By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed…
EDMONTON – Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party says it has paid a $90,000 penalty imposed by federal regulators for violating automated phone call rules.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says Wildrose broke the rules in 2011 and before, during and after the April 2012 provincial election.
Wildrose party president David Yager says the company that made the automated calls assured the party that it was following the rules.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Police in Edmonton have laid numerous impaired driving charges after a toddler…
EDMONTON – Police in Edmonton have laid numerous impaired driving charges after a toddler was killed by an SUV that smashed through a restaurant patio.
Investigators say a family was dining at an outdoor table at a restaurant in southwest Edmonton on Sunday evening when an Acura MDX crashed into them, pinning a two-year-old boy to a wall.
Paramedics rushed the child, along with his family, to hospital where the two-year-old boy died.
His father suffered rib and back injuries, and his mother and one-year-old sibling suffered minor injuries.
Police arrested a 62-year-old man at the scene.
Richard Suter faces charges of impaired operation causing death, refusing to provide a breath sample and two counts of impaired operation causing bodily harm.
He is being held in custody until his first court appearance on Tuesday morning.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 8:52 AM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – A Cochrane, Alberta man convicted of killing five people when he smashed…
CALGARY – A Cochrane, Alberta man convicted of killing five people when he smashed his cement truck into the back of their car more than five years ago is expected to be granted full parole today at his final hearing before the National Parole Board.
Daniel Tschetter, 55, had already been spotted driving dangerously before his truck slammed into a vehicle stopped at a red light in Calgary in December 2007. The impact was so violent that pieces of the car were scattered for hundreds of metres along Macleod Trail, a busy north-south thoroughfare.
He was sentenced in October 2009 to 5 1/2 years in prison for manslaughter and obstruction of justice. He is also banned from ever driving a commercial vehicle again.
Tschetter was granted day parole last September which required him to live at a half-way house. He isn’t allowed to drive, consume alcohol or contact the families of his victims.
Tschetter’s statutory release date is scheduled for June 16 which makes it more than likely he will be given full parole. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – A national lobby group for teachers is backing a Calgary art instructor…
CALGARY – A national lobby group for teachers is backing a Calgary art instructor who was fired after one of his students beheaded a chicken as part of a school project.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has filed a grievance demanding the Alberta College of Art and Design reinstate Gordon Ferguson and apologize.
Ferguson, head of the school’s sculpture program, was fired last week. He had been with the school for 32 years.
“It’s just outrageous, in our view, that an art college would take action for a student expressing himself — in a manner that, while maybe contentious, was certainly not illegal — and would retaliate against the faculty member,” James Turk, CAUT’s executive director, said Monday from Ottawa.
“It’s unheard of.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:28 PM - 0 Comments
Canada’s oil sands are already subject to provincial regulations that are driving investment in new environmental research and bringing emissions down through technological innovation. Alberta has regulations that require large oil sands operators to either reduce emissions or contribute money toward innovative research to improve the environmental performance of the industry.
Indeed, the Alberta government has a “Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund” that prices carbon emissions at $15 per tonne. And Peter Kent recently seemed to suggest that this wasn’t a completely terrible thing.
Amid reports that Alberta might be prepared to increase that price, Erica Alini explained the province’s system last month.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 5:30 AM - 0 Comments
NORDEGG, Alta. – An evacuation order has been issued to two small Alberta communities…
NORDEGG, Alta. – An evacuation order has been issued to two small Alberta communities due to wildfires.
Emergency alerts have been issued for Nordegg and Lodgepole because two separate fires are burning within a few kilometres of each community.
The fire near Nordegg, which is 200 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, has been burning for several days and residents have been on a one-hour evacuation notice since Thursday.
Duncan MacDonnell with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development said crews had the fire contained, but officials were still poised to issue an evacuation order if the blaze broke through any containment points.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – A judge has ruled that evidence gathered in a police sting is…
EDMONTON – A judge has ruled that evidence gathered in a police sting is not admissible in the double-murder trial of a youth.
The bodies of Barry Boenke, 68, and his friend Susan Trudel, 50, were found bludgeoned and shot to death east of Edmonton in June 2009.
The youth made a confession to undercover officers in a “Mr. Big” sting, believing they were part of a criminal gang. But the boy recanted in court, saying he was just trying to fit in and gain respect.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Brian Burrows said police took a troubled teen, who was a ward of the state, and offered him privileges such as hockey tickets, rock concerts and access to a condo.
