We are nearing one full year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the globe, ravaging all major industries worldwide and forcing the global economy to grind to a near halt. 2020 has been dominated by social and political upheaval as officials have struggled to find the balance between economic lockdown and protecting the public from the virus. Adding to the uncertainty, disinformation is circulating at an unfathomable rate. Heading into December, tension and mistrust appear to be at an all time high as individuals and groups have begun to rebel against lockdown orders and what many believe to be government forces overstepping their democratic boundaries.
Among the hype and hysteria, the “Great Reset” has become a popular and highly divisive topic in recent months. Aggressive disagreements have broken out among experts, political leaders and the general public, often citing controversial buzzwords like “socialism”, “government control”, and “elite agenda”. In this setting, it has become increasingly difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction, as fear and confusion fuel conspiracy theories and government distrust.
COVID-19: The Great Reset is a book originally published in July 2020, co-authored by Thierry Malleret, founder of the Monthly Barometer, and Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). This book elaborates on a recovery plan proposed by the WEF that presents the global COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to correct the shortcomings of the existing social, economic and political institutions around the world. According to the WEF, “The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems – from health and financial to energy and education – are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for our lives, livelihoods and the planet.”
Within this setting, the WEF calls for collaboration among experts and world leaders to propose and implement a vision for the future that will “build a new social contract that honors the dignity of every human being.” The values highlighted by the Great Reset propose an ideological shift away from capitalism. This includes shifting the global focus towards fairer market outcomes, the advancement of sustainability measures and the improvement of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics across industries.
The Great Reset global agenda calls for unprecedented cooperation among countries and industries around the world to unite under one recovery strategy aimed at repositioning the current trajectory of society as a whole. “Rather than using recovery funds to fill cracks in the old system,” says Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, “we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run.”
The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative has received support from several influential organizations around the world, including TIME Magazine, Apple and Microsoft. However, while it appears many have signed onto this initiative as a unique opportunity to build a prosperous future for all members of the human race, an equal number have emerged to furiously oppose it.
Opponents of the Great Reset have labeled it as a radical socialist agenda being pushed on the masses by global elites. The initiative has been extensively criticized for appearing to use the global upheaval inflicted by the pandemic to implement social and economic measures not approved by the democratic process. An article released by the Post Millennial accused the WEF of using the “blunt force trauma of the pandemic to force the world to reshape according to socialist dictates.” This mentality has been echoed by a number of individuals and organizations around the world.
The National Review criticized Schwab’s book, COVID-19: The Great Reset, for having “undeniably authoritarian subtext” on which no legitimate societal transition should be based.
These opposing viewpoints on the legitimacy and intentions of the Great Reset have led to extreme backlash for political leaders who appear to support the initiative in any way. On September 29, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed himself in hot water during his United Nations address, where he spoke of the impacts of the pandemic and the way forward for Canada. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” he said, “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”
Trudeau’s address was swiftly condemned by many, as certain onlookers accused the Prime Minister of supporting the global elitist plan to collapse the economy and renege on Canadian rights and freedoms.
In November 2020, in response to Trudeau’s UN address, Conservative Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre launched a petition called Stop the Great Reset. The petition calls on Canadians to “fight back against global elites preying on the fears and desperation of people to impose their power grab”. The petition received more than 60,000 signatures in a matter of days.
As governments and politicians around the world struggle to respond to the ongoing conditions of the pandemic under increasingly bleak circumstances, the consumption and circulation of accurate, credible information becomes increasingly important with each passing day. As businesses in every industry continue to go under and more and more individuals lose their livelihoods, the propagation of disinformation and fear serves only to divide and isolate us further. Whether you subscribe to the theory of the Great Reset as a legitimate avenue towards the creation of a healthier post-pandemic society, or as an illegitimate attack on democratic rights and freedoms, it is paramount to seek credible information.
Should we encourage our governments and politicians to adopt a Great Reset? Is it best to reinvigorate our economies? Or do we look to a combination of these two ideologies?
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Taking wildfire operations to new heights
Drone and helicopter testing being performed by Alberta Wildfire personnel. Photo Credit: Alberta Wildfire
Budget 2024 enables Alberta to make use of leading-edge technologies to prevent and respond to wildfires.
As Alberta heads into wildfire season, many areas of the province are experiencing heightened wildfire risk. Alberta’s government continues to prioritize new technologies and tactics that will enhance front-line response and suppression efforts.
Budget 2024 will invest an additional $151 million over the next three years for wildfire preparedness, prevention, response and mitigation. This additional funding will enhance wildland firefighting capacity with increased wildfire resources such as personnel, aircraft, drones, artificial intelligence (AI) and night-vision technology.
“Alberta’s government is well prepared for the 2024 wildfire season. We have emerging technologies that will enable us to better protect forests and communities while continuing to prioritize proactive measures that build wildfire resilience throughout the province.”
Aerial operations are integral to firefighting efforts and increased funding will enable the province to add two additional long-term helicopter contracts, two new air tanker contracts and additional drones for aerial wildfire surveillance. Budget 2024 will also support the renewal of 130 helicopter contracts by April 1.
