Alberta Minute: Hydrogen Pipeline, Traffic Law, and Smith Fights Back
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The federal government intends to pursue a sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to Indigenous groups. The government also intends to provide support so that they "don't have to risk any of their own money to participate." Costs of the expansion, which involves a twinning of the current pipeline along its route from Strathcona County into B.C., have ballooned to $30.9 billion - more than double an earlier estimate of $12.6 billion. Can Ottawa stop risking taxpayer money on projects?
The Province will cover a portion of the cost of a newly approved ALS medication. The medication helps to slow the progression of the incurable disease, but the cost is out of reach for most people. The government will cover $18,500 a month for the medication, which can cost over $225,000 for a patient’s first year.
- Several Treaty 5 Nations are exploring building a pipeline to transport Alberta hydrogen to tidewater in Churchill, Manitoba. The plan calls for the creation of the Wáwátéwák Corridor, a Cree term translated to English as “northern lights”. The Corridor also includes other infrastructure projects, like a fibre-optic network and all-weather road, and all components of the Corridor are expected to be operational in 9-10 years. Perhaps the Treaty 5 Nations can teach the federal government a thing or two about how to get things done…
Last Week In Alberta:
- Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz fired back against Ottawa’s decision to withhold federal funding from provinces who do not meet its net-zero electricity targets by 2035. Schulz called it a “threat” from Ottawa and said the federal government is not negotiating in good faith. The Premier said the regulations “will not be implemented in our province - period.” Smith also stated that Ottawa’s ambitions would jeopardize Alberta’s power grid and cause electricity prices to rise. She’s right.
Alberta announced changes to its “move over” traffic law, due to take effect September 1st. The law is designed to get drivers to slow down when workers are stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing. Right now, only tow truck drivers and first responders are protected with these rules, but the Province made the decision to expand the law to all roadside workers. Initially, the law would have required drivers in all lanes of traffic travelling on the same side of the road as the workers to slow down to 60 km/h or the speed limit, whatever is lower. The amended rules only require vehicles in the closest lanes to slow down. Between 2014 and 2018, there were 2,229 injuries involving workers being struck by a vehicle.
- The town of Hanna removed highway signs at the entrances of the town that pay tribute to hometown band Nickelback. The signs proved popular with fans who stopped by them to take selfies, but the Mayor of Hanna, Danny Povaschuk, said they weren’t removed for safety concerns, as had been reported. Rather, they were in serious disrepair. Fans will still be able to take selfies with one of the signs when it is moved to its new home near the tourist information centre.
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