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Alberta

Province twinning David Thompson Highway (#11) from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House

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Premier Kenney announces highway 11 expansion

From the Province of Alberta

Improving David Thompson Highway and creating jobs

The Government of Alberta will twin a 66-kilometre stretch of the David Thompson Highway between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House.

This $120-million project is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and will create about 582 jobs, while upgrading the highway and improving traffic flow along this important recreation corridor.

“Alberta’s government is taking every possible step to get folks back to work. Infrastructure upgrades like this will create jobs today, while ensuring our roads and highways can support the needs of Albertans for years to come. Ultimately, this will create more opportunities for Albertans and visitors alike to access the natural beauty and hospitality of our province.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“The David Thompson Highway leads to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Canada and has become a popular route for the tourism industry. Twinning this highway will increase and improve access for Albertans and tourists alike to enjoy Alberta’s outdoors. The project is part of our government’s recovery plan to create jobs, diversify our economy and get Albertans back to work.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

The David Thompson Highway project is part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. This spending includes: $6.9 billion Budget 2020 capital spending, $980 million accelerated for Capital Maintenance and Renewal, $200 million for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program and water infrastructure projects, $600 million in strategic infrastructure projects, $500 million in municipal infrastructure and $1.5 billion for Keystone XL.

“The twinning of the David Thompson Highway is an important infrastructure project for our community and will support further investment in the province. It will address the congestion at the 781 intersection that continues to plague the area and, frankly, is long overdue. Most importantly, this project will create jobs right here in central Alberta at a time when Albertans need it most.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

“This project represents major progress on transportation infrastructure that will positively impact many communities in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. The David Thompson Highway – named after one of Western Canada’s true pioneers – sees considerable use by industry, tourists and Albertans recreating in the surrounding areas. Twinning the highway will ensure this gateway to the Rockies is upgraded for use for generations to come – boosting tourism, shoring up industry supply chains and allowing Albertans to explore what I consider the most beautiful area in the province.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, and MLA for Rimbey- Rocky Mountain House- Sundre

Alberta’s government is helping create more than 50,000 good jobs for Albertans by building schools, roads and other core infrastructure that benefits Albertans and communities. It will further diversify our economy by helping sectors grow and succeed and return investment to our province by ensuring we have the most competitive tax environment in Canada

Quick facts

  • Sylvan Lake and the David Thompson Country region are popular summer vacation destinations.
  • Design work will start in 2020 with construction activities getting underway in the 2021 construction season following land acquisition. A project of this scope typically takes about four years to build.
  • The project will be completed in phases over the following several construction seasons.
  • About 5,800 vehicles use this section of Highway 11 each day.
  • This project is anticipated to support 344 direct and 248 indirect jobs.

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Alberta

Reducing funding for RCMP on the table for Saskatchewan amid firearm buyback debate

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REGINA — Saskatchewan says it would consider reducing its funding for the RCMP if the force was to help the federal government with its proposed firearms buyback program.

Public Safety Minister Christine Tell says all options are on the table, signalling the province will not help Ottawa collect guns it has banned.

“We as a province fund the RCMP to a tune of 70 per cent, so it could even get more interesting,” Tell said Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Party government said it is pushing back to protect law-abiding firearms owners from what it views as federal intrusion on its provincial autonomy.

Under Ottawa’s proposed firearms buyback program, it would be mandatory for people to have their assault-style firearms rendered inoperable or have them discarded. That could also include centrefire semi-automatic rifles or shotguns designed to accept a detachable magazine that can hold more than five cartridges.

In response, Saskatchewan has introduced its own firearms act to forbid municipalities and police services from receiving federal money to help confiscate firearms.

The proposed law says a municipality, police service or board would have to get written approval from the province’s public safety minister before agreeing to support the federal buyback program.

It also states that Saskatchewan’s chief firearms officer would enforce which federal agent can or cannot confiscate firearms in the province.

“These legal firearm owners are not the ones committing the crimes,” Tell said.

The legislation was tabled Thursday, months after Tell wrote a letter to Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the head of Saskatchewan’s RCMP. It stated that the province would not support the Mounties using provincially funded resources to help confiscate firearms.

Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick have sent similar letters to their RCMP forces. They have joined Saskatchewan in asking Ottawa to not use up “scarce RCMP and municipal resources” for its buyback program.

In October, Blackmore said Mounties are service providers, not decision-makers, and any decisions over the buyback program are between the federal and provincial governments.

“As the service provider, we would be the individuals that get our information from them,” Blackmore told The Canadian Press.

That includes if additional resources would be needed by RCMP once the buyback program rolls out.

“It would depend on the level of expectation, and what that looks like, and what the involvement is if there are additional resources,” Blackmore said.

The specific role of the RCMP and the details surrounding the buyback program have not been determined.

On Friday, the Saskatchewan RCMP said it will continue to prioritize front-line services and the safety of communities is its highest priority.

The Saskatchewan Firearms Act also calls for helping firearm owners get fair market value for guns collected through the buyback program and would require all seized firearms to go through forensic and ballistic testing.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, which advocates for hunters and the protection of the province’s hunting heritage, praised the proposed act, saying it would mitigate the “draconian” federal legislation.

There are approximately 115,000 licensed firearms owners in Saskatchewan, 75,000 of whom may be penalized under the federal government’s policy. That’s about 10 per cent of Saskatchewan’s adult population, the province said.

Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition has stood united with the government to denounce the program.

“It does not strike the right balance for Saskatchewan,” justice critic Nicole Sarauer said last week in the legislature.

“These amendments are overbroad and capture rifles that have legitimate uses for both hunters and producers in Saskatchewan.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Premier Smith goes on the attack against NDP opposition to the Alberta Sovereignty Act

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It appears Premier Danielle Smith has had enough of playing defence. In the days since introducing the Alberta Sovereignty Act in the Alberta Legislature this week, Smith has found herself explaining and re-explaining how the Act will survive scrutiny and serve the province well in ongoing battles over issues of contention with Ottawa.  Peppered by the media and by the Official Opposition NDP inside and outside the legislature, Smith and her team decided to turn the tables.
The media and the official opposition claim the Sovereignty Act allows laws to be crafted by cabinet members “behind closed doors” after the legislature has declared a federal overreach into provincial jurisdiction.
However that appears to be a confusing opposition tactic since the Sovereignty Act does not require the passing of new laws.  Rather, the Province will simply provide reasons for declining to enforce federal laws which (i) intrudes into provincial legislation jurisdiction, (ii) violates the rights and freedoms of Albertans under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or (iii) causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans.
Thursday, Premier Smith took the opportunity during Ministerial Statements to lash out at the opposition leader Rachel Notley for siding with Ottawa instead of Alberta in the struggle to defend provincial rights.

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