Enmax Accuses Govt of Secret Bill 50 Deal
Enmax's chief executive is accusing the Stelmach government of improprieties surrounding its controversial Bill 50 on electricity transmission.
Wildrose Alliance Response
Here is the official position of the Wildrose Alliance on this subject, in a letter released today from Danielle Smith to Premier Stelmach:
December 9, 2009
Premier Ed Stelmach
Office of the Premier
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Original sent via e-mail
Dear Premier Stelmach:
RE: Allegations against Department of Energy Officials
Given the allegations made in today's Calgary Herald regarding a series of meetings on transmission energy plans and policies, I am writing to request immediate action from your office to address this issue.
When the Wildrose Alliance Party raised concerns regarding Bill 50, one of our main concerns was the lack of accountability and independence in the regulatory process. These concerns were dismissed by your government in response to questions from all opposition parties, many stakeholder groups and thousands of concerned Albertans. However, in light of the disturbing allegations that private meetings were held with businesses to "divvy up" about $20 billion worth of construction projects (with the companies who would benefit at the expense of ratepayers), we believe a public investigation must take place. It should be a great concern if this becomes the basis for system planning. This undermines the independence of the regulatory process and the body that is supposed to critically evaluate energy proposals may be called into question by the alleged actions and comments of Department of Energy officials.
To begin to restore public confidence and limit the damage, I request that you immediately suspend the approval of any permits related to the construction of new transmission lines. Until this matter is investigated, no construction should proceed. In addition, any engineering, planning or pre-work to prepare the routes must immediately be suspended and the government should not pay for anything until a full and proper hearing is completed.
Second, I request that you immediately ask Energy department officials to produce a record of all meetings held with government officials (both elected and employees) relating to Alberta transmission and energy policies since January 1, 2009. This should also include a record of the subjects discussed, who was in attendance representing the government and private interests and any commitments made by government officials. This will demonstrate to Albertans who may have unduly or improperly influenced Bill 50.
Third, since representatives of the government have been accused of inappropriate behaviour, we believe that decisions related to Bill 50 should be put on hold while this matter is under investigation.
Fourth, it is our understanding that Minister Alison Redford was advised of these meetings in late October 2009. Media reports indicate that she has acknowledged this, but that she was not willing to take the meeting. I do not know if she took any action, or if she advised you of any potential ethical breaches by other ministers or department officials. For the sake of openness and accountability, we believe that Minister Redford must also recuse herself from participating in any investigation.
Mr. Premier, action must be taken immediately. I do not question your honesty and sincerity, but the judgment of senior government officials has been called into question. The ability of your government to do business on behalf of the people of this great province has been undermined. We encourage you to move quickly.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter.
Wildrose Alliance Party