Wikileaks offers insight on Alberta power lines

Provincial officials were promoting electricity exports in 2003

The province has long insisted its controversial $14 billion taxpayer-funded power line project is needed to meet Alberta’s future power needs — not to export electricity to the U.S. as many opponents contend.

But a recently released U.S. embassy diplomatic cable via Wikileaks provides damning evidence the Alberta government was promoting the latter to U.S. officials as far back as 2003.

The diplomatic cable written by former U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci details discussions between U.S. government officials Alberta politicians and oil industry representatives.

Cellucci writes that Alberta’s former Energy Minister Murray Smith “and others” want the U.S. government to be “aware that over time there will be tremendous electricity co-generation available as a result of the huge thermal needs of the oil sands refining process.”

“This could over time make significant new electricity exports available to the United States.”

The diplomatic cable also reveals Alberta’s provincial ministers and energy sector executives “broadly” supported “U.S. goals in Iraq” and resented former federal Natural Resource Minister Herb Dhaliwal’s assertion that former U.S. President George Bush was a “failed statesman.”