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Alberta

Alberta Votes 2019: The week so far- jobs, oil and gas and cracking down on crime

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Alberta’s political parties are in full-on campaign mode as Election Day approaches on April 16th. Each day the parties release information about their policies and platforms, candidate information and reactions to the day’s news. It can be difficult to try and keep up with it all, so from now until the election we’ll regularly compile information released by the parties and present the main points here.

For more information, click on party names to visit campaign websites.

(Parties listed in alphabetical order)

Alberta Party 

Alberta Party announces plans to invest in new technology material sciences and bitumen pucks and create jobs from Alberta’s oil and gas resources.

“As Wayne Gretzky once said, you have to skate to where the puck is going. Passively sitting around and hoping the market works is yesterday’s approach. We need to aggressively get in the game and make big moves to generate more refining and petrochemical processing here in Alberta.”

Stephen Mandel – Leader of the Alberta Party

An Alberta Party government will energize the development of refining and petrochemical processing, creating more value within the province and thousands of good jobs for Albertans.

Supporting the Development of CanaPux

● Commonly referred to as bitumen pucks, CanaPux are developed by CN and Wapahki Energy, owned by Heart Lake First Nation (approximately 300 km northeast of Edmonton).

● The technology converts bitumen into a solid puck product that is capable of being exported by rail or other methods (rather than pipeline).
● This is a potential revolution for Alberta’s oil sands industry — one that enables Albertans to realize the full value of their resources by avoiding pipeline politics.
● An Alberta Party government will expedite approvals for the pilot facility and contribute financial support for one-third of the pilot ($16.7 million).

Increasing the Alberta Innovates budget with a focus on material sciences.
● Alberta Innovates contributes to the creation of new industries in Alberta and strengthens existing ones. It diversifies the economy and creates jobs and increases exports.
● Alberta Innovates currently funds research that focuses on turning bitumen into products other than gas, diesel and other fuels such as asphalt, vanadium batteries, plastics and carbon fibre.
● The development of these alternatives is a long term approach that will help to increase demand for our resources, create jobs, lower our exposure to global oil prices, and help diversify our economy.
● The NDP have reduced the Alberta Innovates budget going from $288M in 2018-19 to $244M in 2020-21.
● An Alberta Party government will not only reverse those cuts but increase the total Alberta Innovates budget by 30% to $375M by 2020-21 and direct the additional funds to a rapid expansion of research into new uses for our resources.

Expanding Refining in Alberta
● Once Phase 1 is proven out, an Alberta Party government will support construction of Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Sturgeon Refinery.
● This helps Alberta expand its refining capacity, creating more value here in the province and creating thousands of skilled jobs for Albertans.
● An Alberta Party government will expedite the review of necessary approvals and expand its Bitumen Royalty in Kind (BRIK) program.
● Construction of both Phase 2 and 3 have a combined total construction expenditure of an estimated $18.0 billion which will result in an increase in GDP of $16.0 billion, and create 140,000 person-years of employment.
● Once construction is complete, the additional the two phases will increase GDP by an average of $5 billion per year, and result in an estimated 13,000 additional jobs per year.

Energizing Petrochemical Processing
● To stimulate petrochemical processing in the province, an Alberta Party government will establish a Gas Royalty in Kind program that takes a similar approach to the Bitumen Royalty in Kind program.
● This will have the Government of Alberta take a portion of its natural gas royalties “in kind” rather than in cash. This will enable the government to market the natural gas in ways that stimulate gas processing and petrochemical plant expansions in the province.
● An Alberta Party government will also establish Alberta’s petrochemical diversification program as a 10 year program, rather than the NDP’s unpredictable annual program. This would provide stability and certainty to the market, helping attract more investment.
● The petrochemical diversification program will also be adjusted to move from a royaltycredit to a more efficient subsidy program.

 

NDP 

Rachel Notley pledges to expand heavy-load roads and build new access highway to Fort McMurray, creating 7,500 jobs.

