Rimbey’s most political activist outside of politics is on another tour of communities throughout Alberta informing the public on the ins and outs of the provincial government’s controversial Bill 50, and last Wednesday evening, he brought the tour to Rimbey.
“There’s a couple of points I want to bring up with the public right away. One is we don’t even need Bill 50. If the matter is urgent, the Alberta Utilities Commission has the ability to make the decision without a public hearing and without notice,” said Joe Anglin of the bill. “We’re talking about transmission lines in this bill when we should be talking about a much broader issue. We need to discuss the whole issue of regulation and de-regulation. We’ve gone from a model electricity system prior to de-regulation, to today when we pay the highest prices in all of Canada and pay among the highest prices in all of North America, and our system is less reliable.”
Anglin told the gathering that the problem with the electricity lines has nothing to do with age, but more so with the fact that since de-regulation in the mid-1990’s, the lines have been badly neglected.
“What we have is a need to make our system more reliable, but what were doing is throwing the public wallet wide open for industry to spend without any oversight,” he said.
“What we’re doing is subsidizing three or four large corporate interests, by throwing them billions of dollars,” he added. “The figures that the energy minister and premier are using state this will cost $16.5 billion, and of course, Enmax said it’s more likely $20 billion.”
At the heart of the matter according to Anglin, is the provincial government’s downloading of billions of dollars worth of power line work onto Alberta taxpayers while benefiting private corporations.
Citing government documents, Anglin told the gathering of approximately 50 people that less than $1 billion would be required to fix the power lines from Edmonton to Calgary and that Alberta already generates 35 per cent more electricity than it requires.
As for the tour itself, the Rimbey visit was one of six meeting already held, with more to come. Following the local meeting, Anglin was headed to Rockyford followed by Crossfield, This past Monday saw him in New Serepta, followed by Bashaw. From there, he will be addressing a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce and will end the tour this Friday with another luncheon speaking engagement in Red Deer.