Agree or Disagree: You might consider the EverGreen Party for the Alberta Election

You might be thinking. Who? The Evergreen Party.

With the media coverage on the Wildrose and PC party, we may not be aware of the smaller parties that are involved.

Well here we have one. The Evergreen Party has 24 MLA candidates and a Senate nominaton. So they may or may not be in your riding. However, perhaps looking at what they have to say might give you some consideration to what you should be looking for.

This is Roger Gagne. He is running in Calgary Klein. He has graciously offered to be todays guest post. He will be glad to engage you at  Add him on Facebook, or go to

Thank you Roger

There has already been much said about the leadership debate; Redford under attack, Smith under suspicion, Mason underwhelmed and Sherman under his own spell.

I was shocked, however, that I never heard the words “environment”, “climate change”, or “oilsands”. The oilsands and their climate impacts are one of the biggest reasons why Alberta shows up in the news around the world, and the subject doesn’t even come up in the Leader’s Debate? Nor our Province’s reliance on coal power, the dirtiest source of electricity? Huh?

Shockingly, our daily use of 85 million barrels of oil and 27 billion pounds of coal actually have an impact on the Earth. Thousands of the smartest people on the planet, particularly those who study climate, say that we are influencing the climate, and that it’s not pretty. Baseball players have always been able to hit home runs, but a  baseball player on steroids is more likely to hit home runs more often. So too, it is with extreme weather events on a warming planet. Climate scientists have been warning this for years and increasingly, it’s what we’re seeing unfold before us.

In the U.S., there were ten weather disasters in the first nine months of 2011, which each caused over $1 billion in damages. March of 2012 set a new bar for heat waves; on March 26, Halifax NS and St. John NB broke not only their record highs for March, but for April as well. The U.S. set 15,292 new warm records in March; 7,775 were new daytime highs in the contiguous States – excluding Hawaii and Alaska –  and 7,517 were new nighttime highs.

But these impacts on our lifestyles and future prospects, on the viability of continuing our reliance on fossil fuels for our economic strength, despite their strong link to climate change, didn’t even rate a mention by the leaders of our main political parties. What was that we were saying about how advanced we are in Alberta?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt, of course.

It’s great that we’ll soon have a world-class water monitoring system downstream of the oilsands… thirty years late, long after our relatively clean baseline measurements are buried under decades of toxic contaminants in the Athabasca River.

It’s great that one of the first things Premier Alison Redford did upon coming into office was to tell four of her new Ministers to work together on energy efficiency; this is LONG overdue in Alberta. Kudos to the PCs as well, for setting up a program to help small farmers install solar electricity systems; this modest step will reduce electricity costs for the farmers, help to decentralize and stabilize our electricity grid, support rural development, build up the needed tradespeople for continuing to develop our renewable resources, and increase familiarity of these technologies among building inspectors and electrical inspectors. And WHY were these not brought up in the leader’s debate?

It’s great that Danielle Smith recognizes that coal power is not the way of the future, and that her Wildrose Party aims to phase out coal in our electricity mix. But then to maintain a stance of “Thou shalt not hinder the oilsands”, in addition to questioning the science behind human impact on climate change… wow! what’s with the right foot firmly planted back in the 20th century?

Of course, climate change isn’t the only consequence of fossil fuels (let’s not forget smog, acid rain, or billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies) and fossil fuels are not the only thing we’ve let get away on us as we’ve neglected to take good care of the planet that is our only home; we ought to pay attention to the precipitous decline in the populations of honeybees that pollinate our crops, for instance.

All of which is to say, it’s quite astonishing – and tragic – that the mainstream parties have not seen fit to address these issues either in the Leader’s Debate or in the broader election campaign. Though I am only one man, and a rather small one at that, I’m more proud than ever that I chose to run for the EverGreen Party in Calgary Klein.

“We don’t want a bigger slice of the pie, we want a different pie”.
American activist Winona LaDuke


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