News & Issues

More Input, Better Decisions

Posted on October 10, 2013 by Richard Einarson

Re: Edmonton Journal, GrahamThomson: Redford government ducking a legal broadside, October 8

“A direct apprehension of bias.”

For the non-lawyers among us that's legalese for "you can't pick and choose who you want to listen to based on what they might say." Sadly the Redford government has been caught red-handed doing just that when Court of Queen's Bench Justice Marceau ruled they broke their own rules by not allowing environmental groups to comment on oilsands projects. Regardless of your position on oilsands development, it is a fundamental principle of democracy that the people have a say.

Democracy can be a messy business, but if we don’t listen to a diverse range of viewpoints we will never improve and we will never earn the elusive 'social license' that will allow us to expand oilsands production. When Alison Redford travels the world promoting our open, transparent and strong regulations her message is undermined by her government's actions. Put another way, we can't say one thing and do another, then wonder why no one believes us.

There are two ways to fix this problem. We can listen to all perspectives on oilsands development, regardless of what people might say, or we can change the rules to limit input. Unfortunately Alison Redford has chosen the second path.

There's a funny thing about transparency; more input from more perspectives leads to better projects. If projects are worthwhile, and if they address environmental concerns, they will be approved, no matter who we allow to speak. The more input, the better the decisions.

In a democracy is that too much to ask?

Greg Clark


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