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Alberta

Alberta Budget 2021

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Budget 2021 is focused on what matters most: protecting lives and livelihoods as we face one of the most difficult times in our history.

We will spend a record $23 billion on health care and there’s an additional $1.25 billion specifically to fight the pandemic.

The budget will also support jobs now and into the future. Over the next 3 years, we will spend $1.5 billion to develop key sectors and diversify the economy, and $20.7 billion to build new roads, schools and hospitals.

Over the course of the fiscal plan, our approach to responsible and stable spending will also help bring down overall per capita expense.

Economic outlook

Alberta’s economic outlook is slightly more positive than reported in 2020. Alberta’s economy (measured by real Gross Domestic Product, or GDP), is expected to partially rebound by 4.8% in 2021. The economy is now expected to reach pre-COVID levels in 2022.

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Overview

Protecting lives and livelihoods.

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Revenue

While Alberta’s revenue has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and reduced energy demand, it is starting to grow again. Provincial revenue is projected to be $43.7 billion in 2021-22, an increase of 3.3% from the forecast for 2020-21.

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Expense

Budget 2021 is making the right investments. The fiscal plan ensures the health care system can continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, helps support measures that will drive long-term economic recovery for a financially sustainable future, and ensures efficient delivery of services to Albertans.

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Capital plan

The Capital Plan remains a key element of the government’s recovery strategy. The 3-year plan will support tens of thousands of jobs and invest in strategic infrastructure projects that will help spur economic growth.

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What Budget 2021 means for you

Budget 2021 continues to provide social supports for those who need them, including children, families, seniors and vulnerable Albertans. It maintains funding for all current programs, including income and employment support, disability services and help for people experiencing homelessness or fleeing violence.

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Watch the news conference

Finance Minister Travis Toews provides details on Budget 2021.

Read the budget address

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Alberta

Alberta’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit working on record number of cases

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Article submitted by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

ICE responds to surge in record number of case files

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit has begun the new year with a number of arrests across Alberta. Twenty-four suspects have been charged with 60 offences related to the online sexual exploitation of children.

After receiving a record number of case referrals in 2020, ICE has been collaborating with its policing partners across the province to make arrests. Last year, ICE experienced nearly a 40% increase in its number of case referrals with over 2,100 intakes.

  • 2020-21 – 2,136;
  • 2019-20 – 1,555;
  • 2018-19 – 1,237;
  • 2017-18 – 903;
  • 2016-17 – 894;
  • 2015-16 – 749.

“This is a concerning consequence of our digital dependency during the pandemic. ALERT has responded by directing more tools and resources to our ICE units and we are prepared to travel to every corner of the province in order to stop child sex predators,” said ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta.

“The sexual exploitation of children is a crime that tears at the fabric of society and preys on our most vulnerable. Increased provincial funding is enabling ALERT to double the size of its ICE unit, ensuring it has the tools and resources to track down predators who commit these heinous acts and bring them to justice,” said Hon. Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

With new provincial funding, ALERT has sought to double the size of the ICE unit with the addition of investigators, forensic technicians, analysts, and disclosure clerks, along with new technologies and software applications. With now more than 50 positions, Alberta’s ICE unit is one of the largest of its kind in Canada.

Between January 1 and March 31, 2021, ICE arrested 24 suspects. There is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed.

The arrests came as the result of investigative referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.

Each of the suspects was charged with at least one child pornography offence:

  • Michael Antonio, 25-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Curt Backlund, 48-year-old man from Grande Prairie;
  • Brad Bailey, 19-year-old man from Marlboro;
  • Brett Beer, 54-year-old man from Onoway;
  • Eric Bultmann, 30-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Kevin Dykstra, 35-year-old man from Barrhead;
  • Brian Harrison, 35-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Jeremy Henderson, 42-year-old man from Okotoks;
  • Bryan Hillman, 39-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Christopher Hoffner, 34-year-old man from Medicine Hat;
  • James Kydd, 39-year-old man from Calgary;
  • Mica LePage, 44-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Jordan MacDonald, 30-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Cris Marshall, 29-year-old man from Stettler;
  • Stedson McDonald, 32-year-old man from Grande Prairie;
  • James Merrison, 21-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Traline Munn, 44-year-old man from Cold Lake;
  • Krishnamoort Nalla Naidu, 38-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Van Linh Nguyen, 24-year-old man from Edmonton;
  • Ivan Scott, 47-year-old man from Cochrane;
  • Jerry Lee Thompson, 47-year-old from Fort MacLeod;
  • Hunter Tonneson, 20-year-old man from Blackfalds;
  • Chase Viau, 23-year-old man from Edmonton; and
  • Richard Westland, 45-year-old man from Medicine Hat.

During the investigations, ICE relied upon the assistance of a number of partner agencies, including: Calgary Police, Edmonton Police, Lethbridge Police, Medicine Hat Police, and RCMP detachments in Barrhead, Beaverlodge, Blackfalds, Cochrane, Edson, Fort MacLeod, Grande Prairie, Onoway, Okotoks, Slave Lake, Stettler, and Wood Buffalo.

Anyone with information about these investigations, or any child exploitation offence is encouraged to contact local police or cybertip.ca.

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Alberta

Former star goaltender Luongo named general manager of Canada's hockey worlds team

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CALGARY — Former star goaltender Roberto Luongo has been named the general manager for Canada’s men’s team for the 2021 world hockey championship.

Hockey Canada said Tuesday in a release that Luongo will oversee all hockey operations, including staff and player selection and evaluation for the May 21-June 6 tournament in Riga, Latvia.

Shane Doan and Scott Salmond were also named to Canada’s management team.

Doan and Luongo have long histories representing Canada on the ice.

Luongo appeared in three straight Winter Olympics from 2006 to 2014, helping Canada win gold in his final two Games.

Luongo made 34 saves in Canada’s 3-2 overtime win over the United States in the 2010 gold-medal game in Vancouver. Montreal’s Carey Price became Canada’s starting goalie ahead of Luongo when it defended its title in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

The Montreal native also helped Canada to two world championship gold medals (2003, ’04) and one World Cup title (2004). 

Luongo is one of only three goaltenders in NHL history to play more than 1,000 games, finishing with 1,044 over a 19-year career. He was twice named to the NHL second all-star team (2003-04, 2006-07), won the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2010-11 and ranks third all-time in wins (489). 

Luongo was recently named assistant general manager for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, where he will lead goaltender evaluation.

Doan represented Canada six times at the world championship and helped his country win gold in 2003 and 2007.

Doan was also a teammate of Luongo at the 2004 World Cup and the 2006 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

He played 21 seasons (1995-2017) with the Winnipeg/Arizona franchise, and is the all-time franchise leader in goals (395), assists (560) and points (955).

Salmond was recently named assistant general manager for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. He was promoted to senior vice-president of national teams with Hockey Canada in 2018 after serving as vice-president of national teams for four years.

“Hockey Canada is excited to have Roberto lead our management group at the IIHF World Championship this year, and to continue to work with our entire Olympic management team as we continue to prepare for the 2022 Olympics,” Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, said in a statement. 

“We are also fortunate to have Shane and Scott contribute as assistant general managers; both individuals bring a wealth of experience to Canada’s national men’s team.”

Canada opens the world championship May 21 at Arena Riga against host Latvia with preliminary-round games through Tuesday, June 1. 

Canada will also face Italy, Finland, Germany, Kazakhstan, Norway and the United States in the preliminary round before the tournament wraps up with the bronze and gold medal games June 6.

Canada has 26 world championship titles, with the last one coming in 2016, along with 15 silver and nine bronze.

The 2020 world championship scheduled to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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