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Alberta

Province of Alberta replies to Joe Biden’s promise to cancel Keystone XL

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From the Province of Alberta

Joe Biden KXL: Minister Sonya Savage

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage issued the following statement about reports U.S. presumptive democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would cancel the presidential permit for Keystone XL:

“While we are disappointed to hear these reports from the Biden campaign, we remain confident Keystone XL remains a critical part of North America’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

“The project — already under construction — has long held widespread bipartisan support from U.S. lawmakers including all governors in the states the pipeline travels through. The majority of American people have consistently backed Keystone XL in large part due to the tens of thousands of U.S. jobs the pipeline will support, and the millions of dollars in tax revenue that will be used to build better communities for American families. Today, unionized workers are already working on this shovel ready project that puts citizens in both Canada and the U.S. back to work.

“The pipeline is the most studied in American history and has been deemed safe and in the public interest through multiple state and federal reviews, including two under the Obama administration.

“Our government invested in this project because it is tied to our province’s vital long term economic interests. It will lead to higher prices as well as increased volumes of oil sands crude production, generating at least $30 billion in increased royalties over 20 years for Alberta taxpayers.

“The project will put 12,000 Canadians to work and will generate billions of dollars of employment income for Canadian and U.S. workers at a time when they need it most.

“Rather than speculating about the outcome of the U.S. election, we will spend our time continuing to meet with our U.S. allies and speak to Alberta’s role in supporting North American energy independence and security.

“Without more Canadian crude, the U.S. will be subject to increased reliance on heavy crude oil from places like Venezuela and will continue to be a victim of the same price wars and instability we recently witnessed from Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“As our closest friend and ally, we would expect the U.S. government, regardless of electoral politics, to respect the Canada-U.S. relationship.

“Our government will work with TC Energy and the Government of Canada to defend the value of our investment in this project that is a vital part of Canada-U.S. relations.”

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Calfrac Well Services reports Q4 profit due to debt settlement gain

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CALGARY — Calfrac Well Services Ltd. reported a fourth-quarter profit of $125.9 million, boosted by a gain on the settlement of debt.

The oilfield services company says the profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31 amounted to $2.19 per diluted share.

The result included a $226.3-million gain on the settlement of debt and a $54.2-million deferred income tax expense.

Calfrac posted a net loss of $49.4 million or $17.07 per share diluted in the fourth quarter of 2019 when it had fewer shares outstanding.

Revenue totalled $180.7 million, down from $317.1 million a year earlier.

Calfrac underwent a recapitalization plan late last year that saw holders of its senior unsecured notes swap debt for shares, leaving existing shareholders with a reduced stake in the company.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CFW)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

‘A frightened workforce’: Union worries as Olymel reopens after COVID-19 shutdown

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RED DEER, Alta. — Some employees of a pork processing plant in central Alberta that shut down after a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility are afraid to go back to work, the union president says. 

Olymel’s facility in Red Deer was shut down Feb. 15 because of the COVID-19 outbreak that claimed three lives and infected 515 workers.

The company announced late Wednesday it had been given approval to gradually reopen by Alberta Health. Slaughter operations are scheduled to resume today and cutting room operations on Friday. The plant processes about 10,000 hogs per day.

UFCW 401 president Thomas Hesse said he received no word from the company that the plant was reopening.

“Obviously the bottom line for Olymel is they’re just putting pigs ahead of people,” Hesse in an interview Wednesday.

“What you’ve got is a frightened workforce. There’s this enormous amount of fear and anxiety, and now a layer of grief on top of that, and they expect employees to jump to attention and parade back to work.”

The union represents about 1,800 workers at the plant. 

Hesse said the union interviewed between 600 and 700 workers who indicated they were afraid to return to work. He said that wasn’t done by Olymel, Alberta Health Services or Occupational Health and Safety.

Hesse said he expects some workers will take advantage of their right to refuse unsafe work.

“I have no confidence in the safety of the workplace,” he said. 

Olymel said the reopening will come with a number of strict measures. Alberta Health experts will be on site when operations resume and will offer rapid testing. The company said 1,370 employees at the plant have been tested since Jan. 1. 

The company says it has added more space to the facility to enhance physical distancing.

Additional staff have been assigned to monitor and enforce the updated measures, Olymel said. Employee groups have been recalled to take part in training sessions covering all implemented health measures, adjustments and the action plan developed for reopening.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

The Canadian Press

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