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Alberta

Big weekend for Red Deer’s Parker Thompson

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Four Races and Four Podiums for Thompson in Busy Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend

CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK – TORONTO, ONTARIO

from Parker Thompson Racing:

Parker Thompson boldly kicked off the new race season in Canada this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The 21-year-old competed in four races as part of two different series that joined the annual Victoria Day Speedfest weekend at the Toronto area racetrack. In those four races, Thompson earned four podiums. In the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC), he dominated the weekend, taking the Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Speedstar Motorsport to two overall victories. In the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, Thompson earned a 2nd and 3rd place finish in two tightly contested races. 

The performance puts an exclamation mark on what has been a commanding start to Thompson’s 2019 season. Thompson has been racing south of the border since March when the Indy Pro 2000 season commenced in St. Petersburg, Florida. He joined Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA shortly after. Thompson is in contention for championship titles in those two series. After this weekend, he is set up to challenge for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and CTCC championship titles as well. In this calendar year, Thompson has already raced 12 times within the four series. In those races, he has 10 podiums and 5 wins.Racing two series in one weekend presented a unique opportunity for Thompson.

“I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with two great teams in SCB Racing and Speedstar Motorsport. Sports GT racing is still very new to me. With some great people behind me though, we’ve managed some great results. We have a great chance to contend for two championships here in Canada. Speedstar Motorsport has proven great results in international series as well. I’m excited about future possibilities that exist with that team and their partners.” – Parker Thompson


Canadian Touring Car Championship

Driven by Thompson, the #1 Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Speedstar Motorsport and New Roads Automotive Group, dominated both CTCC races on the weekend. With future endeavors in other series on the horizon, Thompson and the team had a watchful eye on the SRO GT4 America’s races that also took place as part of the Victoria Day Speedfest weekend. Running cars identically classed to Thompson’s Audi R8, the GT4 America’s series features drivers from around the globe and participation from a variety of manufacturers.

In the Speedstar Motorsport / New Roads Automotive Group Audi R8, Thompson marked a lap time that bested not only all CTCC competitors, but all GT4 America’s entrants as well. In fact, the 1:23.332 that Thompson posted is faster than any GT4 lap on recent record at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

“We’re racing guys over in the SRO GT4 America’s paddock. We’re comparing and making sure we’re faster than all the manufacturers over there. The Speedstar Motorsport / New Road Automotive Group #1 Audi R8 was on rails all weekend long. It’s amazing to drive for this team. Thank you to everyone who came out from New Roads Automotive Group and Audi Uptown.” – Parker Thompson.


 

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada

As expected of the popular one-make series, the opening races of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada were tightly contested. An incident in Saturday morning’s qualifying cut the session short, leaving multiple drivers unhappy with their starting positions for race one. Thompson would start in second position. Over the course of the race he applied good pressure on leader, Jeff Kingsley, but was not able to execute a pass. The two crossed the finish line with a comfortable margin over 3rd place Marco Cirone.

The starting line-up for race two put Thompson in the fifth position. Intense battles with Marco Cirone, Jeff Kingsley, and Patrick Dussault saw Thompson make his way up to second position. Heavy rain would fall, ending the race before he had any chance to challenge for the lead. The excitement of Thompson’s dramatic performance was tempered somewhat post-race when he was penalized one position for making a pass outside of track limits. The final result was third place.

After combining point totals for both races, Thompson holds second place in the overall championship standings, just one point behind race 2 winner Roman DeAngelis. The two drivers are also first in second in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA standings. Having shared the track for six races so far this year, Thompson and DeAngelis are demonstrating the tight competition that the GT3 Cup series is renowned for.

Photo credit SCB Racing

MAY 24 – 26, 2019 – INDY PRO 2000 Race 4 & 5 – Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, IN
JUN. 02 – 03, 2019 – CTCC Race 3 & 4 – Calabogie Motorsport Park – Ottawa,
JUN. 08 – 09, 2019 – GT3 CUP CANADA & USA – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – Montreal

About Parker Thompson

Red Deer, Alberta native Parker Thompson is regarded as one of Canada’s premiere racing drivers. He started racing karts at age 8 and his natural talent and competitive drive quickly elevated him to international level competitions. By age 13 he was ranked 3rd in the world in Rotax Max karts. Now 21 years old, Parker continues his successful career racing on the Road to Indy, and in multiple sports car series.

