New judges improve timely access to justice

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Today, the Alberta government appointed:

  • Kristin Ailsby to Lethbridge Provincial Court
  • Gregory Stirling, QC, to Calgary Criminal Division and Calgary Region
  • Susan Pepper to Calgary Criminal Division and Calgary Region
  • Rhonda Tibbitt to Edmonton Criminal Division
  • Greg Rice to Vermilion Provincial Court
  • Gay Benns to Calgary Family and Youth Division

“Throughout their careers, these six appointees have demonstrated a mastery of the law, a respect for the justice system and a commitment to improving the lives of Albertans. I am confident Kristin Ailsby, Gregory Stirling, Susan Pepper, Rhonda Tibbitt, Greg Rice and Gay Benns will serve Albertans well as members of the judiciary. These six appointments will continue to help address pressures on our justice system that have been growing for decades.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The six new judges fill current and upcoming vacancies. Unlike Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal justice positions, which the federal government appoints and funds, the province both creates Provincial Court judge positions and appoints judges to those positions.

Biographies of Alberta’s new Provincial Court judges

Kristin Ailsby received her bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alberta and became a member of the Alberta bar in 2003. Ailsby spent much of her legal career practising in a variety of fields before establishing her own firm, Clarity Law, in 2016. There she focused on family law, estate planning, estate administration and residential real estate transactions. Prior to her appointment, she served as an adjunct professor at the University of Lethbridge and a legal advisor at Lethbridge Legal Guidance. She is the chair of the board of governors of Lethbridge College.

Gregory Stirling, QC, received his bachelor of laws from Dalhousie University in 1984 and became a member of the Alberta bar in 1985. During his 30 years in the legal profession, he has handled a wide variety of civil litigation matters and developed a particular specialty in construction litigation. He is a director of the Alberta Law Foundation and a member of the Law Society of Alberta’s Audit and Finance Committee. He has volunteered for several community organizations including Calgary Legal Guidance and the Hillhurst/Sunnyside Community Association. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010.

Susan Pepper received her bachelor of laws degree from the University of Calgary in 1996 and became a member of the Alberta bar in 1997. She has spent the entirety of her legal career as a Crown Prosecutor in Calgary and became Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor in 2008. Besides handling several high-profile prosecutions, many involving violence against children and youth, she was the Calgary Crown Prosecutor’s project lead in the development of the electronic file management system. She is the past president of the Calgary Bar Association and an instructor with the Legal Education Society of Alberta, where she coaches junior lawyers to better advocacy.

Rhonda Tibbitt received her bachelor of laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1992 and a master of laws degree from Osgoode Professional Development at York University in 2015. She became a member of the Alberta bar in 2002. Starting in 1998, she worked as a prosecutor in Saskatchewan and Alberta and handled a full range of cases before developing a special interest in economic crime. In 2014, she became the director of the Civil Forfeiture Office, where she has been involved with reviewing and revising legislation and representing Alberta on national committees dealing with proceeds of crime and money laundering.

Greg Rice received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alberta in 1992 and a master of laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 2012. He became a member of the Alberta bar in 1993. In 1998, he became a prosecutor in the Wetaskiwin and Edmonton offices of the Attorney General of Alberta. He has held various positions with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada since joining as a counsel in 2001, including leader of the Organized Crime Unit, Associate Chief Federal Prosecutor in the Edmonton office, and General Counsel. He is the past president of the Edmonton Bar Association. In addition to his legal work, Greg is an avid supporter of youth hockey. He coaches North SEERA Hockey teams and serves on the organization’s board of directors.

Gay Benns received her bachelor of laws degree from the University of Manitoba. She became a member of the Manitoba bar in 1998, the Alberta bar in 2002 and joined Laurie Allen and Associates, where she practised exclusively in the area of family law. She continued her focus on family law as a partner with Moe Hannah LLP. She has a strong background in mediation and arbitration and has worked as a Dispute Resolution Officer since 2009. She is a long-time volunteer with the Calgary Legal Guidance Clinic and a facilitator with the Alberta government’s Parenting After Separation program.

Quick facts

  • Of the 33 provincial court judges the Government of Alberta has appointed since 2015, two-thirds (22) are women.
  • The Alberta Judicial Council screens candidates for provincial court appointments. The Provincial Court Nominating Committee (PCNC) then interviews candidates. The committee provides its recommendations to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
  • The Alberta Judicial Council has representatives from the Alberta Provincial Court, the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Court of Appeal and the Law Society of Alberta. It also includes two individuals appointed by the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
  • The PCNC has 11 members representing the Alberta Provincial Court, the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch) and representatives of the province’s legal community and the public appointed by the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.


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Alberta takes decisive action to get more oil to market

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Premier Notley announces Alberta’s new investment in crude-by-rail export capacity.

