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    HAPPY NEW YEAR!  HAPPY THREE KINGS! As we are now in 2019, new year, new beginnings, new challenges and  new opportunities.  Everyone is entitled to make their new year’s resolution for as long as they keep it in mind and make sure that they do it to the best of their ability.  When I was young [...]

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Page added on July 28, 2018

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Alberta Premier’s Round Table Discussion

Alberta Premier’s Round Table Discussion thumbnail

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

The Honorable Rachel Notley, NDP, Premier of Alberta recently gathered members of Calgary media into a round table discussion on vital issues that affect the people of Alberta, namely racism and the expansion of the trans mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, B.C. In her opening statement, Premier Notley, thanked all attendees for their great support, cooperation and valuable contribution towards her administration’s “blue print” not only for the province of Alberta’s economic boom but to the Canadian economy as a whole.

Premier Notley mentioned that “we’ve been through difficult times with our economic fortunes” and more pipeline access is a primary issue at this time. Her primary concern is for the province to get the best of it’s energy industry and the main focus is providing good jobs to regular people, attracting more investments to Alberta and to capitalize on our natural resources in order to invest in schools and hospitals.

Premier Notley announced the great news that the construction of the trans mountain pipeline is moving ahead. Significantly, this is a result of a major deal made by the government of Alberta and the federal government. At the end of May, 2018, the federal government announced it will be buying the pipeline and, therefore, creating and establishing a major stake in the pipeline that “ they won’t be harassed out of the project.” The BC government is quite resistant to the trans mountain pipeline project but the Federal government has a different legal relationship with the province. The federal government’s goal is to maximize the return of investment on the pipeline and to build a strong national energy infrastructure which is crucial in bringing about the country’s economic development.

A question was raised why provinces in the east coast would prefer or rely more on energy sourcing from the Gulf of Mexico rather than from Alberta.  Premier Notley responded that we don’t have an East-west infrastructure. The Energy East Pipeline faced tremendous amount of opposition especially from the province of Quebec. One project like the Transmountain pipeline should be successfully accomplished first before an east-west infrastructure could be well-planned and implemented.

Additionally, Premier Notley reiterated that while the construction of the trans mountain pipeline commenced to accelerate, the notion of protecting the environment and making efforts to deal with climate change is also being worked out vigorously.

The second major component discussed is the new provincial plan to take action against racism. Alberta continues to become more diverse and so the provincial government is looking at ways to tackle intolerance. The creation of the new Anti-Racism Advisory Council was announced. It’s main role is to guide how the province will fight racism and it will engage Albertans. The Advisory is now accepting applications for positions on the 25 member council. One of the attendees recommended to Premier Notley that selection of the members of the council should be carefully vetted. He cited the significance of engaging the racism issue at the “grass roots” level especially from members of visible minority.

The creation of a Special Unit that tracks provincial incidences of hate crimes was also mentioned by the Premier. She stated that there had been an increase of complaints to police and the human rights commission. Racism is a growing problem. Every officer investigating on hate crimes should be knowledgeable on aspects of hate crimes based on the criminal code.

A question was asked what is the principal government’s plan to further implement the Anti-bully and Anti-discrimination acts. Premiere Notley’s response was to continue the overhaul of labor laws in the workplace to ensure that all workers are protected. The provincial government will modernize workplace laws. For the anti-bully act, the premier added that the big focus is on education. Lots of work has been done about bullying in schools. It will continue to educate kids on the many effects of bullying.

The one-hour round table discussion covered a lot. However, the issue about affordable child care was inadvertently missed.


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