Minister Ceci to host budget talks with Albertans

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Two telephone town hall meetings on Feb. 6 and 7 will give people the opportunity to ask questions and provide their views on the provincial budget.

Albertans with a publicly listed land line will automatically receive a call. Residents who live north of Red Deer will receive a call on Feb. 6 and those who live in Red Deer and southern Alberta will receive a call on Feb. 7. Mobile users can sign up for a call or dial in shortly before the telephone town halls begin. People can also listen and participate online.

“Last year, we saw the recovery in Alberta’s economy grow with new jobs and a decreasing deficit. Our government continues to be on track to balance the budget as planned in 2023, without sacrificing our health care or education. I’m looking forward to hearing directly from Albertans about their fiscal priorities, as we work to diversify the economy and create good jobs.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance

How it works

  • The telephone town halls will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. reaching residents in:
    • northern Alberta (all communities north of Red Deer) on Wednesday, Feb. 6
    • southern Alberta (Red Deer and all communities south) on Thursday, Feb. 7
  • Publicly listed telephone numbers (not on the national or provincial Do Not Call list) will be dialed and invited to participate in the call.
  • Participants can choose to register online in advance.
  • Cellphone users and other interested participants may dial into the call toll-free at 1-877-229-8493, and enter the code 115500 at least 10 minutes before the start of the town hall, or they can register online to be called.
  • Albertans may also listen and submit questions online.
  • The 90-minute call will be moderated. A question-and-answer period will follow after opening remarks.
  • No personal information will be saved or used by the Government of Alberta.

Participants’ comments will help frame decisions for Budget 2019. Albertans can continue to provide their comments for the budget online until Feb. 10.

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Charging up in southern Alberta

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Minister Phillips and MLA Fitzpatrick join partners of the Peaks to Prairies network to announce the installations of EV charging stations in Lethbridge.

The Government of Alberta is providing $1.2 million in Climate Leadership Plan funding to the Community Energy Association to support the Peaks to Prairies Southern Alberta Electric Vehicle Network.

When completed, the Peaks to Prairies network will cover more than 1,700 kilometres of southern Alberta highways and transition the region to full electric vehicle connectivity. The charging stations will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from southern Alberta.

“Supporting new electric vehicle charging stations will help Alberta transition to a lower-carbon future. This grassroots initiative is proof that Albertans are leading the way in projects that diversify our economy, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office

The Peaks to Prairies network addresses a gap in charging infrastructure across southern Alberta by developing a base network for electric vehicle charging stations. The network will give electric vehicle users access to more cultural and recreational opportunities throughout southern Alberta. Placing charging stations in recreational and retail areas of small communities will help boost tourism and economic development, inspire further investment in the region and reduce emissions.

“Community Energy Association has a long history of supporting local governments to achieve climate and energy goals. The Peaks to Prairies EV network exemplifies regional collaboration to build and diversify local economies while contributing to climate action goals. This community-led approach is a template for other Alberta regions, as to how we can get further by working together. It is a privilege for us to work with this innovative group of communities, and to have the support from provincial and federal levels of government to bring the EV network to fruition.”

Megan Lohmann, head of community energy management and project manager, Peaks to Prairies Network

The Peaks to Prairies project was created by a group of southern Alberta municipalities and economic development groups, including SouthGrow Regional Initiative, Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance, City of Lethbridge, City of Calgary and Medicine Hat College. The partners came together in 2016 with an interest in developing a regional electric vehicle charging network to facilitate emissions reductions, economic development and tourism. 

“Peaks to Prairies reflects the commitment we have in southern Alberta to work collaboratively across the region to support development that is sustainable and forward-thinking. Through this project, we are not only shining a light on the advancement of renewable energy generated in our region, but we are ensuring that our communities can benefit from this emerging form of transportation.”

Brian (Barney) Reeves, chair, Alberta SouthWest 

The Peaks to Prairies charging network will use charging stations that are made in Canada by AddEnergie. Alberta-based ATCO Electric was chosen by the project partners to install, own and operate the network.