This strategic investment by the Alberta government will see an estimated 4,400 rail cars move up to 120,000 barrels per day by 2020. Albertans can look forward to seeing rail cars transport Alberta oil as early as July 2019.

This is another part of our Made-in-Alberta energy strategy – building on Alberta’s energy strengths to get more value from our resources and create more jobs.

“Each and every Albertan owns our energy resources and deserves to get top dollar for them. We are taking decisive actions to protect people and to protect our natural inheritance. When challenges are placed in front of us, we overcome them. I’m going to keep working every day to fight for a better future for every person who calls Alberta home.”

Premier Rachel Notley

In 2018, Premier Notley laid out short, medium and long-term plans to get top dollar for Alberta’s energy resources. In the short term, the province temporarily curtailed oil production to address the storage glut. Over the long-term, the Premier continues to fight for pipelines and today’s rail deal means Alberta can expand take-away capacity over the medium term.

This investment in increased rail capacity totals about $3.7 billion. With the anticipated commercial revenue and increased royalty and tax revenues, the province anticipates generating approximately $5.9 billion over the next three years.

The Government of Alberta will purchase crude oil from producers and load it onto the rail cars at onloading facilities across the province. The crude oil will then be shipped to market. These actions will help industry including small producers who may not have the ability to take this action on their own.

In developing its Crude-by-Rail strategy, the Alberta government has also taken care to ensure that additional rail cars carrying oil will have no impact on the shipments of agricultural products.

Quick facts

  • $3.7B investment provides Albertans with $5.9B in revenues over three years.
  • Approximately US$4 per barrel reduction projected in differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select from early 2020 to late 2021.
  • Additional 120,000 barrels a day of rail capacity is anticipated by 2020.
  • 4,400 rail cars will be used to transport oil. The first complement of rail cars are expected to start transporting Alberta oil in July 2019.
  • Rail cars include DOT-117J and DOT-117R models, which meet all current safety standards outlined by Transport Canada.

Background

DOT-117J

DOT-117J tank cars are the latest safety standard. These tank cars are made of thicker steel (14.3 millimetres or 9/16 inches), and have additional safety features compared to other tank cars. Additional safety features include performance standards for thermal protection and head and shell puncture resistance, as well as enhanced performance standard for bottom outlet valves.

DOT-117R

DOT-117R tank cars are retrofitted to meet the 117 specifications to include a jacket and head shield. They have 7/16-inch shell thickness with 11-gauge steel jacket for thermal protection.

(Source: Transport Canada)


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Family Day: Statement from Premier Notley

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“For almost thirty years, families have taken this day to spend quality time together and rejoice with loved ones.

“Alberta has always belonged to families, so it’s fitting that we take the time to celebrate them – the big, the small, the distant, the closely knit.

“Families make us whole and keep us strong. They share our struggles, multiply our joys and remind us of who we are. Let us pause and take this time to be grateful for the families that make our province such a vibrant and diverse place to live.

“Whether bound by family or friendship, shared history or a new sense of connection, I hope you spend this time with those who love you best. In whichever form you celebrate family, this day is yours.

“Happy Family Day!”


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Alberta-based solar power on the rise

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Minister Phillips (centre right) announces that Canadian Solar will partner with Conklin Métis Local 193 on three solar power contracts to supply 55 per cent of the Alberta government’s electricity needs.

This solar electricity contract will be the most cost-effective government procurement of solar power in Canadian history. At an average price of 4.8 cents per kilowatt hour (kW-h), Alberta’s proven approach to attracting new investment in renewable energy is once again setting national records, repeating the success of the Renewable Electricity Program.

The new contract will supply approximately 55 per cent of the government’s annual electricity needs, saving $3.9 million per year compared to the expiring contracts.

“Alberta is one of the best places in the world to invest in renewable energy. I am so proud to take another huge step in advancing solar energy in Alberta while creating good local jobs and saving millions of public dollars. This is an important step in building a more resilient and diversified economy and attracting further investment to Alberta’s booming renewables market.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

To deliver on the procurement, three new solar facilities will be built near Hays, Tilley and Jenner, creating approximately 270 local jobs in southern Alberta during construction. Canadian Solar is building these new facilities in partnership with Conklin Métis Local 193 as 50 per cent equity owners.

“The partnership between Canadian Solar and Conklin Métis Local 193 is a spectacular example of what can happen when industry, government and Indigenous Peoples come together. In addition to reducing government costs, this project empowers Indigenous Peoples to have a meaningful role in taking advantage of the abundant solar resource around us.”

Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

Since 2015, solar generation in Alberta has increased over 700 per cent, mostly with small-scale projects. These three projects represent another doubling of Alberta’s current capacity, while smaller projects will continue to grow with supportive programs.

