Province adds travel prizes to boost vaccine numbers
News release from The Province of Alberta
Travel prizes added to Open for Summer Lottery
Albertans who get fully vaccinated with two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine now have a chance to win vacation packages and other travel prizes from WestJet and Air Canada.
Along with three draws for $1 million each, Alberta’s Open for Summer Lottery will now offer an additional 40 travel-related prizes provided by WestJet and Air Canada. This includes week-long stays at all-inclusive luxury resorts and flights across Canada and abroad.
The WestJet and Air Canada packages will be included in the August lottery draw for people who receive both vaccine doses. To enter, you simply need to register online and have received a first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine before registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 24. Winners will be announced on Aug. 31.
The draws are open to all Albertans age 18 and older who register for the Open for Summer Lottery, providing yet another incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and another way to reward those who have already rolled up their sleeves.
“Alberta’s government is doing everything it can to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated so we can put this pandemic behind us. I would like to thank WestJet and Air Canada for providing yet another reason for eligible Albertans to get protected. In turn, we want Albertans to get their vaccines as soon as possible so we can fully open for summer and open for good.”
“The Open for Summer Lottery is a once-in-a-lifetime response to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. While protection from COVID-19 is the greatest reward, we have dreamt long enough of getting back to activities we love. This is the perfect opportunity to make some of those travel dreams a reality while encouraging more Albertans to get vaccinated.”
“Vaccinations are our way out of this pandemic. With partners like WestJet and Air Canada, we’re ready to kick-start tourism in Alberta and start welcoming travellers from around the globe. As we begin to open our doors and welcome visitors back to explore the beauty and wonder of Alberta, our tourism industry will be a key part of our economic rebound.”
“The safe restart of travel is essential to Canada’s economic recovery and the faster Canadians are vaccinated, the sooner we can restore jobs across our hard-hit travel and tourism sector. We’re proud that more than 350 WestJetters continue to support vaccination efforts across the country, including 132 furloughed WestJetters who have joined Alberta Health Services to take calls, manage vaccine appointments and answer questions about vaccination. As Alberta’s successful vaccination rollout continues, we look forward to stimulating recovery by once again reconnecting Canadians to their friends, family and loved ones from coast to coast.”
“We are pleased to support Alberta’s vaccination efforts to help conquer COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming Albertans on board Air Canada’s flights when returning to the activities that everybody misses, including travelling to reunite with friends and families, taking a long-awaited beach vacation, exploring more of what the world offers, and also bringing global visitors to Alberta for business and leisure.”
- One WestJet Vacation Package for two to Dreams Vista Cancun Golf & Spa Resort, including round-trip economy flights and a seven-night all-inclusive stay.
- One voucher for two people to fly round trip, business class, anywhere in WestJet’s network.
- 10 vouchers for two people to fly round trip, economy class, anywhere in Canada.
- Three giveaways of 1,500 WestJet dollars.
- Five giveaways of WestJet Rewards Gold Status.
Air Canada prizes
- One Air Canada Vacation Package for two to Planet Hollywood Cancun, including round-trip economy flights and a seven-night all-inclusive stay.
- One voucher for two people to fly round trip, business class, anywhere in Air Canada’s network.
- 10 vouchers for two people to fly round trip, economy class, anywhere in Canada.
- Three giveaways of 100,000 Aeroplan bonus points.
- Five giveaways of Aeroplan 50K Status.
Get your shot and register today
Along with these prizes, Alberta’s government will hold three draws for $1 million each to incentivize Albertans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Any Alberta resident age 18-plus who has received a first dose of vaccine can now register to enter for the $1-million grand prize and additional travel prizes.
- Two additional lotteries will follow in August and September to encourage Albertans to complete the vaccine series and receive their second dose. To win one of these additional $1-million prizes, Albertans must be 18 years or older and have received both doses.
To register for the lottery, including the travel prizes, visit alberta.ca/lottery. Only one entry is required to be eligible for all Open for Summer Lottery prizes.
To book your COVID-19 vaccine, visit alberta.ca/vaccine to find available appointments with AHS or participating pharmacies. Select locations across the province are offering first dose walk-in clinics.
Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.
- Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan safely eases restrictions in three stages as vaccination targets are reached and hospitalizations decline.
- Stage 3 will occur two weeks after 70 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one dose of vaccine.
- To be eligible for the lottery, you must:
- Opt in by registering at alberta.ca/lottery.
- Reside in Alberta at the time of entry and draw.
- Be 18 years of age and older.
- Be able to provide proof of receiving your first dose of an approved vaccine for the first draw, and both first and second doses for the second and third draws.
- Please visit the website for a complete list of rules.
- Any Albertan 18 or older who received approved vaccines out of province is also eligible, provided they have submitted proof of vaccination to AHS and meet all other eligibility criteria.
Canada under pressure to produce more food, protect agricultural land: report
Canada’s agricultural land is under increasing pressure to produce more food as demand grows domestically and internationally, while the industry grapples with limited resources and environmental constraints, a new report found.
“We need to grow more food on less land and in a volatile climate,” said Tyler McCann, managing director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.
The report by the institute released Thursday looks at the pressures on Canada’s agricultural land to produce more food while also mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, said McCann.
Despite Canada being a big country, it doesn’t have as much agricultural land as people might think, said McCann, with the report noting that agricultural land makes up only around seven per cent of the country.
