Premier Kenney has spent the week in Montreal and Washington D.C. where he hopes to encourage investors to look at Alberta, expand provincial exports, and to advocate for pipeline and energy sector project approvals.
While in Montreal the Premier announced plans to open an Alberta office in the city to improve relations and promote the energy sector. He also popped by the headquarters of Dialogue, a telemedicine and technology company, to speak with CEO Cherif Habib about how innovation in healthcare can improve outcomes for Albertans.
In D.C., the Premier has met with state governors and key congressional and administration officials. Premier Kenney tweeted about a conversation he had with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski regarding the Alaska to Alberta Railway, an exciting project that New West has been proud to contribute to.
Today and tomorrow, Kenney will be joined by Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland along with the Premiers of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
Closer to home, a key focus this week has been the release of the first review of Alberta Health Services in 10 years. The report finds ways to save up to $1.9 billion and was conducted by external consultants Ernst & Young. It was presented by Health Minister Tyler Shandro Monday and contains 57 recommendations and 72 savings opportunities.
Minister Shandro has been unequivocal in stating there will be no hospital closures as part of implementation and that all savings would be reinvested in health care. An implementation team from AHS is looking at all recommendations and will report back with a detailed plan for implementation within 100 days.
Calgary-based Greengate Power announced a $500 million investment agreement with the world’s largest renewables fund, Copenhagen Infrastrucuture Partners, to build Canada’s largest solar farm. The entirely unsubsidized project received attention from the Alberta government who are certainly pleased to see half a billion dollars of foreign investment in the province and the creation of up to 500 jobs.
Children’s Services has created a new online application to apply for child care subsidy in a push to reduce red tape.
A new consultation has been launched that will have an impact on municipal elections in 2021. The consultation seeks public feedback on the rules that govern municipal and school board elections including the length of campaign period, nomination process, campaign finances, third-party advertising and recall of local politicians. The survey is open until March 4 and available here.
Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer issued a statement following Federal Co-operatives Ltd. being granted a court injunction to stop a blockade set up by Unifor at a fuel-distribution terminal near Carseland.
Finance Minister Travis Toews has had a busy week overseeing Alberta’s finances as they related to public sector wages. Last Friday, Toews commented on one per cent increases awarded by the provincial board of arbitration to Alberta Public Service workers and health care workers in General Support Services and no increase to Auxiliary Nursing Care workers. On Wednesday, Toews issued a statement regarding the arbitration decision involving the Health Sciences Association of Alberta of zero increases. Late Thursday Toews issued a statement on collective bargaining negotiations between the Public Service Commission and AUPE. With public sector wages accounting for more than half of government expenses, it’s clear that Toews will continue to push for holding the line on public sector compensation.