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Government responsible for safeguarding public assets

Editor, The Record:

Re: Ruskin decommissioned?, April 14 edition.

I was shocked to read Energy Minister Rich Coleman's statements of rearranging public water sources used in energy creation to eventually obtain more taxes through a smart grid.

This is totally out of step with the population, who value their publicly owned water supplies used currently for energy production, and would rather have them protected for the future. No doubt the Ruskin Dam needs various upgrades, including earthquake proofing, and I had the idea it was being done. However, as with many public facilities, it seems government lets upgrading and required repairs be ignored until the situation is crucial, and then there is wringing of hands and whining about the cost to fix years of inattention. Even letting the resource lapse entirely was mentioned with regard to the Ruskin area, as well as lowering the level of Hayward Lake.

It would be more productive for government to look at new, proven ideas which will create energy safely and not destroy the irreplaceable natural environments and water areas we still have. There is much low-cost energy available if it would be harnessed. Is government not aware, or not motivated to move in that direction?

It is also disconcerting that our large government structure, with its many ministers, staff, locations, etc., is very expensive. What is the cost — province by province — spent on all the salaries, benefits, penions, expense accounts, buildings, etc. for which the taxpayer pays? At least we could take comfort if we knew our public assets were being handled by government and protected from private intrusion.

On the other hand, if government is sliding more toward letting private corporations do the planning, building and operation of public facilities, then a significant cost could be saved for citizens by merely reducing the vast numbers of officials, staff and ministers across the country, who will no longer be required to do those tasks.

Our government has a responsibility to protect public assets and to be directly involved in the planning, creation and upgrading of vital facilities for the benefit of all who live and work in this land now and in future.

Lila Rauh