Albertans agree the environmental impact of the oil sands must be effectively tracked and monitored. The previous government took steps to enhance oversight and ensure appropriate stewardship by creating the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting Agency, or AEMERA, which was charged with the oversight of key air, water, land and biodiversity indicators. Establishment of this truly arm’s-length, independent body removed potential for and optics of ministerial interference. In the House during debate one opposition member was particularly passionate and steadfast in calling for this independence. Was that just any MLA? No. It was the now minister of economic development. The minister was correct then, but can we count on him now to implore his own government to do the right thing by saving AEMERA, thereby reaffirming his principles?
Now, the government would have us all believe that AEMERA was a bureaucrat-heavy nightmare which accomplished nothing, except perhaps turning the environmental reins over to seasoned professionals and qualified independent scientists. They will tell you that an integral responsibility was offloaded and that by moving it back under the minister’s control, they are doing Albertans a service. They’ve said again and again that they are on the side of science. Is this subjective ministerial science, characterized by the stone cold facts of the questionably funded Pembina Institute? Ten internationally recognized scientists recently signed a letter which says that the environment minister was naive in her conclusions, pointing to multiple inaccuracies in making this rash decision. This government has again put ideology ahead of objectivity, rejected professional stewardship, and it is revisiting the tired drone that all decisions of the previous government were bad, instead of doing what is best for Albertans.
On April 4, 2016, Richard Gotfried demanded more critical attention to environmental monitoring in Alberta.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.