CSG Weekly Review – October 5, 2017

Posted by | November 3, 2017 | News

Session Schedule & Activities

  • Fall legislative session is scheduled to begin October 30.
  • United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership vote on will be held on October 28.
  • Alberta municipal elections will be held on Monday, October 16.

Government News and Announcements

TransCanada Cancels Energy East Project
TransCanada announced today they were cancelling their $15.7 billion application for the Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipeline. The pipeline was to take approximately 1.1 million barrels a day from Hardisty, Alberta to St. John, New Brunswick. On September 7, the company had suspended its application for 30 days following the National Energy Board’s announcement that its review would consider indirect
greenhouse gas emissions.

TransCanada will face $1 billion after-tax, non-cash charge as a result of the decision and expects no cost recoveries from third parties. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement that she was “deeply disappointed” while Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, a vocal opponent of the project celebrated the announcement on twitter.

Province Boosts Film and Television Industry
Hon. Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, announced the Screen-Based Production Grant, a new grant program to replace the Alberta Production Grant. The new grant program will make $45 million per year available to eligible production companies working in Alberta and will offer productions a cash grant of up to 30 percent of eligible production expenditures made in Alberta. Applications will be evaluated through a competitive process and the new program will begin accepting applications October 25.

The changes to the grant program were introduced as the old program, created in 1998, was primarily focused on small productions like made-for-TV movies and documentaries and did not reflect the changes in the industry and needs of both commercial and cultural productions.

Political News

UCP Leadership Candidate Jeff Callaway Drops Out of Race
Former Wildrose Party President and UCP Leadership Candidate Jeff Callaway dropped out of the race on Wednesday and endorsed former PC Leader Jason Kenney. Callaway’s campaign had paid $57,500 of the $95,000 required to run in the race and the final installment was due today. Callaway said the Red Deer leadership debate led him to drop out of the race and not finances. The race is now between three candidates Kenney, Brian Jean and Doug Schweitzer.

UCP Leadership Debates Held in Edmonton and Red Deer
The second of five UCP Leadership debates was held in Edmonton late last week. The four candidates found agreement on increasing the role of the private sector in health care to help reduce wait times in order to improve the public system. Education, labour and shutting of coal plants were also discussed.

The third debate was held in Red Deer this week. The most newsworthy item was agreement by all four candidates to repeal farm safety legislation which puts farms under occupational health and safety rules and gives paid farm laborers the right to worker’s compensation. The bill which was passed on December 2015 led to large protests from farmers who felt it would impact the farm tradition. Two more debates are scheduled for October 12 in Fort McMurray and October 17 in Lethbridge.

NDP MLA Leaves Caucus
Karen McPherson, MLA Calgary-McKay-Nose Hill announced yesterday on Facebook she was leaving the NDP caucus to sit as in independent. McPherson said “our world is becoming increasingly polarized with pressures of left and right politics. I don’t reflect either of these options”, and she needed freedom to advocate for her constituents without caucus constraints. She said she has not been approached to join any other party and has not ruled running for re-election in 2019, however did indicate she had been inspired by former UCP MLA Rick Fraser who had left that caucus in September.

Prior to her 2015 election, McPherson was a business analyst with two decades experience in IT, primarily in the Oil and Gas Industry.

Municipal News

Second Edmonton Mayoral Debate Held
The second of three Edmonton Mayoral debates saw current Mayor Don Iveson facing criticism by 9 of his challengers. Topics included bike lanes, lot-splitting, Edmonton project management and infrastructure delivery as well as racism. Several hundred voters attended the debate which lasted three-hours.

City of Calgary Named in Class-Action Lawsuit
A statement of claim was filed by the firm Higgerty Law on behalf of 3,700 City Employees in Calgary Court of Queen’s bench on Wednesday alleging private information including medical records and salaries of these employees was shared with another municipality. The claim is seeking an estimated $92.9 million in damages against the city.

The alleged breach happened on June 14 or 15, 2016 when a City of Calgary employee disclosed the personal information to another employee at a different municipality via unencrypted electronic transmission to both an employment and personal email address.

The City has not yet been served legal documents and has not commented.

10-05-17 Edition