News Release from the Alberta NDP
KENNEY’S COVID RESTRICTIONS MUST APPLY TO ALL ALBERTANS AND BE EFFECTIVELY ENFORCED
Alberta’s NDP is calling for the Premier to apply COVID-19 public health orders consistently and bring in effective enforcement. The Official Opposition also continues to call for support for families of students forced to learn at home, struggling small businesses and workers forced to work sick without paid sick leave.
“I wanted to hear a clear commitment from the Premier that he would consistently and effectively enforce the law,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Instead, we have politically motivated exceptions and toothless enforcement.”
Notley noted that a majority of the areas exempt from public health orders are represented by UCP MLAs who have undermined public health orders.
Today, Solicitor General Kaycee Madu denied that his department told police to hold back on enforcement, despite his senior law enforcement official telling a legislature committee exactly that on April 6.
“He refused to come clean about enforcement. We heard yesterday from the Chief of Police in Calgary that their partners at the province told police not to issue many tickets,” said Notley. “Today we heard nothing from the Solicitor General that would dispel these directions.”
Jason Kenney also made no mention of any new support for small businesses. Personal and wellness services, health, social and professional services are due to close on Sunday, May 9, along with patio dining at restaurants and bars. All school grades are to move to online learning on Friday, May 7.
“As the Premier fails to do all that is necessary today to get COVID-19 under control, Albertans are left paying the price after enduring more than a year on Jason Kenney’s rollercoaster of confusing and contradictory restrictions,” Notley added. “They need support, but once again, Jason Kenney announced restrictions without any of the necessary support.”
“Families and businesses across Alberta are scrambling today to respond to the confusing array of public health measures announced last night,” Notley said. “Working parents are trying to figure out how to keep kids at home safely for two weeks or more. Small business owners are asking themselves if they can survive yet another closure of three weeks or more.”
Calgary Stampede receives $10M from federal government to aid recovery from pandemic
Calgary – The Calgary Stampede has received more than $10 million from the federal government to help it bounce back after last year’s event was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report to the city this week showed the Stampede had an operating loss of $8.3 million in 2021.
Last year’s Stampede ran at half capacity because of COVID-19 public health measures and was cancelled all-together the year before.
Daniel Vandal, the federal minister for Prairies Economic Development Canada, says the money aims to support a full-scale Stampede to deliver the “authentic western experience” this year.
He says it would also help to reignite Alberta’s visitor economy.
The 2022 Stampede is set to run from July 8 to 17.
“Festivals large and small were hard hit during the pandemic,” Vandal said in a news release. “They are events where families and friends come together and take in the exciting atmosphere.
“The tourism industry is facing a strong comeback providing quality jobs across the country, showcasing stunning landscapes and offering exciting experiences right here in Alberta.”
The federal government also provided about $1.8 million for four other tourism projects in southern Alberta: Charmed Resorts, Cochrane Tourism Association, Heritage Park and Tourism Calgary.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.
Alberta Utilities Commission approves $31M ATCO fine, says in public interest
The Alberta Utilities Commission has approved a $31-million fine proposed for ATCO Electric’s attempts to overcharge ratepayers for costs it shouldn’t have incurred.
In April, ATCO Electric agreed to pay the penalty after a commission investigation found it deliberately overpaid a First Nation group for work on a new transmission line.
It said ATCO also failed to disclose the reasons for the overpayment when it applied to be reimbursed by ratepayers for the extra cost.
But in May, the Consumers’ Coalition of Alberta said the proposed settlement doesn’t adequately compensate people in the province for the harm they have suffered.
The commission says in its ruling that after carefully considering the settlement agreement, it is satisfied that accepting it is consistent with the public interest.
The commission also says the agreement would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
“The commission considers that the settlement is fit and reasonable, falling within a range of reasonable outcomes given the circumstances,” reads the ruling released Wednesday.
The settlement came after an investigation into a complaint that ATCO Electric sole-sourced a contract in 2018 for work needed for a transmission line to Jasper, Alta.
The agreement says that was partly because another of Calgary-based ATCO’s subsidiaries had a deal with a First Nation for projects, including for work camps on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
The statement of facts says ATCO Electric feared that if it didn’t grant the Jasper contract to the First Nation, it might back out of its deal with ATCO Structures and Logistics. It’s illegal for a regulated utility to benefit a non-regulated company in this way.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.
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