Ed Stelmach's refusal to act on the key issues of exporting bitumen and slowing the pace of development in the oil sands proves Tories have no real plan for managing the engine of Alberta...

If Albertans want to see what a real plan for the oil sands look like, AFL invites them to attend Black Gold, Clear Vision forums

Whether it's because he's been paralyzed by fear or ideology, Premier Ed Stelmach has failed to articulate a clear vision or strategy for managing the new engine of the Alberta economy - the oil sands.

But just because Stelmach and the Conservatives don't have a plan doesn't mean that options for a workable strategy don't exist. With that in mind, the Alberta Federation of Labour will unveil its own oil sands policy - called the "Black Gold, Clear Vision" framework - starting tomorrow at public forums around the province.

"The Stelmach government's do-nothing approach to the oil sands is failing Albertans," says AFL president Gil McGowan. "That's why we've gone to the effort of writing our own policy framework. We want to show our political leaders that it can be done - and that, in fact, it needs to be done."

"We've listened to the public and borrowed ideas from people like former Premier Peter Lougheed," adds McGowan. "This is the kind of work the government could and should have been doing itself. Frankly, this is our challenge to Ed Stelmach and his colleagues to get off their back-sides."

The AFL oil sands forums will be held in the following locations:

Fort McMurray - Wood Buffalo
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (first session), Wednesday, February 27th

9:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (second session)
• Tamarack Room, Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre, 530 MacKenzie Boulevard, Fort McMurray

West Yellowhead
7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 28th
• Baraka Room, Holiday Inn, 393 Gregg Avenue, Hinton

7:30 p.m., Friday, February 29th
• Salon A, Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe, 10111 Bellamy Hill, Edmonton

7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 1st
• Grand Ball Room, Ramada Hotel Downtown, 708 - 8th Avenue SW, Calgary

The AFL forums are open to the public, the media and candidates from all parties. The "Black Gold, Clear Vision" framework document will be officially released tomorrow and copies will be available at all the forums.

"I'd love to see the Premier at one of our events," concludes McGowan. "Then he could explain why doing nothing is the right strategy for the oil sands."

The Alberta Federation of Labour is an organization of 29 public and private sector unions representing 140,000 working Albertans. The "Black Gold, Clear Vision" forums are part of the Federation's "Show Us the Plan" election campaign aimed at encouraging Albertans to demand more from their politicians.

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For more information contact:

Gil McGowan, AFL President @ 780.483-3021 (office) or 780.218-9888 (cell)

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