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Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney shares photos of the Keystone XL pipeline crossing the Canada US border.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces that shovels are in the ground in Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of the United States on the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

On Saturday, the day after Alberta premier announced at a press release that after the province made a $1.1 billion dollar equity investment in the Keystone XL pipeline, that shovels were already in the ground. Jason Kenney shared pictures on social media pictures of the pipeline crossing into the United States along the Saskatchewan border.

Keystone XL pipeline construction shows progress as it crosses the border into the United States from Saskatchewan

A long with the initial investment to get the pipeline project going again, the province will also provide an additional $4.2 billion in loan guarantees to help developer TC Energy start construction immediately. Kenney has said that the government had been negotiating with the company for months, and that no private sector bidders were ready to finance the project at this time. “In other words,” Kenney has said, “without this investment by Alberta, the pipeline would not be built.”

The project when completed, “in the spring or summer of 2023 will connect Canada’s oil sands with refineries in the United States. The pipeline is critical to the long-term future of Alberta’s oil industry, which has maxed out its capacity to bring oil to foreign markets using rail. Cars and existing pipelines. The Keystone XL pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels per day south from Alberta to a number of locations in the states.

Aside from announcing that, “construction is well under way” Kenney also added, “Our historic investment in getting a major pipeline built, creating good, high paying jobs – one of the reasons was to get work moving now in this construction season and throughout 2020.”

Alberta faces a long road to an economic recovery once the country can get past the Covid- 19 pandemic, Kenney is staying positive, “This investment will create 7,000 jobs, directly and indirectly here in Alberta this year alone. We believe that Alberta’s government will receive back at least 30 billion dollars in additional royalties and other revenues because of the additional shipments that Keystone XL will make possible.”

Alberta

Positive COVID-19 tests at world men's curling championship deemed “false positives”

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CALGARY — The four positive COVID-19 tests that interrupted the men’s world curling championship are considered “false positives” from potentially contaminated samples, according to the World Curling Federation.

The men’s championship concluded late Sunday night with Sweden’s Niklas Edin winning a record fifth world men’s title.

No games were played Saturday because four participants, including one from a playoff team, tested positive for the virus in “exit” tests before leaving Calgary’s curling bubble. 

None had symptoms of the illness.

All have tested negative in multiple re-tests since then, the WCF said Monday in a statement. All tests were conducted via PCR throat swabs.

“According to Alberta Health, PCR testing remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing,” the WCF said. “Very rarely, there are occurrences through sampling or testing processes when samples may become contaminated and a false positive may result.

“Following an investigation over the weekend, it appears that this may have occurred in this case and follow-up testing was undertaken.”

All athletes and personnel considered close contacts of the four underwent testing Saturday with all results negative. 

Every playoff team member was tested before and after each game Sunday with those results also negative, the WCF said. Hotel staff were also tested Sunday and cleared.

“With the original four positive test results now deemed as false positives, the integrity of the Calgary bubble remains intact,” the WCF declared.

“The change also allows international athletes who were considered close contacts, and who would have had to remain in isolation in Calgary for 14 days, will now be able to depart Calgary.”

The fifth of seven events in Calgary’s curling hub, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, gets underway Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Pulling the plug: Edmonton Folk Music Festival cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

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EDMONTON — Despite Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will allow summer events like the Calgary Stampede to go ahead, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has been cancelled

The festival says in a statement that without full vaccination, people won’t be entirely safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

It says that with virus variants and an uncertain vaccine rollout, the impossibility of social distancing at the outdoor festival could lead to community spread.

Kenney has said that two-thirds of the population should have a vaccine shot by the end of June and things should begin to feel back-to-normal.

He says the Stampede, which is held in early July, along with sporting events and other festivals will be possible.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival says it will continue to offer online content and, if small gatherings are permitted, it hopes to add some community engagement.

“With so many variables at play, the complexity of planning and delivering a festival of our size makes it impossible to move forward in our usual manner,” the statement said Monday.

“As profoundly disappointing as this news is, we believe this is the only safe way forward. The safety of our patrons, volunteers, and artists was of paramount importance in coming to this conclusion.”

The annual four-day festival in the city’s Gallagher Park usually attracts thousands of music fans and boasts approximately 2,700 volunteers.

Alberta introduced new health rules last week, closing restaurants to in-person dining and further reducing customer capacity at retail stores in response to rising COVID-19 numbers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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