By Colette Derworiz in Calgary
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. announced plans Wednesday to build a new aircraft manufacturing plant east of Calgary that could eventually employ up to 1,500 people.
The company said the facility, dubbed De Havilland Field, is to be located in Wheatland County between the communities of Chestermere and Strathmore. De Havilland said it has acquired about 600 hectares of land in the area.
It said construction could begin as early as next year, with its first buildings operational by 2025 — though the project’s full buildout could take years.
“This is a huge day for our company and for our customers past, present and future who rely on us to keep our airplanes flying,” CEO Brian Chafe said at a news conference in Calgary.
“De Havilland Field will be a full aerospace campus, from aircraft manufacturing, assembly, delivery, research and development, educational facilities and distribution.”
The plant is to be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft, DHC Twin Otter and the Dash 8-400 aircraft.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called it a “banner day for Alberta’s economy, for diversification in this province, for manufacturing and most importantly for the aviation sector.”
He said aviation will be a major part of Alberta’s future.
“Today, that dream comes through in technicolor with De Havilland Field, a cutting edge, world-leading aerospace campus that over the years to come could employ up to 1,500 Albertans in high-paying jobs.”
Tanya Fir, the province’s minister of jobs, economy and innovation, added that it was a “huge win” for the province.
“We wanted to find ways to leverage Alberta’s strengths, like our available land close to logistical hubs and our young, skilled and motivated workforce, to find a path back to our position as Canada’s economic engine,” she said in a statement.
“De Havilland’s investment in Alberta, to help carry forward its aircraft into its second century of operations, proves that our plan is working.”
Amber Link, reeve of Wheatland County, said she couldn’t be more excited to have De Havilland make its permanent home in the rural area.
“Today is pivotal,” she said. “The decision to build De Havilland Field in Wheatland is revolutionary in the diversification of our economy. The employment opportunities being created are significant and will capitalize on the long-standing strong work ethic that built Wheatland County.
“That same work ethic that built Wheatland County and Alberta will now build legendary planes.”
Company co-owner Sherry Brydson said the full project will take a long time to complete and will depend on the growth trajectory of the business.
“De Havilland Field, like Rome — I have to warn you — won’t be built in a day,” she said. “We anticipate the full buildout will take somewhere between 10 and 15 years. We’re planning to take it slowly and seriously … and we’re going to make sure it works.”
Company co-owner Rob McDonald said De Havilland doesn’t need government handouts and aims to be self-sufficient.
“We need people to buy our planes. We don’t really need or want support from the government.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2022.
Mountie shoots armed man on First Nation, suspect in life-threatening condition
MASKWACIS, ALBERTA, CANADA — Alberta’s police watchdog has been called in to investigate after a Mountie shot an armed suspect on the Samson Cree First Nation.
RCMP say in a release that the wounded man was flown to hospital in critical life-threatening condition.
Police say they responded to a report of a man firing a gun on the reserve south of Edmonton on Thursday afternoon.
RCMP say there was a confrontation and an officer fired their pistol and injured a 27-year-old suspect.
No Mounties were hurt.
Police say the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has taken over the investigation of the shooting and the RCMP will conduct its own internal review.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022
The Canadian Press
‘Cautiously optimistic’: Lawyer for trucker in Broncos crash waiting on Federal Court
By Bill Graveland in Calgary
A lawyer for a former truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s cautiously optimistic that he will get the chance to argue against his client’s possible deportation before Federal Court.
In 2019, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the Saskatchewan crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
The Canada Border Services Agency recommended in March that Sidhu be handed over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether he should be deported to India.
Michael Greene, Sidhu’s lawyer, said if the Federal Court decides not to hear the case, the deportation process would continue.
He said all written arguments with the Federal Court were filed in July, adding that no news can be good news when waiting for the court to make its decision.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I know enough not to get cocky about something like that,” Greene said. “Usually when it takes time, it means you’ve got an arguable case.”
It is also a high-profile case, so a judge might want to be extra careful, he said.
Court was told that the rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident, went through a stop sign at a rural intersection and drove into the path of the Humboldt Broncos bus carrying players and staff to a junior hockey league playoff game.
The Parole Board of Canada granted Sidhu day parole in July for six months. He can get full parole after that if he follows conditions, including not contacting the families of the victims.
“Day parole means he is at home. He’s with his wife and I can’t tell you how happy that makes them,” Greene said. “They’re trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Greene said even if he is granted permission to appeal before the court and is successful, the matter would be sent back to Canada Border Services Agency for another review. He said the original officer put all the weight of his decision on the gravity of the harm caused.
“You can’t get your hopes up too high,” Greene said.
“Sometimes the judge will make comments in their decision that will give some guidance to the (CBSA) officers.”
An online fundraising page set up to raise money to help keep Sidhu in Canada has reached more than $42,000.
A message from Sidhu’s wife, Tanvir Mann, a Canadian citizen, said her husband made a “tragic mistake.”
“When confronted by the unimaginable magnitude of the consequences of his mistake, he did everything he could to make things better,” Mann writes.
“I pray that there are people out there who don’t believe that Jaskirat should be deported and are willing to contribute to my fight to be able to live out our lives in Canada.”
The Canada Border Services Agency has previously declined to comment on Sidhu’s case, but said there are multiple steps built into the process to ensure procedural fairness.
Greene said he understands that several of the victims’ families are still angry.
“It’s completely understandable. It is,” he said. “Everybody deals with grief and loss in their own way.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.
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