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Old Posted Jan 24, 2008, 7:52 PM
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Scoring points: Good ol' Ralphie makes an appearance in Saskatoon

Klein visit spurs protest
Cassandra Kyle, The StarPhoenix
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ralph Klein spent a few quiet minutes inside TCU Place preparing for a speech Wednesday night, but a few metres away a protest group loudly blamed Alberta's former premier for destroying the environment and stealing Saskatchewan's youth.

Klein, however, does not feel he is the best target for accusations from grassroots environmental group The Tarsands Clean-Up Crew, who spent nearly one hour belittling event attendees about their oil consumption and support of a man the group says is responsible for development of the tarsands.

"I've been out of politics for over a year, so I'm not involved in the oilsands other than promotion through (other) companies' oilsands development, if they pay me," Klein said before his 6 p.m. presentation as a keynote speaker in the Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs' leadership series. He now works as a business consultant.

"There are all kinds of professional people (in Alberta) who know when to slow the (oilsands) projects down much more than these kids, they're all undergraduates and they know nothing from a hill of beans," he said.

Sustainability, he admitted, is an important factor in planning for the future and one the next generation of leaders will have to consider when sifting through the public's wants and needs.

"I was minister of the environment and what I strived for was sustainability. In other words, satisfy those that had an environmental agenda, but make sure that the economy was sustained," he explained.

Klein's thoughts on long-term planning are likely of little comfort to the group of protesters worried about Saskatchewan's environmental future. Jesse Sieben's concerns lie with the focus of the recently-elected Saskatchewan Party government and corporate plans for the province's resources.

"The new regime here is trying to emulate the Alberta model for the economy, and I don't really agree with it," Sieben said, adding, "There are all these private companies that are going to extract oil and water and eventually one day it's going to be all gone."

Clean-Up Crew organizer Megan Wohlberg said people are dying from tarsands-related cancers, further development will make Canada miss its Kyoto targets, men who leave Saskatchewan to work in Alberta's oilpatch often become drug-addicted and many end up committing suicide. Further tarsands development in Alberta using nuclear fuel paints a bleak picture for Saskatchewan's environment, which will likely supply uranium for the reactors.

"This is a huge deal for us because Uranium City is going to become Fort McMurray, not to mention that there's a discovery of tarsands in Saskatchewan, so it's going to be going the same way," Wohlberg said. "I don't think we should be following that path at all."

People should localize their resources and build sustainable communities instead of inviting large corporations into the province and listening to Klein's message, she said. At $75 a plate to attend the event Wednesday night, Wohlberg suspects there are more Saskatonians who disagree with Klein's philosophy than the 20 environmentalists that raised their blue signs and voices outside of the banquet facility.

"Only rich people like Ralph Klein," she said.




Mr. Klein has many great quotes and I have always enjoyed listening to his views on how the world works.


Here is a very telling article published in today's SP Business section, a nice supplement to the above article.

Oilsands development needs a plan: prof
Bruce Johnstone, Saskatchewan News Network
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saskatchewan can avoid the problems Alberta experienced with the explosion of oilsands projects in the Ft. McMurray area by putting an integrated land-use plan in place before development begins, says a University of Regina professor.

"We should learn something from Alberta," Jeremy Rayner, associate professor and head of the university's political science department, told a public lecture sponsored by the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy.

"We should implement operational land management best practices from the outset before we start ramping up oilsands development. The worst possible regime is one that combines low royalties with weak regulation."

Rayner, who has studied resource and environmental policy issues for years, said the problems of uncontrolled, unplanned development of Alberta's oilsands -- namely rising costs, environmental degradation, inefficient use of resources and reduced government revenues -- date back to policy decisions made in the mid-1980s. Then-Alberta premier Don Getty, faced with a depressed provincial economy and demoralized oilpatch struggling with $9-US-a-barrel oil, decided to kick-start oilsands development by reducing royalty rates to one per cent.

This policy, which was designed to offset the high capital cost of oilsands investment, remained essentially unchanged for the next 20 years. As a result, oilsands production doubled between 1995 and 2005, exceeding conventional oil production in 2001.

Oil prices also increased dramatically during this period, jumping from $9 US per barrel in 1985 to $80 US per barrel. Recently, oil prices hit $100 US before sliding back below $90 US.

At the same time, the Getty government also stimulated the development of the forestry industry to help diversify the economy, doubling employment in the industry between 1995 and 2005.

But because the two industries operated in roughly the same area, conflicts arose over land use and environmental impacts increased due to the cumulative effects of development.

Efforts to co-ordinate the use of the land failed due to conflicting interests, while the public became increasingly concerned about the environmental effect of development.

Rayner said the lessons for Saskatchewan are to co-ordinate development of resources at the department level, involving Energy and Resources, Environment and possibly Agriculture.

Land-use plans need to be implemented to allow for orderly development of renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as provide for input from the public, including First Nations.

Most importantly, land-use plans should be in place well before development begins and large-scale investment takes place, he said.

"Oilsands development is very capital intensive," Rayner said following his presentation. "To get companies to commit that capital, you have to give them a break on royalties so they can get revenue flowing from their investments."

"The mistake is not to have in place a land-use framework and regulatory regime, which can handle that investment from day one. That was Alberta's mistake."


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Old Posted Jan 25, 2008, 2:04 PM
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Dalreg Dalreg is online now
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Get bent Ralph. Retire in Arizona, play golf and bingo. Pull your pants up to your arm pits and eat supper at 4pm. No one here gives a rats ass about you.
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