We welcome Readers’ Forum letters of interest to the professions. Send them to George Lee, glee@apegga.org. Keep them to 300 words or less. Letters represent the opinions and not necessarily the expertise of writers. The PEGG reserves the right to edit or reject any letter.

All Citizens Have the Right
To Publicly Express Opinions

Re: Disciplinary decision regarding published opinion.

Either the unnamed E.I.T. was censured for making ill-considered comments in a letter to the editor, in combination with implied authority as an “engineer,” or APEGGA members must now think twice before expressing their personal opinions in public, on public issues.

 We are APEGGA members. But we are also citizens, voters and taxpayers. It is our right to express opinions as such, while exercising care to separate our private opinions from our duties as engineers, geologists and geophysicists.

Had the E.I.T. signed the letter with name only, leaving out domain of work or professional designation, would the Association still have had a problem with it?

 I hope not, but I fear some members believe the Association would have.

Andrew Bizon, P.Eng.


Global Commodity Demands Global Sourcing

Re: Practice Review Board inquiry and report on outsourcing.

Outsourcing will continue to increase as the economic incentive is in play for doing this. Engineering and engineered items are a global commodity. All companies source engineering worldwide to get the best combination of price, performance and quality.

 The danger is that price becomes a deciding factor in many cases.

 My question is this: in the next downsizing, when price becomes the number one factor, which source of engineering do you think will be the first to go? The $100-per-hour Alberta engineer or the $20-per-hour foreign one?

We live in a globalized world. Thanks to communications, engineering data and documents can be built up anywhere, in collaboration with many locales. This is good.

What is not so good will be the instance when pricing pressures, which are constant, degrade the APEGGA role further and the engineers’ choice of residing in Alberta will no longer be of any advantage.

 Why not move to Bali and work from there? There is nothing wrong with that.

Adam Mateyko, P.Eng.


Book Review Passes Muster

Re: Letters Chronicle Later Years of Karl Clark’s Work, Readings, The PEGG, June 2006.

Would you be good enough to pass on my congratulations and thanks for the review of my book, Athabasca Oil Sands — From Laboratory to Production. I think the writer has done an excellent job of picking out what to say, striking the right note and in a very skillful way.

Best wishes for your future successes.

Mary Clark Sheppard


Environmental Record Underlines Rejection

Re: APEGGA’s letter supporting Gwyn Morgan, P.Eng.

Mr. Morgan should have been rejected not simply because of his publicly stated comments about races or his history as a strong supporter of the Conservative party. I am most disturbed by his environmental record.

Mr. Morgan’s handling of Weibo Ludwig’s complaints is part of the lead up to the now infamous and extremely rash sabotage. Mr. Morgan assisted the RCMP in setting up the police sting involving the bombing of a well facility that terrified the local community beyond the level it was already.

Mr. Morgan’s investments in heavy oil and a transnational pipeline in Ecuador continue to make headlines. And Mr. Morgan’s dealings with the residents of northwestern Colorado have also made headlines. His approach to drilling earned his company the highest fine ever awarded to an oil and gas company in that state.

Mr. Morgan told the Globe and Mail in 2005 that his industry’s track record was “very good.” He said that studies showed no lasting environmental harm was done. It’s an opinion not shared by Duke Cox, president of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance in Garfield County, Colo.

Mr. Morgan’s anti-Kyoto views are also well known. In a 2004 speech to petroleum engineers, he warned of “sound-bite, junk science precipitating ill-informed public opinion” and against making “decisions because of political expediency.” These are not the types of public comment one expects from a person aspiring to work in and for the public interest.

How would government make the best decisions on behalf of the Canadian public on this and many other ecological issues if one of its own appointees had such polarized opinions?

APEGGA exists to serve the public interest through the exercise of our professional disciplines, not to show bias on partisan government. This is doubly true when the President of the Association expresses an opinion as that of the entire membership.

David J. Parker, P.Eng.