“We will never forget the sight of families fleeing out of the city on Highway 63 while flames licked at the trucks and cars. It was one of the scariest moments of people’s lives,” said Notley. “Fort McMurray needs a second route out and we will get it done. We will keep families safe and help people sleep a little easier a night.”

Rachel Notley – Leader of the New Democratic Party of Alberta

UCP

UCP outlines plans to tackle growing crime wave.

“We will do everything within our power to stop the revolving door in our justice system, and to keep Albertans safe.” 

Jason Kenney, Leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta

The UCP has promised more judges, more prosecutors and stronger laws part of a plan to tackle Alberta’s growing crime wave.

Kenney cited statistics that reveal a growing crime problem in Alberta:

  • Auto theft is way up and Alberta leads the country in auto-theft—at three times the national average with 62 stolen vehicles per day, on average.1 The Alberta Motor Association says there has been a 32% increase in vehicle thefts since 20142. 29% percent of all vehicle thefts in Canada happen in Alberta, according to Statistics Canada3
  • By 2018, the rural crime rate in some communities rose by 250% compared with 2011.4They included communities such as Innisfail and Bonnyville where property break-ins were up 94% and up by 133% respectively between 2016 and 2017.5
  • In 2018, Edmonton Police Service reported6)that since 2015, assaults were up 11%; property crimes were up 13%, and sexual assault incidents were up 17%.
  • In 2018, Calgary Police services reported7 that over the last five years there was a 6% increase in property crimes, a 25%increase in financial robberies, a 26.3% increase in sex offences, a  27.6% increase in robberies, and a 35.9% total increase in assault crimes.8
  • Maclean’s reported last November that 7 of the top 10 cities in their Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2019 ranking (based on 5-year change in crime severity index) are from Alberta.9

Kenney stated a United Conservative Party government will hire 50 new prosecutors and support staff, a $10 million investment.

Kenney also announced that a UCP government will boost funding by $20 million over four years (69 percent) to the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), who deal with children’s exploitation, domestic violence, stalking, and gang issues, among others. The $20 million funding increase will:

  • Double ALERT’s funding for its sub-unit, the Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) unit that tracks, arrests and prosecutes child pornographers
  • Double the funding for its sub-unit, the Integrated Threat and Risk Assessment (I-TRAC) unit, the police unit that helps combat domestic violence and stalking
  • Create a new Opioid Enforcement Team

A UCP government will also work with ALERT to obtain a charitable foundation (akin to the Calgary and Edmonton Police foundations) which can then attract additional funds from the private donors.

Kenney also promised that under a UCP government Albertans would know the truth about crime in their province.

“We will pass the Public’s Right to Know Act. This bill will require an annual report to the legislature containing detailed provincial crime statistics.”

A UCP government would also replace the Parole Board of Canada with an Alberta Parole Board for offenders serving sentences of under two years.

And because crime victims can often fall through the cracks, a UCP government will also conduct an immediate review of the current model of victim service delivery, victim assistance funding, and victim compensation to ensure optimal assistance to victims of crime.

A UCP government would also invest $5 million to increase access to Drug Treatment Courts as an effective way of helping drug addicts to leave the cycle of crime and addiction through treatment, testing, incentives, sanctions and social support.

The responsibility for law enforcement is shared with the federal government. A UCP government will therefore also negotiate with the federal government (and with other provinces as necessary) to:

  • Secure additional Queen’s Bench justice appointments to reduce the backlog in superior courts.
  • Ensure that Grande Prairie be given its own Queen’s Bench.
  • Develop and put in place a specific Repeat Offender Policy.
  • Ensure the return of criminals who have fled to other provinces, to face justice in Alberta. (According to Alberta police forces, flight-across-borders has become a critical problem given the number of jurisdictions involved, especially in western Canada.)
  • Review current Criminal Code sentencing principles to ensure that in rural crime offences, specific facts be considered by a sentencing court as aggravating factors, and that the principles of deterrence and denunciation be prioritized.”

