Friday, September 14, 2007

Alberta KGB

I await the outrage of the Blogging Tories and their right wing ilk, that claim the mantle of the anti-Stalinist right wing.

Those folks who remind us of the horrors of Marxism by referring to the Stalinist USSR as an example of police state socialism.

The example they gave was always about how the State would spy on its citizens.

Suddenly they are sure quiet when the shoe is on the other foot when it applies to their bastion of conservatism in North America; the One Party State of Alberta.
Utility regulator breaches privacy with spies at public hearings

Utilities Board wrong to use private dicks: privacy commissioner
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has determined that the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) contravened the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) when it hired private investigators to monitor proceedings at Rimbey, Alberta.

The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board hired a private investigation company to monitor a public hearing about the North West Upgrader project in May, documents obtained by the CBC show.

This is the second time the board hired the firm of Shepp Johnman to attend one of its public hearings.

The board is already being investigated by the government for hiring Shepp Johnman to monitor landowners at a hearing in Rimbey who were opposed to a proposed powerline between Calgary and Edmonton.

Ironic that the virtuous right wing anti-statists never seem to protest such obvious statism when it is their government in power. Why should they now that they are in power they can abandon their principles as so much shaft in the wind,

EUB Offers No Apologies After Damning Privacy Report

This state sanctioned corporate monopoly applies its own jurisdictional law against the public interest and against small producers. It should be abolished.

CALGARY (CP) _ Tiny Bearspaw Petroleum Ltd. says Alberta‘s energy regulator takes a “hypocritical approach‘‘ when it comes to enforcing safety rules.

The company lined up against the Alberta Energy and Utilities board today in a third-party inquiry into allegations that the natural gas producer has been unfairly persecuted.

Jirka Kaplan, an engineer with Bearspaw, told the inquiry that Leo Touchette, the board‘s Red Deer office team leader, had an “intense dislike‘‘ of the small Calgary-based company and did what it could to find things wrong with its operations.

Bearspaw alleges that on one occasion, the regulator gave it a high-risk compliance citation and a potential explosion risk for one missing nut on the cover of a piece of well equipment.

Kaplan says he hired an independent company to check out the regulator‘s safety concerns and no potential problems were found. Bearspaw has appealed some of the board‘s actions and challenged the legality of some of its processes.

The inquiry, which was initiated by the regulator, is scheduled to run until Thursday, and chairman Bob Clark says he will try to expedite a ruling.
Still waiting to hear the outrage of the neo-con right....waiting....not even a peep out of those who would proclaim themselves libertarian....the silence is deafening.

Opposition politicians called Thursday for firings at Alberta‘s energy and utilities regulator after a report found serious privacy breaches by detectives hired to spy on people opposed to a new power corridor. But Premier Ed Stelmach said he wants to see more evidence about the decision of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board to use private detectives at two hearings since last spring.

“It‘s to ensure that all Albertans have full confidence in the AEUB,‘‘ said Stelmach. “It is an important instrument for Albertans in terms of finding the balance between the production and the development of our resources.‘‘

Alberta's energy regulator says it will give opponents of a proposed new Edmonton-Calgary power line enough time to exhaust all appeals before granting any permits for the project.

Landowners who oppose the massive new transmission line were in Alberta Court of Appeal yesterday trying to get a stay on the Energy and Utility Board's decision on whether the project can proceed.

But board lawyer Rick McKee told the hearing that a stay was not needed as the regulator would give landowners enough time to appeal any decision before construction starts.

The board says a decision on the proposal by AltaLink, Alberta's largest transmission company, might not come until at least November.

Joe Anglin, a spokesman for one of the landowner groups, says he fully expects the board to rule in favour of the new power line but his group wants to make sure its voice is heard before some towers are built and their opposition becomes mute.

The power line is also the subject of various provincial inquiries and legal actions over allegations that the Alberta regulator hired private investigators to spy on opponents of the project.
Waiting, waiting.


Transparency Alberta Style

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