Burrows said he was satisfied that the boy “was coerced by expectations and hopes of future significant benefits and advantages.” Continue…
By Jessica Allen - Friday, May 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM - 0 Comments
Art critic Lucy Lippard said that performance art was “the most…immediate art form…for it…
Art critic Lucy Lippard said that performance art was “the most…immediate art form…for it means getting down to the bare of aesthetic communication–art/self confronting audience/society.”
Think Chris Burden, who in 1971 convinced a friend to shoot him in the arm from a distance of 15 feet. “It was an inquiry into what it feels like to be shot,” he said after the performance piece. “Two or three thousand people get shot every night on TV, and it has always been something to be avoided. So I took the flip side and asked, ‘What if you face this head on?’”
That was more than 40 years ago.
Three weeks ago in the Alberta College of Art and Design’s cafeteria–reminiscent of a scene out of an Alice Cooper concert–student Miguel Suarez slit a live chicken’s throat, stuffed it into a pot and called it art, later telling a local CTV affiliate that he hoped the gruesome performance would help his classmates think about where their food comes from.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, May 3, 2013 at 5:23 AM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Almost three dozen landowner, labour, aboriginal and environmental groups are demanding that…
EDMONTON – Almost three dozen landowner, labour, aboriginal and environmental groups are demanding that the man hired to head Alberta’s new energy regulator resign before he even starts.
A letter signed by such organizations as the Treaty 8 First Nations, the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says industry insider Gerry Protti is not the appropriate choice.
“I’ve seen biased appointments before, but this one tops the list,” said Don Bester of the Alberta Surface Rights Group, which represents landowners.
“There is no neutral side to this thing with him. His main theme throughout his life is oil and gas. You can’t change a person’s way of thinking by appointing him to a board and saying, ‘Be neutral. Don’t be biased,’” Bester said.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 6:13 AM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – A massive illegal strike of jail guards that was sparked by the…
EDMONTON – A massive illegal strike of jail guards that was sparked by the suspension of two workers and spread to correctional facilities across Alberta came to an end Tuesday night.
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced in a news release it had struck a deal with the provincial government to get workers back on the job by Wednesday morning.
“Over the last five days, Albertans and Canadians have been made explicitly aware of the health and safety concerns of front-line correctional peace officers,” said union president Guy Smith.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – A labour dispute involving hundreds of prison guards in Alberta is now…
EDMONTON – A labour dispute involving hundreds of prison guards in Alberta is now into its third day.
A spokesman for the province’s justice minister says staff who walked off the job at 10 detention centres are engaging in “illegal strike action.”
Josh Stewart says all 10 centres have now been issued cease and desist orders from the province’s labour relations board, which yesterday declared walkouts at two facilities illegal.
He says no workers have been charged and no discussions have yet been planned with the union that has been supporting the employees.
The dispute was triggered by the suspension of an employee at the Edmonton Remand Centre who complained about safety issues.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 3:44 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – The union representing Alberta’s jail guards says the labour board has ruled…
EDMONTON – The union representing Alberta’s jail guards says the labour board has ruled a strike by workers at some detention centres is illegal and has ordered them back to work.
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees spokesman Bill Dechant says the ruling applies to guards at the Edmonton Remand Centre and at a facility in Fort Saskatchewan.
Dechant says the union will be asking its members if they want to comply with the order.
By macleans.ca - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:24 PM - 0 Comments
As Washington correspondent Luiza Ch. Savage has reported, Natural Resources Joe Oliver had some…
As Washington correspondent Luiza Ch. Savage has reported, Natural Resources Joe Oliver had some choice words for James Hansen this week.
During his appearance in Washington, Oliver was asked about the recently retired NASA scientist, a key and noted opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“There is no tar in the oil sands, that’s why we refer to it as oil sands. Secondly, with respect to James Hansen, recently with NASA, I mean, he was the one who said, I think four years ago, that if we go ahead with the development of the oil sands it’s “game over for the climate.” Well, this is exaggerated rhetoric. It’s frankly nonsense. I don’t know why he said it, but he should be ashamed of having said it. It’s one-one thousandth of global emissions. Coal fired electricity in the U.S. is well over 30 times that. I wonder why the focus on an area when there are 999 more important areas to focus on. Quite frankly, I think that kind of exaggerated rhetoric, that kind of hyperbole, doesn’t do the cause any good at all. People are sensible. Americans and Canadians are logical people. When they are presented with predictions four years ago that in four years we are doomed – and we’re not — it frankly undercuts an issue that is very important.”
