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Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he won’t run in upcoming party leadership race

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quashed speculation on his immediate political future on Saturday when he explicitly stated he would not be running in the race to pick a new leader for his United Conservative party.

“No,” Kenney said when asked the question by the host of his call-in, provincewide radio show on CHQR and CHED on Saturday.

“If that was the case I would have stepped down as leader earlier this week.

“I’m focused on continuity and stability, doing the people’s business.”

It was the first time Kenney took questions surrounding his surprise decision earlier this week to step down despite narrowly winning a party leadership review.

He explored a range of topics, discussing his future, what went right, what went wrong, and questioning the system where he and his party won a massive majority in the 2019 election only to have him effectively forced out by 16,000 in his party leadership review.

“It’s peculiar to me because everywhere I go, I get expressions of support … but from my perspective it’s unfortunate that all that support did not translate into people buying memberships and voting in the party process,” said Kenney.

“In the future we’re going to have to consider these things, how you get an electoral mandate of over a million votes and 16,000 people can essentially upend that. But that’s the process that we have, and I have to respect it.”

Kenney captured just 51 per cent of the vote in the mail-in ballot of more than 34,000 party members. That was enough to technically stay in the job – a leadership race had to be called if he didn’t get a majority – but he said it was not enough and the result would be more division and acrimony in the party.

The premier told listeners the result, announced Wednesday night, surprised him but said he’s at peace with it.

“When I was given the number by the party president on the phone just about a half hour before I went on stage I was admittedly surprised because the number did not correspond to what I’d been hearing all around the province,” he said.

“The first thought that went through my mind was a little bit of relief. I’d been in elected life for 25 years and it was never my expectation to be in this job for a long time.

“The first thing I thought is, ‘Wow, I can do some personal things I’ve had on hold for many years.’”

The UCP board is now meeting to decide the details and timelines of the race.

Kenney said he would stay on as leader in the meantime to complete what he has started, including growing and diversifying the economy and reducing wait lists in health care by having more publicly subsidized surgeries done in privately run clinics.

“I’d like to be able to hand off to the newly elected leader a worksheet that’s largely done, so they can start with a fresh slate,” he said.

Reflecting on what did him in, Kenney said he likely wasn’t hard enough on bringing to heel those in his caucus openly opposing him. And he said his decision last fall to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates after promising he never would was likely the mortal wound.

But he said if he hadn’t ordered the mandates, hospitals would have been swamped and there would have been even more deaths, tragedy and misery.

“I knew at the time that that (decision) might be the end of my political career, but I did it with a clear conscience and I would do it again,” he said.

Kenney said he won’t endorse a candidate to replace him, adding  any cabinet minister who wants to run will have to step down from their government post.

He said at 53 he is too young to retire and isn’t sure what’s next but said there are other projects he wants to pursue.

He said he wants to read more books, connect with friends, get in shape, study another language, and finish his college degree.

He added: “When I leave as premier, I will leave with my head held high with what we’ve done together as a team.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2022.

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Alberta

Alberta extends electricity rebate program until December at a cost of about $600M

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Edmonton – The Alberta government says it will extend its electricity rebates until the end of the year as the cost of living continues to rise.

Dale Nally, who’s the associate minister of natural gas and electricity, says the United Conservative government is doubling the rebate to help reduce the financial burden on Albertans.

The government says the electricity rebate program will now offer about $600 million in relief through 2022.

It says the program will provide nearly two million homes, farms and small businesses with a monthly $50 bill credit each month from July until December.

The government says it will also provide a natural gas rebate to millions of Albertans starting in October, which will continue until March 2023 if prices remain high.

Last week, Finance Minister Jason Nixon announced a $3.9-billion surplus for the 2021-22 fiscal year ending March 31.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.

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Alberta

Telus Corp. marks opening of Telus Sky in downtown Calgary

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CALGARY — Telus Corp. marked the opening of its new 60-storey Calgary headquarters on Wednesday.

The new $400-million skyscraper, Telus Sky, has been in development for nine years and is now the third-tallest building in downtown Calgary. It features 750,000 square feet of office and retail space as well as 326 rental homes.

The building’s eye-catching design, by architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Dialog, along with developer partner Westbank and Allied, starts with a rectangular floorplate and then gradually twists as it rises.

Integrated into the facade of Telus Sky is Canada’s largest public art display. “Northern Lights” by Canadian author and artist, Douglas Coupland, creates a light show across the building’s exterior.

Telus Sky will be home to more than 1,600 Telus employees. It joins TELUS Garden in Vancouver, TELUS Harbour Toronto, TELUS House Ottawa, and Place TELUS Québec as one of the company’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified buildings.

Among the building’s environmental features is a storm water management system that recycles rainwater for use in washroom toilets, reducing the building’s municipal water demand by 70 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:T)

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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