Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/2/19

Audits of Alberta Energy Regulator Expose a Broken Agency

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Republished from Dimitri Lascaris & The Real News Network

Regan Boychuk of Reclaim Alberta says the AER routinely ignores the law.
Regan Boychuk of Reclaim Alberta says the AER routinely ignores the law.
(Image by The Real News Network)
  Details   DMCA

For The Real News Network, I spoke this week with Regan Boychuk of Reclaim Alberta about three recent audits of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

As Regan explains, these devastating audits have exposed the AER as a broken regulator which routinely ignores Alberta law, is rife with undisclosed conflicts of interest and has been captured by Big Oil.

This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.

Dimitri L.: This is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for the Real News Network, from Montreal, Canada.

Canada has the third largest proven oil reserves in the world, surpassed in size only by those in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Most of Canada's oil reserves lie in the tar sands, which are concentrated in the province of Alberta. As a result, Alberta's oil industry is not only a major player in the global energy market, but it's activities affect profoundly humanity's ability to resolve the global climate emergency.

In Alberta, the oil and gas industry is supposed to be subject to vigorous government oversight and regulation, so that the industry develops in a safe, and environmentally responsible manner. The agency that is charged with the responsibility of regulating Alberta's oil and gas sector is the Alberta Energy Regulator, or AER. Weeks ago, three audits of the AER revealed that the agency is a deeply dysfunctional agency. Damning reports by Alberta's Auditor General, Public Interest Commissioner, and Ethics Commissioner centered on the creation and operation of the now-defunct International Center for Regulatory Excellence, or ICORE. According to the audits, the AER wrongfully used its resources to establish ICORE outside it's mandate, while it's former CEO, Jim Ellis, displayed "reckless and willful disregard" for the proper management of public funds.

Now, here to discuss these revelations with us is Regan Boychuck. Regan was appointed to the Oil Sands Expert Group, advising the Alberta government's 2015 royalty review. He is the Co-Founder of Reclaim Alberta, an organization raising awareness and advancing solutions of meeting the enormous challenge of unfunded oil field liabilities in Alberta. He joins us today from Calgary. Thanks for coming back on to the Real News, Regan.

Regan Boychuck: Thanks for having me.

Dimitri L.: So, Regan, let's start with the basic findings of these investigations. Please unpack for our viewers what the investigations revealed?

Regan Boychuck: Well, it really was quite an unusual situation, where three separate investigations took place. First, by the Public Interest Commissioner, then the Auditor General, and then later, the Ethics Commissioner. What they were looking into was mischief by the former President of the Alberta Energy Regulator, who resigned or stepped down last year. It was quite unusual to have so many separate investigations going on at the same time, it revealed a lot of detail.

The three reports boil down to a number of findings. Specifically regarding to the Ellis Affair, but I think they're quite emblematic of the regulator as a whole. What these investigations found is, first of all, that the regulator fails to follow legislation, that it fails to follow its own policy, that there's insufficient supervision by the board. The Auditor General also found that the AER operates under a culture of fear, where whistle blowers' protection run clear, and you have to be legislated. Underlings at the regulator are quite hesitant to speak up when the culture at the top, from Ellis on down, is reflected in the sort of shenanigans we saw with ICORE.

Dimitri L.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Now, Jim Ellis, the former President and CEO of AER, and President of ICORE, former President, has of course resigned. It does not appear that any further action will be taken against him, even though the AER has lost an estimated $2.3 million as a result of this misconduct. Do you believe that further action should be taken against Mr. Ellis? If so, what should be done?

Regan Boychuck: Well, I mean, obviously. I don't think if I wasted millions of dollars of money that the government was responsible for that I would expect much more than Ellis has, when he's living out of province, which protects him in a lot of ways. He's been unreachable for months. I think there's something to be said for making a more serious example of the repercussions of what he did.

I think there's also much bigger issues left in the regulator, that he helped shape and set the culture for. I think that's where the vast majority of our efforts should focus.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 1   Funny 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Dimitri Lascaris Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist and activist.

After graduating from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, Dimitri began his legal career at the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, first working from (more...)
 

Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Democratic Party Remains a Party of War, Not Peace

Roger Waters: Militarism is Exacerbating the Climate Crisis

Is Canada's Green Party Leadership Opposed To American Imperialism?

"Speech-Police" Block Yves Engler and Me From Attending A Speech By Justin Trudeau

Documentary "Blowout" Follows Climate Cost of Oil Boom from Fracking to Exports

Is Canada's Government A Partner In America's Crimes?

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
          

Comment Here:   


You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 

Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments  Post Comment


shad williams

Become a Fan
Author 63282
(Member since Apr 13, 2011), 24 fans, 65 articles, 11 quicklinks, 3166 comments, 2 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

I notice that the policy makers are absent from criticism. After all it is their legislation that is being ignored by the regulators. Apparently the owners of the government can have the regulators take the fall for misfeasance and corruption while their other tools, the politician legislators can live another day to watch the transfer of the commons to the elites.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 2, 2019 at 8:36:55 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment