Alberta: All's Well--(except for those silent power generators)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Tuesday 30 January 2001
Klein predicts good times
Tom Olsen and Linda Slobodian, Calgary Herald
Worry-free government, a province flush with economic good fortune and 295,000 new jobs within five years was the vision unveiled by Premier Ralph Klein in his address to Albertans Monday night.
Klein promised a government that would continue to be fiscally responsible and hinted the provincial debt could be gone "within a year, or certainly two years time."
There was a downside, however. Klein warned pain from surging power and gas bills is going to be a part of life for the next couple of years, but promised the government would make sure Albertans survive. To that end, he reminded viewers of rebates -- about $3 billion worth -- that his government has already committed to. Another half-billion dollars to offset high natural gas prices is expected to be announced later this week.
Back in front of the camera, the premier spent a good chunk of time explaining power deregulation and its implications. Klein said it wasn't fair to blame rising power rates solely on deregulation.
"It's about one-sixth of the problem," he said, citing other factors including a reluctance of industry to get behind coal-fired electrical generators, the high cost of natural gas for gas-fired plants, and the fact that two Alberta generators are broken down, and one isn't fully functional.
Bercuson said Klein simply "glossed over" the energy issue.
"What he said all makes sense. . . . But he didn't tell us why we're paying these high prices in Calgary when they're not paying them in Edmonton."
The broadcast had a $50,000 budget, paid for by the Tory party.
-- Rachel Gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 30, 2001