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Alberta

Retired Oil Field Worker sparks national conversation with his pitch for a new route to move Alberta Oil

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The following Opinion piece comes from local writer / editorialist (and former oil field worker) Garfield Marks. 

We have not been able to run our bitumen through a pipeline to a refinery in New Brunswick. There has been resistance in parts of Ontario and in Quebec. What if we came up with another plan. Would we consider it? There will be road blocks, but not insurmountable, would we consider it?
Yes how about Thunder Bay?
Thunder Bay, Ontario, the largest Canadian port of the St. Lawrence Seaway located on the west end of Lake Superior, 1850 kms. from Hardisty, Alberta. A forgotten jewel.
So what, you may ask. 
They used to ship grain from Thunder Bay in huge tankers to ports all over the world. Why not oil?
The Saint Lawrence Seaway ships fuel, gasoline and diesel tankers, to this day.
We could run oil tankers to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick, bypassing the controversial pipeline running through eastern Ontario and Quebec.
The pipeline, if that was the transport model chosen, would only need to run through parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Like, previously stated the pipeline would only be 1850 kms. long. 
The other great thing about Thunder Bay is the abundance of rail lines. Transportation for such things as grain and forestry products from western Canada. If you can’t run pipeline from Hardisty, through to Thunder Bay, use the railroad.
Why Hardisty, you may ask.
Hardisty, according to Wikipedia,  is mainly known as a pivotal petroleum industry hub where petroleum products such as Western Canada Select blended crude oil and Hardisty heavy oil are produced, stored and traded.
The Town of Hardisty owes its very existence to the Canadian Pacific Railway. About 1904 the surveyors began to survey the railroad from the east and decided to locate a divisional point at Hardisty because of the good water supply from the river. 
Hardisty, Alberta has the railroad and has the product, the storage capacity, and the former Alberta government planned on investing $3.7 billion in rail cars for hauling oil while Thunder Bay has the railroad and an under utilised port at the head of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Economics are there along with opportunity, employment would be created and the east coast could end its’ dependency on imported oil. 
Do we have the vision or willingness to consider another option. I am just asking for all avenues to be considered.
In my interviews in Ontario there is a willingness to discuss this idea. 
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is still reviewing the idea of shipping crude oil from western Canada through its system, and it’s a long way from happening, according to Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s director of market development.
“Obviously, there needs to be an ongoing commitment on the part of a producer, and so that’s going to be required for any project of this nature,” he said. 

We could consider it, could we not?
CBC NEWS did a story about this idea on March 7 2019;
A retired oil field worker in Alberta has “floated” a novel solution to Alberta’s oil transportation woes: pipe the bitumen to Thunder Bay, Ont., then ship it up the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Irving oil refinery in New Brunswick.
Marks’ proposal might be more than a pipe dream, according to the director of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.
‘I don’t think that it’s a totally nuts idea’
“I don’t think that it’s a totally nuts idea,” Warren Mabee said. “I think that there’s some flaws to it … but this is an idea that could work in certain circumstances and at certain times of year. … It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
The chief executive officer of the Port of Thunder Bay said shipping oil from the port “could easily be done.” 
“We ship refined gasoline and diesel up from Sarnia. We’ve done that for many many years,” Tim Heney told CBC. “So it’s not something that’s that far-fetched.”
There are, however, plenty of potential drawbacks to shipping crude through the Seaway, Mabee explained, not least of which is the fact that it isn’t open year-round.

The need to store oil or redirect it during the winter months could be costly, he said.
Potential roadblocks
Another potential pitfall is capacity, he added; there may not be enough of the right-sized tankers available to carry the oil through the Seaway. 
Finally, he said, the journey by sea from Lake Superior to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick is a long one, so it might make more sense to transport the product to a closer facility such as the one in Sarnia, Ont.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is still reviewing the idea of shipping crude oil from western Canada through its system, and it’s a long way from happening, according to Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s director of market development.
“Obviously, there needs to be an ongoing commitment on the part of a producer, and so that’s going to be required for any project of this nature,” he said. 
So far, no producer has come forward seeking to ship crude through Thunder Bay, he said. 

