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Alberta

Welcome to the “Sky Palace” – Premier Kenney clears the record with photos of new temporary office

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The federal building boardroom prior to moving furniture in to make it a new Premier's office workspace.

From the Facebook page of Premier Jason Kenney

There has been much chatter over the last day or so about the office I’m currently occupying. I want to clear the record for those who didn’t hear about why this is when we disclosed this information last summer.
As many of you know, the Legislature’s 100 year-old sandstone is in need of repair. This project was contracted under the NDP in January of 2019, and is an important part of protecting Alberta’s temple of democracy.  This involves, jackhammering, grinding, blasting, and lots of other work that is, by nature, quite loud. But it’s necessary work that should get done to preserve the structural integrity of an important building that belongs to the people.
They work on different sections of the building at a time, and last summer they arrived at the section that includes the Premier’s office. As you can imagine, trying to conduct important phone calls or host meetings while this noisy work takes place is not easily done (see a sample of the noise from today in a comment below), so a decision was made to temporarily move offices and staff in the Premier’s office over to the federal building.
Thankfully, there are many office spaces that are available and under-utilized on the 10th and 11th floor of this building, so apart from minor moving expenses, there was no extra cost to repurposing these rooms with existing furniture and supplies for me and members of my staff.
Under previous governments, the entire 11th floor space was first designed as a penthouse suite, and when those plans were rightfully scrapped, it was repurposed to host the occasional meeting, and many other cocktail or guest receptions attended by the NDP while they were in government.  We believe these spaces should be there to support government business first and foremost.
The federal building boardroom prior to moving furniture in to make it a new Premier's office workspace.

The federal building boardroom prior to moving furniture in to make it a new Premier’s office workspace.

The Federal building workspace with furniture moved in, Jan 2021.

The Federal building workspace with furniture moved in, Jan 2021.

As you can see, the area I’m working in is a former boardroom that we moved existing furniture into to serve as an office space (see before and after pics). It’s not overly fancy or glamorous, but it serves the purpose of a functional workspace.
Premier's office in the Legislature, photo taken prior to exterior renovations, Jan. 2020.

Premier’s office in the Legislature, photo taken prior to exterior renovations, Jan. 2020.

Premier's office in the Legislature, photo taken prior to exterior renovations, Jan. 2020.

Premier’s office in the Legislature, photo taken prior to exterior renovations, Jan. 2020.

Once the work outside my Legislature office is complete, I’ll be happy to move back into the space that is intended to serve as the Premier’s office (see photos of that office prior to renovations).

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Alberta

U.S. senators call for trade crackdown on Canada over dairy quotas, digital policies

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WASHINGTON — A pair of senior U.S. senators is urging the Biden administration to get tough with Canada for “flouting” obligations to its North American trade partners. 

Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Mike Crapo lay out their concerns in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. 

The letter says American dairy producers still aren’t getting the access to the Canadian market they’re entitled to under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

It also describes Canada’s planned digital services tax as discriminatory and raises similar concerns about new legislation to regulate online streaming and news. 

All three, the senators say, would give preferential treatment to Canadian content and deny U.S. tech companies fair access to the market north of the border. 

The letter comes after meetings this week in San Diego between U.S., Canadian and Mexican trade emissaries, as well as the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City earlier this month. 

The USMCA, referred to in Canada as CUSMA, has been at the centre of a number of bilateral and trilateral disputes since it went into effect in the summer of 2020. 

“Three years later, it is disappointing that Canada and Mexico have failed to come into full compliance with the agreement — and, in some cases, have flouted their obligations,” the senators write. 

“USTR must take decisive action to ensure full compliance with the agreement and with dispute settlement panel findings. It is critical to ensure that every chapter of USMCA is fully and timely enforced.”

Canada and Mexico have their own issues with how the U.S. is interpreting the deal, which was signed in 2018 after protracted trilateral efforts to replace NAFTA. 

As the Mexico City summit wrapped up, a dispute panel ruled against the U.S. over how it interprets the rules that determine the origin of core automotive components. 

It remains unclear whether the U.S. plans to comply with that decision.   

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

TotalEnergies EP Canada ups stake in Fort Hills oilsands project

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Calgary – TotalEnergies EP Canada Ltd. says it is increasing its ownership in the Fort Hills oilsands project by acquiring part of Teck Resources Ltd.’s stake in the mine.

Teck announced last year that it would sell its 21.3 per cent stake in Fort Hills to Suncor Energy Inc., the third partner in the project, for about $1 billion.

However, TotalEnergies EP Canada says it has exercised its pre-emption right to acquire an additional 6.65 per cent in the project from Teck for $312 million.

The deal brings the company’s stake in Fort Hills to 31.23 per cent. Suncor will own the rest.

French company TotalEnergies announced in September 2022 its plan to exit the Canadian oilsands by spinning off TotalEnergies EP Canada in 2023.

It says the acquisition of an additional interest in Fort Hills helps build TotalEnergies EP Canada for the future.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TECK.B, TSX:SU)

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