Alberta politics started October 31, 2018

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jerrym

MLA Pat Rehn, one of the MLAs caught travelling out of the country during Christmas, has been kicked out of the UCP caucus by Premier Kenney for not being available repeatedly for his constituents.

An Alberta MLA, chastised for travelling to Mexico over the holidays and publicly criticized for alleged absenteeism in his constituency, has been ousted from Premier Jason Kenney's UCP caucus. 

Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn has been removed from caucus and will be barred from running for the UCP ever again, Kenney announced on Facebook Thursday morning. "I have made the decision to remove Pat Rehn from the UCP caucus, effective immediately," Kenney wrote. "He will not be permitted to run for a future UCP nomination." 

Rehn will now sit as an independent MLA. 

"The most important job of an MLA is to represent his or her constituents," Kenney wrote. "It has become clear that Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn has failed to do so. He has made no meaningful effort to work in his constituency, or properly to represent his hard-working constituents.

"I have repeatedly asked Mr. Rehn to be more present in his constituency. He has ignored calls from me, UCP caucus leadership, and his constituents to do so."  ...

There have been widespread calls for Rehn's resignation. Rehn was one of six UCP MLAs who travelled outside of Canada over the holidays. As punishment, Kenney had previously stripped him of his legislative committee positions.

The travel scandal, however, released a wave of backlash against the rookie MLA. Handmade signs critical of Rehn popped up in High Prairie and Slave Lake. Earlier this month, Slave Lake town council called for Rehn to resign in a scathing public missive that accused him of missing or arriving ill-prepared for meetings and placing his personal business interests over constituency work.  High Prairie town council voted unanimously last week to send a letter to Rehn addressing his lack of presence in the region.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/pat-rehn-removal-kenney-1.5872875

kropotkin1951

You have to love watching dinosaurs bellowing at the wind. I think the people of Alberta are going to be trying to figure out how they will survive until at least 2023.

"Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called for “economic sanctions” on the United States during incoming US President Joe Biden’s first day in office.

...

Kenney bet $7.5 billion on Trump’s re-election: Critics charge Kenney started the project knowing full well it was likely to be cancelled, sinking $7.5 billion in taxpayers’ money into the project in March 2020, a month after Kenney publicly acknowledged US Democrats might cancel the project. Kenney steamed ahead with the project over the summer of 2020 even after then-Democratic nominee Biden had publicly pledged to cancel Keystone XL."

https://pressprogress.ca/jason-kenney-faces-criticism-mockery-after-call...

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Kenney is an idiot and I hope his voting base finally figures that out. But for all we know, they all believe that the Biden election victory is a fraud. I hope the Feds are smart enough to stay clear of appeasing Kenney. Let him have his hissy fit and figure out how to dig himself out of the shithole he buried himself in. Meanwhile, I hope his plan for coal mining also get stopped in its tracks.

jerrym

There are major questions about how much debt Kenney inflicted on Alberta by going ahead with Keystone XL despite Biden saying he would nix the pipeline months ago during the US election. That includes the pipes themselves.

Alberta Politics

A SEGMENT OF THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE UNDER CONSTRUCTION SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME (PHOTO: TC ENERGY CORP.).

Alberta Politics

HOW MUCH OF THE PIPE THAT WAS SUPPOSEDLY READY TO BUILD KEYSTONE XL IS FIT ONLY FOR SCRAP?

Indeed, some of the pipe was purchased a decade ago, long before Mr. Obama cancelled the project the first time, and has sat aboveground unused and deteriorating ever since.

Pipe left aboveground longer than its manufacturers recommend can become prone to failure when ultraviolet radiation from the sun makes protective coatings deteriorate, resulting in pitting and corrosion of the steel. For example, this was found by TC Energy engineers to have happened to sections of pipe exposed to sunlight for up to nine years near Little Rock, Arkansas. 

So Mr. Kenney almost certainly didn’t have it right when he said a week ago that if Joe Biden went ahead and killed the project as soon as he was sworn in – exactly what Mr. Biden did after his inauguration on Wednesday – “there would be assets that could be sold, such as enormous quantities of pipe, that would offset construction costs.”

