Alberta energy minister cancels visit to disgust of CanWEA conference organisers

Conference organiser Sue Aris called it "ironic and a little pathetic" that Alberta Energy Minister Murray Smith cancelled his opening address to CanWEA delegates to instead present a plan for consumer natural gas price rebates to his cabinet colleagues.

"It would have been an amazing opportunity for this government to catch up to the industry itself, to the fossil fuel companies that have been such an integral part of this conference, and to the grassroots," she said. "We had over 600 people from the community at the trade show on Friday. The people understand, industry understands. It is really, really unfortunate that the government hasn't got it yet."

The minister's spokesman, Gordon Vincent, said Smith was disappointed about the unforeseen schedule change and is "totally psyched" about the opportunities and potential for wind in Alberta. In fact, on the same day Smith actually announced the rebate plan, he attended the opening of the 75 MW McBride Lake Wind Farm, where he said the province's competitive market is the reason why, right now, Alberta leads the country in wind development. "It is being done by investors, by people with vision, by people who want to pay attention to the bottom line, by people who want to add value to their shareholders and value to a community and to a province."