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Alberta

Red Deer Regional Airport expansion takes flight

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Alberta’s government will provide a $7.5-million grant to expand infrastructure and services at the Red Deer Regional Airport.

An $18-million airport expansion project will include widening the runway and constructing a terminal to support new low-cost passenger services.

These improvements will help the Red Deer Regional Airport attract new passenger and cargo services and offer a wider range of travel options to area residents, increasing the region’s tourism potential. More than 100 jobs will be created during construction.

Quick facts

  • Construction tenders will be issued this month. Work is schedule to begin this spring and conclude in fall 2022.
  • Airport improvements include widening the main runway from 30 to 45 metres, strengthening existing taxiways and aprons, and constructing a terminal to support low-cost passenger services.
  • The anticipated total cost of the airport expansion is $18 million – with $7.5 million from Alberta’s government.
  • Alberta’s aviation, aerospace and logistics industries employed nearly 71,000 people in 2020. These industries contributed $7.2 billion to the province’s GDP in 2020.
  • Alberta’s aviation industry has been ranked third in Canada by company size, fourth by number of companies and fourth by GDP contribution in aerospace and defence.
  • Alberta’s government created the Strategic Aviation Advisory Council in 2020 to provide expert advice to government on how aviation and aerospace can increase economic development opportunities, expand markets and create jobs in the province.
  • Expanding the aviation sector is a key goal of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
  • Three low-cost Alberta based-carriers – the recently created Lynx Air, along with new routes added by Swoop and Flair Airlines – are strong signs of the province’s growing aviation industry.

This investment in Alberta’s aviation industry helps the province further diversify the economy and create more jobs, growth and prosperity. The industry employed more than 71,000 people in 2020, and it continues to grow thanks in part to the Alberta Recovery Plan.

“Central Albertans need a modern, expanded airport that will serve businesses, create jobs and give travellers more choice in airline options. Alberta’s government will make this project happen through this $7.5-million Budget 2022 investment.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“The aviation sector is a vital part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and this project will be a great boost to the Red Deer and central Alberta economy. This airport funding will attract more investment and new opportunities for residents and businesses.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation

“My optimism around economic opportunities in central Alberta is growing, thanks to this commitment to our airport. We will be able to diversify our economy while creating good-paying jobs and tourism potential.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, and MLA for Red Deer-North

“Alberta is an economic powerhouse and the Red Deer airport is strategically centred in the dynamic Calgary-Edmonton corridor. This investment will position our airport to leverage its natural competitive advantages as Alberta and central Alberta prospers and grows.”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

“Being able to expand on the airport’s rich history will improve economic opportunities across the region, attract investment and put people back to work. This grant shows everyone that central Alberta is a key contributor to our economic recovery.”

Devin Dreeshen, MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake

Garett Couples, Board Chair, Red Deer Regional Airport

“Now more than ever, aviation and aviation-related businesses are actively looking for alternatives to the ever-increasing costs associated with operating out of large airports. With low lease rates, free parking and no airport improvement fees, the Red Deer Regional Airport is well-positioned for future growth.”

Garett Cupples, board chair, Red Deer Regional Airport

“This expansion will provide huge economic benefits to central Alberta. Red Deer County is appreciative of this important investment from the Alberta government and the continuing commitment to build economic prosperity.”

Jim Wood, mayor, Red Deer County

“The Red Deer Regional Airport is a regional amenity that supports the whole of Alberta. This investment translates to not only potential for increased passengers, revenues and regional economic development, but also opportunities to generate employment at a time when the economy and travel industry needs it most.”

Ken Johnston, mayor, City of Red Deer

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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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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