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Kenney announces more breaks for families and business

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Premier Jason Kenney announced new measures on Monday to help Albertans get through the coronavirus crisis.

The global pandemic combined with the meltdown in oil prices, Kenney said “people are very anxious about their bank accounts.”

The government will immediately cancel the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year’s level.

Reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation adjustment will save Alberta households and businesses about $87 million in 2020-21, which means $55 million for households and $32 million for employers.

It will also give business six months to pay those taxes, meaning $458 million will be staying in the hands of business. Kenney encouraged real estate companies to pass these deferrals onto renters.

Meanwhile, private sector employers will have immediate financial relief by deferring WCB premiums until early 2021, effectively for one year. Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due. Large employers will also receive a break by having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.

Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost government approximately $350 million.

Kenney again told returning Snowbirds that they must isolate for 14 days.

And he blasted people taking advantage of the crisis through scams.

“There is a special place in hell” reserved for those people, Kenney said.

“The book will be thrown at them,” Kenney said urging people who are aware of scams to report them to the government.

Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was pleased with the news.

“It’s good to see Premier Kenney delivering relief when it’s needed the most. Keeping more money in Albertans’ pockets is the simplest and fastest way for governments to help families and businesses keep the lights on.  All municipal governments need to follow suit and reduce property tax burdens because struggling families and businesses can’t afford big tax bills,” he said.

In other developments Monday:

• “You all think you’re invincible. You’re not. Enough is enough,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Go home and stay home.”

• B.C. announced a $5B package to deal with coronavirus outbreak, $2.8B on people and services, $2.2B for businesses and recovery.

• WATCH: B.C. residents in high rises applaud for health care workers.

• Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a shutdown of all non-essential services in Ontario starting Wednesday as province reports 78 new cases. City of Toronto declared a state of emergency.

• New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs called for the feds to introduce its emergency act. Kenney said he doesn’t see a need for that at the moment.

• WHO says more than 300,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide.

• Queen to give national address for only 4th time in reign amid Covid-19 crisis .

• Air Transat lays off 3,600 employees, or 70% of its workforce.

• WATCH: Police officers in Spain played music and sang to residents confined to their homes under a nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.

• WATCH: Couple get married in strange wedding:

• Calgary Expo postponed due to COVID-19 spread.

• British government to stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with.

• Memorial Cup has been cancelled.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Nobby

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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UCP creates $10 million corporate welfare program to fight global warming

The Alberta government has created a new program funded through the province’s carbon tax.

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Albeta’s UCP government has launched another multi-million corporate welfare program – this time spending $10 million on three projects funded through the provincial carbon tax.

The government said Wednesday that $3 million will be given to the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) to test the viability of methane emissions reduction technology, saying that improvements could enhance the accuracy of finding methane emission leaks at a lower cost. 

The government also gave the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) $5-million to develop artificial intelligence capabilities that could help companies identify emission reductions opportunities.

Finally, it will give $2 million to the Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC) to conduct applied research that could improve oil and gas sector methane emission management and control, while also reducing costs to industry. 

“Last year, when we introduced TIER, we said we would help job creators reduce their emissions by making investments in technology and research,” said Environment Minister Jason Nixon in a statement.

TIER (Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation) is the new name given to Alberta’s carbon tax to replace the NDP’s “Climate Action Plan”.

“Today’s announcement is an example of that, and helps further our position as a global leader in technology-driven environmentally responsible development. These programs will help industry identify, track, measure and ultimately reduce emissions. They will also ensure we maintain our competitive edge while creating jobs and economic growth for Alberta.”

The UCP platform broadly committed to ending corporate welfare subsidies.

“Premier Jason Kenney needs to get back to doing good work on reducing taxes for everyone and stop picking winners and losers,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

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

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Calgary cops identify suspects in hate crime attack

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan,

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Calgary copssay they have identified two men who attacked a same sex couple as they strolled down a northwest street.

It was one of three attacks over the weekend against members of Calgary’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., on Monday, as a same-sex couple was walking near the intersection of 9 St. and Memorial Dr. N.W., when two men and two women on electronic scooters approached them, police said.

“An altercation occurred and it is believed the two men on scooters assaulted the couple because of their sexual orientation. A belt, rocks and a recycling bin were used as weapons and then the group fled,” said police in a press released.

Suspects wanted in connection with a same sex attack
Courtesy Calgary Police Service

“Our officers arrived shortly after and searched the area but could not locate the group. The victims received medical care for non-life-threatening injuries.”

The two suspects are both described as being about 30 years old, average height and build, with trim black beards and short black hair. The one was wearing black framed glasses, white polo shirt, dark pants, brown loafers, and white socks. The other was wearing a grey polo shirt with white collar and sleeves, grey pants, and white runners.

Police said Wednesday morning the suspects had been identified and the investigation continues.

The first incident happened when man was assaulted near the intersection of 17 Ave. and 12 St. in the middle of the day on Friday. It is alleged that a group of men attacked the victim while calling him homophobic slurs and then fled.

The second incident occurred around 1 p.m. on Saturday on the Rainbow Crosswalk at the intersection of Centre St. and Stephen Avenue Mall. A Drag King recording a video was spat on by an unknown man walking past. The incident is now being investigated and video and CCTV footage is being collected by us to help identify the man responsible, said police.

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan, with the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team.

“It is unacceptable that this is happening and we will absolutely investigate anytime a crime is motivated by hate or bias.”

Police encourage anyone who has been targeted for ill treatment or a crime because of their sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or some other similar trait to report it.

“We fully recognize that sometimes people do not want to involve the police or don’t feel comfortable coming to us for help,” said Padnivelan.

“We respect the wishes of those who are most affected by the incident and never force a victim to participate in a police investigation. However, if there is a way we can help make a person feel safe enough to come forward, we want to try do that.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Mountain guide trashes Alberta litterbugs

“There was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before,” said guide Michael Vincent

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A Lake Louise mountain guide is trashing Albertans for the amount of garbage they are leaving behind in the mountain parks.

Michael Vincent, a 25-year veteran guide, said in a Facebook post he has noticed the problem has been getting worse, with the tipping point coming the last weekend with the Heritage Day holiday.

“As you all may know, long weekends in summer are traditionally VERY busy at the most famous lake in Canada,” he tweeted.

“This years is no exception…even with COVID there are thousands of visitors per day. The difference this year is who they are: 99.9 per cent Canadians because no one else can get here. Of those, 90 per cent are Albertans. At first, I loved the fact Albertans were enjoying their own backyard more than ever before…what a place to be trapped.

“And then we started to notice a change…there was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before.

“Today I was shocked…this is one day of litter from one of the most popular hikes in the area, Lake Agnes. The staff at the tea house gave me some gloves and a bag so I could pick it up on the way down. Thanks to my guests for helping me spot all the trash.”

After seeing the picture on Twitter, Alberta Parks Minister Jason Nixon lashed out at the litterbugs.

“This occurred in a nat’l park, but it’s a critical reminder to all Albertans to leave the land better than you found it — in our nat’l parks, provincial parks & public lands. Our backyard is beautiful. Let’s keep it that way,” Nixon tweet.

“We’ve stepped up enforcement and added garbages and portable toilets in parks & on public lands but folks need to make better choices. It would be a shame if a few careless ppl ruined it for the rest of us.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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