Stelmach’s Controversial Bill 46 Will Only Hear One Hour of Debate

How’s this for democracy? When the Stelmach government starts to sweat over their Bill 46 what do they do?

Listen to the people? Nope.

Premier Ed Stelmach has instead decided to limit debate on Bill 46 to one hour and ramrod through the bill though by this Thursday.

“That will bring the total amount (of debate) spent on Bill 46 at this stage to five hours,” said Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, who earlier asked the government to extend the session instead of cutting off debate.

Stelmach To Ramrod Through Bill 46 This Thursday

Instead of listening to the concerns of Alberta rural landowners, the Stelmach government has called for closure this Thursday on Bill 46.

Closure means that time limits will be put on debate and, no matter the opposition to Bill 46, or concerns by opposition parties, the Bill will pass this Thursday.

Opposition members, have called for an all-party legislative committee that could hear from all affected organizations and concerned citizens, but instead has chosen to rush Bill 46 through and hope that we’ll all forget about it over Christmas.

The “Credibility Gap” in Stelmach’s Bill 46

Stelmach and the Alberta Tories are ramrodding through Bill 46 – they have invoked closure on the Bill and as Neil Waugh points out in the Edmonton Sun, the Stelmach government will pass a Bill that was a failure from the beginning and will see massive outrage from Alberta’s rural landowners.

Stelmach’s $26,000 Bill 46 Ad Campaign

The Stelmach Tories have spent $26,000 of taxpayers money to convince landowners that Bill 46 will not violate landowner rights in Alberta.

Here’s an article Canadian Press:

Some are calling it a propaganda war.

The Alberta government, taken aback by reaction to a proposed law that will reshape how energy and utility projects are approved, is now pushing hard to sell its merits.

For Premier Ed Stelmach’s Progressive Conservatives, facing an election in 2008, the stakes are high. The loudest grumbling about Bill 46 has come from landowners in the Tory heartland of rural Alberta.

They fear the new law would strip their right to appear at hearings into various projects, including utility corridors that would dot hundreds of farms with transmission towers.

The government spent $26,000 last week on ads in 133 rural newspapers promoting the merits of the legislation, which the government is ramming through the legislature with closure motions. Landowners are fighting back with a publicity campaign of their own.

Continue reading