Well, don’t count on that unused pipe fetching enough to make a meaningful dent on the $1.5-billion loss Mr. Kenney incurred when he made his bad bet that former president Donald Trump would win the U.S. presidential election last November and allow the project to go ahead. 

Indeed, it’s whispered in the oilpatch that much of the pipe used in news photo opportunities as part of Premier Kenney’s pressure campaign to demonstrate the project was ready to roll was too old and too far gone to be put in the ground. 

So it’s reasonable to think that if Mr. Kenney had gotten his wish and Mr. Trump had been re-elected, or if the former president’s attempted coup had somehow succeeded, the project would have cost considerably more and taken a lot longer to complete than estimated because new pipe would have had to have been manufactured, purchased and shipped to worksites.

https://albertapolitics.ca/2021/01/how-much-of-the-pipe-supposedly-that-...

 

jerrym

Kenney and the UCP blocked a NDP motion to release information on the cost of the now dead $7.5 billion Keystone XL pipeline investment to Albertans thereby leaving them in the dark about the issue and the waste of their money on a project that was predictably a money loser. 

Members of Premier Jason Kenney’s caucus have refused an Opposition NDP bid to make public details of Alberta’s $7.5-billion investment in the failed Keystone XL pipeline project.

The eight members of the governing United Conservative caucus rejected an NDP motion in public accounts committee today to ask Kenney for the details, along with any financial risk advice he was given when he made the investment last March. ...

At that time, the Keystone XL line was facing multiple court challenges and the emerging Democrat party candidate, now President Joe Biden, was on record against the cross-border pipeline. ...

Alberta has directly invested $1.5 billion with another $6 billion in loan guarantees, but the NDP says Albertans need to know the rationale Kenney used to make what it calls a risky decision and what the final bill will be now that the project is shelved.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7600240/alberta-ndp-ucp-keystone-xl-investmen...

jerrym

Communities, such as Hardisty Alberta which now has 660 hotel beds in a village of 550 people in anticipation of an economic Keystone bonanza, pay dearly for Kenney's misplaced bet on a sunset industry. When the mayor owns one of the hotels there are also questions of conflict of interest and poor decisions on community spending. 

While the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a devastating blow to Alberta’s economy, for those who live in the town of Hardisty, Alta., the decision hits especially close to home — literally.

The existing Keystone pipeline begins in Hardisty. The expansion was set to bring more work and dollars to the local economy, until it was kyboshed by U.S. President Joe Biden.

“It was really disappointing (but) not a total shock. We had sort of a hint if the Democrats got in that it would be cancelled,” said Hardisty Mayor Doug Irving.

Mayor Irving also owns one of the towns’ motels — the Solitaire Motel. He said while the town has about 540 people who live there, there are around 600 hotel beds available. The majority of those were used by industry. ...

“(Construction) is all we have,” he said. “We don’t have any tourism here really, into the motel.”

This isn’t the first time the project has been cancelled. President Barack Obama also rejected it in 2015. Then Donald Trump gave back the project permit, to builder TC Energy Corp., in 2019. ...

For the town of Hardisty however, it’s hard to not look at the direct impacts on that economy, which will be felt sooner and swifter.

“There’s a lot of great businesses and a lot of good people that have been here for a long time, that were looking forward to it,” said Vinche Lehne, owner of Hardisty’s Local Rentals. His company had just secured a purchase order for portable washrooms for the Keystone project.

“We were actually really counting on it,” he said.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7595491/hardisty-keystone-xl-cancellation-rea...

 

NorthReport

Can they recall the government in Alberta as Rachel can't return as Premier soon enough.

Meet the Albertans Ditching the Jason Kenney Government

Doctors, entrepreneurs and businesspeople are packing up. That’s bad news for the province’s future.

https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/01/22/Meet-Albertans-Ditching-Jason-Ken...

NorthReport
jerrym

Kenney is facing growing questions about his leadership and the possibility of a leadership review, mostly from members of the right wing of the UCP, over a range of issues and with the NDP leading them in four of the last five polls listed on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/31st_Alberta_general_election) and in with the NDP raising more money than the UCP in 2020 (https://globalnews.ca/news/7592484/alberta-ndp-ucp-fundraising-parties/).

