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Carbon tax absent from Alberta UCP critique of federal budget

“We appreciate these unprecedented times and the partnership between federal and provincial governments over the past difficult year,” said Toews.

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Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews says it’s too early for Alberta to comment on Chrystia Freeland’s budget brought down for the federal Liberal government Monday afternoon. But while he does have some concerns, one of them doesn’t appear to be the Liberal carbon tax, which is scheduled to increase to $170/mt by 2030.

The UCP and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have been fierce opponents of federal carbon taxes – but it appears to have fallen off their radar since federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole tore up his promise to oppose carbon taxes and introduced his own last week.

In the long statement issued by Toews for the Alberta government, no mention was made of federal carbon taxes.

The Western Standard has made repeated inquiries to the offices of Premier Jason Kenney and Environment Minister Jason Nixon. Both have refused to comment on the O’Toole carbon tax for the last five days.

Kenney endorsed O’Toole for the federal Tory leadership last year, citing his opposition to the federal carbon tax.

O’Toole’s carbon tax of $50/mt will be paired with a kind of rewards-card points program that will allow carbon taxpayers to spend some of their carbon tax dollars on government-approved green purchased.

The plan was also released with at least $11 billion in new green spending promises.

“Like other provinces, Alberta has only just received the federal budget. We will review and closely analyze how this budget impacts Alberta over the coming days,” said Toews, in an evening statement Monday.

“We appreciate these unprecedented times and the partnership between federal and provincial governments over the past difficult year.

“Alberta has been a leader in developing carbon capture utilization and storage technology and we are encouraged to see more investments included in the budget. However, we have significant concerns about the details, specifically the exclusion of enhanced oil recovery projects with a net-zero carbon profile.”

Toews said the government was pleased to see Freeland reference to the University of Alberta’s artificial intelligence program and funding for broadband connectivity.

“However, several fundamental matters of fiscal and economic fairness remain unaddressed.

“The budget is light on increasing investment and productivity, increasing market access opportunities for Alberta, and growing the economy,” he said.

“In particular, we are gravely disappointed that the federal government once again missed an opportunity to fix the fiscal unfairness of the federation by acting on the unanimous request of provinces to retroactively lift the cap on the fiscal stabilization program.

“This means that Albertans who have paid more than their fair share – kicking in $600 billion more than they’ve received in return – continue to be penalized during an economic crisis and a global pandemic.

“In a budget that includes tens of billions of dollars in new spending for federal priorities, it’s regrettable there is no permanent increase in the Canada Health Transfer. Provinces have made a compelling case about the growing fiscal imbalance between the federal and provincial governments in funding health care and Alberta is disappointed this has fallen on deaf ears.”

Toews said the UCP is concerned to see an increase in payroll taxes.

“Since 2014, Albertans have made a net contribution of more than $115 billion to the federal government. This increase in payroll taxes represents even more future net transfers of Albertan’s tax dollars to other parts of the country,” he said.

“On child care, Alberta agrees that it is essential for our economic recovery and is vital in helping parents, especially women, enter or re-enter the workforce. However, the budget appears to lack the flexibility that parents need and provincial governments require. Any child care agreement between Alberta and Ottawa must respect the diverse needs of children and the fundamental principle of parental choice in child care options.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
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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BREAKING: Omicron found in Alberta

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

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The tentacles of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have reached Alberta.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said an Albertan returning home from Nigeria, via the Netherlands, has tested positive for Omicron.

Hinshaw said they tested positive a week ago and the person, who traveled alone, is now self-quarantining.

She said medical officials are trying to “delay” the spread of the variant until more research is done.

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

Hinshaw also urged people not to take out their frustrations against the family of the infected person nor the countries that are under an Omicron watch.

And she said people shouldn’t “think of this as a reset to Ground Zero.”

In her daily update, Hinshaw said in the last 24 hours, health officials have found 238 new cases of coronavirus. There are 434 people in the hospital with 81 in ICU. Another six people are reported to have succumbed to the virus.

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

Six confirmed cases of the variant of concern have now been confirmed in Canada so far.

