ALBERTA NEWS HEADLINES WEEK ENDING Jan 23, 2021

Scanning the web for Alberta news and views Inspired by Verna Milligan & Carol Wodak

QUOTABLES:

It would have made no difference. I lived all this. There was no one you could have hired that was going to change the minds of the people around Biden.

Dennis McConaghy, a former TC Energy executive who oversaw the Keystone XL pipeline project under the Obama administration before his retirement in 2016.

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Inside Alberta’s very bad week: A behind-the-scenes look at the killing of Keystone XL

The impression that there would be discussions going forward was mistaken. And no one was prepared for the pipeline to be cancelled on Biden’s first day.

The Alberta government’s trade office in Washington, D.C. called home last week with grim tidings: Rumours were circulating the U.S. capital that President Joe Biden was planning to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office.

It set off a wave of alarm. The Alberta government worked through the weekend to prepare its response strategy and a flurry of phone calls were placed between Ottawa, representatives in Washington and to the TC Energy headquarters in Calgary. On Sunday, news outlets reported on a Biden team transition memo that said the death of Keystone XL was coming.

A senior Alberta government source said there was a “lot of anger” within the premier’s office, given they had been hoping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who spoke with Biden in November — was going to at least be able to keep Biden from scuttling the project until further discussions were held, even though he’d promised to kill it in May 2020.

“It felt like a betrayal,” the source said.

The impression that there would be discussions going forward was mistaken. And no one was prepared for the pipeline to be cancelled on Biden’s first day. Kenney placed anxious calls to federal ministers, U.S. congressmen, American labour unions, and, on Tuesday, the day before the inauguration, the premier and James Rajotte, Alberta’s envoy to the United States, had a phone call with Trudeau.

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Alberta government mulling the sale of registry services that made $123.6 million in 2020

The Alberta government is considering a plan to sell profitable land titles, corporate and personal property registries to private operators.

Service Alberta issued a request for applications of interest on Monday, announcing it is considering the proposed sale of a 35-year deal “to modernize, operate and maintain the province’s land titles, corporate and personal property registries.”

According to the Service Alberta’s overview for potential bidders, the combined revenue of all three registries in 2020 was $123.6 million, but those transaction revenues are “tied to the broader economy” and will grow over the next five years.

The government aims to “maximize sale value and proceeds to the province,” promote operational improvements and “protect the integrity, security and reliability of registry information and data,” according to the document.

Kevin Barry, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents more than 90,000 workers, including 130 employed in the registries, said in a Friday news release it is “madness” to get rid of proven money-makers when Alberta needs revenue.

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