I didn’t vote for Danielle Smith and her party, nonetheless I thought congratulations on her victory were in order. Consequently I wrote her the following letter.

Dear Premier Smith:

Congratulations on your success in the recent election.

You now have the opportunity to help prepare Alberta for success in the coming years. The most important preparation deals with transitioning to a sustainable economy. This means reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

The oil industry has been very generous to our province, however as the major contributor to global warming it has now become more threat than promise. If we don’t curb global warming, we will unleash a cascade of catastrophes that could bring civilization down around our ears.

As this unprecedented wildfire season graphically illustrates, the effects are upon us and Alberta is not immune from its own mischief. This May is reminiscent, perhaps, of May 2016 and the Fort McMurray fire’s ominous and ironic portent of the future.

Furthermore, we Albertans hold a unique moral responsibility in meeting the challenge. We have all become arsonists but Albertans more than most.

Canadians produce more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the people of any other G20 nation except Saudi Arabia. Each Canadian is responsible for twice as many emissions as each Chinese, seven times as many as each Indian. And in Canada, Alberta is the pollution province.

The chief culprit is our oil sands industry. I worked in the oil industry myself and it treated me very well. I was generously rewarded, made good friends, and took pride in helping people heat their homes and drive their cars. But I have been forced to recognize that the products I once proudly produced are now the major contributor to humanity’s greatest threat.

Oil sands companies proclaim their reduction of emissions and their target of net zero. Unfortunately, they are talking about emissions at the production end when the great bulk are emitted at the combustion end. When we sell the products to others we simply pass the buck.

We will, out of necessity, continue to rely on fossil fuels for some time, but the
emphasis must be on minimizing their use while phasing them out entirely.

I urge you, therefore, to work co-operatively with the federal government to transition our province, and our country, toward a sustainable economy. Alberta’s conscience and her reputation, and the welfare of her people, depend on a 1successful transition.

Bill Longstaff

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