Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bill 50 - And What It Tells Albertans

So, the legislature passed Bill 50 yesterday.

I have all sorts of problems with Bill 50, but in particular what it represents. Essentially, the Alberta Government has just removed public process from the creation of power transmission lines. If the minister decides that a given transmission line is "critical", then there is no regulatory process to vet whether the line is in fact critical, or whether it unreasonably affects people living along its route, or will unnecessarily hike electricity costs for Albertans.

This is a serious problem - the Stelmach government is setting things up so that they are even less accountable to the public than Klein was ... and Klein was pretty awful for accountability. Klein didn't like accountability much, and it appears that under Stelmach, it's about to take a turn for the worse.

We've already seen the first steps in this with Liepert's "Health Services Superboard", which both Stelmach and Liepert hide everytime something controversial is being done with the health care system in this province.

Now we have a situation where cabinet wants to appropriate the power to be the regulator and the lawmaker with respect to large infrastructure projects. This has the potential to be extremely destructive to participation in Alberta's democracy (which is already depressingly poor).

Last election, over 80% of the seats were decided by 22% of the eligible voters - Stelmach won on apathy. Think about it.

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