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Stelmach dares the voters

Premier Ed Stelmach called an election in Alberta yesterday. He promised better education, health care, and reduced crime. But he…

By Ian Bickis , in Blogs This Business of the Environment , on February 5, 2008

Premier Ed Stelmach called an election in Alberta yesterday. He promised better education, health care, and reduced crime. But he didn’t talk much about the environment.

That’s crazy. This guy is running for the leadership of the richest province in one of the richest countries in the world, and he can’t drop a token nod to the environment in his platform. Stelmach’s views are about as up-to-date as his website.

Hopefully the people of Alberta will take this opportunity to express their support for stricter environmental legislation.

It’s not as though the petroleum industry is exactly hurting. Across the board oil companies have been reporting record profits. Petro Canada reported a 36% jump in earnings to $522 million this last quarter, while Husky reported an 18.5% jump in profits to $3.2 billion.

And the big solution they have proposed for the environment is carbon sequestration, which apparently all of Canada will help pay for to the tune of $2 billion.

Ok, so talking about Alberta profits and pollution is getting to be as common as talking about the weather. But the combination of Alberta releasing a very weak climate plan last week, and then Stelmach going to the polls to increase his mandate this week is like daring Albertans to act.

He’s practically saying screw you to the rest of the country which is struggling to actually reduce emissions while dealing with the negative effects of a high dollar caused by Alberta oil.

We’ll see in a month if Albertans actually care about this issue, or if the country is really becoming so polarized that these issues don’t register in the land of plenty.