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Supreme Court clears way for TMX pipeline expansion

“Today’s ruling puts an end to legal challenges that have delayed (Trans Mountain) dating back to 2013,” Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage tweeted.

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The coast is now clear for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada announced they will not hear an appeal against the pipeline brought forward by several B.C. Indigenous groups.

The country’s top court dismissed an application from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Ts’elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band.

As usual, he court did not release reasons for its decision Thursday.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage was thrilled with the decision.

“Today’s ruling puts an end to legal challenges that have delayed (Trans Mountain) dating back to 2013,” Savage tweeted.

“The majority of Canadians, including First Nations communities want to share in the economic benefits brought by this project. Not only is TMX critically important to Alberta, but it also unlocks direct access to tidewater for Canadian oil benefiting the entire country.”

Meanwhile, the RCMP is still investigating an arson fire that destroyed a $1-million piece of equipment helping building the TMX pipeline in B.C.

Western Standard sources said the May 19 fire, near Merritt destroyed a 3-Line cable puller, worth about $1-million.

The equipment was burned down to the frame.

RCMP have confirmed the fire and said the same piece of equipment was vandalized a day earlier and also had fuel stolen from it.

The feds bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in May, 2018, after Kinder Morgan, pulled out because of political and environmental opposition.

In February, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the latest attempt by four B.C. indigenous groups to quash the Government of Canada’s approval of the TMX clearing the way for the 1,150-km, 890,000 bbl/d line between Edmonton and Burnaby.

The cost to complete the project, from Alberta to the lower mainland, now stands at $12.6 billion.

Construction along the entire route should be complete in 2022.

The original Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and the expansion is essentially a twinning of this existing 1,150-kilometre route.

The system will go from approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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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Morneau cleared by ethics commissioner in WE expenses scandal

But Dion said he will continue to investigate Morneau for not recusing himself from a federal cabinet decision handing the WE charity almost a billion dollars

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Former federal finance minister Bill Morneau is off the hook in an ethics investigation into his expenses on a trip with the scandal-plauged WE charity.

But he’s not completely off the hook yet.

Ethics commissioner Mario Dion said he accepted the fact Morneau simply forgot about $41,000 expenses he racked up on a trip with the charity to Kenya and Ecuador.

“I accept that you genuinely believed you had paid for the entire cost of both trips, including the portion of the trip that involved the use of non-commercial chartered aircraft,” Dion wrote in an Oct. 28 letter obtained by CBC.

“I have also reviewed the documentary evidence submitted as part of my examination under the act … this evidence corroborates your position with respect to your belief that you paid for the total cost of your and your family’s personal travel in 2017.

“Moreover, the evidence suggests that the WE organization invited your spouse and daughter to participate in these trips, and that you had no involvement in the planning and preparation of either event.

 “I am of the view that you did not accept a gift from WE Charity.”

But Dion said he will continue to investigate Morneau for not recusing himself from a federal cabinet decision handing the WE charity almost a billion dollars to run a youth jobs program at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morneau’s daughter worked at the charity at the time of the decision.

“I remain seized of allegations relating to possible violations of subsection 6(1) and section 21 of the Act,” Dion wrote

After resigning in August at the height of the scandal, Morneau said he was in the running to be the next secretary general for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As a parliamentary finance committee was looking into the scandal, Morneau announced he was writing the charity a cheque to cover $41,000 in expenses. He claimed he thought the expenses had already been paid.

Morneau made the announcement the day he appeared to testify at the committee.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also under investigation after it was revealed his mother, brother and wife had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from the charity, which has since disbanded its Canadian operations.

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

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Millions of shoppers had image taken by Cadillac Fairview cameras

Most of the customers didn’t know their images were being collected by cameras embedded in information kiosks.

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More than five million shoppers across Canada had their images collected in 12 malls owned by Cadillac Fairview, an investigation by privacy commissioners has found.

Most of the customers didn’t know their images were being collected by cameras embedded in information kiosks in July 2018.

“The goal, the company said, was to analyze the age and gender of shoppers and not to identify individuals. Cadillac Fairview also asserted that shoppers were made aware of the activity via decals it had placed on shopping mall entry doors that referred to their privacy policy – a measure the Commissioners determined was insufficient,” the commissioners said in a Thursday release.

