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Alberta premier visits U.S. capital to talk North American energy security

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Washington – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is in Washington in an effort to convince Capitol Hill lawmakers that his province is their best bet for North American energy security.

Kenney is meeting with journalists today in advance of his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

That hearing, to explore the “energy and minerals” partnership between Canada and the U.S., will also feature virtual testimony from Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

Nathalie Camden, Quebec’s deputy minister of mines, and Electricity Canada president Francis Bradley are also scheduled to testify.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon are part of Kenney’s delegation.

Tuesday’s hearing comes at the invitation of the committee’s chairman, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — a moderate Democrat and a critical swing vote in the evenly divided Senate — who paid a high-profile visit to Alberta last month.

Kenney has long been a vocal champion of the role Alberta plays as a reliable and trustworthy source of energy to the U.S., a message he believes resonates even more since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

And Manchin has proven a valuable ally, as a vocal critic of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Day 1 decision to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion between Alberta’s oilsands and refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is something we should have never abandoned. Now we wish we hadn’t,” Manchin said during his visit.

The White House, meanwhile, has repeatedly rejected the idea that allowing the project to go ahead would have eased the pressure on gasoline prices in the U.S., which have spiked due to rampant inflation and widespread international bans on the import of Russian energy.

But Kenney’s visit this week may have as much to do with turbulent domestic politics in Alberta as with the shifting global geopolitical landscape.

Kenney returns home Wednesday, when he will learn the results of a United Conservative Party vote on whether he should continue as leader and premier.

Just last week, he rejected “unequivocally, period, full stop” the idea of calling an election a full year ahead of schedule in hopes of restoring a measure of party unity and maintaining his grip on power.

The governing party has been roiled by bitter infighting in recent months, including public criticism of Kenney from within his own caucus, that will culminate Wednesday in the results of the leadership review.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

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Alberta

Elks down Tiger-Cats 29-25 for first win of CFL season

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HAMILTON — Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.

The Edmonton Elks quarterback got a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.

The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.

“To come back to Hamilton and have all my family watching me get that first start and that first win has been fantastic,” Ford said.

Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach from A.N. Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former university teammates and more friends.

Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed by 13 points early in the second half.

But the 2021 winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy winner that goes to the most outstanding Canadian university football player threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.

The winning play for the Elks (1-3) arrived with 1:38 remaining when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball loose.

Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.

“I saw him tackle him and thought, ‘please punch the ball out,” Collins said. “All we needed was an opportunity to close the game out. We were fighting all night. It was ugly.”

The winless Tiger-Cats opened a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017 when they started 0-8.

“I want to apologize to all the guys. I put both home losses on me,” Evans said. “I just have to take care of it, and we win the game.”

Evans was 20-for-31 in passing for 197 yards and a touchdown throw. He was intercepted twice.

Ford’s numbers didn’t sparkle, although he did rush for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old competed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.

Edmonton’s defence helped out with interceptions by Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the pivotal late-game recovered fumble by Collins.

“A big shout out to the defence,” Ford said. “They won us that game. They made what, three or four turnovers? They did super well.

“I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we did win. But I’m going to hit the film room to see what I can critique and where I can get better.”

Hamilton went after the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.

“My legs are going to open things up for my arm,” Ford said.

Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.

“He’s been like that since day one, even though we’re competitors for the position,” Ford said.

He admitted to early jitters as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.

“I always get nervous for the first play of every game,” Ford said. “I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and that I want to win.”

Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike, and Lawrence Woods returned a kickoff of 72 yards for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.

Edmonton’s Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard plunge.

Elks kicker Sergio Castillo made two of his three field-goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala nailed his three and gave the Ticats at lead with a 33-yarder with 3:10 remaining in the game

“We’re not good enough right now,” Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “We’re not executing at the level which needs to happen. We’re just not making those plays we need to make.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

 

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Alberta

Calgary Stampede receives $10M from federal government to aid recovery from pandemic

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Calgary – The Calgary Stampede has received more than $10 million from the federal government to help it bounce back after last year’s event was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report to the city this week showed the Stampede had an operating loss of $8.3 million in 2021.

Last year’s Stampede ran at half capacity because of COVID-19 public health measures and was cancelled all-together the year before.

Daniel Vandal, the federal minister for Prairies Economic Development Canada, says the money aims to support a full-scale Stampede to deliver the “authentic western experience” this year.

He says it would also help to reignite Alberta’s visitor economy.

The 2022 Stampede is set to run from July 8 to 17.

“Festivals large and small were hard hit during the pandemic,” Vandal said in a news release. “They are events where families and friends come together and take in the exciting atmosphere.

“The tourism industry is facing a strong comeback providing quality jobs across the country, showcasing stunning landscapes and offering exciting experiences right here in Alberta.”

The federal government also provided about $1.8 million for four other tourism projects in southern Alberta: Charmed Resorts, Cochrane Tourism Association, Heritage Park and Tourism Calgary.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.

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