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Letter to Premier Rachel Notely re: questionable appointment to AER

March 6, 2019

Dear Ms Notely,

I would like to thank you for your willingness to serve in public office. It isn’t an easy job, particularly when you have to watch over your shoulder due to threats and other undesirable behaviour from some members of the public. I do not in any way condone these actions for any reason.

However, I have to admit that I can, at times, understand what drives some people to the point of making a death threat – a drastic, irrational threat. Many people in Alberta’s oil and gas sector are in a state of desperation due to the political destruction of their livelihoods and the erasure of their sense of self. The appointment of Ed Whittingham to the Board of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), could very well be one of those instances that pushes someone to the brink.

The NDP has defended this decision by stating that Ed believes in the sustainable development of Alberta’s energy industry. What type of “energy” are you referring to? Renewables, and renewables only? Or does that include the oil and gas sector? Ed was part of an organization (the Pembina Institute) that created the “Tar Sands Campaign”, whose sole purpose was to prevent development of Alberta’s oil sands. He also lobbied the Federal government to include indirect CO2 emissions caused by the end user in their review of Energy East, which ultimately lead to its demise. Additionally, he actively opposed Northern Gateway and Keystone XL.

The NDP has consistently made questionable choices when making prestigious public appointments. Bestowing the honour of co-chair of the Oil Sands Advisory Panel on Tzeporah Berman was one of them. She is a known, unapologetic, biased, active, anti- Canadian oil and gas activist.

It was perhaps an extreme attempt at a balanced discussion around the illustrious board room table. Diversity of views, particularly when addressing important matters such as energy regulations, are critical. However, without the desire for everyone to enter into discussions in good faith to find meaningful, workable solutions, diversity can create such a quagmire that nothing gets done. Unfortunately, Tzeporah was never going to enter into any conversations with an open mind, nor would she attempt any negotiations in good faith, and after a quick search through his Twitter feed, I worry that Ed will be very similar; his feed isn’t overly balanced, making it clear where he stands on fossil fuels.

I’m unclear if you have a strong inkling that you are going to lose the impending election, and are, therefore, trying to sabotage the very industry that fuels much of Albert’s economy out of spite, or if you are trying to make things so difficult for the next Premier that he cannot succeed due to all of the booby traps you have set up.

Jason Kenney, if you are elected Premier in a few short weeks, can I please have your assurance that you will promptly address this matter and find a way to terminate this contract early or severely limit the amount of influence Ed is allowed to have on energy regulations.


Deidra Garyk

cc: Sheila O’Brien – AER Chair

Jason Kenney – UCP

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