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Alberta government will spend $1.5 billion in KXL pipeline to kickstart construction

Western Canada Select (WCS) has been trading at historic lows of less than $5/bbl in March.

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The $1.5 billion investment in TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline will be made this year and will backstop the project with a $6 billion loan guarantee in 2021.

“The government is backstopping the project to enable TC Energy to begin immediate construction on the Alberta portion of the pipeline,” the early morning press release stated.

“This will ensure the earliest possible date of completion (of 2023).”

TC Energy will repay the Alberta government once oil is flowing, according to the release.

“We cannot wait for the end of the pandemic and the global recession to act,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said.

“There are steps we must make now to build our future focussed [sic] on jobs, the economy, and pipelines.”

TC Energy said the project will “lead to thousands of new jobs, billions in economic stimulus and enhanced North American energy security.”

The project will result in approximately US$8 billion investment into the North American economy according to the release from TC Energy.

“We appreciate the ongoing backing of landowners, customers, Indigenous group and numerous partners in the U.S. and Canada who helped us secure project support and key regulatory approvals as this important energy infrastructure project is poised to put thousands of people to work, generate substantial economic benefits and strengthen the continent’s energy security,” said Russ Girling, TC Energy’s president and chief executive officer.

“In addition, we thank U.S. President Donald Trump and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as well as many government officials across North America for their advocacy without which, individually and collectively, this Project could not have advanced.”

Girling added that TC Energy would continue to “take guidance from all levels of government and health authorities” to ensure the safety of staff and communities during the current pandemic.

“Construction will advance only after every consideration for the health and safety of our people, their families, and of those in the surrounding communities has been taken into account,” Girling said.

The KXL project has previously secured transportation agreements for 575,000 Bbl/day for 20 years but has been delayed multiple times over opposition and court battles, mostly in the U.S. President Trump has approved the project by special declaration twice over the past four years.

The project will move product from Hardisty, in east central Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it will then move through TC Energy’s existing lines to be transported to the Gulf Coast refineries.

“As part of the funding plan, the Government of Alberta has agreed to invest approximately US$1.1 billion as equity in the Project, which substantially covers planned construction costs through the end of 2020,” TC Energy’s release said.

“The remaining capital investment of approximately US$6.9 billion is expected to be largely made in 2021 and 2022 and funded through the combination of a US$4.2 billion project level credit facility to be fully guaranteed by the Government of Alberta and a US$2.7 billion investment by TC Energy.”

Premier Jason Kenney had promised additional government spending in Alberta’s oil and gas sector in the lead up to the release of Alberta’s budget.

Kenney recently demanded more money from the federal government to prop up the sector which was sidelined by increased production from Saudi Arabia and Russia in mid-March.

“Today we are moving forward with a project that is essential to our future prosperity,” Kenney said.

“This investment in Keystone XL is a bold move to retake control of our province’s economic destiny and put it firmly back in the hands of the owners of our natural resources, the people of Alberta.”

Kenney said his government is confident in the investment and believes the province will be able to sell its shares “at profit.”

Western Canada Select (WCS) has been trading at historic lows of less than US$5/bbl in March and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has been battered down to US$20/bbl amid the “predatory dumping” of oil by Saudi Arabia.

On March 28 the Alberta Premier said he is trying to broker a deal with U.S. officials that will effectively close the borders to Saudi and Russian oil. The U.S. became the world’s number one exporter of oil in 2017, which caused OPEC to strike a deal with Russia to voluntarily decrease production to maintain oil prices.

That deal was set to expire at the end of March this year.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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The world wants to move to Canada

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination.

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Canada is the top country most people around the world want to move to, a new survey reveals.

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination. Japan trailed badly in second place with only 13 countries selecting The Land of the Rising Sun to move to.

On the map – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented by their residents’ most yearned-for spot to emigrate to.

The majority of Canadians said they would prefer to move to the U.S.

The map has been drawn up by financial services provider Remitly, which looked at search data from Google for 100 countries. It says it created a ranking by looking at average monthly search volumes for phrases commonly associated with a move abroad and the most-searched-for locations within the 100 countries, the Daily Mail reported.

“It says that Canada, known for its friendly locals, beautiful scenery and well-paid job prospects, proves a clear favourite for relocation for everywhere from Qatar and the Seychelles to Belgium,” the Mail reported.

“Featuring prominently in the Global Peace Index as one of the safest places to live, and boasting low unemployment rates alongside a high amount of immigration options, it’s arguably no surprise that Canada is head and shoulders above the rest of the world.”

The Mail reported Jago McKenzie, business manager at Remitly, said: “Some of the main reasons people seek a move to another country are for greater job prospects, better pay, quality of life and to send money back home to their families, and I think for many, 2020 has been a year for assessing the choices that could change our lives for the better.

“With that in mind, I wasn’t surprised to see that many are searching for this change and potentially thinking about making it when worldwide travel resumes.

“While Canada topped the list, it was encouraging to see the variety of where different nationalities are looking to move to, with many places home to great job prospects with high earning potential.

“With the need for digital remittance services for immigrants even more important after the pandemic, we hope we’ll be able to make any transition smoother.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

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Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox

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The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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