Government Selling Crude-by-Rail Contracts – This week, our government took important action and sold the crude-by-rail contracts acquired by the previous NDP government. By transferring these contracts to the private sector, the government is saving Alberta taxpayers $500 million. It will also add 120,000 barrels per day of takeaway capacity in the oil industry. The private sector, not the government, is in the best position to manage the crude shipping process. By returning to an arrangement that works, this government is acting in the best interest of Albertans.
New Grain Dryer Program for Farmers Hit with Tough Harvest – Good news for Alberta farmers –a new grant program is now available to help farmers upgrade their grain handling systems. The Efficient Grain Dryer Program will help cover the costs of grain dryer improvements, allowing applicants to choose equipment that makes sense for the size of their agri-business. Poor weather, trade irritants, rail strikes, and a carbon tax have all hurt farmers in Alberta, with no fault of their own. This program, which covers eligible equipment purchases made since April 1, 2018, will help farmers remain competitive and continue producing high-quality food. More information is available at www.cap.alberta.ca/CAP/program/efficient_grain_dryer.
Inviting Investment to the Northwest – I am excited to share with you that our government is opening more opportunities for investment in northwestern Alberta. This week, the government of Alberta signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tri-Municipal Industrial Partnership (TMIP) to coordinate the development of a new eco-industrial area in Greenview, about 40 km south of Grande Prairie. The new area, which is already equipped with rail, road and pipeline infrastructure, will focus on attracting large-scale heavy industrial projects that also demonstrate cutting-edge technologies and environmentally conscious practices. This project is the result of a process that took input from the public, industry leaders, Indigenous communities, and municipal and provincial representatives. This is yet another example of how our government is supporting the great potential available in our province.
Budget 2020 to be Tabled February 27 – As Spring Session approaches I am happy to announce that Budget 2020 will be presented at the end of this month. This year’s budget will continue the commitment that our government made to Albertans to end wasteful spending and reinvest savings into improving services. Thousands of Albertans were consulted through telephone town halls and an online survey tool, allowing the public to share their priorities and concerns with our government.
-Column submitted by Mark Smith