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UPDATED: MacKay & O’Toole get into heated exchange during first debate

The event’s French-to-English translator incorrectly translated the end of the back-and-forth exchange as, “You’re an angry man like your friend, Jason Kenney.”

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Editors Note: The original news story has been updated after a French-to-English mistranslation incorrectly indicated that Peter MacKay said “You’re an angry man like your friend, Jason Kenney” to Erin O’Toole.

Tory leadership frontrunners Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole got into an unexpectedly heated exchanging during the party’s French-language debate.

The two candidates spent much of the evening taking shots at each other, getting more personal than is usual in internal party races. Particular attention was drawn when MacKay attacked O’Toole for courting social conservatives in the party.

“I’m pro-choice. I agree with gay marriage. I can win in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and I can strengthen our base in the West,” said MacKay. 

“You’re an angry man, Mr. O’Toole. You’re always angry.”

O’Toole responded, “You attacked me for voting against Bill C-279 in 2013,” to which MacKay said, ” It’s the same vote as your friend Mr. Kenney.”

C-279 was an NDP bill that critics said would allow transgender biological men to use women’s washrooms.

The event’s French-to-English translator incorrectly translated the end of the back-and-forth exchange as, “You’re an angry man like your friend, Jason Kenney.”

Media outlets across Canada – including the Western Standard – used this incorrect translation in their initial stories about the debate.

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UCP launches new program to improve French service in Alberta

More than 268,615 Albertans speak French, and 86,705 Albertans identify French as their first official language.

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The UCP has launched a program to help deliver French services in the province.

“The 2020-2023 French Policy Action Plan builds on the 2018-2021 plan. It outlines the path for continuing to implement the  French policy that was endorsed by the government in 2019,” said the government in a release.

“All government departments are moving forward with new and existing initiatives – about 100 in total – that make life better for French-speaking Albertans.”

The first multi-year French Policy Action Plan was published in December 2018 for the 2018-2021 period.

In the government’s 2019 French Policy Annual Report, Alberta confirmed that it had successfully delivered on 37 planned initiatives and that ministries had undertaken 23 additional initiatives to improve services in French, said the release

More than 268,615 Albertans speak French, and 86,705 Albertans identify French as their first official language.

Alberta’s Francophonie is the third-largest outside Quebec, after Ontario and New Brunswick.

“I’m thrilled to unveil the 2020-23 French Policy Action Plan that builds on our commitment to further enhance services in French areas that are a priority for the Francophonie. This commitment supports the province’s significant French-speaking population. A vibrant multilingual workforce is an asset to Alberta’s and Canada’s economy. It helps diversify trade, boosts exports and imports, and creates jobs and growth,” said Leela Sharon Aheer, Alberta Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

Since 1996, Alberta’s Francophone population has grown by 40 per cent and enrolment in Francophone schools has increased by almost 270 per cent.

Statistics Canada predicts Francophone population growth is projected to be the highest in Alberta and the territories by 2036. The scenarios predict a 25 per cent to more than 50 per cent increase in Alberta in this time frame.

“Over the course of its two years of existence, the Alberta Advisory Council on the Francophonie has had an increasing number of exchanges and communications with government ministries on issues of prime importance to Alberta’s French-speaking population. I am pleased to see that our recommendations have contributed to the development of the new French Policy Action Plan, which involves 21 ministries and increases access to French-language services.,” said François Eudes, co-chair of the Alberta Francophone Advisory Council.

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

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Alberta launches program to attract petrochemical investment

But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming the plan, in part, because of its lack of a cap.

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The UCP has announced a massive new incentive programs with the hope of attracting petrochemical companies to Alberta.

But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming the plan, in part, because of its lack of a cap.

The province claims the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) will help attract billions in petrochemical project investments and continue to diversify the province’s economy while drawing directly on our abundant reserves of natural gas.

“The goal is to aggressively compete with several jurisdictions across Asia, the Middle East, and those in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, many of which also offer similar incentives for petrochemical manufacturers, to become a global destination for petrochemical investment,” the province said in Friday release.