“We see great potential in the Alberta solar market, and we’re pleased to supply subsidy-free solar power to meet Alberta’s clean energy needs. We hope these 94 megawatt peak solar project contracts serve as a catalyst for solar industry growth in Canada, specifically in Alberta. We are delighted to partner with Conklin Métis Local 193, the Indigenous community that owns a 50 per cent equity stake in the Hays, Jenner and Tilley solar projects.”

Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO, Canadian Solar Inc.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Canadian Solar, world leaders in solar power. As a Métis community, we highly value the opportunity to invest in renewable energy projects within the country. This partnership will help diversify our investment portfolio and the financial benefits will support our community in key social and economic initiatives. We applaud the Government of Alberta and Canadian Solar for their progressive mentality and look forward to a long-lasting, prosperous relationship.”

Shirley Tremblay, president, Conklin Métis Local 193

Quick facts

  • Government’s contract with Canadian Solar will run from 2021 to 2041, with the new solar facilities expected to come online early in 2021.
  • Canadian Solar’s three new facilities will produce up to 146,431 megawatt hours (MW-h) of electricity per year.
    • Estimated Annual Energy Production:
      • Hays Solar Project – 51,706 MW-h
      • Jenner Solar Project – 48,654 MW-h
      • Tilley Solar Project – 46,071 MW-h
    • The Government of Alberta will pay an average of $48.05 per MW-h (4.8 cents per kW-h) for electricity generated by these facilities.
  • The electricity generated by these solar facilities will feed directly into Alberta’s electricity grid and would power approximately 20,000 homes annually.


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National Flag of Canada Day: Premier Notley

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“I’m proud to join Canadians from across the nation to celebrate our national flag.

“Fifty-four years ago, the iconic red maple leaf was raised throughout the country and around the world. Since then, generations of women and men have worn it as international peacekeepers, as travellers and as representatives of our country. The maple leaf has been carried to the top of Mount Everest and into outer space.

“As Albertans, we are proud that the designer of the flag, Colonel George F. G. Stanley, was Calgary-born, Edmonton-educated and an incredible scholar who changed the nation with a sketch for a bold new national symbol. A historian, author, soldier, teacher and public servant, Colonel Stanley served our country proudly.

“National Flag Day of Canada is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the values that inspired that flag and which we share as Canadians – equality, diversity and inclusion. The flag has come to represent a commitment to peace, freedom and respect for every Canadian, no matter their background.

“This year, Albertans will fly the flag high to kick off the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, a competition featuring incredible athletes from coast to coast, all of whom are proud to come together under one symbol.

“I invite everyone to cheer on our athletes and contemplate what the flag means to each of us.”


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Honouring community safety leaders and innovators

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The awards recognize individuals, organizations, businesses and groups who have made exceptional contributions to community safety, crime prevention and the criminal justice system.

“Preventing crime and keeping our neighbourhoods safe is a community effort. Every year, these awards recognize Albertans who have made notable contributions to safety within their communities. I encourage everyone to recognize these inspiring activities with a nomination.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Nominations for the Alberta Community Justice Awards are submitted by members of the public. The awards are presented in five categories: leadership; innovation; service enhancement; community mobilization; and partnerships and collaboration.

Eligible nominees include Albertans who work in crime prevention organizations, youth justice committees, victim services and restorative justice programs.

To nominate a community leader or organization, submit a nomination by March 22, 2019.

The Alberta Community Justice Awards ceremony will take place in Edmonton on June 27, 2019.


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Alberta welcomes Canada’s young athletes

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Minister Miranda carries the 2019 Canada Winter Games torch through Calgary as it makes its way to Red Deer.

About 340 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff will represent the province at the Games. In total, about 3,600 athletes and support staff from across Canada will participate in 19 events, including curling, alpine skiing, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

“We are thrilled that for the first time in 24 years, we will once again host the Canada Winter Games. Our athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers have been training hard for this moment, and we are so proud of their efforts. I hope all our visitors enjoy the competition and hospitality that Alberta is know for.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

“Sport is a way of life in Alberta. It’s part of our cultural fabric. We look forward to welcoming visitors from across Canada, and I know we will give them an unforgettable experience. To the athletes representing our province, we are already so proud of you, and cannot wait to cheer you and your teammates on. Go, Team Alberta!”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, responsible for sport

More than 20,000 visitors are expected to travel to Red Deer for the Games, which is anticipated to bring more than $130 million in economic activity to the region. The Alberta government, through the Alberta Sport Connection, contributed $11 million to the Games.

The province also contributed $80 million to improve the interchange at Gaetz Avenue and the QEII, including new on and off ramps and construction of five new bridges. Red Deer College received $72 million, including $52 million through the Alberta Capital Finance Authority, to construct the Gary W. Harris Centre, which will be used extensively for the Games.

“We are grateful for the province of Alberta’s work on the Highway 2 / Gaetz Avenue Interchange Improvement Project in advance of Red Deer welcoming the nation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. These upgrades enhance the safety for local traffic and provide a welcoming entrance to our city.”