Early in the new year, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stood at a podium taking questions about his jet-setting caucus members enjoying foreign travel during a pandemic. ...

January brought a fresh set of challenges for Alberta's UCP government, such as the public outcry over strict pandemic health measures and intense blowback over its coal mining policy. And while top Alberta government officials looked for ways to turn the page, some in the party were musing about whether it was time to turn the page on Kenney himself.

"We definitely talked about a leadership review," one constituency president from southern Alberta told CBC News. 

Other constituency associations were taking a hard look at the premier's track record and having the same conversation. 

CBC News spoke to nine UCP constituency association presidents and members of constituency association boards from across the province. CBC has agreed not to name some of them as they were not authorized to speak publicly about party matters.  ...

Most of those who spoke to CBC said their association boards had talked about whether it was time to look for a new leader. One riding association president said that about 80 per cent of their board expressed dissatisfaction with the party's leadership. Others said that while they'd heard rumblings of unhappiness with Kenney, their own boards had not talked about triggering a review. ...

Members of those constituency boards considering a review said the idea has faded into the background for now, for several reasons: the UCP has no obvious candidate to succeed Kenney, there's little time to get a new leader up to speed before the 2023 election, and internal party disputes could boost the NDP's chances of victory. "Do we change or fix what we have?" one constituency association president asked. ...

Constituency association presidents said party members will be watching the premier closely this year to see if he can change course. His approval rating has dropped significantly since the election and the party's poll numbers have dropped along with it. ...

The constituency presidents expressed concern about recent decisions such as the one to rescind the 1976 coal policy, which protected parts of the Rocky Mountains from mining. The UCP government swiftly reinstated the policy last month in the face of mounting criticism.

They also pointed to the confrontational nature of some of the province's interactions with doctors, confusing communication on public health restrictions and the COVID-19 situation in long-term care facilities. 

Other constituency association members in rural areas said that many members believe public health restrictions to control the pandemic have had a disproportionately heavy impact on their regions and have damaged businesses unnecessarily. ...

Under a new UCP resolution passed at the party's most recent general meeting, a leadership review could happen sometime in 2021 or 2022. But the party hasn't said when that rule will come into effect, or whether it will be applied to this election cycle.

Constituency associations can trigger a special meeting for a leadership vote; if Kenney failed to hit 50 per cent support in such a vote, the party would launch a leadership election. 

Right now, however, no constituency association appears to want to be the first to go public with the idea — in part because of the awkward timing of a leadership campaign in the middle of a public health crisis. All the UCP members CBC spoke to said they've decided to put the idea of a leadership review on hold for now, but many want to see significant changes from Kenney.

"He has a fight on his hands," said Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary. "How do you govern a province in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of escalating budget deficits ... [while] protecting your own flank and trying to protect your own job from within?"

Rural constituency associations saw the most intense discussions about a leadership review, while many urban associations discussed it but didn't give it serious consideration, the presidents said.

Bratt said Kenney and the UCP need to keep 90 per cent of rural ridings onside in order to secure another majority government.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kenney-leadership-review-ucp-albe...

jerrym

With Alberta suffering the highest per capita number of Covid cases and deaths thanks to Premier Kenney's failure to impose the significant public health measures to halt the spread, Kenney's solution is shut down the legislature. In other words, his solution in this crisis with much of his caucus in open revolt against him is, as NDP leader Rachel Notley said is to run and hide. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government is suspending the spring sitting of the legislature due to soaring, record-breaking caseloads of COVID-19.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Kenney was abandoning his post, deserting Albertans and allowing others to work at personal risk on the front lines while leaving unfinished critical legislative work, such as paid sick leave.

“He’s a coward,” Notley told reporters Sunday, just hours after Kenney’s government announced the suspension in a statement. “This premier has locked the people out of their own legislature at a time when they are likely looking more than ever to that very building, and the people running the government inside of it, for leadership.” ...