“We live in a time where we have access to incredible technologies and last year, we recognized some great successes from various firefighting technology pilot programs. I can say with confidence that the additional night-vision equipped helicopters and drones will make a big difference in our wildfire mitigation and response efforts this year.”
Alberta Wildfire will continue to explore, research and test new developments in wildfire prevention, mitigation, smoke detection and suppression to assess how innovative technologies can support a rapid response and help extinguish wildfires. Wildfire management best practices are always evolving, and Alberta’s government is working to stay ahead of the curve.
For future wildfire seasons, the government is exploring options to potentially expand the province’s air tanker fleet and pilot more emerging firefighting technologies.
- Night-vision goggles amplify light 60,000 times and allow helicopter pilots to work overnight and conduct activities like bucketing operations.
- Wildfire suppression efforts are more likely to be successful at night, as temperatures are usually lower, humidity is typically higher and wildfires are less active.
- Alberta has been successfully using an AI wildfire occurrence prediction system since 2022 to identify areas where wildfires are likely to occur.
- Budget 2024 also includes hiring 100 new firefighters, which will result in five additional 20-person crews.
Alberta Budget 2024 – Employment
Budget 2024: Maintaining Alberta’s economic advantage
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that maintains Alberta’s competitive advantage so businesses and industry can continue to innovate, thrive and create jobs.
Budget 2024 puts Alberta on a path of continued economic growth through funding that supports creating jobs, attracting investment and developing a skilled and diversified workforce. Strategic investments will empower job creators and innovators to invest, grow and flourish in Alberta’s diversifying economy.
“Budget 2024 reaffirms our commitment to diversify, attract new investment and provide more jobs that keep Alberta’s engine humming. Strategic investments that support the growth of Alberta cities and promote apprenticeship programming and emission reduction technology will help create more opportunities to build an even stronger Alberta.”
Alberta remains a key driver of Canada’s economic prosperity, accounting for 22 per cent of all jobs created in the country last year, despite having just 12 per cent of the population. Compared with other provinces, Alberta has the highest weekly earnings and the lowest taxes, offering many incentives to newcomers seeking a great place to call home.
To further build on these advantages, Budget 2024 introduces the Alberta is Calling attraction bonus, a $5,000 refundable tax credit aimed at attracting out-of-province workers in the skilled trades. A total of $10 million will be provided to workers.
“The Alberta is Calling attraction bonus will support our government’s commitment to build a skilled and resilient labour force that helps businesses and the economy thrive. We will continue to foster the conditions for growth to ensure Alberta remains the best place to live, work, invest, do business and raise a family.”
Budget 2024 supports the sustainable growth of Alberta’s cities and communities. In addition to $724 million in municipal infrastructure funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework in 2024-25, Budget 2024 launches the new Local Growth and Sustainability Grant, an application-based program that provides $60 million over three years to enable municipalities to fund infrastructure that supports economic development and addresses unique and emergent needs in their communities.
“We’re pleased to see so many people choosing to move to Alberta to experience the advantages this province has to offer, thanks in part to the strong communities we are supporting through predictable, sustainable funding. We also recognize the pressure this growth can put on local communities. The Local Growth and Sustainability Grant is part of our responsible plan to support a vibrant province and help communities respond to growth opportunities and acute sustainability challenges.”
As Alberta’s economy continues to grow, so does the need to sustain a vibrant and robust workforce to meet the needs of Alberta employers. Budget 2024 addresses current and future potential labour shortages by expanding skills and knowledge in key areas.
More than $100 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs will add 3,200 seats to help meet growing demand at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions. Another $361 million from the Budget 2024 Capital Plan will build and upgrade research and learning facilities in some of the province’s world-class post-secondary institutions. Investments include $63 million to renovate and expand the W.J. Elliott agricultural mechanics building at Olds College and $55 million to increase STEM programming capacity at the University of Calgary.
“Supporting growth in Alberta’s economy means ensuring no region is left behind. Our funding commitments to STEM programming at the University of Calgary and agriculture at Olds will create new opportunities for students in our rural economy and those studying in our largest urban centre.”
The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is helping turn the province into a top global producer of petrochemicals. The APIP provides grants to cover 12 per cent of eligible capital costs for Alberta-based petrochemicals projects. In 2023-24, three projects are expected to receive APIP grant payments totalling $116 million, helping to diversify Alberta’s economy and create jobs.
“Royalties collected from oil and gas fund the things Albertans rely on, like health, education and social services. Budget 2024 supports the government’s mission to strengthen investor confidence and support job creation in communities all while lowering emissions through the use of new technologies.”
Budget 2024 highlights
- $597 million over three years from the province’s TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) fund to support a suite of programs that reduce emissions, support clean technology development, enhance climate resiliency and create jobs for Albertans.
- $1.5 billion for child-care services, an increase of $200 million, enabling more Albertans with young children to participate in the workforce.
- $32 million to build three new water intakes in the Designated Industrial Zone in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, which will support long-term private investment opportunities in the area.
- Almost $30 million over three years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund, an increase of nearly $8 million, to help fund business startup and expansion costs in Indigenous communities.
Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.
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