Alberta Minute: Wildfire Evacuees, Record Migration, and Lab Services Transferred
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
Alberta is hosting a large number of evacuees from the Northwest Territories as people flee the wildfires in the area. Evacuees have been sheltered all over Alberta, including Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, St. Albert, Red Deer, Edmonton, and Calgary. Albertans are no stranger to wildfires, and have generously offered to assist our neighbours to the north. Members of the Penhold Volunteer Fire Department have also agreed to head up north and help battle the blaze.
The federal government is mulling livestock tax deferrals following agricultural disasters in southern Alberta. More than a dozen agricultural disasters have been declared by Alberta counties, and Premier Danielle Smith has recognized the hardships being faced by farmers. She suggested that the province's crop insurance program would have sufficient funding to cover existing claims from those who had been adversely affected this year.
- Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault will head to China for a meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development - an organization of which he is Vice Chairperson. Premier Danielle Smith said she’s concerned about why Guilbeault wants to force Alberta into net-zero by 2035, but is okay with China taking much longer to meet the target. Guilbeault’s visit comes at a time when the federal opposition parties are ramping up calls for an inquiry into Chinese interference in Canada’s elections.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Health Minister Adriana LaGrange announced that the Province will be taking back control of lab services. DynaLIFE, once the provider for Alberta’s community lab services, will be transferring staff, equipment, and property back to Alberta Health Services. Albertans were unhappy with the wait times, and Premier Danielle Smith called the situation unacceptable. The transition back to the Province should be fully complete by December.
Canadians moved to Alberta at a record pace in the first quarter of 2023. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, 31,000 people arrived in the province from elsewhere in Canada - mostly BC and Ontario - an almost 45% increase over the same time last year. According to local realtors, many who moved to Alberta in the past were seeking investment properties, whereas now they are looking to put down roots here.
- Alberta’s electricity prices continued to surge, so much so that they affected the national inflation rate. While most provinces have seen modest increases in electricity prices this year, Alberta’s have increased by 127.8%. The year-over-year increase can be attributed, in part, to the phase-out of the Province’s temporary measures that kept costs low over the cold winter, but shutting down all our coal power plants didn't help either.
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