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Maverick Party: Want Alaska to Alberta railway – vote out Trudeau

In Canada, major infrastructure projects, such as the building of an interprovincial pipeline, are subject to federal review.

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Maverick Party leader Jay Hill says the only way to get massive projects like the Alaska to Alberta railway built is to throw the Justin Trudeau government out of office.

“Hopefully we will see a repeal of Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, but the only way to do that is to throw the Liberals out of power,” said Hill.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive permit last month allowing a $22-billion international railway to be built between Alaska and Alberta. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has also thrown his support behind the proposal

But Trudeau cautioned that the plan must undergo a rigorous environmental assessment under Bill C-69, dubbed the “No More Pipelines Act” by its critics.

“Whether there is a potential for a project, before the proponent goes too far down the round and invests too much money in it, in something that is unlikely to pass,” said Trudeau.

In Canada, major infrastructure projects, such as the building of an interprovincial pipeline, a nuclear energy facility or large-scale mine are subject to federal review.

Known as the “tanker ban bill”, Bill C-48 Bill prohibits ships that hold over 12,500 metric tons of oil from waters off the north of B.C.’s coast.

Hill warned that polls in Eastern Canada still show strong support for the Liberals.

“If (Trudeau’s) not in office we won’t have to live with things like that (the two bills),” Hill told the Western Standard.

A2A Rail vice chair Mead Treadwell said the so-called ‘A2A Railway’ will succeed where others have failed, because markets are hungry for resources that Canada produces, but can’t export quickly enough to meet demand.

A2A proposed route

The company will start by constructing rail from North Pole, near Fairbanks, where the Alaska Railroad ends today. From there the railway will move south and east through Alaska, across into Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and into Alberta.

“The Alaska Railroad right now runs 512 miles from Seward to North Pole we’re going to take that track and extend it 1500 miles to connect up with rail lines in Alberta,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said the the system will transport bitumen, potash, sulfur and grains.

“We believe we have a project which is competitive with pipeline and one of the reasons why it’s competitive is because its risks can spread over several different commodities,” he said.

Treadwell says if all goes according to plan, work on the project would begin within three years and be completed in six. 

Company founder Sean McCoshen has already spent over $100 million USD through the pre-feasibility, feasibility, and detailed engineering phases of the project. 

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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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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