Asked about the possible environmental risks of shipping oil on Lake Superior, both Hodgson and Heney said shipping by tanker is relatively safe; Hodgson noted that any tankers carrying the product would have to be double-hulled, and crews are heavily vetted. 
Time to rethink pipelines?
There hasn’t been a spill in the Seaway system for more than 20 years he said. 
Nonetheless, Mabee said, the potential for an oil spill on the Great Lakes could be a huge issue. 
“The St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes have a lot of people living in close proximity, a lot of people who rely on it for drinking water,” he said. “There’s a delicate ecosystem there. I think a lot of people would push back against this proposal simply from that perspective.”
In fact, one of the reasons Mabee appreciates Marks’ proposal, he said, is because it invites people to weigh the pros and cons of different methods of transporting oil. 
“If we’re not going to build pipelines, but we’re going to continue to use oil, it means that people are going to be looking at some of these alternative transport options,” he said.

“And if we don’t want oil on those alternative transport options, we need to give the pipelines another thought.

Time to consider all options, I dare say.

​Garfield Marks​

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Alberta

Joint Police Operation seizes 2 million in drugs and cash, bringing down a BC-Alberta drug “pipeline”

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From ALERT (Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team) : Several Albertans arrested

Project Elder Disrupts B.C.-Alberta Drug Pipeline

 A two-year investigation by ALERT has cut off a drug pipeline between British Columbia and Alberta. More than $2 million in drugs and cash was seized and a dozen suspects have been arrested.

Project Elder was an ALERT Edmonton investigation that probed interprovincial, wholesale drug distribution. ALERT alleges that a high volume of drugs were being shipped to Alberta involving a complex scheme that included vehicles equipped with hidden compartments.

ALERT alleges the drugs were being shipped to Edmonton and Calgary with further distribution points across the province.

“Organized crime groups don’t respect borders, which is why we need agencies like ALERT that work with law enforcement partners in other jurisdictions to investigate, disrupt and dismantle serious criminal activity such as organized crime and illegal drug trafficking. I want to thank investigators from ALERT and the other organizations involved in Project Elder for their outstanding and tireless work on this long and complex operation that maintains Albertans’ confidence in our law enforcement agencies’ abilities to ensure they are safe, secure and protected in their communities,” said Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

Project Elder concluded on June 5, 2019, with several arrests taking place. Additional arrests and search warrants were staggered over the course of the investigation and took place in Edmonton, Calgary, Innisfail, and Vancouver.

Two homes, two businesses and multiple vehicles were searched. The drugs alone have an estimated street value of $1.5 million. Items seized include:

  • 9.3 kilograms of cocaine;
  • 17.2 kilograms of a cocaine buffing agent;
  • 6.0 kilograms of methamphetamine;
  • 684 grams of fentanyl powder;
  • $514,335 cash;
  • a handgun with suppressor and expanded magazine; and
  • 5 vehicles with hidden compartments.

ALERT used a number of sophisticated techniques and specialized resources to dismantle the group. Project Elder relied heavily on the assistance of: Edmonton Police Service; CFSEU-BC; North Vancouver RCMP; RCMP E-Division; Innisfail RCMP; RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime; and Alberta Sheriffs surveillance team.

Project Elder dates back to March 2017 when investigators targeted an Edmonton-based drug trafficking group. ALERT was able to expand the scope of that initial investigation and identified the group’s suspected B.C.-based supplier.

ALERT alleges that Neil Kravets coordinated the supply of drugs from B.C. and oversaw the group’s activities. The 28-year-old man from North Vancouver has subsequently been charged with instructing a criminal organization, among a host of other charges.

Eleven suspects with Kravets’s alleged drug network were arrested, many of whom were charged with participation in a criminal organization and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

A total of 59 charges have been laid against:

  • Neil Kravets, 28, from North Vancouver;
  • Brandon Worsley, 29, from Edmonton;
  • Joseph Nicholson, 29, from Airdrie;
  • Brandon Brown, 22, from Edmonton;
  • Richard Sansoucy, 56, from Edmonton;
  • Gregory Ewald, 44, from Edmonton;
  • Fayiz Moghrabi, 28, from Vancouver;
  • Randolph Chalifoux, 37, from Edmonton;
  • Suk Han, 35, from Vancouver;
  • Andy Estrada, 29, from Edmonton;
  • Daniel Estrada Sr., 58, from Edmonton; and
  • Moshe Banin, 31, from Edmonton;

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.

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