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O’Toole vows to defund English CBC if elected

O’Toole said the $600 million dollar media bail out offered by the federal government was due to the direct increase in CBC funding.

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Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole says he would privatize the CBC’s English television programming by the end of the first term of a CPC government.

“We will end funding for CBC digital and we will cut CBC English TV budget by 50 per cent,” O’Toole said in a newly released campaign video.

“Our plan will phase out TV advertising with a goal to fully privatize CBC English TV by the end of our first mandate.”

O’Toole did not mention any changes to funding for French television programming.

CBC has produced Canadian content for television since 1952, focusing on Canadian content. CBC digital programming came online in 2011 and 2012.

“We will preserve CBC Radio – it is commercial-free and delivers public interest programming from coast to coast,” O’Toole said.

“We will also preserve Radio Canada which plays an important role connecting Quebecers and Francophones across Canada in their own language.”

O’Toole said that the necessity for public broadcasting is no longer there being that it was initially set up, as radio, to connect the “vast Dominion of Canada.”

In the video, released Friday February 14, 2020, he said, “Canadians are connected to the world with the swipe of their finger – they carry their own broadcast studio in their pocket and have unlimited media streaming options 24/7.”

The CPC leadership candidate then called out the Trudeau government for increasing the CBC’s budget by $600 million, allowing the CBC to expand their digital presence which he said “hurt local newspapers and media outlets fighting for declining advertising revenue.”

The CBC’s 2018-19 annual report detailed an $83 million dollar decrease in advertising and royalty revenue from retransmitted programming. The annual report said losses were partially offset by maintained growth in television advertising. Government funding for the 2018-19 year was $1.214 billion, up from $1.208 billion in 2017-18, or $60 million.

O’Toole said the $600 million dollar media bail out offered by the federal government was due to the direct increase in CBC funding.

Deirdre is the Senior News Reporter at Western Standard

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com, @Mitchell_AB

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Alberta Court of Appeal finds federal carbon tax unconstitutional

In a 4-1 majority decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal has found the federal carbon tax unconstitutional.

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In a 4-1 majority decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal has found the federal carbon tax unconstitutional, calling it a “Trojan horse” with the potential for “unlimited federal intrusion”.

Premier Jason Kenney said he was pleased with the decision.

“We promised to take meaningful action on climate change without punishing Alberta families for driving to work and heating their homes,” Kenney said.

“We urge the Trudeau government to respect the ruling of the court and scrap their carbon tax immediately on Alberta families.”

Alberta’s Court of Appeal is the first provincial court to reject the federal government’s jurisdiction.

A jubilant Jason Kenney said it was a great day for Alberta and federalism in a press conference after the decision was made public.

“Let me be clear about why we’re fighting so hard – there’s no one size fits all plan – we categorically reject that.”

“We do not believe Canadian families should be penalized for living normal lives.”

The provinces of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Ontario acted as intervenors in the appeal.

Ontario and Saskatchewan have previously lost their provincial appeals and filed notice to appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada.

Saskatchewan and Ontario’s provincial appeal courts delivered split decisions with the majority siding with the federal government’s jurisdiction in implementing the tax.

Canadian Taxpayer Federation President and CEO Scott Hennig said he was also pleased with the decision and that the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) final decision “should be interesting”.

“It’s a big win for taxpayers,” Franco Terrazzano of the Alberta Taxpayer Federation said.

Arguments on behalf of Saskatchewan’s carbon tax challenge will be heard by the SCC this spring.

Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopeful Peter MacKay said it was time for the federal and provincial governments to work together on climate policy.

“A carbon tax is not a (climate change) plan, it is a tax,” MacKay wrote on Twitter.

Premier Jason Kenney repealed Alberta’s provincial carbon tax on individuals in June of 2019 but left the $30/tonne tax on Alberta’s “largest emitting” corporations with the TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction) program.

TIER replaced the NDP government’s CCIR (Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation) as of January 1, 2020.

“The TIER Fund would be used for new and cleaner Alberta-based technologies that reduce emissions – like improved oil sands extraction methods and research and investment in carbon capture, utilization and storage” a statement on the Alberta government website reads.

“It would also be used to reduce Alberta’s deficit and support the province’s energy war room, which is now incorporated as the Canadian Energy Centre.”

Cabinet Ministers Doug Schweitzer, Jason Nixon and Sonya Savage are the named directors of the private corporation.

more to come…

Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard

dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com @Mitchell_AB

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Protesters descend on Parliament Hill as Ontario police break up blockades

Ottawa police have blocked off protester access to Wellington Street for the foot march headed to Parliament Hill.

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A large number of people have gathered in Ottawa in support of Wet’suwet’en as the Ontario Provincial Police are enforcing court orders to bring down blockades near Belleville.

Ottawa police have blocked off protester access to Wellington Street for the foot march headed to Parliament Hill in an effort to direct protesters. The march was planned in advance and Ottawa police were prepared for the protest.

Source: Kristy Kirkup on Twitter @kkirkup

“Our Traffic Team will be deployed downtown all day for the Wet’suwet’en demo(nstration),” said Sergeant Mark Gatien of the Ottawa Police Traffic Services Section on social media.

“If (you) don’t need to be downtown in a (vehicle), please stay away – rolling road closures for I dont know how long”.

