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Tory MPs slam Trudeau for veiled threat to Alaska to Alberta railway

“This is what (Trudeau) does, he hates to see projects going ahead in Alberta,” said Stephanie Kusie, Calgary Midnapore MP

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Conservative MPs are hitting back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments that Bill C-69 may be used to stop a proposed $22-billion railway in it’s tracks.

“This is what (Trudeau) does, he hates to see projects going ahead in Alberta,” Stephanie Kusie, Calgary Midnapore MP and shadow critic for transportation, told the Western Standard.

“It’s his old trick – anything that could benefit Alberta and he pulls out his old friend Bill C-69.

“I just wish he had been a bit more gracious and let us enjoy the thought of it a little longer.”

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.

The Tory critic for natural resources and Calgary Centre MP Greg McLean said the railway would be hugely beneficial to the North.

“Any infrastructure, but especially in the North, is good,” he said.

“It just makes economic sense but we know how the PM feels about getting Alberta resource products to markets.”

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 port capacity and sometimes the rail capacity at other places in Canada are just so choked that there’s a potential market for a new port and a new method to get to Asian markets,” Treadwell said in an interview in August with KUAC.

“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 and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

COVID lockdown remains as new virus variants found in Alberta ‘a serious threat’

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There is no sign of Alberta relaxing COVID-19 lockdown regulations as numerous cases of virus variants are showing up in the province.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the variants are “a serious threat.”

Shandro said 20 cases of a variant from Great Britain, along with five cases of a variant from South Africa, have been discovered in the province.

He said the variants are one of the reasons the province will not be easing lockdown regulations as they make sure the health care system is not overwhelmed.

Shandro said any easing of the restrictions will be based on the amount of “risk” involved.

When asked about numerous Alberta businesses opening despite lockdown regulations, Shandro said: “Our hearts go out to all business.”

Shandro also blasted the federal government as Alberta currently has no COVID-19 vaccines to hand out. Manufacturer Pfizer has said Canada will not receive any doses this week.

“We need more doses – now,” said Shandro, adding Alberta is currently ready to vaccinate 50,000 people a day when the shipments resume.

He noted Canada has only vaccinated two per cent of the population, while in the US, the figure is six per cent and the UK, ten per cent.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said regulations will be relaxed “as soon as it’s safe.”

She said in the last 24 hours, Alberta has found 362 new cases of the virus, along with 25 deaths. The positivity rate is 5 per cent.

It’s is the fewest number of new cases in a day since Oct. 23.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Alberta RCMP find man who was wearing KKK hood in Grimshaw

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw

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RCMP in Grimshaw say they have identified a man who was photographed at the town post office wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Now it’s in the hands of the Crown to determine whether charges are laid.

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw, located 25 km west of Peace River.

The photo was passed on to the RCMP who launched an investigation.

“Following several investigative steps, Peace Regional RCMP believe to have identified the individual involved in this incident. The Peace Regional RCMP’s investigation remains active and all information has been presented to the Office of the Crown Prosecution for review and opinion,” RCMP said in a statement Monday.

The day the photo appeared, Mayor Bob Regal posted on Facebook: “The Town of Grimshaw and its residents in no way finds this type of behaviour appropriate or acceptable along with the insinuations made that have been made by several commenters that Grimshaw is somehow a racist community! “

Media reports said the hooded man had been seen at the post office numerous times.

The KKK hate group has been around in one form or another since 1865. Membership peaked at 6 million in 1925. There are currently up to 8,000 members of the white supremacist group.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Former Shell head says Biden’s Keystone move ‘makes no sense’

John Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

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The former president of Shell Oil says President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project “makes no sense for the future good of the American people,” warning “we will pay a price for that.”

John Hofmeister made the comments on FOX Monday morning.

“Oil is not going away. Anyone that thinks it is, certainly doesn’t understand how the economy works and how science works and so it’s just going to be a struggle,” he said.

“We’re in for a number of years of struggle while we also work on the next set of alternatives.”

In addition to halting Keystone, Biden renewed the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord last Wednesday, the first day he was in power.

Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

“It creates a great deal of uncertainty, which is very difficult to manage in a business that requires billions of dollars and years of planning,” Hofmeister, who retired as head of Shell in 2008, told Fox.

“We’re not going to get rid of fossil fuels in a four-year term or an eight-year term of an administration. It’s just not going to happen. What will happen is that the price of oil will go up and the production of U.S. oil will go down.”

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the cancelled project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to operator TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

In a letter to Trudeau Friday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney claims when Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project on Wednesday, he broke several free trade regulations.

“At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the US Administration to compensate TC Energy, and the Alberta government, for billions of dollars of cost incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date,” Kenney’s letter said.

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s money.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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