Alberta Minute: New Year, Coal Policy, and a Useless COVID App
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The winter break is continuing for K-12 schools after the provincial government made a last-minute decision to delay their return due to Omicron. School was originally set to resume today or tomorrow in most jurisdictions. Apparently the Province is still deciding whether to resume in-person or online learning when the break ends on January 10th. Here we go again…
The Legislature is also still on break, likely until February. Committees are also on break until January 11th when the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices will meet. They will discuss the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s annual report.
- Albertans’ auto insurance policies will now include “direct compensation for property damage.” For not-at-fault drivers, this makes their own insurance company responsible for repairs to their vehicle instead of the at-fault driver. The cost for most - it is alleged - will remain about the same. The government says this should speed up the repair process as well, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
Last Week In Alberta:
The Coal Policy Committee submitted its report to the Energy Minister on December 29th for her consideration. The Committee’s wrap-up just so happened to coincide with the announcement that TransAlta had finished its planned conversion of 3 coal power plants to natural gas in between Stony Plain and Wabamun. Meanwhile, Alberta’s power grid was struggling under the demand brought about by the extreme cold.
- It was revealed that, despite the COVID alert app costing the federal government $20 million, it was only used 869 times in November. Who could have possibly predicted this waste of money? Oh right, us - we did! Turns out that no one wants to voluntarily sign up for additional big brother tracking.
- Calgary-based airline, WestJet, cancelled about 15% of its flights through to January 31st due to Omicron-related staffing shortages and frigid weather in Western Canada. Similar stories have been common across the airline world as both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines also announced cancellations. WestJet’s interim chief executive called for an end to "inconsistent provincial isolation requirements that are restricting staffing abilities".
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