Discrediting the EUB doesn’t serve Albertans

Discrediting the EUB doesn’t serve Albertans by G. W. Govier., Former chairman (1962-1978) of the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta; G. J. DeSorcy, Former chairman (1987-1993), Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta; and M. N. McCrank, Former chairman (1998-2007)  Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, September 22, 2007, Calgary Herald
In response to your editorial, we three former chairmen of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB), and its predecessor, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), would like to make sure that the key relevant facts are brought to light. We do not defend the decision of the EUB to hire a private investigating agency to carry out covert activities resulting in the invasion of people’s privacy. That decision was clearly wrong, as has already been determined by the privacy commissioner and a Queen’s Bench justice.

All Albertans have the right to expect public hearings, like court proceedings, to be held with order and dignity in facilities and under circumstances that are safe. They also have the right of protection of their privacy and the EUB made a serious error in judgment, not in acting, but in the way it acted. Even so, we believe the decision to try to ensure public safety was made honestly and in the public interest. The privacy commissioner and the justice have made recommendations to ensure that such an action will not reoccur. We understand that all the recommendations have been accepted and are being acted upon by the EUB.

The question remaining is should the EUB be punished, be overhauled or dismantled? Is it a “beast” that needs to be “tamed”?

We believe that Albertans have been served well for some 70 years with dedication, competence and complete honesty by the EUB and its predecessor organizations. These bodies have been responsible for the orderly and most successful development of our energy resources. They have been held up as a model throughout many parts of the world.

We are not saying that the EUB is perfect but rather that it is a fine organization, doing an honest job of ensuring that Alberta’s energy resources are developed in an orderly and efficient manner in the public interest. It has made a mistake which will not happen again. The EUB deserves our understanding, our confidence and our respect.

We urge all who have a stake in this issue to reflect carefully. The discrediting of a venerable institution is not, in our opinion, in the interest of any of us.

[Refer also to: The EUB did a fine job of discrediting the “venerable institution” all by itself ]

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