Just An Observation: Alberta will soon fall to the back of the pack again

A focus on energy will take away from the efficiency gains made in the province

A report I read recently initially prompted me to think positively about the direction Alberta’s energy was heading.

Unfortunately, that feeling quickly disappeared when I delved into the report on energy efficiency policy across the country conducted by Efficiency Canada and Carleton University. It focused on how well provinces were doing on putting measures in place to help achieve better use of the energy we have.

For the record, the first-ever Canadian Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranked the 10 provinces based on criteria (from data obtained in 2017) including energy efficiency programs, enabling policies, buildings, transportation and industry with a total of 100 points available.

B.C. lead the way followed by Ont., Que., Nova Scotia and Manitoba rounding out the top five.

Alberta ended up sixth, while Saskatchewan was ranked ninth just ahead of Newfoundland and Labrador.

How did this province wind up in the middle of the pack?

Easy, programs established in late 2016 designed to help conserve electricity boosted Alberta’s energy savings in 2017 (0.8 per cent of domestic sales) to more than that of the more established programs in B.C. (0.7 per cent) and just less than Manitoba (0.9 per cent) — both provinces which derive the majority of their power through hydro-electric dams.

Other positives noted were clean energy upgrade financing and green loan guarantees for industry.

However, the uncertainty most recently created — axing the carbon levy, eliminating all efficiency programs, focusing on big energy companies — kept the province from achieving a better result and may well leave Alberta behind everyone else, instead of leading like has been heard from government.

Now, trying to save money on energy is being left up to individuals, many of whom have lost or will be losing their jobs because of the cuts being imposed and the still failing economic conditions.

So, any money that people could have saved to spend on other things will either now not be spent at all or will go to corporations to pay for energy usage.

Clearly, there are some priorities that need to change to give people more money in their pockets, instead of to some corporate shareholder.

Got food?

Having to deal with dietary restrictions all of my life, and then more dramatic changes in more recent years, it seems to me that it is getting more difficult to find adequate choices.

It is especially so when one goes out to a restaurant.

Okay, sure there are choices galore out there these days — vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, organic, keto, raw, diabetic, etc.

However, when you are constantly having to substitute or look like a picky eater or simply take forever reading the menu to find something other than “your usual” to eat, it can make going out to eat sometimes more of a chore than the enjoyable time it should be.

Tack on the fact there are limited options if you can’t or aren’t willing to drive a significant distance, then one can easily be stuck in a “food rut” — eating the same thing over and over and over again.

Not that I mind consuming my “usual” thing, but every once in a while it’s nice to be able to try something new or step out of the comfort zone.

Yet, even when I’m in areas that have a greater selection of eating establishments, the menus almost always contain the same old items that are seen everywhere. It’s only when you get off the beaten path or challenge the tastebuds with a — let’s say — more unique cuisine that “different” is the only option.

Although, that path can sometimes wind up leaving a less than desirable taste in the mouth.

Then again, I’ve had the opportunity to explore some distinctive cuisines and found I quite fancied at least some dishes on the menu.

Now while I continue to be that “meat and potatoes” type — which I equate to my Irish and First Nations ancestry — I’ve grown extremely fond of various Greek dishes, Mexican creations, some Asian inspirations, several Ukrainian recipes and the odd Indian and French foods.

Guess I’ve come a long way from the days when I’d only eat bread with a glass of water because I didn’t want to mess with any of my food allergies.

But that is…just an observation.

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