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Alberta

Four Central Albertans will play key roles in the new Alberta Government!

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From the Province of Alberta

Premier Kenney appoints strong team ready to lead

Alberta’s 18th Premier, Jason Kenney, and his cabinet were sworn in at Government House in Edmonton on April 30.

“Albertans gave our new government a huge democratic mandate for bold change that gets our economy back to work and stands up for this province. This is a strong team that is ready to lead, and to deliver that change starting today.”

Premier Jason Kenney

Alberta’s new government is one of the most youthful in Canada, with a strong mandate to represent all Albertans. Diversity is reflected through the 13 different languages spoken by ministers and, for the first time, Alberta will have a minister responsible for Multiculturalism, as well as a dedicated parliamentary secretary. The province will be well served in attracting entrepreneurial immigrants who create jobs and bring economic growth to Alberta with a Minister of Immigration.

“Many of the ministers appointed are Albertans by choice and not chance, having immigrated to this province because they saw it as a land of opportunity that they now seek to serve. Alberta’s new cabinet includes farmers, teachers, tradespeople, small business owners, lawyers, business executives, musicians, oil and gas experts, public servants and a range of other professional backgrounds. These ministers are in touch with the lives of the people they will be serving.”

Premier Jason Kenney

“This is a young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience. With an average age of 43, most members of this cabinet are new to public service. They ran for all of the right reasons: because they want to work hard to reverse years of economic decline and stagnation, and to get our economy moving again. This is a team that will be obsessed with creating jobs, showing the world that Alberta is open for business again, and fighting for a fair deal in Canada.”

 Premier Jason Kenney

Premier Kenney and cabinet will meet for the first time immediately after the swearing-in. They will be focused on getting to work on Day One, implementing the comprehensive United Conservative agenda. Later today, Premier Kenney will be launching his strategy to stand up for Albertans, beginning with a presentation to a Senate committee, opposing the disastrous Bill C-48 – a bill unfairly targeting and discriminating against Alberta resources.

Full biographies for Alberta’s new cabinet can be found on Alberta.ca.

Ministers

  • Premier Jason Kenney, President of Executive Council and Minister of Intergovernmental Relations

  • Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

  • Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

  • Rebecca Shulz, Minister of Children’s Services

  • Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services

  • Leela Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

  • Tanya Fir, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism

  • Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

  • Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

  • Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

  • Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

  • Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

  • Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

  • Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

  • Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

  • Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs

  • Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing

  • Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta

  • Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

  • Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Associate Ministers

  • Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas
  • Grant Hunter, Associate Minister of Red Tape

Parliamentary Secretary

  • Muhammad Yaseen, Parliamentary Secretary of Immigration

Major non-cabinet assignments

  • Jason Nixon, House Leader
  • Doug Schweitzer, Deputy House Leader
  • Ric McIver, Deputy House Leader
  • Sonya Savage, Deputy House Leader
  • Mike Ellis, Whip
  • Joseph Schow, Deputy Whip

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

A for Quebec, F for Alberta: Study rates Canadian governments on conservation

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A new report grades Canadian governments in how they responded to the country’s international promise to conserve at least 17 per cent of its land mass and 10 per cent of its oceans by 2020. 

The report, released today by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, says Quebec and the federal government are the only jurisdictions to come close to meeting the 17 per cent conservation target.

The society says Alberta performed the worst, cancelling previously planned protections, delisting parks and attempting to open the Rocky Mountains for open-pit coal mining. 

“A lot of it has to do with political will,” said society spokeswoman Alison Woodley.

The group chose to examine how close different Canadian jurisdictions came to meeting its Aichi targets, an international agreement signed by Canada in 2010. The idea, said Woodley, was to learn how to better meet the next set of conservation goals — 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030.

The report used internationally recognized standards of what constitutes protection and federal data on the amount of land covered. 

Nationally, Canada met and exceeded its 2020 ocean goals, but fell short by more than three percentage points on land. That was good enough for a B-plus and an A-minus respectively, the report says.