In 2018, the UCP released its Alberta Rural Crime Strategy, calling for a provincially regulated police response system linking all enforcement agencies to pursue the relatively small number of organised, repeat offenders who are responsible for most rural crime.

 

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Alberta

A battle over beer … between curlers?

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Alberta’s Liquor Industry pushes back on Glenn Howard’s Ontario Beer ‘Facts’ in a new Social Media campaign.

Edmonton – Two Canadian curling stars are now battling off the rink in a war of ‘facts’ about provincial liquor laws that has broken out between Alberta and Ontario.

Brendan Bottcher, an Alberta curling champion, is starring in “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’”, a social media campaign that launched today to counter misinformation being spread in Ontario about Alberta’s liquor laws and stores.

Brendan Bottcher stars in Ontario Beer Fake Facts

The Beer Store, a consortium of brewers that is fighting a move by the Doug Ford provincial government to sell beer and liquor in corner stores, has argued Alberta’s privatized system isn’t good for customers and allows for easier access to alcohol for minors. The Beer Store’s campaign is called “Ontario Beer Facts” and features Ontario curling champion Glenn Howard.

Glenn Howard throws shade on Alberta’s beer and liquor industries

“[Howard]’s jealous. Our liquor stores are better and [so are] our curling teams,” Bottcher quips in one of the “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’” ads being launched today.

Alberta Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) produced the campaign in an attempt to set the record straight about Alberta’s thriving and socially responsible private liquor industry.

“In Alberta, our liquor industry is open for business – literally from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. We’re proud of the private liquor industry we’ve built here since 1993. Free enterprise doesn’t mean there is a free-for-all, Wild West system. But it does mean we have competitive prices and better service, hours and selection for our customers.”Ivonne Martinez, President of Alberta Liquor Stores Association

Oh, and on that whole thing about the price of beer in Alberta – Martinez had this to say.

“…And what about The Beer Store’s claim that a 24 pack of Coors Light is more expensive in Alberta than in Ontario? The Beer Store is owned by Labatts and Molson (National Brewers).  National Brewers, just like any manufacturer, sets the price for their products for each province. The price has nothing to do with the distribution model, the price is set by Molson themselves which set a higher price for their beer in Alberta…”

To view the Alberta campaign click here.

And to view the Ontario campaign click here.

Backgrounder About Alberta’s Liquor Industry:

  • The $3-billion industry contributes approximately $866-million annually to provincial revenues
  • 1,500+ private liquor stores operate in Alberta from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, including New Year’s Eve
  • Since the industry was privatized in 1993, it has created approximately 12,000 new jobs for Albertans
  • Alberta liquor stores offer more than 26,000 options, including 7,000 beer types; in Ontario, they sell less than 2,000 beer brands.

www.alsaweb.ca

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Alberta

Update 23: Northwest Alberta wildfires (June 20 at 4 p.m.)

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Hot, dry conditions with strong winds create challenges for firefighting.

June 20, 2019

As fires spread in Mackenzie County, approximately 200 additional people evacuated on Wednesday from the area north of Highway 697, south of the Peace River and west of Steep Hill Creek, also called Range Road 164.

More than 700 evacuees from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement can return home today. Additional information for residents is online at https://www.facebook.com/paddleprairie

Approximately 8,500 people are still under evacuation orders.

The following communities issued mandatory evacuation orders this week:

  • Beaver First Nation – Boyer River (No. 164) and Child Lake (No. 164A)
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation – Bushe River (No. 207)
  • Mackenzie County
    • The Rocky Lane and High Level area north of the Peace River, south of Highway 58, west of Range Road 150
    • The Hamlet of La Crete
    • Range Road 164 to Range Road 150, south of the Peace River, north of Highway 697
  • Peerless Trout First Nation – Trout Lake community and high-risk persons in the surrounding area.

