Hello Chestermere! I am sitting here looking out at the sky, smelling the beautiful rain. I am truly happy for the moisture, but being a sun seeker, 10 degrees Celsius feels like winter after the beautiful summer we have enjoyed. This week, like usual, I marvel at the Alberta spirit. It comes in so many forms, and one of the most humbling things I experience each week, is what I learn from you, your endeavors to make the province better, your cultural contributions, and most profoundly, how loving and embracing our Alberta families are. This week I experienced a Siksika Nation PowWow along with many Chiefs and councils, both elders and youth, as well as councilors Lorraine Bauer and Denise Peterson of the Town of Strathmore. It was incredible to see all the regalia and the way this nation embraced all of us who were guests. The RCMP wore their red coats proudly and they were honoured for that. First responders and peacekeepers all wore their uniform and they were honoured for that. It was marvelous to be included regardless of my political stripe, and I am forever grateful for the kindness and affection showered on my family and I. I would like to thank Carlon Bigsnake for inviting me and to the organizers and the volunteers of the PowWow for their incredible hospitality. We will be posting all the pictures on Facebook. I would like to thank the Food Bank who held their volunteer appreciation reception this past Sunday for their incredible work. Thank you to Vicki Osanyintola for doing such a fabulous job along with the incredible volunteers who care so deeply for our little city. My family and I had the pleasure of doing a casino with these incredible folks and I am truly grateful for all they do for our community. I also attended the opening of another little multicultural library sponsored by Love With Humanity. I hope all of you have had a chance to stop by and share or take a book from our own multicultural mini library off of East Chestermere Drive. Thank you to Syed Najam for this wonderful addition to our community. We also attended the Japanese Summer Festival Omatsuri, and finally Pakistan Independence Day on August 14, and India Independence Day on August 15. This year is especially meaningful to the Pakistani community as the Government of Alberta has declared August Pakistani Heritage Month. Please follow us on Facebook to see all the wonderful events we covered this week.
I hope you had a chance to read the August 11 article from Chris Varcoe of the Calgary Herald on the defamation suit surrounding the NDP Government’s meddling in the power market (https://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-deputy-premier-and-ndp-government-named-in-1m-defamation-suit-over-power-deals) . Here is a quick recap. Robert Hemstock, a former Enron lawyer, was one of the punching bags used by our government when they destroyed the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) because the Carbon Tax that they did not campaign on rendered the agreements “more unprofitable” and the agreements were then sent back to the balancing pool. You are paying billions for this, folks. This debacle is being placed on the shoulders of the tax payer/rate payer by the NDP Government. As you may recall, the Government kept stating that they were unaware of the “more unprofitable” clause, ended up basically suing themselves using your tax dollars no less to try and declare that this statement was invalid and putting the blame on Enron, coining the phrase the “Enron Clause”. Every other participant in the power market was aware of this clause which is pretty standard when signing contracts with governments that have the power to change the rules.
Have a look at this March 17, 2018 article, again by the Herald’s Chris Varcoe, on what Neil McCrank, former head of the Alberta Energy regulator, has to say: https://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/varcoe-ndps-enron-clause-lawsuit-ends-with-a-whimper-but-more-trouble-awaits . I will quote a short part of the article here:
“As part of its PR offensive, the government even created its own web page titled, “Understanding the Enron clause,” which was only taken down recently.
In legal documents, the province argued that before the PPAs were auctioned off in 2000, McCrank — as head of the energy regulator — and the former Tory government authorized changes to add the words “or more unprofitable” to the clause. McCrank said the change was a routine clarification requested by an independent panel of electricity experts and it actually came through the Energy Department. The energy regulator acted properly and in the public interest, he said in an affidavit.
“I did not discuss the corrections and clarifications with Enron, or any other market participant for that matter,” he said in the affidavit. “Any suggestion otherwise is absolutely false and frankly preposterous.”
Last October, a judicial ruling in a related legal skirmish between Enmax and the Balancing Pool pointed out Alberta lawmakers tried during deregulation to attract as many potential buyers to bid on the contracts and increase competition.
“It appears the legislators endeavoured to provide as much certainty as possible to potential PPA buyers and relieve them of non-market related risk,” wrote Justice Paul Jeffrey of Court of Queen’s Bench.
By painting a routine step as “covert” action, the NDP government tried to shift the blame for its own mistake, McCrank said in an interview this week.
The Calgary lawyer, who spent nearly a decade as Alberta’s deputy minister of justice in the 1990s, noted no one from government ever contacted him to seek clarity on the matter before beginning the lawsuit two years ago.
Now that it’s over, he wants an apology.”
The government refused to take responsibility for their lack of understanding of what is ultimately a very complicated file, and then shifted the blame to Mr. Hemstock. The sad truth is that the government did indeed know, as this was brought to their attention by the industry as they did their “consultations” with the coal industry surrounding the carbon tax roll out. They knew that Albertans would be paying not only for the Carbon Tax, but for the billions in stranded assets, for the law suit, for the many millions of dollars forwarded to the balancing pool to compensate for the PPAs being returned, and for the payouts to folks who made their living mining and working for the coal industry. Please read these articles if you have a moment. It is just another puzzle piece in the NDP Government’s disastrous and ideological relationship with the electricity file. The August 11 article mentions that the Province’s risk management insurance will cover the legal costs of Minister Hoffman, and the government. Guess who pays for that program?
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