Meanwhile, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) began to legally removal of protesters at the Tyendinaga Camps Monday morning February 24 after midnight. The groups failed to dismantle the rail blockades despite a court order that gave them until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 23 to do so.

According to sources police have arrested multiple protesters but charges, if any, have not been made public.

The Tyendinaga Camps, near Belleville, Ontario, have been occupied since February 6. Protesters said they were supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who were protesting a pipeline development by Coastal Gas Link in British Columbia.

British Columbia’s environmental office ordered Coastal GasLink to return to consultations with the Wet’suwet’en on Saturday.

(Feature photo source: Kristy Kirkup on Twitter @kkirkup)

more to come…

Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard

dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Frontier Teck pulls plug on Alberta mine

The company behind a massive controversial oil sands project in northern Alberta has pulled the plug in it.

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The company behind a massive controversial oil sands project in northern Alberta has pulled the plug in it.

Teck resources said they weren’t afraid to shy away from controversy but the battle over climate change in Canada, made the project untenable.

“We are also strong supporters of Canada’s action on carbon pricing and other climate policies such as legislated caps for oil sands emissions,” said Don Lindsay
President and Chief Executive Officer of Teck Resources Limited, in a statement released Sunday night.

“The promise of Canada’s potential will not be realized until governments can reach agreement around how climate policy considerations will be addressed in the context of future responsible energy sector development.

“Questions about the societal implications of energy development, climate change and Indigenous rights are critically important ones for Canada, its provinces and Indigenous governments to work through.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny said the move came as a shock.

“Today’s announcement by Teck to withdraw its application for approval of the Frontier project, only days before the federal cabinet was set to decide whether to approve or reject it, is a grave disappointment to Albertans. Alberta has lost the opportunity for 7,000 jobs and Canada has lost the opportunity for $70 billion of dollars in new tax and royalty revenue that could have funded our generous social services over the next four decades. The project would also have produced oil cleaner than half the barrels in North America, Kenney said in a statement.

“Teck’s decision is disappointing, but in light of the events of the last few weeks it is not surprising. It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority. The timing of the decision is not a coincidence. This was an economically viable project, as the company confirmed this week, for which the company was advocating earlier this week, so something clearly changed very recently.

“Weeks of federal indecision on the regulatory approval process and inaction in the face of illegal blockades have created more uncertainty for investors looking at Canada. Teck’s predicament shows that even when a company spends more than $1 billion over a decade to satisfy every regulatory requirement, a regulatory process that values politics over evidence and the erosion of the rule of law will be fatal to investor confidence.”

“The factors that led to the today’s decision further weaken national unity. The Government of Alberta agreed to every request and condition raised by the federal government for approving the Frontier project, including protecting bison and caribou habitat, regulation of oilsands emissions, and securing full Indigenous support. The Government of Alberta repeatedly asked what more we could do to smooth the approval process. We did our part, but the federal government’s inability to convey a clear or unified position let us, and Teck, down. 

“This news deepens our government’s resolve to use every tool available to fight for greater control and autonomy for Alberta within Canada, including reinforcing our constitutional right to develop our natural resources, ensuring a sustainable future for our oil and gas industries, and restoring Canada’s reputation as a reliable place to do business.”

After the decision was announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Kenney.

“Both the Prime Minister and the Premier agreed on the importance of Canada’s natural resource sector to our economy. They discussed their commitment to developing our natural resources sustainably and creating jobs,” said Trudeau’s office in a statement.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to working with Alberta and the resource sector to keep creating good jobs and to ensure clean, sustainable growth for Canadians.

“The Prime Minister and the Premier also briefly discussed the railway blockades and the impacts they are having across the country on Canadians and the economy, and they affirmed their desire for a quick and peaceful resolution.”

Former premier Rachel Notley said Kenney only has himself to blame.

“The heated rhetoric and constant conflict generated by Jason Kenney and the UCP is the primary reason for withdrawal of Teck’s application. Jason Kenney has acted only to inflame this debate. He intentionally reduced the Teck project to a political football.
Now that project has been spiked – and the Premier himself is the one to blame.”

mackay tweet
Andrew Scheer tweet

As a result of this decision, Teck will write down the $1.13 billion carrying value of the Frontier Project.

Sonya Savage tweet

The full Teck letter to the government can be read here.

Clark tweet

–More to come

The $20.6-billion Teck mega project in northern Alberta has already been approved by the non-political regulators, but the Liberal natural resources minister has said the federal government may delay approval of the project unless Alberta drops its opposition to Ottawa’s carbon tax. Adding fuel to the fire were several Eastern Liberal MPs lobbying to kill the project outright.

Reports of an aid package for the beleaguered province appear to confirm that the federal government is seriously considering nixing the mega project, which Teck says will create 7,000 jobs and significantly add to the provinces GDP.

In place of allowing the private investment project to go ahead, federal sources say that direct government spending on infrastructure projects and well cleanup is in the mix.

Teck itself issued a statement this week saying it also hoped it would become a net-zero emitter by 2050.

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.

The federal government has said they would give an answer on the mine before the end of February.

Federal Environment Minister Johnathan Wilkinson has hinted approval would be based on how Alberta approaches climate change.

“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.

TIER replaced the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan by maintaining the carbon tax on large emitters but repealing the tax 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 tax in 2019 and presented arguments Dec. 16-18 in Alberta’s Court of Appeal.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

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