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Has CERB turned Alberta into a Welfare state? “Money for nothing, watching their MTV.”

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Has Alberta become a welfare state? Have Albertans become the largest welfare recipients on a per capita basis?

Being old, I remember the terms; welfare and pogey. Welfare was the provinces’ responsibility for people who could not work and did not qualify for unemployment cheques or pogey. Welfare and Pogey were things to be avoided, if at all possible.

I remember make work projects for welfare recipients where they were hired, for jobs, just long enough to qualify for pogey, (or unemployment cheques or employment insurance cheques).

There were times when I felt piqued when a welfare recipient called their cheques paycheques. I was young, healthy, could find a job, make good money and I thought everyone but a few could do the same.

When you are dealing with frostbite, a short-handed crew, swinging a sledgehammer against an unyielding flange at -45, you don’t have a lot of kind words for those “getting money for nothing watching their MTV”.

Corporate welfare was another sore point, none of that money trickled down to the camps or the leases. Suits drove nicer, newer cars and wore fancier suits while I still had to work in bad weather to pay for my pick up truck needed to get to work.

Times have changed, cheques have become direct deposit, welfare, corporate welfare, and pogey have new names but they are still wefare. One term bandied about is “CERB”.

There are news stories and graphs that show that Alberta, Albertans, Alberta businesses, Alberta groups are the highest recipients of this welfare called CERB.

Former Prime Minister Harper collected CERB for his consulting firm, Premier Kenney’s UCP the governing party of Alberta collected CERB while the official opposition’s party, the NDP, did not.

Alberta has collected the most welfare money from Trudeau’s government than any other province on a per capita basis and yet has allocated the least to Covid related programs. Leaving it to help lower the deficit in April, would be my guess.

Interesting enough a lot of Albertans fattened up their savings and did not spend their welfare funds on necessities to survive. Crews are working short handed, some claim that CERB disenfranchises people from working.

What happened over the last 5 decades? Are Albertans now, only in it for the easy money? I would like to think that Albertans, as a whole, are hard working, industrious folks that may have fallen into the mob mentality of easy money, ripe for the taking.

Will we return to the time when Albertans are proud of their accomplishments, their hard work, the hardships they endured, or will they talk about their “Money for nothing, watching their MTV.”

Just asking.

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Alberta

Alberta legislation would set up independent agency to investigate police complaints

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The Alberta government has introduced legislation aimed at making police forces more accountable and responsive to the communities they serve.

The Police Amendment Act introduced Thursday would establish an independent agency called the Police Review Commission to receive complaints, carry out investigations and conduct disciplinary hearings to do away with the idea of police investigating police.

Mike Ellis, the minister of public safety and emergency services, said the province has been consulting with Albertans since 2018 to come up with the first major overhaul of the Police Act in 34 years.

“One thing that came up consistently was the need to change how complaints against the police are investigated to end the system of police investigating police,” Ellis said.

“The legislation answers those long-lasting calls to reform the public complaints process by establishing an independent agency to handle complaints against police.”

The Alberta Serious Response Team will continue to handle all cases involving death or serious injuries, as well as serious and sensitive allegations involving all police services. Its mandate would be expanded to include peace officers employed by provincial organizations as well as community peace officers at the municipal level.

The legislation would also require all jurisdictions with a population above 15,000 currently policed by the RCMP to establish civilian bodies to oversee policing priorities.

The United Conservative Party government is deciding next steps following the release of a third-party analysis last year of a proposal to create a provincial police force instead of using the RCMP in rural areas and some smaller communities.

“No decisions have been made regarding the provincial police service,” Ellis said. “This is about ensuring that the rural municipalities have a say at the table under our current model which is the RCMP, who is the current provincial police service provider.”

Ellis said it could be another 18 months before the Police Review Commission is up and running. He said negotiations are underway with the RCMP to see how they would fit in under civilian oversight.

“Right now K-Division has expressed they’re supportive of this, however, we’re still having discussions with Public Safety Canada because it still falls technically under the RCMP in Ottawa,” he said.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate with the RCMP because we believe the independent body is the right approach and we can continue going down that path.”

The proposed changes would also require police to develop diversity and inclusion plans to reflect the diverse and distinct communities they serve and to better understand local community needs.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police supports the changes.

“Changes to update our Police Act are long overdue,” said Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, president of the association in a statement.

“We have advocated for several years that the act needs reform to bring it more in line with the realities of the modern police workplace,”

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee said the changes “will provide an additional layer of public transparency” that will benefit both the public and police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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