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Alberta

City of Edmonton dumping two deputy city managers, bringing in new Chief Climate Officer

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News Release from The City of Edmonton

City Manager reduces number of departments, executives in move to focus on priorities

City Manager Andre Corbould has reduced the number of city departments and deputy city managers from seven to five, reduced the number of leadership positions in the City, and introduced a broader approach to decision making within City Administration.
Departments providing services (City Operations, Community Services, Financial & Corporate Services, Integrated Infrastructure Services, and Urban Planning & Economy) will continue. The former Employee Services and Communications & Engagement departments will be considered enabling services, see the size of their leadership teams reduced, and be incorporated into the Office of the City Manager.
The City’s Executive Leadership Team will also include a new Chief Climate Officer and the Chief of Staff will take on additional responsibilities as corporate lead for anti-racism and reconciliation. “This team of leaders will ensure that beyond policy and financial matters, we are also actively considering environment and inclusion when we are making decisions about building our city,” said Corbould. The team will continue to include human resources and communications leaders, now as newly-appointed Chief People Officer & City Solicitor Michelle Plouffe and a Chief Communications Officer.
The number of front-line staff remains unchanged, although there are a number of structural adjustments across the organization
  • Some communications teams will report to the deputy city managers of individual departments, while others remain in a centralized unit focused on priority issues like climate resilience, housing and economic development.
  • One human resources branch has been dissolved, with teams moving to other areas providing similar services, and the Legal Services and Employee Services teams are together in one division.
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services will reduce its number of senior level Deputy Fire Chief positions from five to three, with additional Assistant Deputy Fire Chiefs added at a lower level. The new structure will enhance services such as emergency management, and workforce supports such as mental health and safety. The number of firefighters remains unchanged.
“With strategic direction set by the City Plan, Council’s budget direction to reduce spending and focus on priorities, and Edmontonians’ requirements for core services, I am confident that these adjustments will equip us to accomplish the work at hand,” Corbould continued.
The savings from these adjustments will be applied toward OP12, direction from Council to reduce spending by $60 million, to reallocate $240 million toward priority initiatives, and report frequently on results.
“Edmontonians gave a strong mandate to Council to improve core services, invest in public transit, create conditions for economic development, tackle affordable housing and climate change and build a more equitable city for all. That work started the day we took office and was further advanced through the approval of the 2023-2026 budget where Council made significant investments in those priority areas. City Council also directed administration to find $60 million in savings over four years through the 2023-2026 budget and reallocate an additional $240 million to these priority areas. That work is underway through OP12,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
“Council further directed the city manager to streamline city administration to align it with City Council priorities. The changes implemented by the city manager do that. I have full confidence in the city manager and our administration to implement these changes, and that they won’t impact frontline services. Organizational change is always difficult and everyone who has served our city has left a meaningful impact and I want to thank each person for their service. They helped to make our city a brighter place, and their efforts are appreciated. I also want to thank all our staff who help us to make Edmonton a better place each and every day. City council looks forward to continuing to support administration through this difficult work, and we look forward to seeing how they’ll find $240 million that can be transitioned to Council’s priority areas of housing, climate change, public transit, and core services,” he continued.

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Alberta

Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Alberta

Taxpayers Federation hoping for personal tax relief in Alberta budget

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Albertans need income tax relief now

Author: Kris Sims 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Alberta government to stick to its promise of cutting its income tax in tomorrow’s provincial budget.

“Cutting the provincial income tax was a huge campaign promise from the UCP and it needs to happen right away,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “Finance Minister Nate Horner should announce this income tax cut in the budget tomorrow.”

The provincial budget will be presented Feb. 29.

During the 2023, election the UCP promised to create a lower income tax bracket for the first $59,000 of earnings, charging eight per cent instead of the current 10 per cent.

The UCP said that move would save Albertans earning $60,000 or more about $760 per year.

The Alberta government currently charges workers who make under $142,292 per year a 10 per cent income tax rate.

By comparison, British Columbia charges an income tax of five per cent on the first $45,654 of earnings and seven per cent up to $91,310.

In B.C., a worker earning $100,000 pays about $5,857 in provincial income tax.

In Alberta that same worker pays about $7,424 in provincial income tax.

“Taxpayers need to see a balanced budget, spending restraint and our promised lower income taxes in this budget,” said Sims.

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