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Stelmach, protester in eco-confrontation

Posted by mhudema on February 12, 2008

Greenpeace offers ‘Destroyer of Year Award’
Darcy Henton, with files from Renata D’Aliesio, Calgary Herald and The Edmonton Journal
Edmonton Journal
CREDIT: John Lucas,. Edmonton Journal
Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach exchanges heated words with protester Paul Baker in Edmonton, telling him the Tory green plan “is real, it’s achievable,” while some of the promises made by other parties would “destroy 335,000 jobs.”

Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach went toe-to-toe with one of his harshest critics on climate change Monday, moments after he released some of the details of his new “green plan.”

Opening the second week of the provincial election campaign, Stelmach was forced to defend his long-term plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when an environmental activist ridiculed it following a speech.

The sparks came as NDP Leader Brian Mason announced a $20-billion Green Energy Plan that would invest in the research and development of alternative energy sources.

But the loudest debate over energy occurred in Edmonton, as Stelmach announced a $100 tax credit for Albertans who install energy-efficient appliances. He was challenged by Paul Baker, a Greenpeace activist and member of an anti-oilsands group, who questioned how Stelmach could call a plan that didn’t reduce emissions until 2050 “green.”

“We need reductions now,” said Baker, clutching a Destroyer of the Year Award he wanted to present to Stelmach.

But the Tory leader argued that any faster action on curbing emissions will cripple the Albertan and Canadian economies and throw thousands of people out of work.

“Our plan is real, it’s achievable and some of the other promises made . . . (will) destroy 335,000 jobs for 600,000 new Albertans in the province,” Stelmach responded. “Do you want to send them back home to other provinces, other countries? That’s your plan.”

Stelmach said moving faster with greenhouse gas emission reductions will take $1 billion out of the economy.

He added that the Liberal strategy to remove natural gas rebates for all Albertans, including seniors, will put them “back out in the street” and increase their heating costs by 100 to 200 per cent.

However, Stelmach wouldn’t guarantee his government will continue natural gas rebates for all Albertans, but vowed not to send seniors out into the cold.

“We’re not going to drive any seniors out of their own homes by increasing their heating bills or . . . putting hard caps on carbon dioxide,” he said.

A member of Stelmach’s security staff escorted Baker from the Convention Centre room.

Greenpeace said Stelmach was being presented the award for allowing “unchecked environmental destruction to take place with the Alberta tarsands and for producing a ‘climate plan’ that will actually exacerbate the problem.”

Campaigning in Edmonton, Liberal Leader Kevin Taft dismissed Stelmach’s doom-and-gloom assessment of his climate change plan, contending it wouldn’t send Alberta’s oil-fuelled economy into a tailspin.

As for the $1-billion yearly economic cost attached to the Liberal plan, Taft said that price isn’t too great to pay to solve climate change problems.

“If we can solve climate change issues in the next five years with that kind of investment, let’s get on with it,” Taft said. “Protecting the environment in Alberta is also protecting the economy and protecting jobs.”

While several Tories praised Stelmach for his moxie in the exchange with Baker, Calgary political analyst David Taras said the run-in was another bump for Stelmach’s campaign.

“The thing that is amazing here is that every day has been a bad day,” said Taras. “It’s kind of like a fumble a day — and when is it going to stop?”

On Monday, Stelmach also announced a $50-million program to create the largest urban park in North America — a park that stretches 88 kilometres from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan, mirroring a plan announced by Taft last week.

Stelmach also vowed to “renew commitments” to Alberta’s provincial parks and to establish a new provincial park in the Bow Valley. He also pledged to protect the eastern slopes of the Rockies “through updated regulation of resource activities.”

Meanwhile, the NDP unveiled a $20-billion plan to subsidize and research alternative energy, funded by higher fossil-fuel royalties.

Mason, who billed the proposal “the boldest and most significant single announcement that will be made this election campaign,” pitched his plan in the home of John Hoskin, an Edmonton man who has spent $18,000 to retrofit his duplex for geothermal heating.

“We are proposing through higher royalties to build up a green energy fund to invest in green energy in the province; to invest in people like John and in homes like this,” Mason said.

“We want to help regular

. . . families conserve energy and save money.”

While campaigning in Edmonton, the NDP leader said his party would use money from higher royalties to encourage Albertans to make their homes more energy-efficient.

The NDP says its proposed royalty regime would take in about $4 billion more a year than what the Stelmach government is proposing. Of that, a New Democrat government would put $2 billion annually into its green energy fund.

© The Calgary Herald 2008

3 Responses to “Stelmach, protester in eco-confrontation”

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt“Our plan is real, it’s achievable and some of the other promises made . . . (will) destroy 335000 jobs for 600000 new Albertans in the province,” Stelmach responded. “Do you want to send them back home to other provinces, … […]

  2. On February 12th, I posted on the wall of Guy Boutilier’s Facebook site. My posting was about my negative experience working with him and my recommendation to not vote for him. On February 13th, my posting was removed. My conclusion? Guy Boutilier does not support freedom of speech and it is yet another example of how he controls the people around him. Please send him a message and DO NOT VOTE for him. Share your disapproval with Boutilier on his wall….and show that you don’t support him by joining this Facebook site

  3. […] Stelmach, protester in eco confrontation Greenpeace offers Destroyer of Year Award Darcy Henton, with files from Renata DAliesio, Calgary Herald and The Edmonton Journal Edmonton Journal Tuesday, February 12, 2008 CREDIT: John Lucas, […]

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