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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

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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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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