On the House this weekend on CBC, Hansen is asked about Oliver’s comments.
“Well, the current government is a Neanderthal on this issue,” he tells host Evan Solomon. ”Many of the governments are denying and trying to ignore what’s going to happen a few decades downstream. They’re only worried about the next two or three years.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM - 0 Comments
The Harper government’s promise of a North American cap-and-trade market is now nearly sort of realized as California Governor Jerry Brown has formally approved linking California’s carbon market with Quebec.
Meanwhile, Erica Alini has a thorough guide to Alberta’s carbon levy.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:18 PM - 0 Comments
EDMONTON – Even though the money is not all in place, Edmonton city council…
EDMONTON – Even though the money is not all in place, Edmonton city council has given final approval to a deal that would see a new downtown arena built for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Councillors voted 10-3 in favour of the master agreement with Oilers owner Darryl Katz.
The rink will cost $480 million but $107 million still needed to be raised.
The city had hoped the province would make up that shortfall but Premier Alison Redford has repeatedly said there would be no direct provincial funding for an arena.
On Wednesday, city councillors also voted in favour of using $45 million from the city’s portion of provincial funds for municipal infrastructure to make up for a chunk of the missing money.
By Erica Alini - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM - 0 Comments
So Alberta hasn’t really proposed to increase its carbon price to $40, as reported last week. Speaking with Luiza Savage in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Premier Alison Redford said the much debated 40-40 plan isn’t something “we’ve in any way landed on or proposed.” (Read the full interview here.)
You still need to know about Alberta and its system for pricing carbon. Why? Because it might be the blueprint for federal emission regulations for the oil and gas industry that are expected to — forgive the pun — come down the pipe later this year. Alberta and Ottawa are collaborating “intensely” on the upcoming federal rules for the oil and gas industry, Redford told Maclean’s.
But is Alberta’s setup the model the nation should follow? Here’s what you need to know to start making up your mind:
1. Provincial vs. federal regulations, a bit of history.
In 2006 Ottawa let it be known via the Canada Gazette that it intended to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The approach the government had in mind was the following: target the largest polluters, those with emissions over 100,000 tonnes per year, and use “intensity targets.” That would limit the amount of GHGs per unit of output rather than putting a cap on aggregate emissions. However, the government added, such targets should be “ambitious enough to lead to absolute reductions in emissions and thus support the establishment of a fixed cap on emissions.” (A big hat-tip to University of Alberta professor Andrew Leach here, who wrote this paper.)
Deeds, however, did not follow those words speedily, and a few provinces have since pressed ahead with their own rules. Alberta was the first to put a price on carbon in 2007; a few months later, Quebec imposed a carbon levy on energy producers and a cap-and-trade system in 2011. B.C. followed suit in 2008 with a carbon tax on gasoline and other fuels.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford appears to be looking to Congress for support…
WASHINGTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford appears to be looking to Congress for support of the Keystone XL pipeline in what could prove to be an end-run around U.S. President Barack Obama.
Redford is in Washington today where she met with Canada’s ambassador, Gary Doer.
During a photo op at the Canadian embassy, Doer waved toward the Capitol while stating that 62 senators had, in principle, voted for what the ambassador called “our favourite project.”
A March congressional vote, which supported the building of Keystone with 17 Democrats onside, was interpreted by some as a move toward taking away Obama’s presidential permit for the pipeline.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM - 0 Comments
This week’s editorial from the editors of the Vauxhall Advance in Vauxhall, Alberta (pop. 1,288).
If a backbench MP has been reduced to being told by their party and leader what to say, what to do, and when to rise in the House to read carefully-scripted and approved statements — all at the business end of a party bull whip — then the doctrine of party discipline is being taken to extremes to which it was never originally intended.
In reality and in practice, that sort of extreme — which appears to be increasingly present in Ottawa — is little more than a subversion of democracy, couched in all the trappings of what our system is supposedly devoted to preserving, but lacking any of the real essence of choice or freedom of opinion. Democratic to the casual eye, semi-authoritarian in practice.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM - 0 Comments
Alberta’s environment minister has apparently floated the possibility of increasing the province’s carbon tax to $40 per tonne. Questions abound and the Alberta government is apparently keen to explain that federal regulations are what would lead them to increase the levy.