Lyn Radford, board chair, 2019 Canada Winter Games

The Canada Games is the nation’s largest multi-sport and culture event for amateur athletes. It is held every two years, alternating between winter and summer events. Alberta hosted the Games in Grande Prairie in 1995, and in Lethbridge in 1975.

The Canada Winter Games run from Feb. 15 to March 3.


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Investing in education, diversification in Edmonton

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Premier Rachel Notley tours the new CuriousCITY Gallery with TELUS World of Science scientist Samantha Marion and president and CEO Alan Nursall (background right).

The province is investing $12 million in the Aurora Project, which will increase capacity at the TELUS World of Science through new exhibition spaces and redevelop programs that have a northern focus.

“For more than three decades, the TELUS World of Science has guided children, families and adults alike on a journey of discovery. Our investment in the Aurora Project will help to challenge and inspire visitors and stimulate new ideas that have the power to transform our world.”   

Rachel Notley, Premier

The funding supports the new CuriousCity exhibit, which will allow visitors to explore the science and history of Edmonton, as well as the Arctic Gallery which is focused on Canada’s breathtaking northern environment and emergent issues like climate change.

“The Aurora Project expansion will help the TELUS World of Science meet the growing demand for educational and public programs, creating unique and exciting visitor experiences and generating new economic opportunities for Edmonton and Alberta.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

Construction of the expansion will create nearly 350 jobs and generate more than $80 million in economic activity. Once the project is complete, it’s expected to add $3.5 million in economic benefits to the capital region every year with more than 50 people being hired to support the increase in visitors.

“Every day at the science centre, we are privileged to ignite curiosity, inspire discovery, celebrate science and change lives. This announcement of support from the province of Alberta will allow us to continue to make that difference well into the future.”

Alan Nursall, president and CEO, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton

Construction of the expansion began in October 2018. The overall cost of the expansion is $40 million with additional funds being provided by the City of Edmonton, the Government of Canada and  donations to the TELUS World of Science. 

Quick facts

  • The Aurora Project will add nearly 2,000 square metres of space to the facility.
  • TELUS World of Science is the largest ticketed cultural attraction in northern Alberta and is second in the province behind the Calgary Zoo. A wide range of interactive educational and public programs is available to students and lifelong learners of all ages.
  • The facility attracts an average of more than 400,000 visitors each year, including students, families and tourists, and is supported by more than 17,500 members of the science centre.


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Memorial marches: Statement from Premier Notley

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“Today, we join survivors and families in remembering Indigenous women and girls who have lost their lives to gender-based violence.

“We recognize the women and girls who have gone missing – their individual absences felt daily in homes and communities.

“These women and girls were cherished daughters, sisters, mothers and friends. Their loss is an ongoing national tragedy. It has not only disrupted and altered the lives of their loved ones, but damaged the social fabric of our province and nation.

“During these vigils, we walk with you to recognize the ever-present memory of your loved ones. We vow to do right by them. We renew the call for justice and action. And we commit to building a province in which Indigenous women and girls feel safe and valued.

“In honour of these women and girls, we must work together to make our province safer.”


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Expanding technology relationship with Mexico

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Minister Bilous and Roberto Russildi, Nuevo Leon’s Secretary of Economy and Labour, sign an agreement to explore tech opportunities.

As part of Premier Rachel Notley’s focus on jobs and economic diversification, the Alberta government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nuevo Leon to explore opportunities that promote innovation.

The agreement is focused on the areas of information and communication technologies, life sciences, environmental technologies and clean energy. Alberta is the first Canadian province with this type of MOU with the Mexican state.

“We’re fighting for what matters, like more great opportunities for Alberta’s innovators. This agreement means they’ll gain valuable international experience that helps attract investment and growth, benefiting all Albertans. Mexico is becoming an even more important trading partner as we work towards our shared goals of innovation and expanded technology sectors.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

“We’re pleased to collaborate with the Government of Alberta and are eager to sign this agreement that will surely bring great benefits for both regions. As a leader in digital transformation and 4.0 technologies in Mexico, Nuevo Leon has a lot to offer to Alberta.”

Roberto Russildi, Secretary of Economy and Labour, Nuevo Leon

Background

  • Mexico is Alberta’s third largest bilateral trading partner.
  • Bilateral trade between Mexico and Alberta totalled $2.8 billion in 2017.
  • Of all the Mexican states, Nuevo Leon is considered one of the biggest contributors to national economic growth, and is Mexico’s leading state for advanced manufacturing with a strong record of technology commercialization.
  • The Alberta-Nuevo Leon MOU will be in place until Sept. 30, 2021.
  • Historically, Alberta has established successful technology partnership opportunities with jurisdictions in Mexico, China and Europe.


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