“According to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there is an opportunity to grow Alberta’s petrochemical sector by more than $30 billion by 2030, resulting in more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs over the construction and operations of new facilities, and more than $10 billion in revenue for the Government of Alberta from corporate and personal income taxes.”

APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones.

Once a project is up and running, companies that have successfully applied will receive grants worth 12 per cent of their eligible capital costs.

The grant will be issued in the final step in the process, ensuring that only projects already built and employing Albertans receive funds, said the release

Prior to the grant, companies will need to show their project meets the program requirements by detailing the scope and expected cost of the project.

The application window for small projects (between $50 million and $150 million in capital costs) will be open for five years. Applications for larger projects will be open for 10 years.

Projects eligible for the program must have a minimum $50 million in capital investment, consume natural gas, natural gas liquids or petrochemical intermediaries, create new and permanent jobs in Alberta and meet the federally set definition of a manufacturing and processing facility.

There is no cap to the program, but the government will report on expected costs each fiscal year, based on applications received and projects approved.

“Today we’re adding another incentive to Alberta’s already world-class opportunities for petrochemical development. On top of our existing petrochemical producers and all the companies that feed in and support them, we have a multi-generational supply of natural gas, an experienced workforce, and one of the lowest tax rates in North America. By launching this program, Alberta moves towards achieving the goal of becoming one of the most attractive investment opportunities for petrochemicals in the world.,” said Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is slamming the government for failing to put a cap on the program.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to sign a blank cheque for the petrochemical industry,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“It’s bad enough that taxpayers are already paying for one bad petrochemical subsidy, but it’s completely unacceptable for Premier Jason Kenney to let another petrochemical subsidy to be rolled out without a cap on taxpayer costs.”

The APIP is in addition to the current Petrochemicals Diversification Program, which costs taxpayers $1.1 billion.

The CTF obtained a leaked briefing note produced by Treasury Board and Finance officials warning former finance minister Joe Ceci about the risks associated with subsidies for the petrochemical industry, which states: “the proposed incentive program cannot be justified on economic merit alone” and “there is no guarantee that the incentive program will actually lead to additional investment.”

“Kenney deserves credit for lowering the business tax rate so job creators can invest more of their own money into their business, but the government is taking a wrong turn by adding another petrochemical corporate welfare program on to the backs of struggling taxpayers,” said Terrazzano.

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

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Coveted Regina seat flips to NDP

The seat is the second to flip from mail-in ballots.

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Premier Scott Moe will lose the Regina seat he wanted most as mail-in ballots put Aleana Young of the NDP above Saskatchewan Party incumbent Tina Beaudry-Mellor in Regina University. It the second coveted seat the Sask Party has lost to mail-in ballots, which have predominantly gone NDP.

Beaudry-Mellor was leading by 178 votes after the in-person votes were counted on Monday night. Now that 1,371 of the 1,814 mail-in ballots have been counted, Young leads by 226. The remaining 444 votes will be counted November 7 but it is a foregone conclusion Beaudry-Mellor will not close the gap.

The two also faced each other in 2016 where Beaudry-Mellor took 3,418 votes and Young, 3,001.
The upset marks the second time the NDP won a seat on mail-in ballots, as leader Ryan Meili also overcame an 83-vote deficit in Saskatoon Meewasin. 

This also marks the second NDP win in an electoral rematch. The NDP’s Jennifer Bowes beat Saskatoon University incumbent Eric Olauson, who himself beat Bowes in 2016.

In a Facebook post, Beaudry-Mellor congratulated Young and reflected on her term in the legislature. 

“The first time I sat at a Federal/Provincial/Territorial meeting I nearly crapped myself. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would pass a piece of legislation of my own or ask “what about the victim?” in the Legislative Assembly.”

At a news conference outside of her house, Young thanked her staffers and volunteers and the news was as exciting for them as for her. She was cautious to claim victory.

“I was anticipating, and I still am, that no results are really final until November 7,” she said. 

“The trends certainly look like they’re going our way, but I guess we’ve still probably got another week here before anything is final.”

Should nothing else change, the seat total stands at 48 for the Saskatchewan Party and 13 for the NDP. The 13 seats match the NDP’s pre-writ total, as two seats were vacant when the legislature dissolved.

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Correspondent for the Western Standard

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