The feds are about to release their own rules. The only way Alberta can avoid bowing to them is to enact provincial standards that are equally tough; or, better still, just a bit more stringent. This meets the current buzzword requirement: equivalency. To run its own environmental regime, a province must have a system that meets or exceeds federal targets. Then there’s the revenue thing. If there’s to be a bigger emissions penalty, Alberta damn well wants the cash pouring into the anemic local treasury, rather than the federal one.
So, similar to what was suggested on Tuesday, the federal Conservatives, having spent the last several months opposing the sort of cap-and-trade system they once supported, might now be responsible for precipitating the increase of a carbon price at the provincial level.
Thing is, Tzeporah Berman argues, $40 per tonne isn’t enough.
The reality is that you don’t really open up many more opportunities for innovation and reduction with anything under $40 per tonne. In order to truly change the economic playing field in favour of clean energy, it needs to progress to $100 or $150 over the next decade so that big investments such as carbon capture and storage start making sense economically. Currently, they don’t.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1:53 PM - 0 Comments
Politico has an interesting profile today of Tom Steyer, a billionaire who is using his wealth to press Democratic politicians on environmental issues, including TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline:
The former hedge fund trader-turned-philanthropist is bankrolling a far-flung political operation pushing environmental causes and candidates, including his pricey effort to torpedo the Keystone XL oil pipeline. He’s increasingly drawing scrutiny for trying to take down the Senate candidacy of Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat who has expressed support for Keystone. Steyer is signaling that his efforts against Lynch are just the beginning of an aggressive political expansion that could target Democrats in other races who go against environmental causes.
He’ll be giving Obama an earful tonight:
Steyer and his wife are hosting Obama at their San Francisco home Wednesday night for a $5,000-a-person cocktail reception that will benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The event will be filled with environmental and green-energy donors, who Steyer said won’t hide their feelings about Keystone from the president. “We will certainly talk about what we care about,” said Steyer…
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is in the process collecting public comment on their latest environmental impact review of the pipeline, which was considered friendly to the pipeline. The public comment deadline runs until April 22, and includes a public hearing in Nebraska on April 18. After State Department issues a final environmental impact statement, the State Department will have another 90 days to come up with a National Interest Determination. Other departments will then have another 15 days to weigh in, before President Obama makes a final decision on whether or not to issue a permit for the cross-border portion of the pipeline that is to run from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
And Alberta premier Alison Redford is expected in Washington, DC next week. According to the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC think tank:
On April 9, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings will host Alison Redford, the premier of Alberta, for a discussion on the the Alberta-U. S. energy relationship, environmental efforts undertaken by her administration, and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Senior Fellow Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative, will provide introductory remarks. Brookings Trustee Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, will moderate the discussion with Premier Redford to include questions from the audience.
The event will be webcast and can be live Tweeted at hashtag #AlbertaUS.
By Colby Cosh - Friday, March 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM - 0 Comments
Ralph Klein, the former premier of Alberta, has died at 70. He shall not now ever be able to collect on the vast debt of apologies he is owed by calumniators, false chroniclers, lazy pundits, and political enemies. The misunderstandings of Ralph have been copious and mostly deliberate. He is still routinely characterized as an anti-gay social conservative in league with sinister theocratic forces, even though he was personally about as churchy as an alley cat. More importantly, he took a diamond-hard line against the use of the “notwithstanding” clause after the Supreme Court wrote sexual orientation into Alberta’s discrimination law in the Vriend decision; and he insisted the public accept the court’s verdict.
He is accused of failing to maximize the public benefits of Alberta’s resource wealth and “save” oil and gas funds for the future, although government resource revenues grew more than fourfold in his 14 years as premier and the net financial position of the province improved by $43 billion. Both promptly collapsed under his bamboozled successor Ed Stelmach, and have not yet recovered to Ralphian levels. Klein is also charged with failing to pay enough conscious attention to economic diversification, a concept that served as the pretext for a hundred costly boondoggles under earlier Conservative regimes; yet somehow he succeeded in presiding over an Alberta economy whose GDP moved sharply away from energy-dependence, and which saw the emergence of previously unimaginable non-energy businesses like software maker Matrikon and game manufacturer BioWare. Whether or not you care to give an iota of credit to Klein, his rule coincided with Alberta becoming a place young technicians and entrepreneurs don’t have to be stupid not to leave.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 8:27 AM - 0 Comments
CROWSNEST PASS, Alta. – A man died trudging through heavy snow to get help…
CROWSNEST PASS, Alta. – A man died trudging through heavy snow to get help for two women after their vehicle got stuck in the mountains of southwest Alberta.
