Dear Premier Redford,

As a fellow Albertan who loves this province and its natural environment, I was quite disappointed to read your op-ed in USA Today.

One of the main qualities I look for in a leader is honesty. Honesty in the face of criticism and honesty in being able to accept ones faults.

Unfortunately, when I read your letter that’s not what I saw. Instead I saw someone who was willing to say half-truths in an attempt to mislead a President trying to do what is in his power to address the greatest threat our planet has ever faced.

It feels quite immoral to mislead someone trying to address the climate crisis given that we are living on a planet that is seeing record temperatures, more droughts, more wildfires, more superstorms and rising sea levels. In fact it reminds me of what the tobacco industry did for years to keep people hooked as cancer rates continued to go up and up and up.

It’s time to be honest Premier Redford.

The fact is that the tar sands are the largest and fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions growth in the country. Just processing them to be sent to a refinery spews out more global warming pollution than the tailpipes of all the cars in Canada combined and they are set to do nothing but grow.

Just two days after writing the USA today column, your government admitted what you already knew: Alberta isn’t even close to meeting your own party’s paltry climate commitments and with CCS projects dropping like flies you’re even further behind.

You knew this Premier Redford, so why all the mistruths?

Alberta is far from being a leader in sustainable development.

Despite years of talk, Alberta’s ‘world class’ monitoring program isn’t even in place yet, much less world class or independent. Tar sands impacts mount every day. Toxic tailing lakes now comprise over 176 sq kms of Alberta’s landscape – an area larger than Washington DC. Species like the woodland caribou are on the verge of extinction. Only 0.15% of the tar sands area has been certified as reclaimed and even that is questionable. We have no wetland policy, no maximum water withdrawal limit and no real climate policy. And let’s not forget that Alberta is accused of over 20,000 Treaty rights violations due to tar sands development by the Beaver Lake Cree alone.

It’s time to be honest Premier Redford. It’s only when we admit our faults that we can begin to address them. It’s time to take the first step.

It’s what a good neighbor would do.


A fellow Albertan