Notley stressed her caucus was told of the decision but did not agree with it. She said the suspension has nothing to do with public safety but with Kenney avoiding accountability on the COVID crisis while contending with a fractured caucus that has seen almost half of his United Conservative backbench publicly criticize his public health rules as an unnecessary infringement of personal freedoms. Notley said Albertans shouldn’t have to care about Kenney’s internal political squabbles. She also said shutting down the legislature so politicians can stay safe sends a cruel message to those who can’t stay home, including restaurant patio servers, retail staff, and teachers and students in schools.

“He’s not thinking about any of those Albertans today. He’s thinking about himself and not having to come into work,” said Notley. “He’s running away from responsibility and frankly running away from his caucus.” ...

The decision comes as Alberta’s hospital system braces for a storm surge of patients over the next few weeks, given daily COVID-19 case counts have topped the 1,000 mark for almost a month. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Alberta has logged more than 2,000 infections a day. The decision comes as Alberta’s hospital system braces for a storm surge of patients over the next few weeks, given daily COVID-19 case counts have topped the 1,000 mark for almost a month. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Alberta has logged more than 2,000 infections a day. ...

On Friday, Alberta’s physicians were briefed on a triage protocol should the COVID situation ever reach that sobering point.

The 50-page document stresses the plan would be to focus resources on patients with “the greatest likelihood of overall survival” while considering the amount of resources needed for that survival and how long those resources would be needed.

It will be a group call, given the heavy moral burden such life and death decisions would have on individual physicians. Family members of the patient would have no say.

For the last 14 months, Kenney has toggled health restrictions on public gatherings and businesses, trying to save lives and keep people’s livelihoods intact. He was criticized for waiting too long to bring in new rules during the second wave at Christmas and is now facing similar critiques during the third. Kenney dismissed bringing in new restrictions on Monday, saying people likely wouldn’t follow them anyway, but by Thursday introduced new rules on so-called COVID-19 hot spots. He said the measures were critical to bending the curve. Kenney dismissed criticism he was pursuing inconsistent, confusing policy, instead characterizing it as a nimble, flexible response.

https://nationalpost.com/news/alberta-suspends-legislature-for-two-weeks...

Aristotleded24

As Luff's expulsion from the NDP Caucus demonstrated at the time, the Alberta NDP is a top-down organization where bullying and silencing is rampant. That has become very clear given the NDP's response to the covid crisis. Rather than simply calling out Kenney's cuts and advocating for stronger public services, Notley has gone full-blown authoritarian and called for even stricter lockdowns that have been shown to not work at all. It's quite clear that the NDP won't be happy until they can lock every Albertan in their residences and tell them not to come out until the NDPsays it  is safe. Remember, Notley is the same Premier who capitulated to the oil companies on the royalty issue, and with her stance on pipleines, managed to alienate not only progressives but failed to win over anyone for whom pipelines were the main issue. So it's not at all surprising that she would compensate for that lack of vision and principle by trying to capitalize on the covid crisis and wanting to be in total control. It does not say much for her confidence in any public policy programme, if the Alberta NDP even has a coherent one to present. Heaven help us if this group ever achieves political power.

NorthReport

The sooner Notley is returned as Premier the better off Albertans will be.

https://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/ucp-has-taken-red-deer-for-granted-...

Aristotleded24

Justice Minister Kaycee Madu nails it:

Quote:

Kaycee Madu made the remarks last week, a few days after the UCP government introduced more restrictions to contain a surge of COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

In the comment section of another user's Facebook page, Madu wrote that the government needed to act or run the risk of leaving Albertans "in field and makeshift hospitals, gasping for breath because we have [run] out of ventilators, manpower etc."

"My point is that I don't think it will be responsible to simply wait until we have a disaster on our hands," wrote the member of the legislature for Edmonton-South West.  

"That's what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want. We simply couldn't allow that to happen."

...

But a spokesperson for Madu defended the justice minister's comments. 

"The minister was referring to the increasing tendency of different groups, including the NDP, to exploit the pandemic for their own political purposes," press secretary Blaise Boehmer said in an email. 

"We see this every day with the NDP's overcooked and incendiary rhetoric, both in the legislative assembly and on social media. The minister won't apologize for stating the obvious."

