talston. Looking towards the centre of the province we have the Fording Coal plan to build a generation station at Brooks Alberta, (aka Bow City AB) using it’s partner, Sherritt’s heating coal to fire the plant again, jacking up the Alberta cost beyond the point where it is already driving off industry.

Other hurts here is your policy that Albertans will pay for all the electrical transmission lines on their home and industry rates. This is the existing program on the transmission lines from McMurray of which the oil companies profit above and beyond their royalty agreements while the line is paid for by Alberta home and industry.

You are the destroyer of all the Alberta advantage and our elected MLAs continue to support you. Time to change that I think!

Yes, sure a lot of things of which you do not want to be questioned.

On to Federal Provincial politics:
Mr. Harper has said it is going to be substantial hard time for a lot of people, who would have avoided Gaol (jail) time.

The Liberals and NDP point out there is no room in Gaol for more people.
Mr.Steve West advocated private Jail systems as used in the US. Along with you, another Hard time man.

Are we going to have private penitentiaries, Federal and Provincial? That is what Conservatives seem to do. Create the problem then, try to put a positive spin on things by making it private.

Certainly there are a lot of things you don’t want to talk about.

To health care:
The only thing you have done is quit calling it “The Third Way” you continue to charge ahead with the same changes you started on. Contracts with AON remain in place, probably with the condition they can be tossed over to Great West Life and Mr. Mazankowsky with no inconvenience.

The Alberta Health Act changed in a back room in Calgary during Stampede week remains changed to allow all manners of private health care. No effort or intention on your part to change it back to a protective health care act.

There is a mountain of privatization projects and wholesale sell off of resource projects that you don’t want to talk about.

On the plus side the news media in this province, notably the Sun has become a journalistic newspaper as has the Journal to some extent.

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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