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Walking in Willmore: Ray Rasmussen’s Martha Kostuch Annual Lecture

November 18, 2016

June 2017 Wildlands Advocate article, by Ian Urquhart

I first met Ray Rasmussen in 1988 nearly 30 years before he gave the annual Martha Kostuch lecture last November. Ray was invited to speak about public participation and environmental decision making in Alberta. Ray spoke plainly and clearly about how values such as trust and respect were crucial prerequisites for effective public participation in Alberta. He also wasn’t afraid to say those values were absent from the decisions that the Hon. Ken Kowalski, the keynote speaker, had made as Alberta’s environment minister. Some of you will remember the controversy over the construction of the Oldman River dam and the unyielding opposition Dr. Martha Kostuch and others had to-wards the project. Kowalski was outraged that Martha’s Friends of the Oldman River were going to mount a court challenge of his approval of the Dam. That view led the Minister to charge that Martha and her ilk were nothing more than dope smoking social anarchists. The conference was worth attending just to hear Ray tell the Minister how wrongheaded his approach to environmental decision making was.

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We have spectacular wilderness in Alberta, much of it under some form of protection. Every square millimetre of it has had to be fought for - will always have to be fought for, forever and ever. The struggle to retain and repair wilderness is conducted not just by a few individuals, but by large numbers of committed people, from all walks of life, all working in various ways toward the same end. We need to be grateful to all of them.
- Dave Mayhood
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