The report credits funding — the 2021 federal budget included $2.3 billion for conservation — as well as a willingness to work with Indigenous groups for Ottawa’s progress.

Quebec nearly met its land conservation goals, conserving 16.7 per cent of its territory.

“The province worked with communities and First Nations to identify and deliver on new protected areas,” said Woodley.

Alberta, not so much. Although the province has more than 15 per cent of its land mass protected, the report points out Alberta has attempted to delist parks, open its Rocky Mountains to coal mining and walked away from plans that would have created some of the biggest new protected areas in the country. 

“It’s not just about areas of protections,” said report author Anna Pidgorna. “Alberta’s going backwards in many ways.”

Alberta Environment did not immediately respond to a request to outline conservation measures taken by the United Conservative government. 

Ontario and Newfoundland share Alberta’s F grade. Ontario has protected less than one per cent of its lands over the last decade, with a similar story in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the percentage of protected land is among the lowest in Canada. 

The rest of the country is a mix, said Woodley. 

Saskatchewan is criticized for having protected less than 10 per cent of its land and weakening protections on native grasslands, but praised for working with Indigenous groups and granting interim protection to one new area. Manitoba made early progress, the report says, but has lately discussed selling off park land.  

British Columbia has almost 20 per cent of its land under protection. But the province is criticized for no recent progress and underfunding the parks it does have. 

The Northwest Territories get a B-plus for creating large new protected areas and working with Indigenous groups to define and manage them. 

Woodley said the study shows that funding makes a big difference to creating protected areas. So does time and patience.

“Conservation takes time,” she said. 

“A major barrier to delivering on the 17-per-cent target was a lack of time. If we’re going to meet the 30-per-cent target, we need to start now.”  

Woodley said conserving land is the best way to address the loss of species and shrinking biodiversity around the world.

“Habitat loss is the primary driver of nature’s decline. Protecting habitat has to be a core part of the solution.”

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2021. 

— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Details released on fatal hunt for suspect in Alberta where police dog also died

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HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. — Alberta’s police oversight agency has released new details about last week’s death of a man whose pursuit, arrest and death near a provincial park also resulted in the death of a police service dog.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team says in a news release the 29-year-old suspect was involved in a shootout with RCMP on Thursday after officers had tracked him for several kilometres through thick bush around High Prairie, Alta.

During the gunfire exchange, ASIRT says a police service dog was shot and killed, and the officers were told to disengage and were airlifted out in a helicopter.

ASIRT says backup was brought in and officers fired their guns when they encountered the suspect again, and this time they believed they’d hit him, but attempts to find him failed.

The agency says officers later made contact with the suspect two more times but it appeared he hadn’t been injured after all.

The release says on Friday morning, two officers who were assigned to contain the area spotted the suspect in a ditch, a confrontation occurred, and both officers opened fire. The suspect was later pronounced dead.

“The man fell to the ground in the tall grass, and additional police officers and … medical officers responded to the area. Medical officers attempted to treat the man, but ultimately he died at the scene,” the ASIRT release said of the final confrontation.

“A loaded semi-automatic .22-calibre rifle, as well as a range finder, were recovered from the incident scene and have been seized as exhibits.”

RCMP identified the suspect last week as Lionel Ernest Grey of the Gift Lake Metis Settlement. Police had said that he’d died from injuries following his arrest, but they hadn’t say what injuries he’d had or how he died.

They said a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit.

ASIRT said its investigation will examine the actions of police, while the RCMP will maintain responsibility for the investigation of the suspect and his actions.

The agency said that since investigation is underway, it won’t be releasing any further information.

ASIRT is investigating another shooting in northern Alberta on Sunday night that also ended with a suspect dead and a police dog injured.

Mounties said they were looking for a suspect who fled on foot after a dispute in a vehicle near the community of Ardmore, southwest of Cold Lake. They said officers and a police dog found the suspect, there was a confrontation and an officer fired a gun.

The man died at the scene and the dog was taken to a veterinarian and treated for a non life-threatening injury.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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