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Alberta

Premier Kenney announced five more COVID deaths – Alberta COVID Update for April 3

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Premier Jason Kenney

From the Province of Alberta

Alberta Bits and Pieces program highlights Albertan ingenuity, generosity

Over the past week, more than 1,100 offers of support have poured in from private and non-profit organizations through the Government of Alberta’s Bits and Pieces program.

The offers include passenger and commercial vehicles, hotel rooms and mobile trailers, food and water services, hospital gowns, face masks, ventilators and other personal protective equipment. They also highlight innovation in local manufacturing, with several Alberta distilleries offering sanitizer they produced and a drapery manufacturer offering medical garments and bedding it produced.

The program is named after the “bits and pieces program” established by Canada’s Minister of Munitions and Supply during the Second World War, C. D. Howe. The program coordinated innovative production and procurement efforts from across the Canadian economy to support the war effort.

“I’m deeply touched by the outpouring of support we’re seeing from private and non-profit organizations, both foreign and domestic. When times are tough, Alberta’s spirit of ingenuity and generosity always answers the call.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

One example is ATCO, the Alberta-founded and based company that got its start providing trailers for the oilpatch and is now best known to Albertans as a provider of gas and electricity, which has offered to contribute up to several hundred trailers if needed. These could be used for COVID testing, treatment and quarantining, especially in rural and remote areas without adequate medical facilities.

In addition to many local companies offering and innovating to provide products, Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are leading in areas of research, with one researcher at the University of Alberta working to develop a virus-killing medical mask.

“Albertans are leaders, and I’m humbled to see our province leading and giving back in so many ways. The offers and innovation we’re seeing take place across our province right now will help our government meet the demands and challenges we face today, and the ones we’ll face in the future.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs

The Government of Alberta encourages individuals, private companies and non-profit organizations who can offer products and services, including personal protective equipment, to visit the offers webpage at alberta.ca/covid19.

Examples of Alberta companies filling the need

  • ATCO has confirmed their ability to deploy hundreds of trailers for medical testing, quarantining and treatment, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • Calgary-based Fluid Energy Group has signed a letter of intent with the federal government to produce hand sanitizer.
  • The Rocky Mountain Soap Company in Canmore received certification from Health Canada to create a naturally derived hand sanitizer that is available online.
  • Alberta Garment is transitioning to produce hospital gowns.
  • Alberta’s manufacturing sector is working to tackle the spread of COVID-19 by exploring new solutions for personal protective equipment.

Calgary ban on public events includes Flames, Stampeders should leagues restart

Alberta

Attempts to close Line 5 pipeline a “threat” to consumers: Suncor CEO

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CALGARY — The CEO of Suncor Energy Inc. says attempts by Michigan state politicians to retire the Line 5 pipeline running through a Great Lakes channel is a “huge potential threat” for consumers in Michigan as well as Ontario and Quebec.

Speaking during the TD Securities energy conference, Mark Little says his company’s refineries in Sarnia, Ont., and Montreal are operating normally despite the line’s recent shutdown and partial restoration.

But he adds that the use of rail transportation and ships in place of the pipeline drives up costs and will have an affect on consumers.

Line 5 owner Enbridge Inc. shut down both legs of the pipeline last month after noticing a disturbance to an anchor support on its underwater east leg in the Straits of Mackinac.

The west leg was restarted, then ordered shut down by a judge at the request of state Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has also asked for a preliminary injunction that could keep Line 5 closed indefinitely.

Last week, the judge allowed the west leg to reopen but the other leg remains closed until more testing is completed.

“I think this is a huge potential threat, you know, to the extend that it’s probable,” said Little.

“It’s a threat not just to the Canadian product markets in Ontario and Quebec but it is in Michigan as well. And this is something that would impact consumers in all of those markets.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SU, TSX:ENB)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta justice minister cleared in ethics case tied to oil funding inquiry

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s ethics commissioner says Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer did not break the rules when he hired Steve Allan to run a public inquiry into whether foreign money is bankrolling anti-oil protests in Canada.

Marguerite Trussler, in a report issued Monday, said Allan was on balance a good choice in a small pool of qualified candidates.

The commissioner also noted that while Allan and Schweitzer knew each other in passing and Allan had contributed to Schweitzer’s political campaigns, he gave money to other parties as well.

“They were simply acquaintances in Calgary who occasionally communicated about issues such as economic strategy and flood mitigation,” said Trussler in the report, adding that Allan had seen his home destroyed in the 2013 Calgary flood.

“They were not friends and their relationship was not close.”

Trussler said the roster of quality candidates with forensic accounting experience who were able to work within the inquiry’s then-$2.5-million budget was limited.

Schweitzer’s spokesman, Jonah Mozeson, said in a statement Monday, “I’m glad the ethics commissioner confirmed what we always knew was true: no conflict.

“It’s unfortunate that some choose to ignore facts to tar their political opponents.”

Trussler launched the investigation after a complaint was laid late last year by a third party, Democracy Watch.

The complaint centred around Schweitzer’s role in hiring Allan, who had an office in Schweitzer’s former Calgary law firm, Dentons.

Allan was hired in July 2019 to head up the public inquiry to fulfil an election promise of Premier Jason Kenney, who has said he believes foreign funders are pulling the strings on domestic protesters to undermine Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Trussler noted that Schweitzer was put in charge of recruiting because public inquiries fall under his mandate as justice minister.

She said Allan had helped out on a fundraiser for Schweitzer’s failed bid for the leadership of the United Conservatives, which was won by Kenney in 2017.

Schweitzer, a one-time partner at Dentons, severed all connection to the firm after being named justice minister in April 2019.

Trussler said her mandate was not to investigate Allan, but she questioned his decision to hire Dentons to do legal work for the inquiry because Allan has a close friend who worked there. Allan’s son is a Dentons partner and the law firm gave Allan free office space after his home was destroyed.

“It does stretch credibility that Mr. Allan did not consider whether or not there may possibly be a conflict of interest in his engaging of Dentons as counsel for the inquiry,” wrote Trussler.

Allan could not be immediately reached for comment.

Allan’s report was due this week, but was extended by the government until Oct. 30. Also, an extra $1 million was added to the inquiry’s $2.5-million budget.

The inquiry has been the focus of critics, who say it is not fact finding but out to prove a pre-determined conclusion and, in doing so, is harming the reputations of people who legitimately and lawfully question the expansion of oil and gas operations.

Late last year, the environmental law firm Ecojustice launched legal action asking a court to strike down the inquiry, saying the process is politically motivated, prejudges conclusions and is outside provincial jurisdiction.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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