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‘We can’t pretend that climate change isn’t there’: Notley stands firm on carbon tax if NDP re-elected

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Alberta’s carbon tax isn’t going anywhere if the NDP is re-elected in the looming election, Premier Rachel Notley says.

“We can’t pretend that climate change isn’t there. We have an obligation as a world-leading energy producer to show leadership on it,” the NDP leader said on CBC’s Alberta@Noon on Tuesday.

Provincial legislation dictates an election must be held between March 1 and May 31.

“In the long term, that’s how we are going to grow our economy and grow our markets, and I absolutely believe it is the right thing to do.”

But she still says her government won’t sign on to the federal carbon plan until shovels are back in the ground on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

When the NDP introduced the carbon tax, Notley had explicitly linked it to getting the social licence needed to get pipelines built. The government rolled out a $20-per-tonne tax on carbon dioxide emissions on Jan. 1, 2017, which increased to $30 a tonne on Jan. 1, 2018.

Under the federal climate change plan introduced by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the carbon tax must reach $50 per tonne by 2022. Notley had said Alberta would respect the federal mandate, but later pulled out, expressing frustration with the federal government’s handling of pipeline and energy industry challenges.

Notley told Alberta@Noon that the carbon tax is tied to infrastructure projects that depend on the funding.

“The Green Line in Calgary would get cancelled, the new LRT line in Edmonton would get cancelled. We would also be unable to support the good work that’s going on — the technological innovation, taking carbon out of the product we produce, making sure we can present to the world a sustainable, responsible product and at the same time supporting the efforts of Albertans to reduce our emissions.”

Projects won’t be cancelled, counters UCP

The NDP’s chief rival so far according to the polls, the United Conservative Party led by Jason Kenney, has vowed to eliminate the carbon tax if it wins.

On Tuesday, a UCP spokesperson rejected Notley’s assertion that projects would be cancelled without a provincial carbon tax.

“I would … remind you that federal Green Line funding was announced by Jason Kenney in his capacity as a federal cabinet minister,” spokesperson Christine Myatt said in an emailed statement.

The UCP, which formed when the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Party merged in July 2017, says its post-carbon tax plans are being worked on.

“Our platform is currently under development, and we will have more to say on our plan to reduce emissions closer to the election,” Myatt said in the statement.

The Alberta Party, Alberta Liberal Party and Green Party of Alberta have all indicated that they would keep the provincial carbon tax, but with some tweaks.

The Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta has said it would scrap the levy entirely.

Political scientist Duane Bratt wonders whether the reaction to Alberta’s carbon tax would have been different if the economy were in better shape or the messaging more effective. (CBC)

Carbon tax messaging, timing not ideal, says political scientist

A political scientist predicts the carbon tax will be the major issue in the upcoming election.

“It is the major initiative of the Notley government. This impacted everybody. This is why Jason Kenney has said Bill 1 will be repealing that carbon tax,” said Duane Bratt, a professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

But it’s not clear what would come after that repeal, he said.

“Let’s say we didn’t have the carbon tax. Let’s say we use the Jason Kenney approach. Would we be any closer to building a pipeline?” Bratt asked.

He says the reaction to the carbon tax could have been different.

“If you are going to change behaviour, economists have shown the carbon tax is the simplest, easiest way to do that. Could there have been a difference in how it was messaged? Possibly,” Bratt said.

“If this had come in in 2010 or 2011 when the economy was that much stronger, would that have made a difference?” 


Tune in for more political coverage on Alberta@Noon when Jason Kenney joins the show on Jan. 22.

Listen to the entire Alberta@Noon interview with Rachel Notley here or watch the Facebook Live video right here.


With files from Alberta@Noon

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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