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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

Calgary man who admitted to participating in terrorism activity to be sentenced

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CALGARY — A man who admitted to terrorism-related acts with the militant group Islamic State is to be sentenced today in a Calgary courtroom.

Hussein Borhot, who is 36, has pleaded guilty to one count of participating in terrorism group activity between May 9, 2013, and June 7, 2014, as well as to kidnapping for a terrorist group while in Syria.

RCMP arrested him in July 2020 after a seven-year investigation.

An agreed statement of facts read in court last month said Borhot travelled to Syria through Turkey to join the Islamic State.

The statement said he signed up as a fighter, received substantial training and excelled as a sniper, but did not tell his wife or father before the trip.

Court heard that Borhot revealed much of the information to an undercover officer after he returned to Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Cheese not on the table in Canada-U.K. trade talks as Britain seeks market access

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OTTAWA — The British foreign secretary has often been mocked for her preoccupation with cheese. It started eight years ago when Liz Truss expressed outrage in a speech to her party’s annual conference. 

“We import two thirds of our cheese,” she raged. “That is a disgrace.”

Now Truss is facing another battle over cheese, this time with Canada. 

Britain wants greater access to Canadian markets for more than 700 varieties of cheese including Stilton, Cheshire, and Wensleydale, a crumbly variety originating from Yorkshire. 

But Ottawa has made it clear it does not want to see more British cheddar, let alone artisan varieties such as stinking bishop, renegade monk and Hereford hop, on Canadian fridge shelves. 

During the first round of negotiations of the U.K.-Canada trade deal, Canada told Britain that a larger quota for British cheese is not on the negotiating table.

When it was a European Union member, Britain was part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, giving it some access to Canada’s cheese market. 

After the U.K. left the EU, a “continuity agreement” with Canada was swiftly put in place to maintain the CETA arrangement until a bilateral trade deal could be struck. 

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s high commissioner to the U.K., said if Britain wants more access to Canadian markets for its cheese as part of a bilateral free-trade agreement, it will have to knock on Brussels’ door and get its part of the dairy quota back. 

“The point is we have already provided that volume in the EU deal and the British left it there without taking it with them,” he said in an interview. “That’s an issue they need to resolve with the Europeans because the Europeans have their quota.” 

Goodale said the U.K.’s request for extra access for British cheese — on top of the access given to the EU — is “what the Canadian negotiators consider to be pretty much a dead end.”

“You are talking about a double concession — one we have already made to the EU and the request is being made by the U.K. for yet another one on top of that,” he said. 

The high commissioner said Canada values its trading relationship with the U.K., adding that he is confident that a mutually-beneficial trade deal will be reached.

But if Canada allows the British to export more of their cheese it would involve “a major commitment of compensation to dairy producers” in Canada to make up for lost incomes.  

In 2018, after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement gave the U.S. fresh access to the Canadian dairy market, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would compensate Canadian dairy farmers.

Canada’s dairy industry was worth over $7 billion in 2020, according to the Canadian Dairy Commission’s annual report. 

There are over 10,000 dairy farms in Canada — most of them in Quebec and Ontario — with an average of 92 cows per farm, it said. 

Until at least the end of next year, Britain will be able to keep exporting its cheese to Canada under the trade continuity agreement, the U.K.’s trade department said. 

This allows U.K. cheese exporters to access the Canadian market tariff-free under the EU portion of Canada’s World Trade Organization cheese tariff rate quota. 

As part of the 1995 WTO agreement on agriculture, Canada established tariff rate quotas for cheese and other dairy products. The quotas set out quantities of dairy that could enter Canada with little or no duty. 

For Britain, a fully fledged free trade deal with Canada is crucial after Brexit left it looking for fresh tariff-free markets.

“We want to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive new agreement with Canada that will strengthen our close and historic bilateral trade relationship,” said a U.K. government trade spokesman in a statement, adding the relationship was worth about $34.5 billion in 2021.

In March, U.K. Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan flew to Canada to announce with Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng that bilateral negotiations had officially begun. 

In a speech in the House of Lords in London earlier this month, Goodale reported on progress in the talks, saying that “both sides are optimistic that, as good as CETA and the continuity agreement were, we can do better still when Canada and the U.K. negotiate a deal face-to-face, directly with each other.” 

Like Goodale, Ng said Canada is confident a free-trade deal with Britain will be reached, enhancing co-operation in a number of areas, including on renewables, sustainability and the digital economy.  

“Canada values the relationship with the United Kingdom. They are … an important trading partner and a trade agreement with the U.K. will be very good for Canadian businesses,” she said in a phone interview from Thailand last weekend.

But she was also firm about the need to protect Canada’s dairy producers, and that means keeping more British cheese out. 

“I have been very clear, our government has been very clear, that we will not provide access to our supply-managed sector,” she said. “We have been clear about that from the get-go.” 

The Canadian dairy sector now produces 1,450 varieties of cheese, including ewe, goat and buffalo varieties, as well as the cheese curds used in the Québécois dish poutine.

At least half of Canada’s cheese is made in Quebec, which is home to a number of artisan varieties including bleu l’ermite, or blue hermit, and Oka, a popular semi-soft rind cheese.

Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, has made it clear he will fiercely protect Canadian cheese from British interlopers.

Lampron said he had “validated that the issue of access to the Canadian dairy market was not on the agenda of these trade talks.”

Canada’s protectionist stance toward its dairy industry may have pleased farmers. But it has caused some tension with close allies. 

Earlier this month, New Zealand launched a formal trade dispute against Canada, accusing the federal government of breaking promises to give access for dairy imports under the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

The Biden administration also recently said it was asking for a second dispute settlement panel under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to review a trade dispute with Canada over dairy import quotas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022. 

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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