2011 Resource Person of The Year
Following in the tradition of integrity and excellence laid down by Hubert Somerville, pioneer Alberta Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals (and ACR President, 1976 – 77), Peter Watson has carved out a career of wide-ranging import and impact.
His formal commitment to public service began at Alberta Environment in 1983 where he worked as a water rights engineer and then progressed through several different management positions within the department. He was the Director of Regional Services in Southern Alberta responsible for delivery of approvals, compliance, environmental planning programs, as well as the operation of water management infrastructure. He subsequently worked his way up to Assistant Deputy Minister of Environmental Assurance.
In this role, he led the development of Water for Life: Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability as well as the development of Canada’s first electronics recycling program. The Water For Life strategy draws significantly on Peter’s characteristic preference for progress through partnership and investment in knowledge and research. The strategy has had a profound effect on how water policy and management decisions are made in Alberta.
Peter also co-chaired the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment. In 2005, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Alberta Environment.
Stepping directly into Mr. Somerville’s shoes, Peter was appointed Deputy Minister of Alberta Energy in 2008. There, he led the development of Alberta’s Provincial Energy Strategy, a comprehensive plan for Alberta’s energy future that envisions clean energy production through technological leadership, wise energy use, and sustained economic prosperity built, among other things, on the innovative and optimized recovery of Alberta’s resources.
Peter has also advanced Alberta’s Carbon Capture and Storage initiatives and the use of Crown bitumen for strategic value-added purposes, and has focused on improving Alberta’s competitive position for oil and gas investment and development. This includes initiatives recommended by the Regulatory Enhancement Task Force which was formed in the wake of a competitiveness review of the conventional oil and natural gas sectors. Mr. Watson has been uniquely diligent and forthright over the years in keeping ACR abreast of this and other issues of relevance and interest to members, most recently with a presentation at its 75th annual general meeting: “Alberta and Industry Partnerships Lead the Way.”
Peter was named Deputy Minister of Alberta Executive Council on October 11, 2011 by Premier Alison Redford. Executive Council supports the Premier and members of Cabinet in strategic and business planning and policy coordination, and provides leadership to the Alberta Public Service.
Peter is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta. He is also an active community volunteer, and has led many United Way campaigns for provincial government employees. Peter and his wife, Evelyn, have two sons.