Weird. Wonderful. Mesmerizing. Fantastic.
Each of those words can be applied — and probably will be, for many years — to the first round of the best-of-seven NHL playoffs in a season already shaken, but not broken, by COVID-19.
It can be guaranteed that the five overtime periods needed before the Tampa Bay Lightning could stun the Columbus Blue Jackets will be in the record books for years. Brayden Point’s winning goal in the marathon victory will be forgotten long after other details are etched in sports history.
That’s the way it happens when a game in a “hub community” lasts more than six hours, total shots on goal reach record levels and another scheduled playoff game is delayed for almost a full day.
When the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes were ordered to reschedule Game One of their quarter-final showdown, it was not the first official delay of a playoff game — just the first time that the only available ice surface was already in use
Boston and Carolina were installed as the first act in a run of five consecutive series openers on Wednesday. Fortunately, the Lightning and Blue Jackets will have a full day off, as will the Calgary Flames, who edged Dallas 3-2 in the only other match completed on Tuesday.
Columbus vs. Tampa Bay was in many ways.a classical matchup: power against finesse, labour against sheer talent. Joonas Korpisalo faced a few dozen more shots than winning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy but the buzzing Blue Jackets defeated every challenge except Point’s ultimate point (pun intended).
It had been expected that the Lightning might win easily. Assured of a berth among the final 16 teams, they cruised through an unimportant round-robin series while the Blue Devils were fighting for their playoff lives in a bitter five-game elimination war with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For Tampa Bay, the victory was essential in the organization’s bid to shake off their miserable 2019 playoff, when they bowed in the first round after running away from all opposition.
The Calgary Flames went through similar miseries at the same time, dominant for most of last season before they won only a single playoff game and headed meekly to the golf course.
This year, the Flames survived at least one major problem: head coach Bill Peters resigned after an ugly racial incident was exposed. Individual on-ice performances faded, too, amid growing claims that the team was made up of casual performers quite content to win the easy ones.
Well, there was nothing easy in beating the Winnipeg Jets to qualify for the final 16 and nothing came easily in the 3-2 victory over Dallas on Tuesday. The Flames have flaws — every team has flaws — but these guys proved again that lack of character is not one of them.
Alberta Budget 2024 – Employment
Budget 2024: Maintaining Alberta’s economic advantage
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that maintains Alberta’s competitive advantage so businesses and industry can continue to innovate, thrive and create jobs.
Budget 2024 puts Alberta on a path of continued economic growth through funding that supports creating jobs, attracting investment and developing a skilled and diversified workforce. Strategic investments will empower job creators and innovators to invest, grow and flourish in Alberta’s diversifying economy.
“Budget 2024 reaffirms our commitment to diversify, attract new investment and provide more jobs that keep Alberta’s engine humming. Strategic investments that support the growth of Alberta cities and promote apprenticeship programming and emission reduction technology will help create more opportunities to build an even stronger Alberta.”
Alberta remains a key driver of Canada’s economic prosperity, accounting for 22 per cent of all jobs created in the country last year, despite having just 12 per cent of the population. Compared with other provinces, Alberta has the highest weekly earnings and the lowest taxes, offering many incentives to newcomers seeking a great place to call home.
To further build on these advantages, Budget 2024 introduces the Alberta is Calling attraction bonus, a $5,000 refundable tax credit aimed at attracting out-of-province workers in the skilled trades. A total of $10 million will be provided to workers.
“The Alberta is Calling attraction bonus will support our government’s commitment to build a skilled and resilient labour force that helps businesses and the economy thrive. We will continue to foster the conditions for growth to ensure Alberta remains the best place to live, work, invest, do business and raise a family.”
Budget 2024 supports the sustainable growth of Alberta’s cities and communities. In addition to $724 million in municipal infrastructure funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework in 2024-25, Budget 2024 launches the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant, an application-based program that provides $60 million over three years to enable municipalities to fund infrastructure that supports economic development and addresses unique and emergent needs in their communities.
“We’re pleased to see so many people choosing to move to Alberta to experience the advantages this province has to offer, thanks in part to the strong communities we are supporting through predictable, sustainable funding. We also recognize the pressure this growth can put on local communities. The Local Growth and Sustainability Grant is part of our responsible plan to support a vibrant province and help communities respond to growth opportunities and acute sustainability challenges.”
As Alberta’s economy continues to grow, so does the need to sustain a vibrant and robust workforce to meet the needs of Alberta employers. Budget 2024 addresses current and future potential labour shortages by expanding skills and knowledge in key areas.
More than $100 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs will add 3,200 seats to help meet growing demand at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions. Another $361 million from the Budget 2024 Capital Plan will build and upgrade research and learning facilities in some of the province’s world-class post-secondary institutions. Investments include $63 million to renovate and expand the W.J. Elliott agricultural mechanics building at Olds College and $55 million to increase STEM programming capacity at the University of Calgary.
“Supporting growth in Alberta’s economy means ensuring no region is left behind. Our funding commitments to STEM programming at the University of Calgary and agriculture at Olds will create new opportunities for students in our rural economy and those studying in our largest urban centre.”
The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is helping turn the province into a top global producer of petrochemicals. The APIP provides grants to cover 12 per cent of eligible capital costs for Alberta-based petrochemicals projects. In 2023-24, three projects are expected to receive APIP grant payments totalling $116 million, helping to diversify Alberta’s economy and create jobs.
“Royalties collected from oil and gas fund the things Albertans rely on, like health, education and social services. Budget 2024 supports the government’s mission to strengthen investor confidence and support job creation in communities all while lowering emissions through the use of new technologies.”
Budget 2024 highlights
- $597 million over three years from the province’s TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) fund to support a suite of programs that reduce emissions, support clean technology development, enhance climate resiliency and create jobs for Albertans.
- $1.5 billion for child-care services, an increase of $200 million, enabling more Albertans with young children to participate in the workforce.
- $32 million to build three new water intakes in the Designated Industrial Zone in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, which will support long-term private investment opportunities in the area.
- Almost $30 million over three years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, an increase of nearly $8 million, to help fund business startup and expansion costs in Indigenous communities.
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.
Alberta Budget 2024 – Communities, Resource Development, Natural disasters, and Policing,
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