The following communities remain on evacuation alert and should be ready to leave quickly if the situation changes:

  • High Level
  • Mackenzie County
    • Area west of Range Road 164, south of the Peace River to Township Road 1010, and the Machesis Lake campground
  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D

Current situation

  • Chuckegg Creek wildfire, southwest of High Level, is about 330,000 hectares.
  • Jackpot Creek wildfire, north of Lutose, is about 77,500 hectares.
  • McMillan Wildfire Complex located in the Slave Lake Forest area, is more than 276,800 hectares.
  • Check Alberta Emergency Alerts for more detailed and frequently updated information.
  • People driving in fire-affected areas should carry enough fuel, as it may not be readily available.

Visit alberta.ca/emergency for detailed and frequently updated information.

Air quality

  • Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility at times.
  • Parts of northwestern Alberta are under special air quality statements.
  • Visit FireSmoke Canada for information and resources about smoke from wildland fires.

Financial supports

  • Evacuees should check alberta.ca/emergency for updates on evacuation payment eligibility.
  • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you:
    • were living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • were forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
    • were forced to leave your residence (primary, working or vacationing) due to a mandatory evacuation order.
  • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 and $500 for each dependent child under 18 living in the same home when the evacuation order was given.
  • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smartphone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
  • If you need help applying, contact Alberta Supports to find the nearest centre: Toll-free: 1-877-644-9992 (Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) In-person: Find an Alberta Supports Centre.
  • More than 11,700 individuals have received evacuee support totalling close to $11.9 million.

Reception and call centres

  • All evacuees need to register with an evacuation reception centre even if you have found alternate accommodations.
  • Reception centres may assist evacuees in person and/or by phone.
  • Mackenzie County evacuees must register at Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie County Office, 4511 46 Avenue, 780-927-3718.
  • Evacuees from Trout Lake and high-risk persons in the surrounding area of Peerless Trout First Nation must register their location with Jennifer Auger, 780-649-6553jennifer.auger@ptfn.net. If you evacuated to Edmonton, register at Edmonton Super 8 Hotel, 16818 118 Avenue.
  • The Government of Alberta contact centre is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Call 310-4455.

Insurance information

  • Most home and tenant insurance policies provide coverage for living expenses during an evacuation.
  • Evacuees should retain all of their receipts for food, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer.
  • Albertans can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information about insurance coverage is available online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Re-entry information

Evacuees can find tips on re-entry by visiting https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx. Information includes making sure all your utilities are working, cleaning up and how to deal with door-to-door salespeople offering services and insurance.

Justice and legal matters

  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. Please call 780-427-3109 (to call toll-free, first dial 310-0000) for information.

Boil water advisory

  • A boil water advisory is in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation).

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour help line at 1-877-303-2642, the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322, or Health Link at 811.

Donations and volunteers

  • Check the Mackenzie County Facebook page for an up-to-date list of donations needed and drop-off locations.
  • There have been reports that local residents in High Level are being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents. Do not share your personal information with them or donate money.
  • When asked for donations (either over the phone, through an email, or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
  • If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization including its fundraising practices, call Service Alberta: 1-877-427-4088.

Canada Post

  • Mail and parcel delivery in certain communities has been affected by the wildfires.
  • Canada Post has contingency measures in place to serve residents of these communities.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Other income and social supports

  • Evacuees who receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped or Income Support benefits by cheque should contact their worker to make arrangements to receive it.
  • Call Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday if you:
    • need information on other social supports
    • are a contracted service provider, family member or individual needing assistance through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program
  • Evacuees in need of financial assistance for immediate needs can apply for an Income Support program emergency needs allowance. This benefit may cover your accommodation, clothing and other urgent needs. Please call 1-877-644-9992 for more information.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, call 1-800-638-0715
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card call 780-427-1432 or toll-free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  
  • If driver’s licences, identification cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information – Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Related information

Backgrounder: Previous updates

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june, 2019

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