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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

    Advanced polls are open and voting is underway!

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  • From the Government of Alberta

    Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer, Glen Resler, confirms that advance polls are now open.  Advance poll locations are available throughout the province from Tuesday, April 9 to Saturday, April 13.

    Advance poll locations are available to all eligible electors and for the first time are providing a ‘Vote Anywhere’ service, whereby electors can receive the ballot for their electoral divisions, at any location.

    Information about the locations and their hours of operations can be found on Where to Vote cards mailed to electors, in local newspapers and on www.elections.ab.ca.

    Eligible electors are Canadian citizens who reside in Alberta and are at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day.

    To be added to the list of electors, an elector may register at an advance poll or on Election Day by providing authorized identification containing their name and residential address.  A list of authorized identification is on our website: https://www.elections.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/Authorized-Identification-Poster.pdf

    The ‘Vote Anywhere’ service is only available at the advance polls.  Electors voting on Election Day, must vote at their assigned voting location.  Election Day is Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

    For more information about the provincial general election visit www.elections.ab.ca, call toll free at 1-877-422-VOTE (8683) open weekdays from 8:15 am to 8:00 pm and weekends from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on voting days from 8:15 am to 8:00 pm, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

    Elections Alberta is an independent non-partisan office of the Legislative Assembly responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda.


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    Alberta

    RCMP officer shoots man near Eckville. ASIRT investigating

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  • From Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT)

    Investigation continues into RCMP officer-involved shooting

    On April 6, 2019, at approximately 8:15 a.m., RCMP were advised of an Eckville, Alberta location where stolen oilfield property might be found.

    An RCMP officer responded to the reported location at the rear of a strip of businesses on the north side of Eckville.

    The officer found four vehicles at the location. As the officer was checking the vehicles, he located a man who appeared to be sleeping in a Ford F250 truck and made cursory observations of the interior of the vehicle. The officer returned to his police vehicle and checked the licence plate number, which came back registered to a different vehicle. The officer requested assistance to his location, placed a spike belt and returned to his police vehicle to await assistance.

    While the officer was waiting for assistance, a confrontation occurred that resulted in the officer discharging his service pistol.

    The man sustained a single gunshot wound that resulted in serious, but not life-threatening injuries. He was treated on scene by EMS, transported to hospital and admitted. He remains in hospital.

    The Ford F250 was determined to have been stolen approximately 5 days earlier from Saskatoon and the licence plate was also determined to have been stolen.

    With the investigation underway, ASIRT will not make any further comment until the matter is concluded.


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