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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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Alberta

Red Deer Doctor critical of Alberta’s COVID response to submit report to Danielle Smith this May

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Leading the task force is Dr. Gary Davidson, who was skeptical of mandates at the time.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith will soon be receiving a little-known report she commissioned which tasked an Alberta doctor who was critical of the previous administration’s handling of COVID to look into how accurate the province’s COVID data collection was, as well as the previous administration’s decision-making process and effectiveness. 

As noted in a recent Globe and Mail report, records it obtained show that just less than one month after becoming Premier of Alberta in November of 2022, Smith tasked then-health minister Jason Copping to create the COVID data task force. 

Documents show that the Alberta government under Smith gave the new task force, led by Dr. Gary Davidson – who used to work as an emergency doctor in Red Deer, Alberta – a sweeping mandate to look at whether the “right data” was obtained during COVID as well as to assess the “integrity, validity, reliability and quality of the data/information used to inform pandemic decisions” by members of Alberta Health Services (AHS).  

As reported by LifeSiteNews in 2021, Davidson said during the height of COVID that the hospital capacity crisis in his province was “created,” was not a new phenomenon, and had nothing to do with COVID.

“We have a crisis, and we have a crisis because we have no staff, because our staff quit, because they’re burned out, they’re not burnt out from COVID,” Davidson said at the time. 

Davidson also claimed that the previous United Conservative Party government under former Premier Jason Kenney had been manipulating COVID statistics.  

In comments sent to the media, Smith said that in her view it was a good idea to have a “contrarian perspective” with Davidson looking at “everything that happened with some fresh eyes.” 

“I needed somebody who was going to look at everything that happened with some fresh eyes and maybe with a little bit of a contrarian perspective because we’ve only ever been given one perspective,” she told reporters Tuesday. 

“I left it to [Davidson] to assemble the panel with the guidance that I would like to have a broad range of perspectives.” 

After assuming her role as premier, Smith promptly fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire AHS board of directors, all of whom oversaw the implementation of COVID mandates. 

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime. 

As for AHS, it still is promoting the COVID shots, for babies as young as six months old, as recently reported by LifeSiteNews.  

Task force made up of doctors both for and against COVID mandates  

In addition to COVID skeptic Dr. Gary Davidson, the rather secretive COVID task force includes other health professionals who were critical of COVID mandates and health restrictions, including vaccine mandates.  

The task force was given about $2 million to conduct its review, according to The Globe and Mail, and is completely separate from another task force headed by former Canadian MP Preston Manning, who led the Reform Party for years before it merged with another party to form the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada. 

Manning’s task force, known as the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel (PHEGRP), released its findings last year. It recommend that many pro-freedom policies be implemented, such as strengthening personal medical freedoms via legislation so that one does not lose their job for refusing a vaccine, as well as concluding that Albertans’ rights were indeed infringed upon. 

The Smith government task force is run through the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) which is a provincial agency involved in healthcare research.  

Last March, Davidson was given a project description and terms of reference and was told to have a final report delivered to Alberta’s Health Minister by December of 2023. 

As of now, the task force’s final report won’t be available until May, as per Andrea Smith, press secretary to Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, who noted that the goal of the task force is to look at Alberta’s COVID response compared to other provinces.  

According to the Globe and Mail report, another person working on the task force is anesthetist Blaine Achen, who was part of a group of doctors that legally challenged AHS’s now-rescinded mandatory COVID jab policy for workers. 

Some doctors on the task force, whom the Globe and Mail noted held “more conventional views regarding the pandemic,” left it only after a few meetings. 

In a seeming attempt to prevent another draconian crackdown on civil liberties, the UCP government under Smith has already taken concrete action.

The Smith government late last year passed a new law, Bill 6, or the Public Health Amendment Act, that holds politicians accountable in times of a health crisis by putting sole decision-making on them for health matters instead of unelected medical officers. 

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Alberta

Alberta’s baby name superstar steals the show again

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Olivia and Noah continue to reign as top baby names in 2023.

Olivia and Noah are once again topping the lists in Alberta, highlighting the enduring appeal of the names. Olivia maintains a record setting streak as the most popular girls name in Alberta for the 11th year in a row, while Noah remains top pick for boys’ names for a fifth consecutive year.