“Low-carbon transportation and affordable electric vehicles are becoming a reality. When ATCO made its first investment in the public fast-charging corridor along Highway 2 last year, it was a tremendous step forward. At ATCOenergy, we see it as part of our ongoing commitment to creating a clean energy future for the communities we serve. It’s just one of the energy-efficient, innovative and valuable solutions we’re exploring for homes and businesses across Alberta. We are very proud to be working with our partners in southern Alberta to establish a robust charging network in the province.”

Marshall Wilmot, president and CEO, ATCOenergy

Quick facts

  • The Peaks to Prairies network will connect at least 20 communities in southern Alberta.
  • Charging stations are expected to be installed in:
    • Lethbridge
    • Canmore
    • Morley
    • Calgary – Olympic Park
    • Calgary – Stoney Trail
    • Calgary – East
    • Calgary – Signal Hill
    • Nanton
    • Claresholm
    • Crowsnest Pass
    • Pincher Creek
    • Fort Macleod
    • Taber
    • Medicine Hat
    • Chain Lakes Reservoir
    • Carmangay
    • Waterton Lakes
    • Cardston
    • Warner
    • Longview
  • The network is expected to be completed by December 2019.

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Major Made-in-Alberta investment moves forward

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The final investment decision by Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation (CKPC), which includes Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp., will see construction of a petrochemical upgrading facility in Sturgeon County.

At the peak of construction, more than 3,000 workers will be on site, with the project expected to create over 200 full-time operations and head office jobs upon completion.

“Led by thousands of Alberta workers and a Calgary-based company, this project is truly Made-in-Alberta. By adding value to resources owned by all Albertans, we’re putting economic diversification first and seizing opportunities to upgrade more resources right here in this province.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

The complex will process about 23,000 barrels per day of Alberta propane into polypropylene, which is a much higher-value plastic material used around the world to make products such as food packaging, auto parts and electronics.

CKPC was approved in 2016 to receive up to $300 million in royalty credits under the first Made-in-Alberta program to encourage private investment in petrochemical upgrading.

“This announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work with our partner to develop a project that is well-positioned to capitalize on Alberta’s abundant supply of propane and undertake value-added processing that benefits all Albertans. We want to thank the Government of Alberta for providing the incentive and vision that has helped make this investment a reality and we want to particularly thank the selection panel for their hard work and the consideration of Pembina’s application.”

Mick Dilger, president and CEO, Pembina Pipeline Corp.

Construction is expected to start in 2019, with the complex fully operational by mid-2023. The project will receive royalty credits after the facility has been constructed and is in operation.

Another project, Inter Pipeline’s $3.5-billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex, is already under construction near Fort Saskatchewan as a result of this program. The complex is a similar gas-to-plastics operation, employing about 2,300 people during construction with 180 full-time jobs upon completion.

Made-in-Alberta strategy

Petrochemical upgrading

  • Two projects – CKPC and Inter Pipeline – were selected under the first round of this program, which was announced in 2016, for a combined $8 billion in private investment.
  • The government announced a second round of support for petrochemical upgrading in 2018, with total support now reaching $2.1 billion to unlock about $20 billion in private-sector investment.
  • This would help create as many as 15,500 jobs during construction of multiple petrochemical facilities across the province.

Partial upgrading of bitumen

  • $1 billion in grants and loan guarantees to encourage companies to build bitumen-upgrading facilities
  • Partial upgrading reduces the thickness of oil sands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines more easily, without having to be blended with diluent, or as much diluent, a thinning agent. Benefits include:
    • increased prices for our resources before shipping
    • up to 30 per cent more capacity on existing pipelines
    • more refineries around the world capable of processing our product
    • cost savings on diluent for industry
    • fewer emissions by removing high carbon content

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Youth shaping education system: Minister Eggen

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“Student voice plays a critical role in shaping every level of our education system. We want students to have the best education possible and members of the Minister’s Youth Council help us to ensure this is possible.

“This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Minister’s Youth Council for our second session. These engaged students provide valuable input on a number of education issues that matter to them, such as curriculum, mental health, LGBTQ issues, Indigenous education, the province’s approach to racism, and equity in the education system.

“I am so proud of these students and the work they have done so far. These bright leaders are developing the skills they need to effectively engage with one another at local and provincial levels to help improve our education system. Their feedback has already made a difference and will have an impact on our work moving forward.

“I enjoy every opportunity to sit down and work with the council members and I know they will continue to create a better future for all Albertans.”

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