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Alberta

Our sports history has value

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Simple confirmation that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has been operating without its standard financial aid from the provincial government prompted some interesting response during the last few days.

In a casual conversation, executive director Tracey Kinsella mentioned last week that COVID-19 made it necessary to cancel at least two annual fund-raisers – the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and its annual invitational golf tournament in Red Deer – and she was concerned about meeting routine expenses.

Consistently, the government’s contribution of $302,000 a year has been in the hands of Hall of Fame officials before the middle of the year. She expressed only mild frustration,, understanding that the coronavirus pandemic and other major financial issues have created major problems far from the world of sports. She did state that government staff members, working below the level of elected or appointed officials, have told her of their efforts to have the money forwarded as quickly as possible.

Perhaps this delay must be seen as part of a long and ongoing drop in Alberta’s financial support to amateur sports at all levels. In the 10-year period ending in 2019, the reduction reached $5.1 million – an average of $500,000 per year. We should hope not.

Some comparative figures seem to be well worth serious study:

* The economic impact of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer was $110 million; impact of the 2018 Alberta Winter Games was $3.4 million for the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area and $5.6  million for this host province;

* In 2018-19, Alberta Sport Connection, a sport delivery system disbanded months ago by the UPC, provided $7.2 million to be shared among 80 provincial sport organizations that delivered programming to more than 788,000 Albertans;

* Leduc hosted the 2016 Alberta Summer Games with an economic impact of $3.6 million for the area and $4.9 million for the province.

Still, government aid has dropped. Some citizens suggest minor and amateur sports should not receive government support during troubled times. Today it might be wise to ask Fort McMurray if that community will value the 2022 Arctic Winter Games? The record shows that numerous small- and mid-sized business stepped up during the 2018 Games, a difficult time for fire victims and petroleum companies that have served as a backstop to countless community and area projects.

After the severe floods earlier this year, it’s safe to guess that any international program that will improve community morale while adding some vital dollars to the public purse will be welcome. Incidentally, they’re headed to Wood Buffalo because COVID-19 forced cancellation of the scheduled 2020 event in Whitehorse. Fortunately, some of the dollars set aside and unused in the Northwest Territories have already arrived in Fort McMurray.

These days, surrounded by a crippled economy, I wonder if Alberta now wishes the 2026 Commonwealth Games were headed for Edmonton and 2026 Winter Olympics were coming to Calgary. Both possibilities were seriously discussed before being nixed.

During my five-year term as chair of Alberta Sport Connection, the organization received steady criticism for finishing third of fourth – usually in the rear of Quebec and Ontario – in provincial medal counts. I tried regularly to help almost any government official to focus on the cost of doing business.

It made no impact to point out that Alberta’s per-capita investment in sport programs is (or was) the second-lowest in Canada. Sorry, I can’t remember which province spent less, but I am sure that Saskatchewan receives $24.39 per capita and Newfoundland gets $8.36 per capita.

Alberta receives $3.85 per capita although 82 per cent of Albertans say in polls that they believe sport contributes to quality of life. And those I have spoken to say clearly that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has value.

John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate

 

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Alberta

Soldier dies during training exercise on Alberta military base: defence department

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A Canadian soldier has died during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta. 

The Department of National Defence says the soldier sustained a gunshot wound late Friday night while taking part in live fire training at CFB Wainwright. 

The department issued a statement saying the soldier was treated for injuries at the scene and eventually airlifted to a hospital in Edmonton, but died on Saturday morning. 

The department offered no other details about the circumstances that led to the incident. 

The soldier’s identity will not be released until next of kin can be notified. 

National Defence Staff Chief Gen. Jonathan Vance issued a tweet offering condolences to the soldier’s family as well as members of the Royal Westminster Regiment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

INDUSTRY-INDIGENOUS RELATIONS: A TREND TOWARD DEEPER ENGAGEMENT

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INDUSTRY-INDIGENOUS RELATIONS: A TREND TOWARD DEEPER ENGAGEMENT

The Canadian oil and natural gas industry has a strong history of engagement with Indigenous peoples. Since its early initiatives, the petroleum sector has had many learnings and opportunities for growth with respect to its interactions with Indigenous communities. Consequently, these relationships have evolved towards ever-deepening forms of engagement including consultation and business partnerships. However, the nature of these relationships has been difficult to communicate with credibility; arrangements between companies and communities are often confidential, thus limiting the ability of industry to share positive stories of engagement.

