Hector Goudreau MLA: Premier focuses on Alberta’s competitiveness at national forum
Hector Goudreau MLA, Dunvegan – Central Peace
for Smoky River Express
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 to discuss 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. Over $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, also 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 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.
Alberta’s $150 million investment to date in bioenergy has the potential to leverage up to $2 billion of investment from the private sector. The program extension will also help companies meet the March 31 application deadline for federal programs. Extending the Bioenergy Producer Credit Program in combination with the Renewable Fuels Standard will position Alberta as a leader in renewable and alternative energy.
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.
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.
Bill 9 supports the principles of openness, transparency and accountability while ensuring practical delivery. The amendments also allow time for the candidates, municipalities and election officials to comply with the new rules.
Highlights of Bill 9:
1. Clarifies residency rules in that a person may be a resident of only one place at a time for the purpose of voting;
2. 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;
3. 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;
4. 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;
5. Campaign contributions limits are set at $5,000 per year; and
6. 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.