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Alberta

Province setting up Alberta Parole Board to decide on early release for sentences less than two years

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4 minute read

From the Province of Alberta

Protecting Albertans from repeat offenders

Alberta’s government is introducing legislation to create an Alberta Parole Board to ensure our province has a fairer, faster and more responsive justice system that reflects the values of Albertans and meets the needs of our communities.

If passed, Bill 18, the Corrections (Alberta Parole Board) Amendment Act, would create the Alberta Parole Board. A provincial parole board would better protect Albertans, their loved ones and their property from repeat offenders, including parolees. The government is fulfilling a commitment to Albertans to better hold criminals responsible to protect public safety.

“Albertans expect, and deserve, a faster, fairer and more responsive justice system that holds criminals responsible. Our government’s platform committed that we would ensure repeat offenders, including parolees, are not able to re-victimize them. This is an important part of getting a fair deal for Alberta, and of getting more Alberta and less Ottawa.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Our government has heard loud and clear that Albertans want us to do everything we can to protect them, keep our communities safe and prevent people from being victimized. By creating an Alberta Parole Board, Alberta is taking control of a key component of the administration of justice in this province. It will help end the ‘revolving door’ justice system and will be more in touch with the current realities facing law-abiding Albertans who are frustrated with a justice system that does not make them feel secure and protected.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“RMA has consistently expressed concerns regarding the impacts that repeat offenders have on police services and the justice system in rural Alberta. The creation of the Alberta Parole Board is intended to offer solutions to the current ‘catch and release’ system, contributing to increased safety for our rural communities through responsive oversight.”

Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

The Alberta Parole Board would determine parole or early release eligibility for those serving sentences in provincial correctional facilities, which are sentences less than two years. Currently, Alberta contracts with the federal government to have the Parole Board of Canada make these determinations.

The Alberta Parole Board would also supervise provincial parolees through:

  • Community probation officers, with localized knowledge and ties to the community in which they work, who will closely monitor offenders released on parole from provincial correctional facilities.
  • Provincial correctional centre caseworkers and probation officers who will continue to do much of the same work for the Alberta Parole Board that they already do for the federal parole board.

If passed, the government plans to have the Alberta Parole Board in place and operating starting Jan. 1, 2021.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Alberta will appoint Alberta Parole Board members for provincial parole decisions.
  • Alberta would be joining Ontario and Quebec, which have had their own provincial parole boards since 1978. As with the Alberta plan, their boards make parole decisions for applicants serving a sentence of less than two years in provincial correctional facilities.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Ensign Energy reports lower Q4 drilling activity, revenue as slow recovery continues

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CALGARY — Drilling company Ensign Energy Services Inc. says oilpatch activity in its Canadian and U.S. operations is staging a slow recovery from a deep slump in 2020.

The Calgary-based company says it earned net income of $3.1 million or two cents per share on revenue of $201 million in the last three months of 2020, compared with a net loss of $71.6 million on revenue of $375 million in the year-earlier period.

Analysts had expected a net loss of $57.9 million on revenue of $197 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Ensign’s fourth-quarter revenue slumped 43 per cent in Canada compared with the same period in 2019, by 52 per cent in the U.S. and by 36 per cent in its international arm, which operates in South America, the Middle East and Australia.

The driller says it had a net loss attributed to shareholders of $79.3 million for 2020 as a whole on revenue of $936.8 million, compared with a loss of $163 million on revenue of $1.6 billion in 2019.

It said it received $12.5 million in 2020 from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program and a $6.9-million wage subsidy from the Australian government.

“The outlook for oilfield services has recently and meaningfully improved as oil and natural gas industry fundamentals continue to recover,” Ensign said in a news release that notes recent improvements in benchmark world oil prices.

“In addition, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally in combination with economic stimulus actions have driven oil demand improvements.”

The outlook echoes that offered by rival Precision Drilling Corp., which last month reported a fourth-quarter loss of $37.5 million as its revenue fell 46 per cent compared with a year earlier.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ESI, TSX:PD)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Judge to decide if pastor accused of violating public-health orders will receive bail

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EDMONTON — A judge is to decide today whether to release an Alberta pastor from jail, after his lawyer argued he should be free to lead worshippers until his trial.

James Coates with GraceLife Church, west of Edmonton, has been in jail for over two weeks and is appealing his bail conditions.

Coates is charged with violating Alberta’s Public Health Act and with breaking a promise to abide by conditions of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence.

His lawyer, James Kitchen, told court Thursday that Coates can’t follow a bail condition that forbids him from holding services, because that would violate his conscience by disobeying God.

A prosecutor argued that the pastor’s release is a danger to the public.

The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health orders on attendance, masking and distancing.

The church has continued to hold services, even though Coates is in custody.

He is to stand trial in May.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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