Nor should he apologize. It's quite clear that the media pumped this up to sell disaster to boost ratings, and that politicians of all stripes have used this as a political football, rather than accepting that the spread of the virus cannot be controlled, and that the best that can be done is to mitigate the harm while it runs its course.

kropotkin1951

Keeney O'Toole.2 wrote:

Nor should he apologize. It's quite clear that the media pumped this up to sell disaster to boost ratings, and that politicians of all stripes have used this as a political football, rather than accepting that the spread of the virus cannot be controlled, and that the best that can be done is to mitigate the harm while it runs its course.

To everyone out there I hope its course does not run over anyone you know or care about.

Aristotleded24

So here is the covid rescue plan that I would put in place for Alberta:

Kenney needs to go ASAP. He has nobody in his corner. Many people in his support base are unhappy with the restrictions, and he cannot put in enough restrictions to satisfy the NDP. He needs to be replaced by one of the MLAs who have questioned the lockdowns. It may cost the UCP the next election, but at least the new Premier will be in touch with the public opinion of the nearly 50% of Albertans who think the lockdowns go too far.

The new Premier should have an expert round-table as Florida Governor DeSantis did last Fall. Sit back and let the experts talk. Invite all the media, the opposition, and the general public to ask questions of these experts. They are all well-respected in their fields. They will be able to help design plans and protocols that protect vulnerable Albertans, and they will work. DeSantis listened to these experts, dropped the lockdowns and mask mandates almost immediatley after this round table, and things began to improve.

Once the protection plan is in place, the new Premier needs to draft a plan to open up and stay open. As part of this plan, Hinshaw needs to be fired, and her replacement should be told in no uncertain terms that any future lockdown or business restriction is permanently off the table. The UCP can't go any lower in the polls than they are. Of course there will be howls of anger and cries of impending disaster. But once things stay open and people see that things are fine, the panic pushers will lose credibility. The same thing happened after the Super Bowl in Florida last year.

NorthReport

Looney tunes personified. Space us the bullshit of your idiotic comments

kropotkin1951

Keeney O'Toole dissing Keeney O'Toole.2 I love what babble has become.

jerrym

Kenney and the UnitedConservativeParty don't seem so united any more with some MLAs calling for Kenney to resign as the UCP "boils over". 

Simmering internal discontent within Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership.

Senior backbench member Todd Loewen, in a letter posted on Facebook early Thursday, called on Kenney to resign, saying he no longer has confidence in his leadership.

Loewen accuses Kenney and his government of weak dealings with Ottawa, ignoring caucus members, delivering contradictory messages, and botching critical issues such as negotiations with doctors and controversy over coal mining on the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

"Many Albertans, including myself, no longer have confidence in your leadership," Loewen wrote. "I thank you for your service, but I am asking that you resign so that we can begin to put the province back together again."

Loewen is the MLA for Central Peace-Notley, a sprawling rural riding in northern Alberta.

He was among 18 UCP backbenchers to break with Kenney's government last month over health-care restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. They say the rules are needlessly restrictive and infringe on personal freedoms. ...

Loewen also said he is resigning as UCP caucus chair but said he has no intention of leaving the party. "The caucus dysfunction we are presently experiencing is a direct result of your leadership," he wrote. "Albertans perceive our government as out of touch and arrogant, and they expect our caucus to bring their issues of concern to the government," Loewen wrote. "When the premier chooses not [to] listen to caucus, is it any wonder why the people choose to stop listening to the government?" ...

Loewen said Kenney's track record is problematic. The government's response "to a hostile federal government has been perceived as weak and ineffective," he said. "Negotiations with physicians were not handled well. The government's actions on the eastern slopes did not align with the expectations and values of Albertans."  For more than a year, Kenney's government was embroiled in a dispute with physicians after unilaterally tearing up the master agreement on pay and work rules. There is no new deal in place. Following a public outcry, the government backtracked this year after quietly revoking a 44-year-old policy that had protected the eastern slopes and summits of the Rockies from coal mines.

Loewen said he and his constituents still believe in the UCP. "We did not unite around blind loyalty to one man. And while you promoted unity, it is clear that unity is falling apart."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alta-kenney-caucus-todd-loewen-1...