“Cadillac Fairview also asserted that it was not collecting personal information, since the images taken by camera were briefly analyzed then deleted. However, the Commissioners found that Cadillac Fairview did collect personal information, and contravened privacy laws by failing to obtain meaningful consent as they collected the 5 million images with small, inconspicuous cameras.  Cadillac Fairview also used video analytics to collect and analyze sensitive biometric information of customers.”

The investigation also found facial recognition software was used to generate additional personal information about individual shoppers, including estimated age and gender.

While the images were deleted, investigators found that the sensitive biometric information generated from the images was being stored in a centralized database by a third party.

Cadillac Fairview stated that it was unaware that the database of biometric information existed, which compounded the risk of potential use by unauthorized parties or, in the case of a data breach, by malicious actors, said the release.

“Shoppers had no reason to expect their image was being collected by an inconspicuous camera, or that it would be used, with facial recognition technology, for analysis,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien.

“The lack of meaningful consent was particularly concerning given the sensitivity of biometric data, which is a unique and permanent characteristic of our body and a key to our identity.” 

Jill Clayton, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, said: “This investigation exposes how opaque certain personal information business practices have become.

“Not only must organizations be clear and up front when customers’ personal information is being collected, they must also have proper controls in place to know what their service providers are doing behind the scenes with that information.”

Michael McEvoy, Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, said: “Questions about when an organization is collecting personal information can be complex, but the conclusion we came to about cameras in mall directories was straight-forward, – pictures of individuals were taken and analyzed in a manner that required notice and consent.”

The company has now removed the cameras and has no plans to reinstall them.

In a statement, the company said: “While the focus of this report is of a technology that was disabled and removed more than two years ago, we want to reiterate that we take the concerns of our visitors seriously and are committed to protecting our visitors’ privacy. 

“As we continue to enhance the in-mall experience and better connect with our digitally engaged customers, we are, and will always be, deeply committed to privacy and responsible data usage.”

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

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Sask NDP leader Meili holds onto his riding

But now 1,065 mail-in ballots have been counted, giving Meili has a 209 vote lead with 3380 votes.

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REGINA – NDP Leader Ryan Meili got the update he and his party were hoping for.

After the ballots were counted Monday night, Meili trailed Saskatchewan Party candidate Ryland Hunter by 83 votes in the riding of Saskatoon Meewasin, with 1,656 ballots mail-in ballots left to go.

But now 1,065 mail-in ballots have been counted, giving Meili has a 209 vote lead with 3380 votes.

Since two-thirds of mail-in ballots counted went NDP, it seems unlikely the result will change as the final 509 votes are tallied.

The seat count sits at 49 for the Saskatchewan Party and 12 for the NDP.

The comeback was not entirely unexpected, since coronavirus fears run deeper in left-leaning voters. A poll by Angus Reid released September 10 showed that federally, only 26 per cent of NDP voters and 29 per cent of Liberal voters were “completely comfortable” voting in person compared to 66 per cent of Conservative voters.

Meili’s victory is a relief for the NDP, which will now avoid a three-peat of futility where leaders lost their seats to Saskatchewan Party candidates in general elections.

In 2011, Dwayne Lingenfelter lost the riding of Regina Douglas Park to the Saskatchewan Party’s Russ Marchuk, a former Regina public school board chair, 4,411 votes to 3,507. Lingenfelter had won the seat of Shaunavon in 1978 and 1982 and returned to the legislature in 1988 in a by-election of Regina Elphinstone, which he was re-elected to in 1991, 1995, and 1999 before leaving politics to become Vice President of Nexen. In 2009, he won the NDP leadership and a by-election in Regina Douglas Park.

In 2016, Cam Broten lost the riding of Saskatoon Westview to David Buckingham, 3,892 votes to 3,675, despite being elected there in two previous general elections.

On March 2, 2017, Meili won the riding of Saskatoon Meewasin in a by-election over Brent Penner, 2,666 votes to 1,962. On March 3, 2018, Meili defeated Regina MLA Trent Wotherspoon with 55 per cent of the vote to take the party leadership.

The NDP’s 16-year-reign ended in 2007 under Lorne Calvert as the Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall took 38 of 58 seats. The NDP took 9 of 58 seats in 2011 and 10 of 61 in 2016.

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan correspondent for the Western Standard

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