Taking tarsands debate to the candidates
Posted by mhudema on February 21, 2008
By NICKI THOMAS, SUN MEDIA In a bid to stop tarsands development, a coalition of diverse interest groups is taking their “No New Approvals” pledge directly to the candidates.
“We’ll be ambushing candidates at forums, challenging them to sign their support or say they won’t sign on,” announced Mike Hudema, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, one of dozens of groups that make up the coalition.
Other signatories include the David Suzuki Foundation, the Pembina Institute, Toxics Watch Society and the prairie chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, among others.
The campaign grew out of the groups’ feeling that the development of the tarsands is out of control, said Hudema.
“Whether their concerns were environmental in nature or with the massive social impacts or the health concerns from some of the downstream communities of the tarsands, all the groups agreed that the first step should be not adding to the damage,” he said.
The group performed a “test run” at the Edmonton-Centre forum, where three out of four candidates put on the spot signed on. Last night, two teams went to the Edmonton-Strathcona and St. Albert forums.
Hudema said the groups challenge Premier Ed Stelmach’s claim that interfering with the tarsands would collapse Alberta’s economy.
“The premier has never justified where he gets his numbers from,” said Hudema, adding that other Canadian provinces are making very ambitious climate goals.
“They know that the economic impact of not taking action on climate change will far outweigh the economic impact of doing so today,” he said.