Balancing energy and environmental challenges in Alberta

This week, the Alberta party released its Energy and Environment Policy – yes, one policy on what many consider to be two competing interests. This policy, developed with input from Albertans all across the province, represents a clear shift away from the current practices in both areas, where one has to compromise or lose something in order to benefit the other.

Can there be more than just a balance, a compromise? Can we achieve harmony between the energy sector and the environment? Can the two work together to sustain the Alberta way of life? Finding innovative ways to diversify and strengthen the oil and gas industries, while implementing strong protective environmental measures, incenting new consumer behaviour and supporting shifts to new forms of power generation are all aspects of what the Alberta Party believes can accomplish that kind of synergy.

We do not have to trade off environmental stewardship and energy development. We can ensure continued economic strength by bringing both subjects into the same conversation and focusing on long-term strategic planning instead of short-term profit, while effectively addressing environmental impact and safeguarding our land, water and air.

You’d have to live under a rock not to know that the energy sector drives the economy in this province. That’s been 40 years in the making, and is not likely to change any time soon. But most of us are also acutely aware that the view of our environmental track record across the rest of Canada and around the world is less than stellar.

Debate rages on about whether or not we’ve earned our bad reputation; the subject is often emotional and polarizing. Only by taking a leadership role and developing linkages that cause the energy sector and environmental responsibility to function as a team, working for the same goals, can we change our global reputation and ensure a better future for ensuing generations.

I don’t want my grandchildren to travel the world one day and have to steel themselves for the type of criticism Albertans currently deal with because of the perceptions of the oil sands and the wide-spread belief that we are prepared to pillage our own land for profit.

I want them to hold their heads high and say they are proud to be Albertans, because we’ve all done the hard work, together, to deal with our issues, change what needed to be changed, and established ourselves as world leaders in energy, environmental responsibility and innovation.

Danielle Klooster

Alberta Party Candidate

Innisfail Sylvan Lake