by Joe Anglin
AltaLink’s new public relations campaign to convince Albertans that major new transmission lines are needed is more than deceptively misleading – it is morally corrupt!
In the book, “The Corporation” the author Joel Bakan wrote, “Corporations try to manipulate everything including public opinion. Lacking the legal license to spend shareholders’ money without a reasonable prospect of return, corporations spend money on politics for the same reasons they make other investments: to advance their own and their owners’ financial self-interest.” Balkan writes about the typical stockholder owned corporation and in this regard the managers of the corporation are directly responsible to the stockholders. AltaLink is structured a little bit differently than the typical corporation. AltaLink is a partnership that is heavily regulated, and in a sense AltaLink is not spending stockholder’s money. AltaLink is in effect spending the public’s money, because the expenditures are passed on to the public! This is the moral dilemma.
As AltaLink spends millions in its public relations campaign, under the premise that major transmission lines are needed for the public’s interest, AltaLink has continually opposed any public participation or right to question the need for the transmission lines. Claiming that new transmission lines are required to provide much needed electricity to Calgary, AltaLink actually objected to the City of Calgary’s participation in the hearing process that determine the public’s need and interest. AltaLink’s hypocrisy doesn’t end with the issue of “Need”. Claiming to be environmentally responsible, AltaLink’s actions reveal otherwise as allegations suggest that AltaLink prefers the utilization of oak access mats that may raise the risk of exposing Alberta’s soil to an aggressive fungal pathogen. Where is the responsibility or accountability?
The issue surrounding transmission lines is not whether Albertans need transmission lines. It is the question of what is needed. Evidence suggests that building a transmission grid east to west, to connect Alberta to Manitoba and B.C., will cost less and provide better economic reliability and security to Alberta’s electricity system. Proof that it is in the public’s interest to build transmission lines North to South just does not exist! Neither AltaLink nor Alberta’s Electricity System Operator (AESO) have provided any verifiable proof to the public to support expanding the north south grid! Just ask to see the proof and watch both organizations evade the topic.
Denying Albertans an opportunity to question how the public’s money is spent is morally wrong! Given so many cutbacks in other areas, eliminating the public’s right to require proof that a project is needed before expenditures are incurred is a step on the path to corruption. Spending, in effect, the public’s money to convince the public that major transmission lines are needed, in the absence of transparent proof, is morally corrupt!