Because of that, we can’t take what we do have for granted, he said. “We need to be really thoughtful about how we are using our agricultural land.”
In 2020, Canada was the eighth largest country in terms of cropland area, the report said, with that cropland decreasing by seven per cent over the previous two decades.
Canada is a major producer and net exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, the report said, exporting $91 billion in products in 2022, and one of the top 10 exporters of wheat, canola, pulses, pork and beef.
In the coming years, Canada will face increased demand from countries whose populations are growing, the report said.
“With population growth on one side and climate change on the other, Canada will be amongst an increasingly smaller number of countries that is a net exporter,” said McCann, noting that Canada’s own population is growing, and farmland also needs to be protected against urban sprawl.
The wildfires clouding Canadian skies this week are a “vivid reminder” of the pressure that extreme weather and the changing climate are putting on the agricultural sector, said McCann.
“We need to clearly mitigate … agriculture’s impact on climate change. But we also need to make sure agriculture is adapting to climate change’s impacts,” he said.
One of the ways the world has responded to demand for increased agricultural production over time is to create more agricultural land, in some cases by cutting down forests, said McCann. But that’s not a viable option for Canada, which doesn’t have a lot of land that can be sustainably converted into farmland — and even if it could, doing so could have a variety of adverse environmental effects, he said.
Some of the practices used to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in agriculture can also improve production output on existing farmland, the report found, such as precision agriculture and no-till practices.
However, intensifying the production of current agricultural land also comes with potential environmental downsides, the report said.
For example, McCann said fertilizer is an important part of sustainable agriculture, but there’s a balance to be struck because excessive use of fertilizer can quickly turn food production unsustainable.
“We need to be a lot more thoughtful about the inputs that we’re using,” he said, adding the same can be said about the use of technology in agriculture and the policies and programs put in place to encourage sustainable intensification of Canadian agriculture.
The report recommends that Canada adopt policies that provide financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers and develop regulatory frameworks promoting sustainable land use, as well as promoting education and awareness campaigns, so that the country can “ensure the long-term sustainability of its agricultural sector while protecting the environment.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.
Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press
Lawyer tells Alberta’s highest court review board biased in de Grood’s case
A family member of five slain students holds a heart sign with their names on it following a court decision in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, May 25, 2016. Alberta’s highest court is being asked to overturn a review board decision on the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party that confined a man to a supervised Edmonton group home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Ritika Dubey in Edmonton
Alberta’s highest court is being asked to overturn a review board decision that confined a man to a supervised Edmonton group home after the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party.
The lawyer representing Matthew de Grood argued Wednesday the review board’s decision was biased, citing what she described as political interference from Alberta’s former justice minister.
“The appellant says, ‘I think the conclusion about me is wrong. The board’s conclusion is incorrect and not supported by evidence,”’ Jacqueline Petrie said before the Alberta Court of Appeal. “He says there’s no significant evidence that he’s a risk.”
De Grood, 31, was found not criminally responsible in 2016 for the killings two years earlier of Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Kaitlin Perras, Josh Hunter and Lawrence Hong because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time. Petrie said de Grood has been stable on medication, is at low risk to reoffend and should be allowed to live with his parents while being monitored under a full warrant.
She argued the review board misunderstood medical evidence during the September 2022 review, which deemed de Grood a significant risk despite the assessment showing improvements. She said the board is supposed to recommend the least onerous disposition compatible with public safety and did not do that for de Grood.
The defence lawyer has said the review had been influenced by former justice minister Doug Schweitzer, who weighed in on de Grood’s case in October 2019 after the panel allowed de Grood to transition from institutional care to a supervised group home.
He has been under supervision at a group home. His case is reviewed by the Alberta Review Board yearly to see whether he can transition back into the community while maintaining public safety.
Petrie pointed at de Grood’s “exemplary record,” and that he has been “compliant to the (medical) treatment team.”
“Nobody knew he had schizophrenia (at the time of the stabbings) and needed medication.”
Crown prosecutor Matthew Griener said the board considered a conditional discharge but dismissed it, citing a relapse in schizophrenia symptoms in 2021.
Griener said de Grood’s relapses were brief and happened at the hospital, providing an early window for medical professionals to intervene.
Justice Kevin Feehan said de Grood may be low-risk, but the consequences of even one relapse could be significant.
Reading from an expert’s report, Feehan said: “A low risk to offend doesn’t mean the reoffence would not be severe.”
Some family members of the victims drove from Calgary for the hearing.
Segura’s mother, Patty, said the last nine years have been about de Grood and his rights.
“He should be thankful that he ended up NCR (not criminally responsible) rather than end(ing) with five life sentences for murdering five people,” she said. “He should not be appealing.”
Hunter’s father, Barclay, opposed a potential full release.
“The idea that he wouldn’t be monitored for the rest of his life seems to defy logic, it doesn’t make any sense,” said the father.
Hunter’s mother, Kelly, said the family has had “no healing.”
“We do this every year, at least once. Now, this is the second appeal,” she said. Barclay
Hunter said although there are attempts to reintegrate de Grood into society, he hopes the man is not left on his own with an absolute discharge.
“Regardless of what they say, he killed five people. If that doesn’t stand on its own as a risk factor, then I don’t know what does.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2023.
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