 

jerrym

UCP MLA and former caucus chair Todd Loewen's chair brutal attack on Kenney's leadership yesterday has led to his and another MLA being booted out of the not-so-united United Conservative Party. This is addition to MLA Pat Rehn who was booted after his own "constituents complained he wasn't doing any work or listening to their concerns".

The party caucus met Thursday evening to discuss a letter in which former UCP caucus chair Todd Loewen announced his resignation as chair, and stated Premier Jason Kenney was causing “dysfunction” within the party. ...

The party voted to remove both Loewen and southern MLA Drew Barnes from the government caucus. ...

“There is simply no room in our caucus for those who continually seek to divide our party and undermine government leadership, especially at this critical juncture for our province,” [party whip] Mike Ellis added. ....

Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat, signed a letter, along with more than a dozen other UCP MLAs in April criticizing the government’s public health restrictions. ...

Both Loewen and Barnes said they will sit in the house as Independents. 

"I was delivering a message on behalf of a lot of our supporters, a lot of Albertans, a lot of UCP members and a lot of conservatives across this province," Loewen, representing the northern rural riding of Central Peace-Notley, said in an interview.  "And instead of taking ownership of the problems, the premier shot the messenger." 

Barnes added the party -- a 2017 merger of Alberta's previous conservative parties, the Wildrose and PCs -- “was meant to be a team” tolerating debate and supposed to be “the party of grassroots conservatives. Instead of MLAs representing the views of their constituents to caucus, MLAs are expected to represent the views of the premier to the constituents. I could never abide by this – this is not why I entered politics – and this is not how a grassroots party is meant to work.”  ...

Loewen and Barnes are the second and third members expelled from the UCP caucus in 2021, after constituents complained backbencher Pat Rehn wasn't doing any work or listening to their concerns. 

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/ucp-removes-loewen-barnes-from-caucus-after-...

NorthReport
jerrym

In case you didn't know Premier Kenney is “the leader God raised up.”

UCP MLA Ron Orr, who previously signed the anti-COVID restriction letter, said after the UCP caucus mini-revolt and the booting out of UCP MLAs Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen: “the premier has been more than fair and transparent with caucus. I also believe he is the leader God raised up for these times even though I don’t like these times any more than you do.”

Gosh, are we back, here in Alberta, in the 1600s during Louis XIV’s reign when he declared l’état, c’est moi, meaning “I am the state?” ...

I note that the UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, Ron Orr, refers to Jason Kenney as “the leader God raised up.” If so, God is far more punishing than previously believed to be. ...

Mind you, this is the same MLA who said, in 2017, that the legalization of marijuana could lead to a communist revolution. I look forward to Mr. Orr’s future pearls of wisdom.

https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/letters/tuesdays-letters-no-divine-r...

jerrym

No truer words have ever come out of Jason Kenney's mouth than "We have to set a higher example" when caught breaking his own orders regarding public health during the Covid crisis. These words could apply to an awful lot of what he has done. Of course, he lied about it until that didn't work anymore.

Amid growing pressure from his caucus and cabinet, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney apologized Monday for hosting an outdoor dinner with ministers last week that violated the province’s COVID-19 public health orders.

After initially insisting that the dinner, on the patio of government offices known as the Sky Palace, was “fully rule compliant,” Kenney acknowledged at a press conference that guests were not always the required two metres apart.

The premier told reporters he believed at the time that having the dinner outside was “prudent” and complied with the rules.

“I was of the clear view that we were complying with the open-for-summer rules but it is clear that some of us were not distanced the whole night and I have to take responsibility for that,” he said. “We have to set a higher example, a higher threshold of conduct. So I want sincerely to apologize to my colleagues and to Albertans for letting you down for not being more careful to scrupulously follow every aspect of the public health guidelines that we expect of everyone.” ...

The issue came to light last week after photos of the dinner, which was attended by Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon, Finance Minister Travis Toews and two unidentified senior staff, clearly showed that some of the attendees were not appropriately distanced. The photos were taken from a distance without the knowledge of the dinner attendees and sent anonymously to multiple media outlets.

https://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/we-have-to-set-a-higher-exampl...

