Monday, December 30, 2013

Privatizing Everything In Sight

There is a belief commonly held that the private sector will always be "more efficient" than the public sector.  Outside of the United States, nowhere is that more prevalent than in Alberta.

Alberta has moved regulatory oversight of the Oil Industry to an "arms-length" regulator ... which is funded by the very industry it is overseeing.

More than 75 environment officers who watched over oil industry activities left the provincial environment department this fall, to take higher paying jobs with the new industry-funded Alberta Energy Regulator. 
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that having an industry-funded body in the position of oversight, regulation and enforcement over that same industry is a recipe for disaster.

Anybody else remember the Maple Leaf Foods listeria outbreak?  Yeah ... the one that happened when the Harper Government(tm) wanted to abandon food inspection and leave it to industry.  

No idea what could go wrong there ... none whatsoever.

The idea that an industry funded body will be able to effectively oversee and enforce regulatory conformance is at best a bad joke.  Industry uses money as a lever for everything.  Even in a situation where the company is legislatively obliged to provide funding, all they have to do is hold the payments hostage to whatever their current objectives might be.

It would be naive to believe that this regulator will be able to act independently for any length of time.  I'm afraid that this is one more case of our governments working not in the public interest but in the interests of corporations.

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