RCMP say when the 71-year-old man failed to return, his wife and a friend who had stayed in the vehicle decided to hike out of the rugged area together.
The two women, who are 69 and 66, were found alive by police and a search team from the nearby community of Crowsnest Pass.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
On the environment, Redford said she would like to see the federal government adopt a strategy similar to Alberta’s $15-per-tonne carbon levy on large industrial emitters that are unable to meet their greenhouse-gas reduction targets, with the cash then used to improve environmental outcomes. “We think that’s the right approach,” Redford said, when asked whether Ottawa should introduce a federal carbon levy on large emitters.
Alberta’s carbon tax of sorts has generated more than $300 million for a technology fund used to green operations and improve environmental performance. “The federal government needs to be supportive of that policy (setting a carbon price) in areas where it can actually make a difference to the outcome. Simply symbolically setting a price doesn’t actually achieve an outcome,” she added. “So I think it’s fine to set targets, I think it’s time to be supportive of sectors that are looking to try to reduce emissions and to be able to partner together on that.”
But Ms. Redford’s office now says that she wasn’t quite endorsing a national carbon tax.
Premier Alison Redford did not advocate for a national carbon tax as today’s PostMedia story implies. The Premier was clear that Alberta’s climate change actions to date—including the creation of a fund for clean technology projects—have been successful and are driving innovation. Clean technology initiatives are worthy of consideration as the federal government develops new greenhouse gas emission regulations for the oil and gas industry.
John Baird once bragged of plans to establish a clean technology fund with the proceeds of a $15-per-tonne carbon price, but the Harper government has since decided that any price on carbon is a carbon tax.
But then Ms. Redford also prefers her province’s carbon levy to a cap-and-trade system (another policy the Harper government used to support).
Redford, however, doesn’t believe a widespread cap-and-trade emissions reduction scheme is necessary or the best approach for the federal government, questioning whether it would actually be effective in reducing emissions. “The goal is not to do something as a PR stunt; it’s to actually do something that is going to make a difference to outcomes. It can be a price on carbon, it can be work on consumer policies, energy efficiency, dealing with greening the (electricity) grid, that kind of thing,” she said.
But then the Alberta NDP doesn’t think the province’s carbon levy is sufficient.
“The ad is extremely misleading with respect to Alberta’s environmental record. It says that we have put a price on carbon. What we have is a very low price put on carbon intensity emissions,” Mason said.
By Tamsin McMahon - Monday, March 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM - 0 Comments
As hiring slows and work goes high-tech, Canada can’t count on the oil sands to be its jobs machine anymore
In his 25 years in the oil industry, Preston Reum has seen his share of booms and busts. Back in 1989, when Alberta’s oil industry was in the midst of a downturn and unemployment in cities like Edmonton topped 10 per cent, Reum collected T4 slips from 11 different employers as he jumped from one job to the next in search of a steady paycheque.
“You’d have a friend and whoever got a job, we went and worked on that rig and when that job was done, you’d know another guy running a rig and you’d go there,” says Reum, now a general manager at service-rig contractor Essential Energy Services. “You just stuck with it and worked for anybody that had a job.”
With each boom-bust cycle in Alberta, Reum has lost friends and employees, tired of the long, cold days in remote work camps, weeks of unpaid downtime and the uncertainty of living paycheque to paycheque. When the industry took a hit in 2008 and 2009 in the midst of the global recession, Reum says workers left in droves for jobs in the construction industry or mining in Saskatchewan, while others took up plumbing apprenticeships in the cities. Many experienced workers who had flown in from Atlantic Canada went home and never returned. Reum says the jobs that skilled workers found after leaving the industry often came close to matching the salaries in the oil sands, while also offering regular pay and nine-to-five days at job sites much closer to home.
- The future of jobs in Canada
- Green tech: No longer a niche
- College-corporate partnerships
- Colby Cosh on the state and education
By The Canadian Press - Friday, March 8, 2013 at 7:18 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner says he wants to hear from experts…
CALGARY – Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner says he wants to hear from experts at a summit this summer about how best to predict energy prices for future budgets.
“I want to bring everybody into a room and I want to say, ‘OK, here’s how we do it. You guys come up with the forecast. Tell me if this is the right thing to do or if there’s things we can do differently,’” he said Friday.
Horner made his remarks to a Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon a day after handing down a budget that includes $6.3 billion in red ink, mostly in borrowing for infrastructure to accommodate Alberta’s rapidly growing population.
The budget holds the line on day-to-day spending and includes no new taxes or tax hikes.