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Liberals may delay Teck oil sands project; imply Alberta should accept carbon tax

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.




The federal environment minister says Alberta’s plan to battle climate change could affect whether or not the government approve a giant mine project in the province.

“In the context of Premier (Jason) Kenney, you know, the most recent actions are fighting the federal government on the issue of pricing pollution,” Wilkinson told reporters in Ottawa.

“I think what we’re looking for is concrete actions on climate change.”

Teck’s Frontier $20.6 billion project is currently awaiting federal approval to begin construction in northern Alberta and is expected to create around 7,000 jobs in the construction phase.

The project, a “truck and shovel” oil sands mine, “will consist of surface mining operations, a processing plant, tailings management facilities, water management facilities, and associated infrastructure and support facilities,” according to a statement on the company’s website. It’s expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day.

“Teck has also reached agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the broader Frontier project area.”

“With respect to (Frontier), we need to look at all the environmental impacts, we obviously need to look at the economic opportunities, and we need to ensure we’re taking both into account,” Wilkinson said.

“Certainly, one of those issues is how does this project fit with Canada’s commitments to achieving the reductions we are committing to (for) 2030, and the net zero commitment to 2050? I would just say again that it’s important that all provinces are working to help Canada to achieve its targets.”

Wilkinson said all provinces, including Alberta, are expected to do their part to help Canada meet those commitments.

The UCP government unveiled their industrial emitter plan, TIER (Technology, Innovation and Emissions Reduction system), in Bill 19, passed during the fall legislature session.

“Alberta recently announced its TIER industrial levy program, which has received notable support from stakeholders, including individuals such as Prof. Andrew Leach and Ed Whittingham. TIER would obviously apply to Teck Frontier. What’s more, Minister Wilkinson’s own government confirmed federal equivalency for TIER,” Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks said.

“In July 2019, the independent federal Joint Review Panel clearly recommended that Teck Frontier is in the public interest. Teck Frontier has followed the process the Liberal Government confirmed for them, so one would hope that Ottawa is not arbitrarily changing the rules at the 11th hour.”

TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the price on pollution for large emitters but repealing the price on other businesses and residents. The federal price on carbon for Albertans, excepting large emitters, came into effect January 1, 2020.

Under TIER, facilities can either reduce their emissions or; use credits from other facilities, use emissions offsets from non-regulated organizations, or pay into the TIER fund at $30 per tonne.

The Alberta government launched its challenge of federal carbon pricing in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.

The court’s decision has yet to be announced.

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com Twitter: @Mitchell_AB


R.C.M.P. warn against threatening an officer with COVID-19

The public is asked to abide by local, provincial, and federal health orders issued for public safety.




An Alberta man was charged with multiple offences after coughing on officers and claiming to be positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday afternoon, RCMP officers responded to a disturbance complaint in Wetaskiwin, a city an hour south of Edmonton. The complaint was in regards to a man who was “yelling and swearing” at a residence in the city.

“The male stated he had COVID-19, and coughed intentionally into an officer’s face and again when escorted to the police car,” according to the press release.

“The male intentionally coughed into another officer’s face when being processed at the detachment.”

Dwight Tootosis, 59, of Wetaskiwin, was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of failure to comply with undertaking, one count of mischief under $5,000 and failure to comply with the Public Health Act.

“The threat to transmit the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the wellbeing and health of our members which is a criminal offence,” said Assistant Commissioner John Ferguson, Alberta RCMP’s Officer-in-Charge of Criminal Operations.

“To actually carry out these threats would be (a criminal offence:) Assault on a Peace Officer.”

There has only been one charge laid in Alberta to date.

“We want Albertans to know that their provincial police force is fully operational, and continues to ensure the safety and security of Albertans,” a Tuesday press release said.

“These times are unprecedented… members of the public are reminded to adhere to current public health guidelines with respect to slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

First responders in Canada are more at risk because they are required to interact with the public, Over the past month, more than 200 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus.

In Calgary, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) has been made available to first responders in the city including safety glasses, gloves and coveralls for Calgary Police.

Calgary Police Superintendent Steve Barlow said members are to take precautions prior to entering residences or premises.

Supt. Steve Barlow also said on Wednesday that Artur Pawlowski, a street preacher who is known to police, was issued a ticket for hosting a public gathering of more than 15 people at Olympic Plaza, and a second charge was laid against a person displaying novel coronavirus symptoms for refusal to self-isolate.

The Alberta government has made testing more readily available to first responders in healthcare including police officers, peace officers, bylaw officers and fish and wildlife officers.

Ontario has also moved to provide additional information on COVID-19 statuses, including whether someone is positive and who their contacts may have been.

“First responders put their lives on the line every day to protect Ontarians and they are at great risk of being directly exposed to COVID-19 as they fulfill their frontline duties,” said Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

A Saskatchewan woman – who was fined for violating the public health order in the province – then tested positive for COVID-19. Saskatchewan officials deemed the public information to override the privacy policies in the province.

The woman was originally fined for refusing to comply with the 14-day isolation period – a problem that has been seen in other provinces, including B.C., where a man visited hospitals and COVID floors to “investigate the real story” behind COVID-19.

