CSG Weekly Review – December 20, 2017

Posted by | January 16, 2018 | News

Session Schedule & Activities

  • Legislative session is adjourned until 2018. Currently scheduled to resume Tuesday February 13, 2018.
  • Alberta Party Leadership vote will be held on February 27, 2018.

Government News and Announcements

Petrochemicals Diversification Program (PDP) Supports New Facility in Edmonton
Hon. Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy announced early this week the Petrochemicals Diversification Program will provide $200 million in royalty tax credits to Calgary-based Inter Pipeline Ltd new propane dehydration facility in Edmonton. The $3.5 billion-dollar petrochemical facility which was announced the same day will be the first of its kind in Canada and is expected to generate 13,000 direct and indirect jobs and 180 full time positions once operation starts in 2021.

Construction will begin on the propane dehydration facility and polypropylene facility in spring 2018 in the Industrial Heartland, near Fort Saskatchewan, and process about 22,000 barrels per day of propane into propylene which will be processed to valueadded plastics products.

Carbon Tax to Increase In 2018
Alberta’s Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips has said the increase to Alberta’s carbon levy to $30 per tonne will occur on January 1, 2018 as planned. The carbon levy was introduced at a rate of $20 per tonne in 2017. However, to match with federal legislation passed the next increase to $40 per tonne will not occur till 2021,
followed by $50 per tonne in 2022.

Alberta is already compliant with the federal plan, which does not mandate a carbon price for 2018, rather requires provinces submit plans by the end of the year. The province also announced $150 million of federal funding for climate change projects, part of the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. The projects that will receive funding will be announced in the new year.

Alberta Trade Missions Attract New Business and Investment
Hon. Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade said Tuesday that the government’s international trade missions have resulted in over $500 million in actual trade and investment since April 2017. Between April 2017-November 2017 Economic Development and Trade led five missions and 49 business delegations made up of over 400 local companies on international missions in various countries including the United Kingdom, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

Draft Caribou Range Plan Released
The government of Alberta released its second draft plan for woodlands caribou as federally mandated by the Species at Risk Act (SARA) late this week. Alberta has 15 caribou herds whose habitat covers a quarter of the province. The newly released plan is the result of consultation with First Nations and Metis groups, stakeholder meetings, and online public survey over the last year and is updated from an earlier version released in 2015. The completed plan is expected in March, six months past the deadline set by the federal government in 2012. Alberta Environment has noted none of the provinces and territories fully met the October 5 deadline for submission to the federal government. Under SARA the federal government can file an environmental protection order and freeze all development known to harm woodland caribou including natural resource extraction. The province will host five public information sessions between February to March in Northern Alberta.

Political News

Kenney Wins Big In Calgary-Lougheed
Jason Kenney won a landslide victory in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election last Thursday handily beating six other candidates. Kenney won 71.5 per cent of the vote, while NDP candidate Dr. Phillip van der Merwe came in with 16 per cent of the vote and Alberta Liberal leader David Khan came in third with 9 per cent of the vote. The by-election victory marks Kenney’s fourth win in 18 months. On July 6, 2017 Kenney announced he would seek leadership of the PC Party and he won that race on March 18, 2017, then on July 22 the Wildrose and PC party’s voted to merge, finally on October 28 Kenney won leadership of the United Conservative Party.

Alberta Party Leadership Has Its First Candidate
Calgary lawyer Kara Levis announced in Edmonton on Monday that she will enter the Alberta Party leadership race. Levis has ran campaigns for the federal Liberal party and local Calgary elections but has not ran for office previously. She works with the Energy Law group at TransCanada, is a married mother of three and co-founded Ask Her, a non-profit based in Calgary that aims to get more women to run in local elections. Sustainability, health care, fiscal responsibility and government transparency are all issues of importance for Levis, who said the Alberta Party offers an alternative in the polarized Alberta political scene.

Last week, former Alberta Party leader Greg Clark announced he would not enter the leadership race. Clark said a conversation with his daughter convinced him that running for leadership was not in the best interest of his family. He will continue to serve as MLA for Calgary-Elbow. Additionally, 630 Ched host Ryan Jespersen also announced he would not enter the leadership race. Candidates have until January 15 to enter the race which ends on February 27, 2017.

Municipal News

The City of Calgary council added an additional $90 million into its Economic Development Investment Fund this Monday at the request from Calgary Economic Development. The aim of the fund is to diversity the economy, create jobs, help local companies expand and reduce the vacancy rate downtown. With the additional funds the total available capital is $100 million that could help create 3,600 new jobs and attract private sector funding.
Currently the downtown Calgary commercial vacancy rate is estimated at 27 per cent.

While Calgary Economic Development will review potential opportunities, potential investments will also be reviewed by a third party. The funds terms of reference and government model will be finalized in the new year.

Alberta Weekly Review – 12-20-17 Edition