From the Province of Alberta
Alberta supports opioid class action lawsuit
Alberta will participate in the proposed class action, filed in B.C., to recoup costs of opioids from opioid manufacturers and distributors.
The action is brought on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies that have paid health-care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids from 1996 to the present.
In 2018, there were almost 800 fatal opioid-related overdoses and 4,200 calls to emergency services in Alberta.
“Responding to opioid overdoses has taken a tremendous toll on our families and communities, as well as adding to the demands on our health system. Our government will do our part to hold to account those who bear some responsibility for the wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths we’re seeing.”
“Albertans have paid a high price for the irresponsible actions of opioid manufacturers and distributors. While we cannot bring back those we have lost, we can recover some of the enormous financial costs Albertans have paid and continue to pay. And we’ll take a balanced approach going forward, including more access to treatment and recovery services for people with addiction.”
“Our government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe, secure and protected. All Albertans have seen the terrible toll that opioid addiction has inflicted on our province and the individuals and families who suffer from the misery they create. Alberta will support the proposed national class action to hold manufacturers and distributors of opioids accountable for their role in the ongoing addiction crisis in Alberta and across Canada.”
Alberta’s action on opioids
The Alberta government is working to improve access to treatment and recovery services for Albertans dealing with addiction and their loved ones. These actions include:
- Committing $140 million to improving mental health and addiction care in the province, including $40 million specifically for opioid response.
- Creating 4,000 more publicly funded treatment spaces so more Albertans can access life-saving addiction treatment.
The Alberta government is developing legislation similar to B.C.’s Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, which allows that province to recover health-care costs on an aggregate, rather than an individual, basis using population-based evidence.
Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn
Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future
From the Canadian Energy Centre
By Cody Ciona
‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’
A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar.
Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production.
“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said.
“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.”
Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty.
Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines.
The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said.
“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said.
“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.”
Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction.
“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said.
“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.”
Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses
Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014.
For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway.
“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said.
“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.”
Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget
From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Albertans need income tax relief now
Author: Kris Sims
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.
“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”
The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.
During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.
The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.
The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.
By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.
In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.
In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.
“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.
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