The Alberta government has promised consultations on coal mining along the province’s Eastern Slopes, including the Crowsnest Pass region and its famous 600- to 750-year-old Burmis Tree. However, those who oppose expanded coal development argue the government has misled the public about the consultation plan’s true goals.  | Mike Sturk photo

Alberta’s coal policy review is flawed

There’s one sure-fire way to anger Albertans – promise us one thing and then renege on the promise. In the midst of the rage over an extremely ill-considered plan to throw open the Eastern Slopes for coal mining, we were promised an independent process to provide advice to government on the future of coal. From […] Read more

The writer argues that the provincial government has seriously misjudged the sentiments of Albertans and their deep-seated appreciation of the Eastern Slopes. | Mike Sturk photo

Albertans revere the Eastern Slopes

On an early 1970s university field trip to the coal strip mines of British Columbia’s Elk Valley, a small group of us listened in disbelief to a mining engineer’s description of how they were levelling one of the mountains. Somewhat in shock at this cavalier attitude, we asked if this was wise, environmentally, ethically and […] Read more

The author decries what he calls an erosion of environmental protections in Alberta in the name of recovering from the pandemic.  |  Reuters/Todd Korol photo

Resource decisions made in a crisis

“Never waste an opportunity offered by a good crisis.” Machiavelli, the author of The Prince (1532), seen as a reference for unscrupulous politicians, appears to be the go-to guide for the Alberta premier. Jason Kenney and his cabinet must also be reading Naomi Klein’s book, The Shock Doctrine for ideas. She describes the use of […] Read more


The author argues that the province’s plans for the Bighorn area are not unfairly singling out off-highway vehicle users.  |  File photo

Sky not falling over Alberta park plan

I’m an Albertan, one who grew up playing and working in the Bighorn, an area between Jasper and Banff national parks. I’ve watched the proliferation of land uses grow to the point that the cumulative effect threatens all that the Bighorn epitomizes. All landscapes have limits and we have either reached critical thresholds in the […] Read more

The author rejects the argument that Alberta conservation groups pushing for off-highway vehicle restrictions are part of a secret conspiracy to ban everyone from the province’s eastern slopes.  |  File photo

OHV conspiracies muddy the debate

Aldo Leopold, the dean of ecological thinking, observed that when his bird dog, Gus, could find no pheasants to point, it would point to other birds, like meadowlarks, with a whipped-up zeal for unsatisfactory substitutes. Some vocal members of the Alberta Off Highway Vehicle Association (AOHVA) are acting like Gus. When they can’t mount a […] Read more


Draft plans for the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills region are a considerable improvement over how the area has previously been managed.  |  File photo

Alta. land use plan called a good step

A cynic might observe that we plan more but accomplish less, or, as Woody Allen commented, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Yet, a goal without a plan is just a wish so, if we want our public lands to conserve water, protect fish and wildlife, provide space for […] Read more

Does prairie prevail over politics, potatoes?

Many Albertans are applauding premier Alison Redford’s recent decision to shelve a controversial land sale in southern Alberta. Had it happened, 16,000 acres of public land near the confluence of the Bow and Oldman rivers would have been converted from native grasslands to potato fields. The decision suggests a new broom has swept into town. […] Read more