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Provincial Government Developments

British Columbia

  • BC election results – The May 9th BC provincial election resulted in the BC Liberals winning 43 of the province’s 87 ridings. The BC NDP won 41, and the BC Green Party won three. As both the Liberals and NDP fell short of the 44 seats required to form a majority government, the Green Party had the ability to support either side. As final election counts were announced in late May, the NDP and Green Party leaders, John Horgan and Andrew Weaver, revealed intentions to form a coalition to defeat Christy Clark’s minority Liberal government. By convention, if the Liberals are defeated in the legislature, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon will look to the Green-backed NPD party to form a government. The situation increases uncertainty around various large-scale projects and strategies currently underway, most notably Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion and the Site C hydroelectric dam project.

Alberta

  • Alberta plans orphan wells cleanup – The Government of Alberta introduced legislation that will allow it to lend $235 million to the Orphan Well Association (OWA) to fund the proper abandonment and reclamation of a growing number of orphan Alberta oil and gas sites. The Government of Alberta estimates that the loan will create up to 1,650 new jobs in reclamation work in Alberta over the next three years. The loan program would be in addition to the ongoing closure and reclamation operations undertaken annually by the OWA, and the loan will be repaid to the Government of Alberta out of the association’s existing levy over the next ten years. The cost of the loan will be covered by the federal government’s one-time $30 million payment to the Government of Alberta announced in the 2017 Federal Budget.
     
  • Alberta appoints new softwood lumber envoy – The Government of Alberta retained former Manitoba Premier and Canada’s Ambassador to the US from 2009 to 2016, Gary Doer, to champion the province’s lobbying efforts on softwood lumber in Washington, DC. Doer is currently a senior business advisor at Dentons global law firm, working on Canada-US cross-border legal matters. In this new role, Doer will be assisting the Alberta government’s Washington office in connecting with key decision-makers from government and industry and providing advocacy advice.
     
  • Alberta Indigenous tourism funding announced – The Government of Alberta is providing the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC) with a $100,000 grant to help establish a provincial Indigenous tourism organization and grow tourism-related businesses across the province. This is the first time that ATAC has received grant funding from a provincial or territorial government. It plans to use the funds to help grow tourism businesses in First Nations and Métis communities in Alberta, which includes developing an Indigenous tourism entrepreneurship program.
     
  • New funding for Alberta Indigenous apprenticeship training – The Government of Alberta announced funding of $500,000 towards the Trade Winds to Success Training Society’s pre-apprenticeship program. The program targets Indigenous people and incorporates cultural practices such as Elder mentorship and a daily smudge ceremony in parallel with instruction to pursue careers in the trades. In 2016, WD provided over $1 million to support the expansion of the program including launching a new marketing plan to increase the number of participants and industry partners. As of 2016, a total of 1,191 students have graduated and 96 percent have found work.
     
  • Alberta introduces pilot digital media grants – The Government of Alberta is introducing two $1.5 million grants for digital media. The Post-Production, Digital Animation and Visual Effects grant and the Interactive Digital Media grant will assist small and medium-sized enterprises and will award up to $200,000 in funding per company. The funding for the pilot grants has been made possible through the Capital Investment Tax Credit, introduced in January 2017. Applications for the grants will be accepted beginning May 23.
     
  • Alberta and JOGMEC sign partnership agreement – Premier Notley signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to collaborate on scientific research and technical aspects of oil and gas exploration, development, and production. JOGMEC is a Japanese crown corporation that invests in early-stage resource exploration projects. It has invested $1 billion in Canada and has worked on commercializing “Super Critical Water Cracking” technology in Alberta to reduce emissions associated with oil sands upgrading.

Saskatchewan

  • Government of Saskatchewan responds to the federal carbon tax – On May 18, 2017, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, unveiled plans for a federal carbon tax which would impose a $10 charge per tonne of CO2 for any jurisdiction that has not implemented their own carbon pricing strategy. The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, is opposed to the carbon tax saying it would remove $1.3 billion from the provincial economy and affect key industries like mining and agriculture. Premier Wall cited Saskatchewan-based innovations like the carbon capture and sequestration facility at Boundary Dam, zero-till farming methods, and ongoing research at the province’s universities as ways in which Saskatchewan is already reducing its carbon footprint.
     
  • Canada and Saskatchewan invest in water and wastewater infrastructure – The governments of Saskatchewan and Canada are investing up to $3 million toward the $6.4 million expansion project of the wastewater system in the Town of Balgonie. The investment will support the expansion of the existing wastewater system, contribute to the health and well-being of residents, protect provincial waterways, and benefit the local environment.
     
  • Saskatchewan is leading the provinces in the growth of building permits – On May 9, 2017, the Government of Saskatchewan issued a news release announcing that year-over-year building permits increased by 13.2 percent (seasonally adjusted) in March 2017. It is the highest percentage increase among the provinces and far above the 1.5 percent national average. Residential permits were up 26.8 percent over the same period. Building permit revenue totalled $151 million in March 2017, up from $137 million in 2016.

Manitoba

  • Manitoba announces Public Private Partnerships (P3s) to be used for new schools – The Manitoba government announced a request for proposals on May 2, 2017 to build four new schools worth over $100 million beginning in 2019. The proposal calls for the use of a P3 model that has had success in Saskatchewan.