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Alberta

No lockdowns in Alberta if Emergency Management Agency was in charge – Former Executive Director David Redman

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As Canadians look south of the border it’s obvious different state governments have taken different approaches in the battle against Covid 19.  Some states have been opened entirely for months while in others, children haven’t been to school in an entire year.  But which approach is better when it comes to reducing Covid cases?  The State of Florida has been open during the entire second wave while New York State is just beginning to lift lockdowns. Despite the different approaches in Florida and New York, in both states cases are down to a third or less of where they were in early January.  Death rates are also down by two thirds since January in both states.

Alberta’s approach could have been vastly different too.  Premier Jason Kenney has the tough job of trying to balance the freedom to gather, to work and to worship, with the mandate to protect the health of Albertans by isolating us from teammates, workmates, and friendships.  As the ebb and flow of restrictions continues one year into the Covid experience, a growing number of people are convinced lockdowns are not an effective response.   But what is the alternative?

One person qualified to answer this difficult question is David Redman.  Redman is former Executive Director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.   Before that he spent over 25 years in the military, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel with vast experience in logistics.  As ED of the Emergency Management Agency, Redman traveled side by side with then Premier Ralph Klein when tragedy struck the province.  His role included formulating plans to deal with a variety of emergencies, including pandemics.  When an emergency occurred, the staff would immediately gather with leaders from government agencies and relevant private companies (power companies, etc).  Within 36 hours, they’d revise an existing plan and present the Premier with options for moving forward.

The province of Alberta’s website makes a bold statement about emergency management.  As this screen shot indicates Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency “leads and oversees all emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness and responses.” 

There’s only one problem with this bold statement.  In what has become the farthest reaching emergency in modern Alberta history, for some reason Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency is not co-ordinating Alberta’s response. Premier Jason Kenney is co-ordinating Alberta’s response with Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and others.

This is not sitting well with David Redman.  Redman says when the first wave hit and Alberta announced a general lockdown, Redman was shocked such drastic measures were being taken. He knew immediately the emergency response plan had been thrown out.

Redman began contacting all Canada’s premiers.  He put together a presentation to show what they were doing wrong and what they should be doing instead.  It’s taken months to gain traction, but the media is starting to pay attention to Redman as he shares his presentation to people all over Canada.

His main message; governments can do a far better job of protecting the vulnerable AND protecting the economy.  Even though the second major wave is ebbing and restrictions are slowly disappearing, Redman says the matter is still urgent.  He’s convinced Covid variants will ensure future waves and unless they pivot to a new approach, governments will go back to the tool they’ve been relying on… lockdowns.

This is an abridged version of the presentation Redman has been showing all over the country is his effort to get at least one Premier to show the rest of Canada a different way to react to this emergency.

Also part of David Redman’s presentation is this comparison between lockdown measures and Canada’s Annual Viral Infection Curve.  Redman shows the annual viral infection curve performed exactly as usual in the past year.  In this part of the presentation Redman shows how the lockdown restrictions have coincided with the curve and therefore lockdowns have not greatly affected the spread of Covid.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Vaccines, oil prices and Husky takeover boost Cenovus outlook, says CEO Alex Pourbaix

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CALGARY — The CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. says he’s optimistic that his oil and gas company’s second consecutive online annual shareholders meeting webcast on Wednesday will be its last.

Alex Pourbaix says the global rollout of vaccines to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic gives him hope that next year’s meeting will be held in person, with the possible addition of a simultaneous webcast for out-of-town investors.

In their first shareholders’ meeting since Cenovus bought Husky Energy Inc., former Husky directors Canning Fok, Wayne Shaw, Frank Sixt and Eva Kwok were elected to Cenovus’s 12-member board. They had been appointed earlier under terms of the acquisition.

In January 2020, Cenovus committed $50 million over five years to build up to 200 houses to help alleviate a severe housing shortage in six First Nation and Metis communities near its oilsands operations in northern Alberta.

In an update on Wednesday, Pourbaix said the program resulted in 12 new houses completed in 2020 and 38 more expected to be ready by the end of this year. 

He said shareholders have much to celebrate, with Cenovus on the way to cutting net debt to $10 billion by year-end thanks to higher oil prices, along with the reinstatement of a dividend and a 96 per cent recovery in the share price between the October Husky acquisition announcement and the end of April.

“I think we can all agree that this past year has been one of unprecedented challenges for the world, for our industry and for Cenovus, and, yet, today I’m more optimistic about the future of the company than I have ever been,” he said.

“Cenovus is a stronger, more resilient, integrated Canadian energy leader thanks to our combination with Husky Energy.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Man linked to B.C. and Alberta charged after woman's body found in national park

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LAKE COUNTRY, B.C. — A charge of second-degree murder has been laid against a 41-year-old man following the recent discovery of a woman’s body in Kootenay National Park in southeastern B.C.

A statement from RCMP says Philip Toner was arrested Tuesday in the Okanagan and will be returned to Alberta to face the murder charge.

The body of 35-year-old Brenda Ware was found last Thursday near her vehicle along a B.C. highway through the park, but investigators say they believe the alleged killing happened in Alberta.

Police say Toner and Ware were known to each other, but the nature of their relationship has not been described.

The statement says the “complex, interprovincial investigation” is still very active and police want to speak to anyone who may have had contact with Toner between May 4 and May 11 in either Alberta or B.C.

Drivers who might have picked up a hitchhiker travelling between B.C.’s Columbia Valley and the central Okanagan district of Lake Country on those dates are also asked to contact RCMP major crime detectives.

Toner appeared in provincial court in Kelowna Wednesday and police say the BC Prosecution Service received a seven-day remand in order to return him to Alberta.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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