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Alberta

Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames weigh in on NHL playoff Battle of Alberta

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CALGARY — The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers meet in the playoffs for the first time since 1991 in a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal starting Wednesday. Here are some key quotes from both teams:

“We became a province in 1905 I believe, so that’s 116 years ago. How many people are in Alberta? Four and a half million maybe? What brings our province together, always? No. 1 sports, No. 2 church, No. 3 music.

“What’s this doing to Alberta right now? It’s bringing people together. They might cheer for the Oilers, they might cheer for the Flames. Big deal. It’s sport. That’s what it’s about.

“Is it important? Damn right it’s important. It’s great for the league. It’s great for Alberta, especially with what’s gone on. COVID, oil and gas, livestock, agriculture, we’ve all got smoked here the last two years, right? It’s good to see that energy, all that’s positive and it’s awesome.” — Flames head coach Darryl Sutter

“It’s huge. The Battle of Alberta is another level in the regular season, and now for us — as players, fans and the cities — to have that rivalry exist in the playoffs is something special. I think we are all going to try and take it in, do our best and live in the moment.” — Oilers forward Derek Ryan.

“Honestly, I think (the media) hypes it up more than the players do. Being close distance-wise makes it a little more interesting, but to us, we are not getting caught up in the hype. It is just another series for us.” — Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.

“I haven’t been to the second round since my first year in the league, so this is real exciting for me, especially being the Battle of Alberta. I’ve been in the city long enough to know what that means.” — Flames defenceman Michael Stone.

“It’s not so often you get traded from a rival team to another that’s in the same province, and then you end up playing them in a playoff series. And not just the playoff series, it’s the second round of the playoffs. Add it to the list of things I’ve been very fortunate enough to experience in my hockey career.” — Flames forward Milan Lucic.

“I know everyone is looking forward to it. Two really good teams that just got out of two hard-fought series. It’s not only big for the teams. It’s big for the province. This is, personally, probably the biggest series I’ve ever played in.” — Oilers forward Zack Kassian.

“Being part of a series that has history is special. It’s moments that fans will relish and look back on. To have the chance to go to the conference final and have the chance to be Canada’s team, that’s an opportunity that both sides are eager to be (have).” — Oilers forward Zach Hyman.

“It’s big for the province and all that, but I think our focus is Game 1. It’s a really important game. Get ready and all the noise and media and that stuff, you’ve got to block it out. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be wild in the crowd, but on the ice, we’ve got to be composed and play our game. — Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

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Alberta

Alberta legislation would set up independent agency to investigate police complaints

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The Alberta government has introduced legislation aimed at making police forces more accountable and responsive to the communities they serve.

The Police Amendment Act introduced Thursday would establish an independent agency called the Police Review Commission to receive complaints, carry out investigations and conduct disciplinary hearings to do away with the idea of police investigating police.

Mike Ellis, the minister of public safety and emergency services, said the province has been consulting with Albertans since 2018 to come up with the first major overhaul of the Police Act in 34 years.

“One thing that came up consistently was the need to change how complaints against the police are investigated to end the system of police investigating police,” Ellis said.

“The legislation answers those long-lasting calls to reform the public complaints process by establishing an independent agency to handle complaints against police.”

The Alberta Serious Response Team will continue to handle all cases involving death or serious injuries, as well as serious and sensitive allegations involving all police services. Its mandate would be expanded to include peace officers employed by provincial organizations as well as community peace officers at the municipal level.

The legislation would also require all jurisdictions with a population above 15,000 currently policed by the RCMP to establish civilian bodies to oversee policing priorities.

The United Conservative Party government is deciding next steps following the release of a third-party analysis last year of a proposal to create a provincial police force instead of using the RCMP in rural areas and some smaller communities.

“No decisions have been made regarding the provincial police service,” Ellis said. “This is about ensuring that the rural municipalities have a say at the table under our current model which is the RCMP, who is the current provincial police service provider.”

Ellis said it could be another 18 months before the Police Review Commission is up and running. He said negotiations are underway with the RCMP to see how they would fit in under civilian oversight.

“Right now K-Division has expressed they’re supportive of this, however, we’re still having discussions with Public Safety Canada because it still falls technically under the RCMP in Ottawa,” he said.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate with the RCMP because we believe the independent body is the right approach and we can continue going down that path.”

The proposed changes would also require police to develop diversity and inclusion plans to reflect the diverse and distinct communities they serve and to better understand local community needs.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police supports the changes.

“Changes to update our Police Act are long overdue,” said Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, president of the association in a statement.

“We have advocated for several years that the act needs reform to bring it more in line with the realities of the modern police workplace,”

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee said the changes “will provide an additional layer of public transparency” that will benefit both the public and police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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