You have to live here for a while to feel that bone-deep distinction between conservationism and environmentalism.
What amazes me about this situation and the push back on park closures is the steady build-up of the environmental activists agreeing with hunters, fishers and other outdoors people on the issue. Never have these pods of people found common ground to lambast the government from, and it's great to see.
I don't know what the solution is for our province's economic woes, but what's nice to see is some level of unification to resist bad decisions. I don't get the sense that coal mining and parks closures have led to 'penthouse palace' levels of disgust quite yet, but it's admirable to see issues-based-backlash instead of blind team loyalty for a change.
Well done, Jen. As a retired BC boy who spent about a quarter of his life in AB... and loved every (well almost every) minute of it....... spending many weeks in the backcountry, winter and summer while, ironically, working in one of the most ancient-carbon emitting industries (aviation), I think you absolutely nailed it. (You can use the E word for me as well as the C word.... just not the D word)
Go on Google Earth and take a good look at the New River corridor near Beckly WVA. Today’s coal mining not only destroys the mountains and pollutes the creeks and rivers, it provides few jobs except for explosives experts, excavator operators and mega-truck drivers. Surely we DO know “what we got ‘til it’s gone”.
Thanks for writing this piece - I couldn't agree more with you. The irony is that all that coal would be shipped to the west coast by rail which would further clog up the very transportation system that Alberta relies on for getting oil to tidewater.
Well said Jen Gerson! Now if we can only get the current government to listen. Really listen! That seems to be a huge problem with the UCP. They want investment in Alberta but are not willing to listen to the investment industry. Investors have made it clear that they don't see Alberta as the great defender of the environment, as Mr. Kenny would have the world believe. 100,000 inactive oil and gas wells, rotting across the Alberta landscape is the evidence that the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has failed to fulfill its mandate to protect the environment. Why would any Albertan ever trust that the AER would do a better job with coal development, when we look at the inactive well mess in the patch? Get a credible plan to deal with the inactive well problem and show the world that we really are serious about environmental protection. Clean up the AER to bring back some trust in the Regulator.
Another great article, Jen.
Every single Albertan I've ever talked to, regardless of their political leanings, supports our public healthcare system. Ralph Klein was called "King Ralph" because of his control over his caucus, had to justify his private health initiatives as a "Third Way", and he still couldn't sell Albertans on them. And while we hate the long-gun registry, every Albertan I've ever asked has been fine with the handgun registry we've had since 1976.
In short, the Ezra Levants and Nora Loretos of the world don't seem to realize how much closer Alberta is to the political centre.
The bright part of this story is how so many Albertans opposed coal development in the foothills, and that the government actually backed down.
If you want to see what modern coal strip mining looks like you just have to pop over the border to the Elk Valley in our oh so environmental neighbouring province, BC. Or you can see Alberta strip mining in the area south of Hinton to Cadomin, where the road goes right through the middle of the mine.
To keep our access to these sacred places, we are going to need some good policy, and I don't see that coming from either the UCP or the NDP.
I don't know what the answer is, but it is easy to see what it isn't.