“This is just absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable, this individual is just a complete idiot,” B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said.

“There’s absolutely no place for this kind of nonsense, this kind of anti-science moronic behaviour, it’s just totally beyond the pale.”

The public is asked to abide by local, provincial, and federal health orders issued for public safety.

Provinces have granted authority to fine those who disregard health orders anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000 and jail time.

Provincial COVID-19 numbers as of today:

  • Quebec: 10,031 confirmed and presumptive cases, including 175 deaths
  • Ontario: 5,276 cases, including 174 deaths
  • Alberta: 1,423 confirmed and presumptive cases including 518 recoveries and 29 deaths
  • British Columbia: 1,336 confirmed cases, including 838 recovered and 48 deaths
  • Saskatchewan: 271 confirmed cases including 103 recoveries and 3 deaths
  • Nova Scotia: 342 confirmed cases, including 77 recoveries and one death
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 232 confirmed cases including 74 recoveries and 2 deaths
  • Manitoba: 221 confirmed cases, including 69 recoveries and 3 deaths
  • New Brunswick: 108 confirmed cases and 50 recoveries
  • Prince Edward Island: 24 confirmed cases including 17 recovered
  • Northwest Territories: 4 confirmed cases
  • Yukon: 7 confirmed cases

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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Government warned quarantining passengers on Chinese flights would be ‘unsustainable’

“If this approach were to be extended to China, it would be unsustainable given the volume of travellers,” the memo said.




The Canadian government agreed not to test or quarantine tens of thousands of people flying into the country from China in February to not overwhelm the health system, a government memo shows.

The memo addressed to Health Minister Patty Hajdu was sent by federal and provincial health chiefs in February.

The memo is included in roughly 1,000 pages of documents shared by public health officials with the federal health committee last month, reports Global News.

The memo said 20,000 passengers were coming into Canada from China every week and attempting to enforce or track a mandatory quarantine on them would be unrealistic, the memo states.

“If this approach were to be extended to China, it would be unsustainable given the volume of travellers,” the memo said.

“A voluntary self-isolation places less pressure on public health resources.”

Global said the memo sent to Hajdu was prepared following a briefing delivered by the country’s top public health officials to their managers in health departments across Canada about how to address the growing crisis.

The memo said that enforcing the Quarantine Act would require more resources for local public health units so they could “undertake active monitoring of each individual,” as well as an emergency order.

It wasn’t until a month later, on March 25, the federal government ordered under the Quarantine Act that required any traveller entering Canada by air, sea or land to quarantine for 14 days, whether they were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

Asked about the delay on Chinese arrivals in his daily press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied: “We recognized early on that this was a challenge and we did take many measures to try and control or prevent or ensure that Canada was less vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 that we were seeing elsewhere in the world.

“With hindsight, I’m sure there are lots of things that we could have done differently … but I can tell you that every step of the way, we took the advice of our medical professionals and our public health experts seriously and did as best we could.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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Milk being thrown down the drain across the country, despite shortages

“In its 55-year history, Dairy Farmers of Ontario has only once before had to ask producers to dispose of raw milk,” said Cheryl Smith.




It’s a sad scene – being repeated on dairy farms daily across Canada – perfectly good milk being thrown out.

It a damning condemnation of Canada’s milk supply management system which favours dairy producers in Quebec over those in the rest of the country. Also hurting the industry is the demand falling off from restaurants and coffee shops which are closed because of the coronavirus crisis.

“With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we had to dispose of 12,000 litres of milk in the last few days…and I can just let you know it was really hard, really heartbreaking for me,” Michael Haak, whose Enderby farm has been in his family for four generations, told CTV.

Roughly 60,000 litres of milk is being dumped in B.C. daily.

The dairy association has donated about 40,000 litres of milk to food banks .

The BC Dairy Association’s Jeremy Dunn said there are huge challenges for the dairy supply chain right across Canada.

“Retail business in this COVID (pandemic) early on was very high. It quickly fell off. Food service business has gone to almost zero,” Dunn told CTV.

“It’s not a good feeling. [This is] something that I’ve worked hard for — and all my hard work is going down the drain,” Remko Steen, a dairy farmer from Tillsonburg, Ont., told CBC.

Last week, Steen said he was forced to dump about 12,000 litres of perfectly good milk down the drain.

“In its 55-year history, Dairy Farmers of Ontario has only once before had to ask producers to dispose of raw milk,” Cheryl Smith, the association’s CEO, told BBC.

Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador, another provincial dairy association, asked farmers to dump 170,000 litres last week. The province produces about 50 million litres a year.

“A cow produces a certain amount of milk per day and farmers must continue to milk them to keep them comfortable and well,” said the DFC website.

The website said the dairy industry employees over 23,000 Canadians and contributes $17.3 billion to the economy.

Dairy production in the country is controlled under a system known as supply management.

It has been a controversial system for years, and in the Canada-U.S.-Mexico free trade talks, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Canada to end the practice for dairy.

Canada adopted this model in the early 1970s to overcome production surpluses, according to the Dairy Farmers of Canada website. Egg and poultry farmers started to operate under the system in later years.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


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