Trudeau sends a signal to Alberta. Cue the squirming.

Alberta got its cabinet minister, but the real focus will be on the new names at environment and natural resources, and how they apply the government's 'just transition' The post Trudeau sends a signal to Alberta. Cue the squirming. appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Trudeau sends a signal to Alberta. Cue the squirming.

Justin Trudeau has appointed a minister for Alberta, and a minister for preoccupied Alberta.

Randy Boissonnnault ends the fourth-largest province’s cabinet drought, which coincided with the two years of Alberta having no MPs for Justin Trudeau to choose from.

The Edmonton Centre MP will be the tourism minister, a junior portfolio tucked within the Innvoation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Every Alberta politician should be lucky enough to have regular trips to Banff and Jasper within their mandate.

But as with any modern cabinet, the picks that truly matter to Alberta are the ones governing the oil and gas sector and the carbon it emits by the megatonne. Enter the preoccupation. Enter, quite literally, the activist environment minister. And cue the Alberta squirming.

Steven Guilbeault’s resume is quite well known in the oil-producing province: his extensive experience with environmentalist group Équiterre and campaigning against pipelines and the oil sands, even reported lobbying within Trudeau’s cabinet last year against the doomed Teck Resources bitumen mine. Just as there was relief from Alberta industry when Guilbeault didn’t get his coveted Environment and Climate Change file in 2019, there’s high anxiety that he got it this time.

Premier Jason Kenney, whose moribund approval ratings have suggested he could use an external enemy to rally Albertans against, said Guilbeault’s activist past “suggests somebody who is more of an absolutist than a pragmatist” and forecasts that Ottawa may pursue a “radical agenda that would lead to mass unemployment.”

Trudeau’s appointment of Guilbeault definitely sends a signal, and perhaps anticipates this initial shock and concern from the energy sector and its political boosters. The message may be the same for the crowd gathering next week at the climate conference in Glasgow and the crowd huddling for coffee daily in oil project trailers near Grande Prairie, Alta.—this government itself wants to move further and faster on curbing emissions. Perhaps taking more of an activist tilt. Not a get-arrested-for-scaling-the-CN-Tower-to-label-Canada-climate-killers tilt, as Guilbeault himself did 20 years ago, but there is a directional shift at work here. Trudeau nudged toward a more assertive approach before the election with tougher emissions targets, and with election promises to demand more action from the oil and gas sector, toward lowering its overall carbon pollution rather than merely per-barrel emissions as production expands.

But this isn’t a government that’s going to suddenly go the full Guilbeault and abandon the federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, and the new environment minister himself will have to concede this point, too. To parts of the activist world Guilbeault comes from—one U.S. green campaigner fondly tweeted about the 2001 CN Tower stunt Tuesday and called expectations on the minister sky high—the moderate and pragmatic tack Trudeau binds him to will be frustration.

Moderation will also come from new Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, the Vancouver-area MP who has held Environment for the last two years, and hailed from the tech sector. Even Kenney praised him as a “good-faith partner” for the Alberta government and industry. Ottawa and the business world increasingly see those Natural Resources and Environment ministries as tandem files in the climate change and regulatory fronts—and with Wilkinson’s move, it further lays waste to the old days of those two ministers being at odds with each other as cheerleader and foe of fossil fuel development. Carbon emissions become their common foe.

Alberta tends to get tetchier over rhetoric than it does over actual policy—witness the long memories of a 2017 town-hall remark by Trudeau that he’d “phase out” the oil sands—and this is where Guilbeault’s appointment may remain as incendiary as it seemed Tuesday. Environment and Climate Change can require a diplomat’s deft touch with affected industry leaders, and there’s little to inspire confidence on this front, both because of Guilbeault’s “tar sands campaign” history and his struggles to communicate whatever it was Bill C-10 would actually change. Expect Wilkinson and Trudeau to have to do a fair bit of mop-up, and for Kenney to be summoned regularly to thunder with great, great umbrage.

