Premier focuses on Alberta’s competitiveness at national forum

Premier Ed Stelmach highlighted Alberta’s competitiveness as manufacturers and oil sands suppliers from across Canada and around the world met to discuss the latest technology and supply opportunities in the oil sands.

Premier Ed Stelmach highlighted Alberta’s competitiveness as manufacturers and oil sands suppliers from across Canada and around the world met to discuss the latest technology and supply opportunities in the oil sands.

More than 400 national and international delegates gathered at the 10th National Buyer/Seller Forum in Edmonton. Discussions included how oil sands companies are succeeding and moving forward in this challenging economic climate, and how they can be part of high value supply contracts.

More than $13 billion was invested in the oil sands in 2009 with $15 billion forecast for 2010.

Under the theme The Maturing of the Oil Sands, Premier Stelmach spoke about the Competitiveness Act (Bill 1) as well as long-term sustainable energy development. Dr. David Emerson, Chair of the Premier’s Economic Council, provided an update on the work of the council, which is charged with identifying long-term strategies for a sustainable Alberta economy. Other forum presenters focused on supply chain strategies, CO2 management techniques, and oil sands buyers’ procurement policies and processes.

The National Buyer/Seller Forum, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is Canada’s premier oil sands supply chain development conference. More information is available at www.nationalbuyersellerforum.ca.

Alberta increases support for clean energy production

To promote more clean energy production the Alberta government is expanding and extending an incentive program for producers of bioenergy products.

Funding under the Bioenergy Producer Credit Program is extended for five years until 2016. The program will help Alberta meet its climate change targets by reducing emissions while also providing value-added opportunities and long-term stability to Alberta’s agriculture and forestry industries. The program provides incentives to develop a wide variety of bioenergy products including fuels, power and heat, which will support the Renewable Fuels Standard to be implemented in April 2011.

The extended program focuses on the great potential for second generation ethanol, which uses feedstocks like forestry, agricultural and municipal waste. Specifically, the program will encourage development of new technologies and facilities that use non-food crops, waste biomass or wood.

The Renewable Fuels Standard establishes benchmarks for five per cent renewable alcohol in gasoline and two per cent renewable diesel in diesel fuel. As a result of this standard, production and consumption of renewable fuels in Alberta is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about one million tonnes annually. This is the equivalent of removing 200,000 cars from Alberta roads.

Supporting clean energy production is part of Alberta’s plan for a strong economic recovery. The Way Forward will bring Alberta back into a surplus position in three years by trimming government spending; using cash reserves to protect key programs; continuing to invest in public infrastructure; and ensuring that our province’s industries are competitive and continue to attract investment to provide jobs and prosperity.

Province adds 40 homes for the homeless in Lethbridge

Chronically homeless people in Lethbridge will soon be helped by a new long-term supportive living complex. The Alberta government is providing $5.6 million to Covenant Health to create 40 barrier-free studio rental units that include a range of support services targeted to homeless people with mental and physical health conditions.

Alberta marked the first anniversary of its 10-year plan to end homelessness on March 16. Since adopting the plan 12 months ago, the province has met or exceeded many of its first-year benchmark goals. Shelter use is down in all major cities; more than 900 homes for the homeless are in the works; and more than 1,300 formerly homeless people have been permanently housed and are receiving the supports needed to help them become independent.

Alberta’s 10-year plan adopts a Housing First approach, in which permanent, safe housing is provided along with the supports and services needed to address the underlying causes of homelessness. This model increases the likelihood that the individual will reach independence and is a practical and cost-effective way to coordinate and maximize resources.

During the past year, government committed $100 million through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to develop housing specifically for homeless individuals and families. A target of adding 700 units in communities across the province was exceeded due to reduced construction costs, with a total of 933 units being supported. An additional $32 million was provided to community-based agencies to help deliver services such as treatment for health and addiction issues, life-skills training, and employment assistance.

Budget 2010 provides for a second $100 million RFP to develop housing for the homeless and increased funding for supports and services to $42 million. For more information on A Plan for Alberta: Ending Homelessness in 10 Years, please visit www.housing.alberta.ca.

The Alberta government has a clear plan for a strong economic recovery. An important part of The Way Forward is maintaining support for programs and services Albertans need most, such as health care and education, in order to create safe and vibrant communities. For more information on the plan, visit www.alberta.ca.

As the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding technology and supply opportunities in the oil sands, the Bioenergy Producer Credit Program, the new Lethbridge long-term supportive living complex, Bill 9, the 2012 Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge, or any other matter, please contact one of my constituency offices at Stettler 403-742-4284; Hanna 403-854-4333; Drumheller 403-823-8181 or in Edmonton at 780-427-2137. Also, please subscribe to my e-newsletter at http://hayden.mypcmla.ca/

Bill 9 supports open and transparent rules for municipal elections

The Alberta government has proposed changes to legislation that will enhance the integrity and public confidence in local elections by clarifying the rules for voters and those who run election campaigns.

Bill 9, the Local Authorities Election Statutes Amendment Act, 2010, was introduced in the Alberta Legislature on March 22 by Jeff Johnson, MLA for Athabasca-Redwater.

Highlights of Bill 9:

• Clarifies residency rules in that a person may be a resident of only one place at a time for the purpose of voting;

• Clarifies that a volunteer’s services where the volunteer received no compensation either directly or indirectly, is not deemed a contribution for purposes of disclosure;

• Clarifies that a candidate whose campaign is self funded has a funding cap of $10,000 and is not required to open a bank account or file a disclosure statement unless he or she had a surplus from a previous election;

• Clarifies that for contributions from any person (other than the candidate), as well as any corporation, trade union or employee organization – a bank account is only required if the total amount of contribution(s) is greater than $5,000;

• Campaign contributions limits are set at $5,000 per year; and

• Amends the timelines for provisions requiring candidate surplus trust funds to be held by the municipality. It is proposed that these guidelines would come into effect Dec. 1, 2011. This amendment would allow time for affected parties to comply with the new rules.

Bill 9 proposes changes to the Local Authorities Election Act; the Local Authorities Election (Finance and Contribution Disclosure) Amendment Act, 2009 and the Municipal Government Act.

A copy of the legislation can be viewed at www.assembly.ab.ca.

Lethbridge to host the 2012 Alberta Summer Games

In 2012, Alberta’s best young athletes will gather in Lethbridge for the 2012 Alberta Summer Games.

Athletes ranging in age from 11 to 17 will compete in traditional summer sports such as basketball, swimming and beach volleyball. The number of participants is similar to an Olympic Winter Games, with more than 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials taking part in the event.

The Lethbridge community will benefit from an estimated economic impact of $3 million by hosting the games.

The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation operates the Alberta Games on behalf of the Alberta government and works closely with the host community to prepare for the event. The foundation will provide an operating grant of $300,000, a legacy grant of $50,000 and a cultural grant of $70,000 for the 2012 Alberta Winter Games.

The Alberta Summer Games take place every two years. The 2010 Alberta Summer Games takes place from July 19-25 in the Peace Region. For more information, visit www.albertagames.com.

As the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding technology and supply opportunities in the oil sands, the Bioenergy Producer Credit Program, the new Lethbridge long-term supportive living complex, Bill 9, the 2012 Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge, or any other matter, please contact one of my constituency offices at Stettler 403-742-4284; Hanna 403-854-4333; Drumheller 403-823-8181 or in Edmonton at 780-427-2137. Also, please subscribe to my e-newsletter at http://hayden.mypcmla.ca/