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Premier Smith negotiates publicly with PM Trudeau: cancel ‘just transition’ and collaborate on carbon capture


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Letter from Premier Smith to Prime Minister Trudeau

Premier Danielle Smith invites Ottawa to collaborate with Alberta on carbon capture, utilization and storage investment and halt introduction of Just Transition legislation and oil and gas emissions cap.

Dear Prime Minister:

I am writing in follow up to our meeting of February 7th, during which we discussed the need for the Government of Canada to halt introduction of the proposed Just Transition legislation and implementation of unachievable targets and measures under the federal Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) such as the Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) and oil and gas sector emissions cap.

As a much more productive alternative, I invited your government to agree to commencing a collaborative effort between Ottawa and Alberta to develop a series of cooperative initiatives to attract investment and workers into Alberta’s emerging, conventional and non-conventional energy sectors while substantially reducing Canada’s and Alberta’s net emissions.

In that meeting, you expressed a willingness to pursue this course of collaborative action, but requested it be commenced promptly. The morning following my return to Alberta, I met with several of my ministers regarding this issue and can advise as follows.

The Government of Alberta is prepared to work with the federal government on a coordinated approach for a carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) incentive program for the purpose of net emissions reductions in our province while attracting billions in new investments for Alberta-based oil and gas projects, electricity, manufacturing and other sectors.

To this end, we propose coordinating a federal CCUS income tax credit with an expansion of our current Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) to include CCUS projects. This new incentive program would be in addition to the over $1.8 billion already invested into CCUS projects across the province by the Government of Alberta as well as our province’s additional implicit contribution to CCUS made through our current royalty regime.

Our government is also willing to discuss with your government expanding this coordinated approach to incentivizing other emerging emission reducing technologies as well, though we suggest beginning with agreement on a coordinated CCUS incentive program, so we are able to establish a successful foundation on which to build upon.

To this end, I request that we immediately create a federal/provincial minister-led working group with the objective of reaching agreement on a coordinated provincial-federal CCUS incentive program in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister, I must make it clear that the above invitation for cooperation and collaboration on this CCUS proposal and other energy and climate initiatives comes with one non-negotiable condition.

It is that the federal government refrain from introducing any new federal legislation or policies that materially impact Alberta’s oil and gas resource development, management or workforce participation without the full involvement, consultation and consent of Alberta.

This includes the contemplated Just Transition legislation and implementation of unachievable targets and measures under the federal Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) such as the Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) and oil and gas sector emissions cap.

Each of these initiatives, as currently understood, would pose an unconstitutional and existential threat to the Alberta economy and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Albertans.

As an alternative to this policy package of economic destruction, Alberta proposes working collaboratively with the federal government on aggressively advancing emission reducing technologies in Alberta as outlined above while simultaneously increasing export of LNG through the lens of replacing higher emitting fuels around the world to meet aggressive but achievable overall emissions reduction in Alberta’s oil and gas and other sectors. Ideally, our government would like to incorporate these collaborative federal-provincial initiatives into our soon-to-be-released Alberta Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan.

I must once again emphasize to you, Prime Minister, that although Alberta is willing to work as an active partner with the federal government on a coordinated approach to reducing Alberta’s and Canada’s net emissions, under no circumstances will our province accept the imposition of arbitrary and unachievable targets or policies that spell the end of meaningful long-term investment in Alberta’s energy sector, and as a result, the imminent phase out of Alberta’s largest industry. In such circumstances, our government would have no other choice but to oppose these destructive policies using every tool at our disposal in order to protect Albertans, their jobs and our province’s future.

Prime Minister, this issue is far larger and more important than you or I. There are literally hundreds of billions in public revenues and investments, and millions of jobs, riding on Alberta and Ottawa working together – instead of in conflict – on energy and environmental issues to create an attractive and certain investment climate that millions around the world want to invest in and move to.

Failure to do so will not only undermine Canada’s prosperity by driving billions in energy investment and revenue out of Canada and into the hands of the world’s most brutal and undemocratic regimes, but will also result in increased energy poverty and food insecurity in many of the world’s most impoverished countries, a loss of our nation’s global influence, and most ironically, an increase in the world’s global emissions due to an increased use of coal, as opposed to LNG, by developing nations to meet increasing world demand for electricity.

Canada has the potential to become a global energy superpower with all of the economic and political influence for good that such standing would grant us. We can and must seize this opportunity without delay. Please come to the table and work collaboratively with Alberta on likely the most important economic issue facing this country in a generation.

I look forward to reading your response and to learning of the appointment of your government’s side of the federal/provincial minister-led working group for the CCUS incentive program so that our two governments can take our first steps in this critical collaborative effort.


Running Reins Ranch in Red Deer County picks up $250,000 grant from province

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Running Reins Ranch partners with members of the local Indigenous community to set-up teepee accommodations and host regular cultural programming for guests.

Tourism investment fuels growth in rural Alberta

Alberta’s government continues to support regional tourism opportunities across the province, generating jobs and new tourism destinations for locals and visitors alike.  

Ahead of World Tourism Day 2023, Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow visited Running Reins Ranch to see first-hand how tourism investment grants are making a difference in the lives of Albertans.

