Keeping the Pressure on Bill 1

As many of you will be aware, the AEN is a facilitative organization that provides support to the work of Alberta-based environmental organizations. This is accomplished by coordinating cooperative efforts through coalitions and caucuses; facilitating consultations with governments and agencies at the municipal, provincial, national and international levels; providing training opportunities; and by maintaining internet-based communications systems.

As a facilitative organization, the AEN does not take positions on substantive issues (as this is the role of our member groups, caucuses, and coalitions). However, Bill 1: The Lobbyists Act threatens to undermine a fundamental purpose of the AEN by compromising our memberships' ability to participate in stakeholder processes. Consequently, the AEN board views this as a process-related issue requiring action.

To date, the AEN has undertaken the following in response to the Lobbyists Act:

  1. endorsed and distributed the analyses of the Muttart Foundation, Volunteer Alberta, and the Environmental Law Centre;
  2. prepared and presented its own brief to the Standing Committee on Government Services;
  3. presented Bill 1 concerns to government personnel in the Alberta Environment, and Alberta Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development;
  4. scheduled a meeting with Alberta Environment (AENV) Deputy Minister regarding the anticipated impacts of Bill 1 on the long-standing relationship between AENV and ENGOs; and
  5. distributed action alerts of individual member groups on Bill 1 over the AEN mailing list.

Feedback to date on these actions indicates that continued effort is required.

AEN supports the following change(s) to Bill 1: The Lobbyists Act to protect and preserve the interests of our members.

  • Alberta's voluntary, public-interest organizations should be exempted from Bill 1: The Lobbyists Act; and/or
  • Stakeholder support agreements and honoraria provided to Alberta's voluntary, public-interest organizations should be exempted from Bill 1's prohibitions under Section 6.

If Bill 1: The Lobbyists Act passes as it is currently written, resource-strapped voluntary organizations with a long history of providing constructive input into the development of environmental policy in Alberta will be forced to choose between the advocacy work that they exist for, and the stakeholder support and honoraria that recognizes the costs to them of providing this input.

Action Request

All AEN members are requested to do one, or both of the following:

Write, fax, e-mail, or call Premier Stelmach's office and your MLA asking for the changes to Bill 1 above, (please let us know at [email protected] if you take this action):

And/or sign on to an AEN call for the changes above which will be issued to the government immediately prior to the November opening of the Legislature. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] and let us know if you or your organization will sign-on.

On behalf of the AEN Board,
Myles Kitagawa
Co-manager, AEN