A major test, past Glasgow, will be how Wilkinson and Guilbeault handle their government’s buzzy term: “just transition.” Natural Resources Canada quietly held a public consultation period this summer on this plan to support the fossil fuel sector through a decarbonizing future without massive disruption and job loss. Like the term “phase out” that got Trudeau into such hot water previously, a “just transition” is notionally supposed to signal a gradual and measured shift. The usual critics have overlooked any such intended nuance, and forecast a rapid and bumpy government-mandated end to Alberta’s most vital and generationally lucrative industry. It will fall in large part to Steven Guilbeault to maintain a steady and reassuring tone that this isn’t the case. His past doesn’t suggest he’s perfectly suited for this task, but it’s the task he now has.

The post Trudeau sends a signal to Alberta. Cue the squirming. appeared first on Macleans.ca.

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Alberta says ‘no’ to permanent daylight-saving time, putting it out of step with other provinces

EDMONTON—Albertans narrowly voted against switching to permanent daylight-saving time this week even while other provinces have decided the time is right to stop changing clocks twice a year.The results in Alberta were within a sliver of each other — the “yes” to permanent daylight-saving time side received 49.8 per cent support while the “no” side got 50.2 per cent, according to Elections Alberta, which released the numbers from last week’s referendum on Tuesday.That means every year, Albertans will continue to move their clocks forward an hour in spring and back an hour in the fall (this is known as the spring forward, fall back model). Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government has indicated it will respect the wish of voters.However, they’ll be out of line with neighbours B.C. and Saskatchewan. Ontario, is also on the cusp of making the switch to permanent daylight-saving time.As far as sleep experts are concerned, Albertans chose right on this one while other provinces may see an increase in health consequences and accidents in their new permanent daylight-saving time world.Those same experts argue most people would be better off living on standard time instead of daylight-saving time — the hours used for summer.Patricia Lakin-Thomas, a biologist at York University, says the only reason it’s appealing to some is that “people have more light in the afternoon” to enjoy activities.Lakin-Thomas said everyone from golfers wanting more time on the golf course to officials wanting to conserve energy during the Second World War have liked the idea of daylight-saving time, but that “it never had any benefits.” Nor did it end up conserving energy, she added.“It’s absolutely the wrong thing to be doing in the winter when people forget that if it’s light later in the afternoon, it’s also sunrise later in the morning,” she said.She said to imagine the practical implications for going to work and school.“Staying on summertime — daylight-saving time — all year round means the sun will not rise in a place like Toronto until 9 a.m.,” Lakin-Thomas said.“In parts of Alberta, the sun isn’t going to rise until about 10 a.m. (on permanent daylight-saving time).”Michael Antle, a professor of psychology at the University of Calgary, says standard time matches people’s circadian rhythm better than daylight-saving time.“Our body clock has to follow the sun, and that’s the only thing it can do,” he said. “When your social clock is offset from what the sun is doing, then that leads to what they call social jet lag.“That’s when diseases can increase, on the job accidents can increase and people just aren’t functioning optimally,” he added.Research has found that people can experience higher rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes if the circadian rhythm is out of line, said Antle. “People who have later sunsets sleep less,” he said. But what Antle is more concerned about is collisions. In the winter, people will be getting up before their circadian clock is ready, he said.“That’s going to have sleepy workers, sleepy students and sleepy drivers,” he said.Ontario is currently waiting to proclaim a bill it passed in 2020 that would also see exactly it move to permanent daylight-saving time. In a statement to the Star, Ministry of the Attorney General spokesperson Kerstie Schreyer said Ontario would proclaim the bill — Bill 214, Time Amendment Act, 2020 — once neighbouring jurisdictions such as Quebec and New York also make the switch.This would be done to “ensure coordination in areas such as trade, the stock markets and broadcasting,” said Schreyer.Like Alberta, B.C. also put the daylight-saving time question to its citizens, although in a survey.An overwhelming majority of respondents said “yes” in 2019, with 93 per cent supporting the move to permanent daylight savings. Premier John Horgan’s government passed legislation that would slot the province in line with neighbouring U.S. states.In the U.S., some of those states, such as Washington and Oregon, also signalled the desire to switch, but time changes like that must be approved by the federal government.B.C.’s switch to permanent daylight-saving time has been pushed ahead due to the COVID-19 crisis.Saskatchewan already effectively observes daylight-saving time and doesn’t switch its clocks, making things awkward for residents of Lloydminster, a town that straddles the Albertan border with Saskatchewan. The town of roughly 30,000 falls out of step with Saskatchewan for much of the year when it changes its clocks in line with Alberta.Kieran Leavitt is an Edmonton-based political reporter for the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @kieranleavitt

Alberta says ‘no’ to permanent daylight-saving time, putting it out of step with other provinces

EDMONTON—Albertans narrowly voted against switching to permanent daylight-saving time this week even while other provinces have decided the time is right to stop changing clocks twice a year.

