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STB establishes schedule for regulatory review of CP merger with Kansas City Southern

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CALGARY — Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says its proposed acquisition of Kansas City Southern could be approved in about a year, after the U.S. regulator established a schedule for its regulatory review.

The Surface Transportation Board says anyone wanting to participate in the proceeding as a party of record must file a notice of intent by Dec. 13 regarding the US$31-billion transaction, including the assumption of US$3.8 billion of debt.

Various submissions are required before final briefs on the merger are due to be submitted on July 1. 

The STB set the schedule after it accepted the merger application as being complete. It previously approved the use of a voting trust for the transaction that allows KCS shareholders to receive payment after shareholders of both company approve the deal and before it receives final approval.

CP Rail shareholders will vote Dec. 8 on the issuance of shares in connection with the proposed acquisition.

The Calgary-based railway anticipates the full review of the merger will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“We look forward to moving forward with a robust regulatory review of this historic combination that will add capacity to the U.S. rail network, create new competitive transportation options, support North American economic growth, and deliver other important benefits to customers, employees, and the environment,” stated CP chief executive Keith Creel.

KCS chief executive Patrick Ottensmeyer says the merger reached an important milestone and the U.S. railway looks forward to playing its part in the “historic combination” with CP.

CP reached agreement with Kansas City Southern after Canadian National Railway Co. said it was dropping its rival takeover bid after the Surface Transportation Board rejected its request for a voting trust.

The merger, which will create the first Canada-U.S.-Mexico rail network, also needs to be approved by Mexican regulators.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CP)

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Alberta

Alberta ombudsman says she doesn't have the power to probe EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s ombudsman says she doesn’t have the power to investigate a complaint about the decision to consolidate ambulance emergency dispatch services in the province.

The complaint was filed by the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The municipalities have contended that the decision to consolidate the dispatch services to save the government money could put the lives of people in their communities at risk.

In a release late Friday, Ombudsman Marianne Ryan says the decision was technically made by Alberta Health Services, which her office is prohibited by law from investigating.

When the United Conservative government announced the consolidation in August 2020, then health minister Tyler Shandro said the province’s dispatch system would allow for better co-ordination of all ground ambulances and air resources.

At the time, the four mayors of the municipalities, none of whom are now still in office, said they were blindsided by the decision and would fight the change.

“While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction,” Ryan said in the release.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

Last February, a judge granted an interim injunction sought by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services after the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo stopped transferring emergency medical calls to the provincial dispatch centre.

The municipality, which includes Fort McMurray, stopped transferring calls after its council decided the provincial ambulance dispatch service was putting patients at risk due to delays and confusion.

A lawyer for Wood Buffalo had argued it was in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls through its own dispatch centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021

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Alberta

Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch

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Ombudsman Responds to Municipalities’ Complaint About Ambulance Dispatch

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman took the unusual step of publicly commenting on a complaint received involving Alberta Health Services.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

The Ombudsman Act authorizes the Ombudsman to investigate administrative decisions of government ministries and many related bodies, but the Act specifically prohibits her from investigating decisions of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” stated Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman. “In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

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