 

jerrym

In another political ploy that has no real meaning beyond stirring up the political pot among Conservatives, Kenney's proposed referendum on removing  equilization payments from the constitution, has no chance of changing anything. 

Legal and economic experts say there's virtually no chance Alberta's planned referendum on equalization will result in changes to Canada's Constitution.

Instead, they say Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party government is using equalization as a pinata for broader economic grievances with the federal government.

"It is about mobilizing an angry political base motivated by an idea that the government of Alberta thinks is in its interest, which is that Ottawa has been unfair to Albertans, and that there is somebody to blame for economic downturn, and there is someone to blame for the movement away from the carbon-based energy industry," said Eric Adams, a constitutional law expert and University of Alberta professor.

On Monday, Premier Jason Kenney said he will put a proposed referendum question on equalization before the Alberta legislature, while aiming to run the referendum in concert with October municipal elections.

If Kenney's motion gets the OK from a majority of MLAs, Albertans will be asked on Oct. 18: Should the section of the Constitution that commits the Government of Canada to the principle of making equalization payments be removed?

A referendum was a UCP election promise in 2019 and a recommendation of the Fair Deal Panel, which studied how Alberta could exert more independence. ...

"For millions of Albertans, equalization has become the most powerful symbol of the unfairness for Alberta's deal in confederation and for good reason," Kenney said during a news conference Monday. 

The result of the yes-or-no vote would have no immediate bearing on the program since scrapping equalization would require a constitutional amendment. ...

The federal transfer program, which is funded by federal taxes, the GST and import tariffs, sends unconditional payments to lower-income provinces to enable them to provide comparable public services across Canada. ...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/kenney-update-equalization-refer...

jerrym

The Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead after the company behind the controversial pipeline, TC Energy, and the Kenney Conservative Alberta government officially abandoned the project today that would have stretched between Canada and the United States. Kenney's reckless folly in providing money to try to complete the project in the face of Biden's threats to shut it down, will cost Albertan taxpayers at least $1.3 billion.

However, it is also another sign of the futility of Canada proceeding down the fossil fuel trail believing there will be a pot of gold at the end when what it would have produced is an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that threaten the entire world and a mountain of debt as the world increasingly turns away from oil, gas and coal. 

Jason-Kenney-Tyee-Apr21-2020.jpg
Like Jason Kenney, Albertans have been stripped naked of their money by investing in the Keystone XL pipeline

The final cost to Albertans for the Keystone XL pipeline will be about $1.3 billion as the provincial government and TC Energy announced the official termination of the project Wednesday.  "We invested in Keystone XL because of the long-term economic benefits it would have provided Albertans and Canadians," said Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a news release. 

The Alberta government agreed last year to invest about $1.5 billion as equity in the project, plus billions more in loan guarantees in order to get the pipeline moving.  As a result, the Canadian leg of the project had been under construction for several months with around 1,000 workers in southeast Alberta.

If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska. It would then connect with the original Keystone that runs to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. ...

That investment vaporized when the Biden administration in the U.S. cancelled the permit for the project on its first day in office.  TC Energy and the province said they would look at their options in the wake of the cancellation, but TC Energy said the pipeline extension was officially dead as of Wednesday. The company said in a news release that it will continue to co-ordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project. 

Previously, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the government would work with TC Energy to "to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project."

On Wednesday, Kenney said Alberta would continue to work with its U.S. partners to ensure that the province is equipped to meet U.S. energy demands. "We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline's border crossing," he said in a statement.

Keystone's demise follows cancellations of Northern Gateway and Enbridge Inc.'s Energy Eastand a delay in Trans Mountain, which the Canadian government bought in 2019 for $4.5 billion from Kinder Morgan.

In a release, Alberta's Opposition NDP called for the premier to release the full contents of the pipeline deal. "Today's loss is another example of how Jason Kenney has failed our energy sector. From his embarrassing war room to his overdue and over-budget inquiry, he's failed to create jobs," said Calgary-Mountain View MLA and NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley in the release. "Now, his mismanagement and complete incompetence on this file has cost the people of Alberta north of $1 billion."

