"The Best Premier Oil Money Can Buy"

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Greenpeace activists interrupt a fundraising dinner to expose Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s real role

Edmonton, Canada — On April 24, 2008, Greenpeace Canada activists delivered a clear message to Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, dropping from the ceiling above the annual Edmonton Premier’s Dinner as he was delivering his fundraising speech, unveiling a banner as they descended that read: “$telmach: The Best Premier Oil Money Can Buy.”

Two climbers dangled from the catwalk, distracting the over 1000 supporters of the Alberta Conservative party, who each paid $450 to listen to Premier Stelmach speak at the dinner, held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton. The Greenpeace protest disrupted the activity as the audience turned their attention to the activists and the hanging banner while Tory staff hurried to deal with the unexpected message.

“This government has approved every tar sands proposal that has come across its desk, last year the Premier appointed Suncor VP Heather Kennedy as deputy minister of tar sands development and his former Campaign manager Randy Dawson has been hired as a nuclear power lobbyist by Bruce Power. If this doesn’t speak to lapdog politics, I don’t know what does,” said Mike Hudema, tar sands campaigner with Greenpeace. “There hasn’t been a single tar sands project that has been rejected. It appears the Premier is either unwilling or unable to say no to big oil, despite the massive costs to Albertans.”

Recent Greenpeace polls have shown that Albertans are particularly concerned with the amount of water the tar sands are using, and if development continues as planned, it is set to suck up more water than the entire city of Toronto uses in one year.

“The Athabasca, Peace and Slave rivers have lost nearly half their water and for the next 50 years Western Canada will continue to face diminishing water supplies,” continued Hudema. “While the profits are shipped across the border, Albertans are left to clean up the mess.”

Greenpeace climbers Denise Ogonoski and Steve Anderson, both Edmonton natives, were arrested, along with tar sands campaigner Mike Hudema, for trespassing. They were released on the scene.