Earlier in the day, Canada added Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to its Omicron travel ban.

On Friday, the government put restrictions on travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

“Obviously we’re watching very, very closely the situation with Omicron,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on his way into the cabinet meeting.

“There may be more we need to do and we’ll be looking at it very carefully.”

More to come…

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

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Unvaxxed grounded in Canada

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

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As of Tuesday, Canadian travellers over the age of 12 will no longer be able to fly or travel by train in Canada without proof of vaccination.

The policy was originally set to come into effect on October 30, however, the federal government announced it would grant a grace period to unvaccinated travellers allowing for a negative COVID-19 test to be provided within 72 hours of the trip.

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

The new travel restrictions for the unvaccinated come on the heels of the emergence of a new variant of concern (VOC) dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cases involving the new variant, originally detected in South Africa, have been found in other countries including five cases within Canada.

Although there is not much known about the new variant at this time, the WHO confirmed scientists around the world are working to determine how the highly-mutated variant will affect transmissibility and severity of illness in the population.

Canada, along with other nations, closed its boards and expanded its screening protocols to travellers arriving from affected areas in southern Africa.

The Canadian airline industry welcomed the vaccine mandates when they were announced in October. Air Canada and West Jet have both confirmed they will be asking all travellers to produce proof of vaccination before boarding their carriers as of Tuesday.

While health measures such as masking and screening will still be required, no measures for quarantining individual travellers have been put in place with the exception of those who have travelled through or arrived from southern Africa.

“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” the government indicated in a statement.

The Canadian government is also warning permanent residents abroad to expect to provide vaccine passports to return home.

The rules don’t apply to commuter trains.

The Government of Canada has created a “reliable way to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination history when travelling internationally and within Canada,” states the government’s website. The document is verified once uploaded to ArriveCAN upon returning to the country.

The website warns travellers are not guaranteed entry to another country with the documents and suggests checking the rules of your destination country and the countries you travel through.

“Today, Canada passed a sad milestone in its history,” said Matt Slatter, a pilot with a major Canadian airline and a founder of Free 2 Fly, a hub that has “Canadian aviation professionals standing with passengers in defence of freedom.”

“No longer can it hold itself as a beacon of freedom and liberal values.”

The Free 2 Fly website encourages passengers and airline workers who “feel strongly that the ability to travel should not be linked to vaccination status,” to sign up and join their movement.

“With the advent of mandates requiring all aviation and rail passengers to be vaccinated, Canada is now effectively a two-tier society,” said Slatter.

“On one tier, compliant citizens are afforded many of the rights they once enjoyed in a free society. While the other tier is essentially relegated to their own localities, with limited exception.

“History suggests this style of governance will only lead to more tragedy and heartbreak. The cure is inevitably worse than the disease. Will Canada learn from the mistakes of the past?”

Currently, there are just under 38,000 signed up on the Free 2 Fly site. One of the goals of the group is to “wage a legal campaign to block, and/or overturn, all vaccination mandates.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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CRTC trying to hang up on spoof calls

Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

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All those calls from the taxman and Canadian Border Services officials threatening to arrest you could soon be coming to an end thanks to new regulations from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“Many Canadians are now able to determine which calls can be trusted thanks to a new technology aimed at combating spoofed calls named STIR/SHAKEN. Caller ID spoofing is frequently used in nuisance and fraudulent calls to mask the identity of the caller,” said the CRTC in a release.

“As of today, telecommunications service providers will certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new technology will help reduce the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing. As service providers continue to upgrade their IP networks and offer compatible phones to their customers, more and more Canadians will be able to see the effects of STIR/SHAKEN.”

It’s believed up to 25% of all calls in Canada are scams.

The CRTC said Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

“This new caller ID technology will empower Canadians to determine which calls are legitimate and worth answering, and which need to be treated with caution. As more providers upgrade their networks, STIR/SHAKEN will undoubtedly reduce spoofing and help Canadians regain peace of mind when answering phone calls,” said Ian Scott, CRTC CEO.

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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