As the meeting of Canada’s 13 Premier’s and Territorial Leaders wrapped up today in Toronto, Premier Jason Kenney stopped to make a video message for Albertans.
The big issue of the day on Alberta’s agenda was an update to the fiscal stabilization program. Premier Kenney says the Premiers unanimously supported Alberta’s call for a retroactive rebate to the fiscal stabilization program for Alberta. If the Premiers are successful in their approach to the federal government next month, Alberta would stand to pick up over 1.5 Billion dollars. Kenney says the province would use that money to create jobs.
From the Province of Alberta
Premiers back key parts of Alberta’s fair deal plan
All of Canada’s Premiers back key aspects of Alberta’s fair deal plan.
This includes support for retroactive reform of the Fiscal Stabilization Program and changes to the new federal Environmental Impact Act (Bill C-69).
The Premiers agreed the Fiscal Stabilization Program must be strengthened to make it more responsive to economic downturns in resource markets. The agreement came at an extraordinary Council of the Federation meeting in Toronto that was called in the wake of the recent federal election.
The group called for the removal of the per capital equalization cap that prevents Alberta from receiving full payments following sudden declines in revenue. This would add a $1.7-billion retroactive payment going back to 2015-16.
“I am very happy with the progress that we made in our fight for fairness. Just as Alberta has been there to financially support other regions through tough times, the united voice of Premiers across the country is supporting Alberta as we work to bring jobs and investment back to Canada, and secure a fair deal for Albertans.”
Discussions at the Council of the Federation meetings in Toronto focused on subjects vital to Alberta’s economic success and growth, such as streamlining resource project assessments in the federal Environmental Impact Act and getting our energy products to market to expand international trade opportunities.
“Through these meetings, the provinces and territories of Canada have shown we’re willing to stand together on the issues that matter most to Canadians. It’s time for the federal government to step up and show that it’s listening.”
The Council of the Federation, created in 2003, comprises all 13 provincial and territorial Premiers. It promotes provincial-territorial cooperation and closer ties between members, and fosters meaningful relations between governments.
We've made notable progress at today's exceptional meeting of Canada's Premiers.All provinces joined our call to support changes to the Fiscal Stabilization Program, which has shortchanged the west during a time of serious downturn in resource prices.And all provinces joined together to support market access for Canada's sustainably produced resources and an environmental review process for major projects that works for all Canadians.Read more here: https://www.canadaspremiers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/COF_Communique-Dec2.pdf
Posted by Jason Kenney on Monday, 2 December 2019
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‘Just went crazy:’ Group gets lots of interest in random camping on public land
EDMONTON — Ryan Epp started a Facebook group in early April to find some new camping buddies and meet some new friends.
Two months later, his group named Crown Land Camping Alberta has more than 31,000 members.
“I was hoping for maybe 50, 60 people to join up,” Epp, who lives in Calgary, said in an interview this week. “I had over a thousand by the third day — and it just went crazy from that.
“It’s been growing for the last while between 500 and 1,000 new members a day.”
Group members share tips on where and how to camp on public land in Alberta — a longtime practice that’s commonly known as random camping.
Epp, 46, said he created the group after the COVID-19 pandemic led to closures at national and provincial campgrounds.
Parks Canada has said campgrounds in national parks will remain closed until at least June 21, while Alberta Parks reopened its campgrounds earlier this month, but at half capacity.
“It’s hard enough to find spots when all of the sites are available,” said Epp. “With Crown-land camping, there’s a million sites and you just pick one … and it’s free.”
Alberta Environment and Parks said its staff did see an increase in public-land use — including hikers, mountain bikers and families picnicking — in parts of southern and central Alberta on the May long weekend.
“It remains to be seen if campers that traditionally use our provincial parks will increasingly move onto public land for their fill of outdoor recreation,” spokeswoman Christine King said in an email. “Camping in provincial parks versus public land is a different experience in terms of amenities and services.”
Mounties, who patrol public land along with Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, say they haven’t noticed a major difference in the already popular Ghost-Waiparous area near Cochrane, northwest of Calgary, but officers further to the north in Rocky Mountain House are preparing for a busier summer.
“We predict we will see an increase in the numbers of people involved in this activity this summer due to the restrictions in organized campgrounds and the out-of-province restrictions still in place,” said a statement from the detachment.
Several provinces, including British Columbia and Saskatchewan, have restricted campsite bookings to residents only.
Police remind people heading into Alberta’s random camping areas to be prepared because there are few services and not much cellphone coverage.
“People should also know how to describe where they are to emergency services if they are needed.”
Epp said random campers need more equipment than regular campers because there are no washroom facilities, no running water and no power.
“You have to be set up to be able to handle that.”
The province notes there’s also a 14-day limit on how long a camper can stay in the same spot.
The potential increase in random camping has raised some concern about the areas becoming too busy.
“We encourage people to be out and using our public land responsibly and enjoying nature,” said Katie Morrison of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “But … it’s something that can have a heavier impact on land and water, even other users, if folks … aren’t as experienced.”
Some concerns include damage to the landscape if campers remove trees for fires or make ruts with vehicles. There’s also potential for conflicts with wildlife if campers don’t pack out their garbage or leave human waste, she said.
Morrison said many random camping areas are already busy, and she expects that will increase as the province fully or partially closes 20 provincial parks and hands off 164 others to third-party managers.
“It’s something that should be a sign to the government that removing more of these areas … is contrary to what Albertans want.”
Epp said he’s heard similar concerns from some members in his Facebook group, but he and the other moderators are doing their best to keep political debates off the page.
Instead, he said, they’re trying to teach new random campers how to be respectful on public land — even organizing some weekend trips with first-timers.
“We want to teach people the right way to do it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2020
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Alberta’s COVID-19 breakthrough – Highest number of tests and lowest number of new cases in one day
It certainly appears to be a sign that the first wave of COVID-19 is abating. Friday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer reported 6,455 people were tested over the last 24 hours and there were only 7 new positive cases. This resulted in a very interesting video update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw as the province announced several changes that will be resulting from the success of Alberta’s battle with COVID-19.
Albertans will soon be able to visit loved ones in hospital. The province will continue to move toward protecting Albertans at the highest risk of severe outcomes. That means more freedoms for the majority of Albertans as the province prepares to announce Stage 2 details early next week.
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