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Trudeau hints he could use C-69 to kill the Alaska to Alberta railway

Trudeau caution the plan must undergo a rigorous environmental assessment under Bill C-69, known as the pipeline killer bill.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is musing that a planned Alaska to Alberta rail line may not even leave the station.

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 Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) have expressed concern over the bill, saying the Bill will drive away investment in Canada by making it extremely difficult to approve major projects like pipelines and rail lines in the future.

“The impacts of a flawed Bill C-69 go well beyond hurting Canada’s oil and natural gas industry. Every Canadian will be hurt by driving investment out of the country and preventing important nation-building projects from being developed,” said CAPP president and CEO Tim McMillan.

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.

“It is approximately 1,600 miles, with roughly 200 miles of new track in Alaska, and the remaining 1,400 miles in western and northern Canada. We estimate our investment to be $15 billion CAD in Canada and another $7 billion CAD in Alaska,” said the company’s website.

“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. 

“The proposed route for the A2A Rail project includes portions of traditional, treaty and heritage lands of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States. A2A Rail has initiated dialogue with Indigenous Peoples along the proposed route to brief them on the project,” said the company.

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

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O’Toole adds voice to petition to award former Canadian soldier prestigious honour

“(Jess Larochelle) is worthy of consideration for Victorian class,” said O’Toole.

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Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has thrown his support behind a veterans association’s attempts to garner the Victoria Cross (VC) for a Canadian who heroically fought in Afghanistan.

“(Jess Larochelle) is worthy of consideration for Victorian class,” said O’Toole, himself a former commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“I’m very proud of the men and women who serve in our Canadian Armed Forces and those (who) served in that mission with distinction and unparalleled courage,” he said Sept. 17.

The Afghanistan Veterans Association of Canada has petitioned the Governor-General of Canada to award the Victoria Cross to former Pvt. Larochelle, Nipissing, Ont. man who is in poor health.

“I was in the same company with Jess,” said Bruce Moncur of Thompson, Man., founder of the Veterans Association.

“The guy had a broken back and single-handedly fought off 40 Taliban.”

No Canadian has won the most prestigious award of the British honours system in 77 years, but Moncur said it’s time to change that.

“The clock is ticking. His family does not want this to be a posthumous award,” he said.

Larochelle in 2007 was awarded the Star of Military Valour for bravery in combat at Pashmul, Afghanistan.

A year earlier, Larochelle fought off Taliban gunmen at a machine gun post despite injuries from heavy fire that killed two members of his unit and wounded four others.

“Private Larochelle went above and beyond the call of duty, exhibited unwavering determination and fulfills the criteria of the Canadian Victoria Cross: bravery in the face of the enemy, turning the course of a battle, determination despite injury, and saving the lives of his section despite his own sacrifices,” said the petition.

O’Toole said it’s a sad circumstance for all who served overseas.

“The situation in Afghanistan that’s tumbling into crisis is hard for military families who left a piece themselves in that country,” he said.

Yet another reason why we should not have had an election; we should have made sure that anyone that’s at risk in Afghanistan … (as prime minister) I will never leave someone behind like Mr. Trudeau has.”

In 1993 Canada created its own VC and withdrew from the British VC., but Canada has yet to award a Canadian VC.

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O’Toole pleads with conservatives not to vote PPC

O’Toole said he feared a right-wing vote split could lead to four more years of Justin Trudeau.

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Erin O’Toole is making a last-minute appeal to conservative voters to stick with him.

At a campaign stop in London on Friday afternoon, O’Toole urged those on the right to not mark their X for the People’s Party of Canada, which has seen a surge in the polls lately.

O’Toole said he feared a right-wing vote split could lead to four more years of Justin Trudeau.

“There are actually millions of Canadians who are very frustrated with Mr. Trudeau. If they allow that frustration to do anything other than vote Conservative, they’re voting for Mr. Trudeau,” O’Toole said.

“There are five parties and there are two choices. More of the same with Mr. Trudeau or real change and ethical government with Canada’s Conservatives.”

While not mentioning the PPC by name, O’Toole said Trudeau would be happy with the vote split.

“If Justin Trudeau is rewarded for calling a $600 million election in the middle of a pandemic, everything you’ve come to dislike about Mr. Trudeau — the lectures, the division in this country, the hypocrisy, the rising prices — they will all only get worse,” he said.

“There is a lot a stake.”

When asked why he would use the name of the PPC, O’Toole responded: “I’m not going to advertise them.”

Polls continue to show good news for the People’s Party of Canada.

EKOS Politics daily tracking showed last week the party surging to a record 11.2% of decided and leaning voters, putting it within striking distance of the traditionally third-place NDP, which sits at 15.7%.

The Conservatives maintain a slight edge over the Liberals at 33.6% and 30.7% respectively.

Most polling firms have tracked the PPC rising from near obscurity at the beginning of the election campaign, to consistently higher numbers that could see the party make a real impact on the September 20 vote.

Broken down by region, the numbers are even more shocking.

In Alberta, the PPC has vaulted over the Liberals and NDP into a clear third place at 19%. While still well behind the Tories at 52%, the level of support could yield seats for the PPC if concentrated in specific constituencies.

The PPC’s second-best showing is in Quebec, where it sat in fourth place at 13%. In that province, the Liberals lead at 31%, followed by the Conservatives at 21%, and the BQ at 18%. The NDP ranked below with PPC in fifth place at 10%.

In Ontario, the PPC is breathing down the neck of the NDP for third place, just 2% behind them at 11%, however well back of the Liberals at 39% and the Tories at 33%.

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BC tells Alberta no can do, about ICU beds for COVID patients

“We will not be able to assist with taking patients at this time.” —B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

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It was a big fat “no” from B.C. legislators when asked to take hospital patients from Alberta.

The westernmost province told its eastern neighbour it cannot take ICU patients because of its own health-care demands.

“Given the current demands on B.C.’s health-care system, we will not be able to assist with taking patients at this time,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in a statement Thursday after a meeting of B.C. and Alberta health officials.

In the short statement, Dix also said: “We have told Alberta that if there are things we can do to support them, we will. And if we can take patients on in the future, we will.

Dix, noting “we are in a global pandemic,” and added: “We salute Alberta’s health-care workers, and all health-care workers who are working tirelessly to care for patients and protect people and communities in the face of great challenge.”

Alberta’s health system is teetering on collapse with 269 patients in an intensive-care system set up for 173.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney appealed for help from the other provinces, by taking some ICU patients or sending front-line health workers to Alberta.

Ontario offered to accept patient transfers if needed, said Dr. Verna Yiu, head of Alberta Health Services (AHS), and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey offered to aid in a tweet.

Newfoundland and Labrador also offered help to Alberta.

B.C. reported 706 new cases of COVID on Thursday, as well as four deaths linked to the illness, bringing the death toll to 1,877.

B.C. Health said there are currently 5,844 active infections across the province with 291 people in hospital, including 134 in intensive care.

In Alberta— which is facing a devastating fourth wave with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country—large numbers of non-urgent surgeries were cancelled because hospital staff are reassigned to COVID-19 care.

BC told Alberta that if there are things it can do to support the beleaguered province in the future, it will attempt to do so.

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