Premier Ed isn’t listening

Despite countless protests, and critical letters and emails, Premier Ed Stelmach is going to ram the controversial Bill 50 on electricity transmission down Albertans’ throats. The bill is expected to pass through the legislature in the next few days.

Despite countless protests, and critical letters and emails, Premier Ed Stelmach is going to ram the controversial Bill 50 on electricity transmission down Albertans’ throats. The bill is expected to pass through the legislature in the next few days.

It’s as though our premier by accident is not only indifferent to the wishes of ordinary Albertans, but contemptuous as well.

For the record, the government claims that Alberta needs the four electricity transmission projects outlined in the legislation to avoid possible brownouts.

Not surprisingly, critics of the legislation think that is simply a ruse to allow the Conservatives to help their corporate friends financially.

Arguably, the worst part of the legislation is that it will force Alberta consumers to pay the entire cost of the projects. The companies that are going to use the lines to transmit power will pay nothing but benefit mightily.

The Alberta Electric System Operator, the organization that stands to benefit the most, says Albertans will pay triple the cost to bring power to their homes — about $175 more a year on their electricity bills — to help fund $14.5 billion in transmission upgrades planned over the next eight years.

Critics say, in reality, Albertans will likely pay a lot more than that.

As he has been getting so much heat over this issue in recent days, Stelmach has agreed to make a few minor amendments to the legislation.

For instance, he’s going to lengthen the timeline for the projects, spreading out the cost — but consumers are still going to get a financial kick in the head.

Interestingly, Bill 50 will eliminate the legal requirement for public hearings on the need for transmission lines. That flies in the face of democracy and should not be allowed.

The Alberta Liberals are looking to introduce an amendment that would reinstate “needs” hearings by eliminating the government’s ability to arbitrarily determine what projects are deemed critical, but the Grits have few seats under the dome in Edmonton and probably won’t be able to get that done.

“The lights have not gone out,” Liberal energy critic Dave Taylor quipped Tuesday during Bill 50 debate in the legislature. “I’m just a little bit skeptical myself (of the need for the power lines).”

Well, Albertans should be more than a little skeptical.

Former Green Party leader Joe Anglin has probably accomplished as much as anyone in this province in pointing out the dangers of Bill 50.

He notes that there’s only one reason why Alberta has gone from having one of the most economical electrical systems in North America to one of the most expensive: deregulation.

Former premier Ralph Klein accomplished a lot in terms of slaying the province’s debt, but he wrecked our electrical system.

Now, Stelmach is prepared to put the icing on the cake.

In a few years, we just may look back on Stelmach and say, “Good old Ralph made some mistakes, but it took a farmer from Vegreville to really screw up this province.”

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.

Just Posted

Nature trail unveiled at RDC

Trail unveiling and tree planting honours Nova Chemicals $2 million donation

Culprits smash truck into store in failed attempt to steal ATM

Suspects reversed truck through doors of Eastview IGA early Sunday morning

Flu immunization now available in Red Deer

Free vaccine to Albertans six months and older

Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

Schizophrenia a misunderstood illness, an Alberta expert says

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta campaign kickoff features TSN’s Michael Landsberg in Central Alberta

WATCH: Blackfalds Fire teaches families about fire safety

An open house was held Saturday in support of Fire Prevention Week

Canada gets into Women’s World Cup with 7-0 win over Panama

FRISCO, Texas — Christine Sinclair isn’t concerned about chasing records. She’s set… Continue reading

Baldwin urges ‘overthrow’ of Trump government via voting

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Actor Alec Baldwin followed up his latest parody portrayal… Continue reading

Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

CANBERRA, Australia — Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex,… Continue reading

Sears files for Chapter 11 amid plunging sales, massive debt

NEW YORK — Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling… Continue reading

Doctors to debate medical pot as more patients expected to ask for prescriptions

VANCOUVER — Doctors with opposing views on whether medical marijuana should be… Continue reading

Halifax smoking ban begins today; city announces several new smoking areas

Halifax’s sweeping smoking ban begins today, two days before recreational cannabis is… Continue reading

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

TORONTO — The organization behind Canada’s Heritage Minutes says provincial education systems… Continue reading

Five things about what’s legal and what’s not in Canada’s new pot law

OTTAWA — Canada’s new law legalizing recreational cannabis goes into force on… Continue reading

Most Read