Wikileaks Shines Light on Alberta’s $16-Billion Electricity Scandal


From the Tyee – May 26, 2011

by Andrew Nikiforuk

Critics of Alberta’s program to build a $16-billion
electricity transmission system without public need studies have called
for a major judicial inquiry on the massive taxpayer funded project
following new revelations from U.S. embassy cables released by

Cables sent from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa
in 2003 and 2008 show that Alberta politicians offered to export power
to the United States using excess electricity generated by oil sands

Shortly after the last cable the Alberta government proposed a massive upgrade to its existing $2-billion transmission system.

Yet no other jurisdiction in Canada has
proposed to build eight times its existing transmission infrastructure
at taxpayers’ expense with no public needs assessments. Nor has any
other province proposed to give away that very infrastructure to two
private transmission companies (Atco and AltaLink) along with a promised
rate of return of nine per cent.

“The cables show that the government was
going to export power all along and lied about what they were doing with
transmission upgrades,” says Joe Anglin, a former U.S. Marine and
long-time advocate for electrical reform in Alberta.

“The cables are the hammer that nails all the supporting evidence together,” says Anglin. “We need a full judicial inquiry.”

Because many Alberta government officials
repeatedly told Albertans that its unprecedented program to spend
$16-billion in upgrades were all about “keeping the lights on,” Anglin
also suspects that many officials may also be guilty of perjury.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.