Following recent actions by Greenpeace, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and Solicitor General Fred Lindsay have suggested that protesters who trespass at oil and gas facilities should face harsher punishments.
I have no doubt that the two politicians are eager to see justice dealt, but at this point in time there does not appear to be any evidence to suggest that our legal system is not working as it should be. The protesters have been arrested and are now facing charges of trespassing and mischief.
There are a number of obvious root causes of these incidents and none of them have to do with getting tough on crime. While attempting to focus international media attention on Alberta’s oilsands before the Copenhagen Conference, Greenpeace activists planning and executing actions like these know what they are doing is illegal and they don’t care. Instead of blaming the legal system, Stelmach and Lindsay should take real action by 1) articulating why their vision for oilsands development is the right one for Alberta, Canada and the world; and 2) improving public confidence in how our most valuable nature resources are being safeguarded.
What is the state of security in Alberta’s oilsands?
Just as a confidential report prepared by sector experts has highlighted serious concerns about security in the oilsands, Shell is now taking productive steps by publicly vowing to review facility security. While the conclusions have now been contradicted by the evidence presented through Greenpeace’s canoe-paddling incursion skillz, Solicitor General Lindsay described the provincial security plan as “one of the most comprehensive in the country” in the Legislative Assembly on February 19, 2009.
Mr. Richard Marz: My first question is to the Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security. What measures are in place to protect Alberta’s energy resources such as the oil sands?
The Speaker: The hon. minister.
Mr. Lindsay: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government does have a plan in place to protect all critical infrastructure in our province. The Alberta counterterrorism crisis management plan emphasizes the use of intelligence from a range of sources to identify, mitigate, or prevent a security threat before it occurs, and the Alberta Security and Strategic Intelligence Support Team gathers, analyzes, distributes critical intelligent information to industry and law enforcement. Partnership and collaboration between government, industry, and law enforcement is the backbone of our counterterrorism plan.
Mr. Marz: My final question, Mr. Speaker, to the same minister. There have been several pipeline bombings in northwestern British Columbia in the past few months. What assurance can the minister provide that pipelines in Alberta will be protected from attacks such as the ones in B.C.?
Mr. Lindsay: Mr. Speaker, the Alberta government takes the security of our energy resources very seriously. There is no indication that Alberta Energy infrastructure is at risk, and our threat level remains low. However, we will continue to work with the oil and gas industry and law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of the industry. Our counterterrorism and crisis management plan is regarded as one of the most comprehensive in the country and is continually reviewed to make sure it meets the stringent requirements of both government and industry.
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