“Congratulations to those who welcomed a new addition to their family in 2023. Bringing a child into the world is a truly momentous occasion. Whether the name you chose was in the top 10 or one of a kind, these names are only the beginning of the endless possibilities that lie ahead for each child. I look forward to supporting this generation by ensuring Alberta remains a place where they can thrive.”

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction

In choosing names for their new arrivals, parents appear to have found inspiration in a variety of places. Some parents may have been inspired by plants like Ivy, Rose, Juniper, Poppy, Azalea or in nature like Wren, River, Meadow and Flora.

Others may have taken a literary approach with names like Bennett, Sawyer, Juliet and Atticus or been inspired by notable names from religious texts like Eve, Noah, Mohammed and Gabriel.

As always, popular culture may have had an influence through famous musicians (Aretha, Lennon, Presley, Hendrix), athletes (Beckham, Crosby, Evander), and even fairytale princesses (Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, Belle).

Quick facts

  • A total of 47,263 births were registered in Alberta in 2023
  • Notable changes to the early 2020s lists:
  • Evelyn rose to seventh place on the girls’ names list after tying for 19th place in 2022.
  • Emily returned to the top 10 list for girls after taking a short break in 2021 and 2022 after a 10-year stretch in the top 10 that started in 2010.
  • Violet has cracked the top 10 list for the first time in at least four decades, tying with Ava and Emily in ninth place.
  • The top 10 boys’ names remain the same as last year but with a slight change in order.
  • Historically, girls’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Olivia: 11 years (2013-2023)
  • Jessica: six years (1990-1995)
  • Emily: five years (1998-2002)
  • Historically, boys’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Ethan: nine years (2001-2009)
  • Liam: seven years (2010-2016)
  • Matthew: five years (1995-1999)
  • Noah: five years (2019-2023)
  • Parents have up to one year to register their child’s birth. As a result, the list of 2023 baby names and birth statistics may change slightly.

Boys’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-23

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Boy Names (2023) Boy Names

(2022)

Boy Names (2021) Boy Names (2020) Boy Names (2019) Boy Names (2018)
1 Noah (276) Noah (229) Noah (274) Noah (239) Noah (275) Liam (225)
2 Liam (181) Liam (176) Jack (220) Oliver (229) Liam (234) Oliver (212)
3 Oliver (178) Theodore (173) Oliver (208) Liam (206) Oliver (225) Noah (199)
4 Theodore (173) Oliver (172) Liam (198) Benjamin (182) Ethan (213) Ethan (188)
5 Jack (153) Jack (159) Theodore (191) William (178) Jack (198) Logan (182)

Lucas (182)

6 Henry (146) William (146) William (174) Jack (169) William (185) Jacob (181)
7 Lucas (140) Benjamin (138) Ethan (162) Lucas (163) Lucas (174) William (178)

Girls’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-2023

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Girl Names (2023) Girl Names

(2022)

Girl Names (2021) Girl Names (2020) Girl Names (2019) Girl Names (2018)
1 Olivia (210) Olivia (192) Olivia (210) Olivia (236) Olivia (229) Olivia (235)
2 Amelia (145) Sophia (152) Charlotte (166) Emma (184) Charlotte (188) Emma (230)
3 Sophia

(138)

Emma (149) Ava (165) Charlotte (161) Sophia (181) Charlotte (175)
4 Charlotte

(135)

Amelia (133) Emma (164) Ava (159) Emma (178) Emily (164)
5 Emma (133) Harper (125) Amelia (161) Sophia (151) Ava (161) Ava (161)
6 Isla (120) Charlotte (117) Sophia (137) Amelia (145) Amelia (159) Abigail (153)
7 Evelyn (114) Ava (115) Isla (135) Isla (133) Emily (150) Harper (150)
8 Chloe (101)

Violet

(101)

Isla (101) Abigail (120)

Chloe (120)

Emily (127) Abigail (141) Sophia (146)
9 Ava (99)
Emily (99)
Lily (100) Evelyn (119) Lily (123) Hannah (137) Amelia (145)
10 Hannah (98)

Hazel

(98)

Chloe (92) Aria (112) Abigail (114) Elizabeth (124) Elizabeth (130)

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