Alberta Minute: Hydrogen Projects, Unfair Funding, and No Commonwealth Games
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
Alberta Health Services is adding more appointments for medical tests to reduce wait times. About 7,500 weekly appointments will be added in Calgary through a combination of staff recruitment and expanding lab services to six days a week.
The Province will continue with a Recovery Oriented Model of Care to help those battling addiction issues. Premier Danielle Smith issued a mandate letter to her Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, Dan Williams, directing him to act as quickly as possible. Highlights of the letter include expanding resiliency education in schools, developing compassionate intervention legislation, setting up at least 11 new recovery communities, and developing at least five new mental wellness centres.
- Alberta is suspending approvals for large renewable energy projects, citing environmental and rural concerns. There will be a six-month moratorium on wind and solar power projects greater than one megawatt while the Alberta Utilities Commission undertakes a review of the role of municipal governments in land selection for project development.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The Province took our advice and quashed Alberta’s potential bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, “It’s not a good deal for Alberta”, said Tourism Minister Joseph Schow, noting the risk to taxpayers was too great. The cost of the Commonwealth Games was estimated to be in excess of $2.6 billion - and we all know that the costs are always understated, while the benefits are always overstated. We formed the No Alberta 2030 Group with our friends at Common Sense Calgary and Common Sense Edmonton back when this bid was first being explored, and we're thrilled to see a win for fiscal responsibility! Thanks to everyone who signed our No Taxpayer Funding For Commonwealth Games petition.
Alberta's Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services, Jason Nixon, along with Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, wrote a joint letter to Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser expressing concern over inequitable treatment of the province with regard to housing funding. Only six of 39 Alberta projects were approved during the previous round of Rapid Housing Initiative funding, which represents just 2.5% of available funding, despite Alberta’s 12% share of the population. We’d love for Ottawa to get out of housing altogether, seeing as how it’s a provincial responsibility, but if they’re going to meddle, they really should distribute the funds fairly. Our friends at the Free Alberta Strategy recently wrote a good piece about this issue!
- The Province announced $45 million in funding for projects that will advance Alberta’s hydrogen fuel technologies. Two competitions will accept proposals from researchers, companies, or industry associations - one competition stream is for a proposal in its early stages and the second is for another that is closer to completion. The applicants will propose better ways to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen. Alberta is already Canada’s largest producer of hydrogen, but demand is expected to balloon in the future.
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