Environmentalists who had fought the project since it was first announced in 2008 described its cancellation as a "landmark moment" in the effort to curb the use of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. "Good riddance to Keystone XL," said Jared Margolis with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental groups that sued to stop it. While some Indigenous groups opposed the pipeline, one participated in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/keystone-xl-termination-1.6059683

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The Alberta NDP is calling for an investigation into why the Kenney Alberta government poured $1.3 billion into the risky Keystone pipeline when they knew Biden promised to cancel it. 

Even more important is the statement  of the CEO of a Calgary-based energy-consulting firm, Duane Reid-Carlson, , recognizing the enormous problems the Alberta tarsands faces in finding customers: "What worries me more," the EDC Associated Ltd. CEO said, "is the ability for the oil and gas industries in Alberta to continue to expand with these kinds of headwinds. (It) really kind of spells doom and gloom for the economic prosperity and growth of Alberta," he added. "We can't get our products to market. You can't fight the U.S. government." 

Continuing to bet on fossil fuels not only makes on environmental sense, it makes no economic sense. 

Dutch boy Jason Kenney deals with global oil glut. (Cartoon by Malcolm Mayes)

Dutch boy Jason Kenney deals with global oil glut

Alberta's official opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling for an independent review of the Jason Kenney government's failed Keystone XL deal.

The Alberta NDP leader declared her intentions during a news conference on Thursday afternoon. "Jason Kenney's incompetence has cost Alberta taxpayers $1.3 billion, at least," said Notley. "He made an incredibly reckless gamble with Albertans money and he lost it."  

Notley's remarks come a day after Alberta's UCP government and energy infrastructure builder TC Energy officially terminated the Keystone XL pipeline deal. ... In March of last year, Alberta committed $7.5 billion to Keystone XL, a $1.5 billion investment and $6 billion in backstop loans.

On Thursday, Notley blamed Kenney's desire for a "photo op" for motivating the Alberta premier to make the deal. "Now that the government has reached an exit agreement with TC Energy, the time has come for an independent investigation of this disaster," she said. ...

In a written response to CTV News Edmonton, TC Energy said its "first priority is to make sure we wind down construction activities safely and with care for the environment.  "We will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and rights-holders as we progress cleanup and reclamation work to safely exit the Project." The company added that over the coming months it will evaluate long-term plans and "identify opportunities to recover capital. We have not made any decisions regarding options for investment recovery," the statement read in part. TC Energy had built 150 kilometres of the pipeline in Alberta, before the cancellation.

The CEO of a Calgary-based energy-consulting firm, Duane Reid-Carlson, told CTV News Edmonton the official Keystone XL pipeline cancellation is not just a blow to that project alone. "What worries me more," the EDC Associated Ltd. CEO said, "is the ability for the oil and gas industries in Alberta to continue to expand with these kinds of headwinds." "(It) really kind of spells doom and gloom for the economic prosperity and growth of Alberta," he added. "We can't get our products to market. You can't fight the U.S. government."  ...

According to Mount Royal University political science professor Keith Brownsey, the recently renegotiated trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. no longer allows for any legal recourse for Canada over its southern neighbours. "It was removed in those recent negotiations from our free trade arrangement," Brownsey told CTV News Edmonton of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. "We can't really sue."

Brownsey said that by making the Keystone XL deal, the UCP government put themselves in a "very difficult position. I like to joke that my local financial advisor down at the strip mall would have chased me away from the Keystone XL investment," he said. "Yet the province decides to invest $1.3 billion in a project that they understood was under very strict scrutiny and could be cancelled almost at any time. There were no surprises here," Brownsey added, "except apparently for the UCP."

Brownsey believes the public money lost in the Keystone XL pipeline that never was will lead to public sector layoffs that could help pave the way for an Alberta NDP win in the 2023 provincial election.

"All the New Democrats are going to have to do in the 2023 campaign is remind voters," he said. "The beginning of January, 2023 the NDP can come along and say, 'They can't govern,' and it will all fall into place." 

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/alberta-ndp-calling-for-independent-investig...

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