The results in Alberta were within a sliver of each other — the “yes” to permanent daylight-saving time side received 49.8 per cent support while the “no” side got 50.2 per cent, according to Elections Alberta, which released the numbers from last week’s referendum on Tuesday.

That means every year, Albertans will continue to move their clocks forward an hour in spring and back an hour in the fall (this is known as the spring forward, fall back model). Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government has indicated it will respect the wish of voters.

However, they’ll be out of line with neighbours B.C. and Saskatchewan. Ontario, is also on the cusp of making the switch to permanent daylight-saving time.

As far as sleep experts are concerned, Albertans chose right on this one while other provinces may see an increase in health consequences and accidents in their new permanent daylight-saving time world.

Those same experts argue most people would be better off living on standard time instead of daylight-saving time — the hours used for summer.

Patricia Lakin-Thomas, a biologist at York University, says the only reason it’s appealing to some is that “people have more light in the afternoon” to enjoy activities.

Lakin-Thomas said everyone from golfers wanting more time on the golf course to officials wanting to conserve energy during the Second World War have liked the idea of daylight-saving time, but that “it never had any benefits.” Nor did it end up conserving energy, she added.

“It’s absolutely the wrong thing to be doing in the winter when people forget that if it’s light later in the afternoon, it’s also sunrise later in the morning,” she said.

She said to imagine the practical implications for going to work and school.

“Staying on summertime — daylight-saving time — all year round means the sun will not rise in a place like Toronto until 9 a.m.,” Lakin-Thomas said.

“In parts of Alberta, the sun isn’t going to rise until about 10 a.m. (on permanent daylight-saving time).”

Michael Antle, a professor of psychology at the University of Calgary, says standard time matches people’s circadian rhythm better than daylight-saving time.

“Our body clock has to follow the sun, and that’s the only thing it can do,” he said. “When your social clock is offset from what the sun is doing, then that leads to what they call social jet lag.

“That’s when diseases can increase, on the job accidents can increase and people just aren’t functioning optimally,” he added.

Research has found that people can experience higher rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes if the circadian rhythm is out of line, said Antle.

“People who have later sunsets sleep less,” he said.

But what Antle is more concerned about is collisions. In the winter, people will be getting up before their circadian clock is ready, he said.

“That’s going to have sleepy workers, sleepy students and sleepy drivers,” he said.

Ontario is currently waiting to proclaim a bill it passed in 2020 that would also see exactly it move to permanent daylight-saving time.

In a statement to the Star, Ministry of the Attorney General spokesperson Kerstie Schreyer said Ontario would proclaim the bill — Bill 214, Time Amendment Act, 2020 — once neighbouring jurisdictions such as Quebec and New York also make the switch.

This would be done to “ensure coordination in areas such as trade, the stock markets and broadcasting,” said Schreyer.

Like Alberta, B.C. also put the daylight-saving time question to its citizens, although in a survey.

An overwhelming majority of respondents said “yes” in 2019, with 93 per cent supporting the move to permanent daylight savings. Premier John Horgan’s government passed legislation that would slot the province in line with neighbouring U.S. states.

In the U.S., some of those states, such as Washington and Oregon, also signalled the desire to switch, but time changes like that must be approved by the federal government.

B.C.’s switch to permanent daylight-saving time has been pushed ahead due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Saskatchewan already effectively observes daylight-saving time and doesn’t switch its clocks, making things awkward for residents of Lloydminster, a town that straddles the Albertan border with Saskatchewan.

The town of roughly 30,000 falls out of step with Saskatchewan for much of the year when it changes its clocks in line with Alberta.

Kieran Leavitt is an Edmonton-based political reporter for the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @kieranleavitt

Source : Toronto Star More   

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