 The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), an association that represents Canada’s oil and natural gas producers, has utilized multiple surveys of its members in order to better understand the relationship between industry and Indigenous peoples. One of these surveys, known as the Telling Our Story survey, was commissioned by CAPP and conducted by Dr. Ken Coates of the University of Saskatchewan. Additionally, CAPP developed its own survey focused on procurement, community investment and consultation capacity funding in the oil sands. These surveys provide data that demonstrate the value producers place on building long-term, sustainable relationships with Indigenous communities. In particular, economic engagement is viewed as a primary opportunity to establish good relations and support Indigenous self- determination.

Survey Methodology

The purpose of the Telling Our Story survey was to collect information about the oil and natural gas industry’s efforts to engage Indigenous communities. Research was conducted by Dr. Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Coates used a comprehensive survey of industry representatives, in partnership with CAPP, plus CAPP’s member companies and partner associations including the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, and the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors. A total of 122 companies participated in the study, representing a cross-section of the oil and natural gas industry in Canada. Data was collected in a confidential manner, anonymized and aggregated into a final report. The survey highlighted key themes related to industry’s engagement with Indigenous communities.

Consultation and Community Engagement

Companies within the oil and natural gas industry have developed long-term relationships with communities, and these relationships are multifaceted. Of course, a core aspect of relationship-building takes place through consultation processes. The trend toward consultation accelerated in 2004 with the Supreme Court of Canada decision on Haida Nation v. British Columbia, which determined the Crown has a duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples when making a decision that could affect their constitutional rights. Procedural aspects of this duty can be delegated   to   industry, and now industry conducts the majority of project consultations. Survey respondents noted that today, companies are actively engaged in this process, seeking to ensure meaningful, two-way discussion in consultations. CAPP members indicated that they view these relationships formed through consultation as critically important to their business. Many companies have teams of staff dedicated to consulting and building relationships with communities, and funding is often provided to support community capacity to engage in consultations. A separate survey of CAPP’s oil sands members found that between 2015 and 2016, oil sands operators provided $40.79 million for consultation capacity funding to local Indigenous communities.

Associated with consultations are a variety of forms of engagement. CAPP’s members placed particular value on supporting various community activities, social and cultural priorities, and infrastructure needs. The aforementioned survey of oil sands members found that between 2015 and 2016 operators in the region spent $48.6 million on Indigenous community investment. According to companies, these focused investments positively impact relationships. Furthermore, there has been a trend toward the negotiation of long- term, collaborative agreements between project proponents and Indigenous communities in areas of operation that address community concerns and include clauses related to procurement, employment, community investment, dispute resolution, capacity funding and other topics of importance to the proponent and the community.

Economic Engagement

According to oil and natural gas producers, there is a strong emphasis on economic engagement as the priority in building relationships. In particular, procurement – the purchasing of goods and services from Indigenous businesses – presents a significant opportunity for mutual benefit. Both joint venture partnerships and preferential contracting arrangements with Indigenous-owned companies enable companies to build links and trust with communities. The focus on these arrangements is evidenced by substantial financial investment: in 2015 to 2016, oil sands producers spent $3.3 billion on procurement from 399 Indigenous owned- companies in 65 Alberta communities. While a sizable proportion of Indigenous businesses may be small or new, the data suggests their role in the sector will continue to increase.

This type of engagement allows Indigenous peoples to leverage their own expertise, build capacity, and ultimately establish pathways to prosperity. In this regard, industry can play an important role in supporting successful, self-determining communities. Although procurement was ranked most highly in terms of its benefit to the relationship between producers and communities, there are other forms of economic engagement; a number of companies have Indigenous recruitment strategies and support training programs intended to build the technical skillset of Indigenous employees and contractors.

Conclusion

The research commissioned by CAPP highlights the emphasis that oil and natural gas sector companies place on meaningful consultation, partnerships, and in particular, economic engagement. Industry has made strides in building deeper partnerships, and it is expected that the trend toward more meaningful engagement will continue. As an industry association, CAPP believes the oil and natural gas sector has an important role in tangibly advancing reconciliation together with Indigenous peoples in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 92. CAPP believes its role in reconciliation can be described as identifying and finding feasible ways to share economic opportunities arising from resource development, while continuing to learn, grow and improve strong relationships based on trust, respect, and open communication. Industry’s understanding will continue to develop, and the sector is open to further dialogue in order to inform its understanding of industry’s role in reconciliation.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

 

Click below to read more stories from Energy Council of Canada’s Compendium series.

Read more on Todayville.

 

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