“Alberta’s government is proud to invest in growing visitor destinations like Running Reins Ranch that celebrate the richness and diversity of Alberta’s rural destinations and provide a sustainable tourism experience for visitors to enjoy.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

As part of the Tourism Investment Program, Running Reins Ranch received a $250,000 grant from Travel Alberta.

“Our investment will support the building of additional unique accommodations at the ranch that will triple their capacity, emphasize their year-round offerings and create five new full-time jobs. This investment in Running Reins Ranch is a perfect example of how Travel Alberta is driving tourism growth in rural communities across the province.”

Jon Mamela, chief commercial officer, Travel Alberta

Running Reins is located east of Innisfail, offering cabin and teepee accommodations and a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors looking to combine the beauty of the Prairies with farm experiences for a one-of-a-kind getaway.

Right to Left: Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow, Owners of Running Reins Ranch Terry and Janice Scott, and team member Grace Finlan.

“This funding is a game-changer for us and our business. We are excited to bring our vision to life and provide visitors with unforgettable experiences while supporting the economic growth of the surrounding community.”

Janice and Terry Scott, owners, Running Reins Ranch

Tourism is Alberta’s No. 1 service export sector. In 2019, Alberta welcomed 34.6 million visitors, generating $10.1 billion in expenditures and supporting more than 80,000 full-time jobs. The Tourism Investment Program is Travel Alberta’s commitment to investing $15 million annually with communities and operators to develop the province’s tourism sector. Developing Alberta’s rural and agri-tourism sector is an essential component of the government’s efforts to grow Alberta’s tourism economy to more than $20 billion by 2035.

Quick facts

  • In 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities – about 75 per cent of the projects and 70 per cent of the funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
  • In December 2022, Alberta’s government released its Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan, with supporting initiatives that demonstrate the government’s commitment to building healthy and prosperous communities across rural Alberta and Indigenous communities.
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Company at centre of E. coli outbreak at Calgary daycares faces licensing charges

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Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange speaks to the media about an E. coli outbreak linked to multiple Calgary daycares in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Colette Derworiz in Calgary

The company that runs a commercial kitchen at the centre of an E. coli outbreak that has infected hundreds at numerous Calgary daycares has been charged with operating without a business licence.

The City of Calgary announced Wednesday that Fueling Minds Inc. and its two directors face a total of 12 charges under municipal business bylaws and face a total fine of up to $120,000.

The company declined to comment on the charges in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Alberta chief medical officer Dr. Mark Joffe said the number of cases has plateaued at 351, and tests and interviews indicate the cause of the outbreak was meat loaf and vegan loaf.

He said there are also 37 confirmed secondary cases and four children remain in hospital.

Fueling Minds provided meals to six of its own daycares that were affected by the outbreak, which was declared Sept. 4, and also to five separate daycares.

The city alleges Fueling Minds did not have the proper licence to serve those other five.

Joffe said the investigation into the cause of the outbreak included interviews with hundreds of parents and daycare staffers and the testing of 44 food samples.

“We believe that meat loaf and vegan loaf meals that were served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contained the E. coli bacteria that led to these infections,” said Joffe.

“Unfortunately, neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified.

“While we now have a likely source, what we do not know exactly is what was contaminated or how.”

The company’s statement said the “exact source of the infections has not yet been identified” and it continues to work with Alberta Health Services on its ongoing investigation.

Joffe said the province is to hire a third party to verify its work and findings.

Premier Danielle Smith said former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson would lead a panel to investigate what went wrong and make recommendations on how to make commercially prepared food safer in daycares.

Smith said the panel does not have a set timeline, but she expects to hear from him monthly and would implement interim recommendations if necessary rather than wait for the final report.

“Mr. Hanson will be joined by Alberta parents, childcare operators, food service operators, and food safety and public health experts,” said Smith.

“The panel will be examining all aspects of this tragic situation, large and small, as well as taking a full broader look at the legislation and regulations that govern food safety in our province.”

Smith said she met with parents of affected children, and a policy change they suggested was posting kitchen health inspection reports in a daycare rather than just online.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange and Searle Turton, minister for children and family services, are already reviewing food handling in commercial daycare kitchens.

The kitchen remains closed and in recent months has been flagged for numerous health violations, including food transportation concerns.

Diana Batten, the Opposition NDP critic for childcare and child and family services, said Wednesday’s developments were a good start to getting answers.

“This will really help some of the families I’m speaking with,” she told reporters.

“However, it brings up or illustrates there’s a lot of problems inside the system. We heard Premier Smith talk about how we should trust now that the system is safe. Why? We continue to identify more concerns.”

Batten said a panel isn’t going to help solve those problems.

“It’s just spending more money and, honestly, putting a Band-Aid on what is honestly a huge public health crisis.”

The province has promised parents affected by the closures in the original 11 daycares a one-time payment of $2,000 per child to cover off financial hardship. Those facilities were closed Sept. 4 but have since reopened.

Eight more daycares faced closures or partial closures in the days that followed as secondary cases were identified.

Smith said last week that the compensation program would only be available to parents of the 11 daycares at the root of the outbreak.

Turton, however, confirmed parents affected by the later closures would also be eligible for the one-time payments, and that was the plan all along.

“The program hasn’t expanded,” said Turton.

“It’s important to note that just more daycares since the original announcement have actually become eligible for those payments.”

— With files from Dean Bennett in Edmonton

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 27, 2023.

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