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Alberta

“Excessive Risk Aversion” Red Deer South MLA calls for less fear and more freedom and hope in the battle against COVID19

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A message from Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan

This week I stood in the Alberta Legislature making a Member Statement sharing the sentiments of many constituents in Red Deer which I share.

Lockdowns and shutdowns destroy livelihoods, undermining long term mental and emotional health. Young adults and our children, generally at lower risk from COVID, can be particularly vulnerable, and need to see less fear and excessive risk aversion and more freedom and hope.

The statement:

Please find attached the full text of the Member Statement with the references to the Speaker removed. The video of the member statement is available here:

I am blessed to be the father of two adult sons and a teenage daughter who I love.

Like many parents, I am concerned about the impact health orders are having on the mental health of our children.

I feel job watching my sons become independent of their parents, to seek happiness as the individually see fit.

Yet, like many parents, I see the work and effort of young adults threatened by calls for lockdowns with devastating economic consequences.

This ought not to be.  Some of the loudest voices calling for lockdowns, will not lose a penny of pay, while those impacted may lose it all.

COVID should be respected; but children are low risk – not a single school age child has died from COVID in Alberta.  Yet, there is excessive risk aversion – a single positive COVID case in a high school should not result in 118 other students sent home to isolate, just because they were in the same class, notwithstanding physical distancing is respected, with good health and no symptoms.

School sports, colleges and universities are too shut down.

There is excessive risk aversion and fear – with negative long-term health impacts for children and young adults at low risk from COVID.

There needs to be a principled vision of hope.

The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Orders, lockdowns and shutdowns are not healthy – imposing long term physical, mental and social health costs, especially on our children.

Click this link to see this statement as it was made in the Alberta Legislature: https://www.facebook.com/JasonStephanMLA/videos/137607104371116/

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Alberta

Politicians raise concerns about carbon pricing benefits given to oilsands companies

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EDMONTON — Federal and provincial politicians are raising questions about Alberta government support provided to profitable oilsands companies that say carbon pricing hurts their competitiveness.

A recently released Alberta government document lists oilsands producers that have benefitted from a 2018 program designed to soften the blow of carbon pricing for companies whose competitors don’t pay those costs.

The program allows successful applicants to meet reduction targets through a greater emphasis on offsets, apply for emissions reduction grants or simply emit more carbon.

The document shows the only company that has benefitted from the program every year between 2018 and 2020 is Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which declared more than $2 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2021.

Alberta New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt says the province must be more transparent, pointing out the document doesn’t say what benefits CNRL received, how big they were or how they were justified.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says his office is looking into how the program was used.

He says if problems are found, it could have an effect on the agreement between Alberta and Ottawa on carbon pricing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Kenney touts 'Alberta is back' in first speech to Calgary Chamber since 2019

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CALGARY — Premier Jason Kenney used his first address to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce since the start of the pandemic to tout the recovery of Alberta’s economy amid high energy prices.

Saying that ‘Alberta is back’, he noted that in the first quarter next year the provincial GDP is expected to finally surpass the level it was in 2014 before a crash in oil prices pushed the province into recession.

He says that is a sharp turnaround from the early days of the pandemic when unemployment hit 25 per cent and for close to 10 weeks the province was unable to sell an Alberta government bond.

Kenney says the recovery has been helped by an increase in demand for oil and gas, but argues that it’s not part of a roller-coaster in commodities because rising prices show the continued importance of energy.

He used the address to emphasize his United Conservative government’s strategy of low taxes to attract investment, noting that the province accelerated its corporate tax cut to make it the lowest in Canada.

Kenney also says his government is focused on attracting more people to the province to boost its labour pool through initiatives like rapid certification programs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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