Alberta NationTalk

An alternative to Just Transition: Premier Smith

Jan 26, 2023

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith invites Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to work with her to develop “Sustainable Jobs” legislation as an alternative to the proposed “Just Transition” legislation.

Dear Prime Minister:

I am writing to once again raise Alberta’s serious concerns with the proposed federal ‘Just Transition’ legislation. The world needs more Canadian energy, not less. It would be premature and ill-advised to signal the end of a vibrant, thriving industry that has the ability to reduce Canada’s and the world’s emissions through technological innovation and increased exports of LNG and other clean burning fuels the world so desperately needs. It is also critical to the security of our nation and allies to lessen dependence on fuel sources from unstable, undemocratic and dangerous countries with atrocious environmental records.

Simply put, the world needs more Canadian energy and technology, not less, and as the owner of the world’s third largest oil and gas reserves and the most advanced environmental technology on the planet – we need to signal our intention to provide substantially more of both.

According to your government’s own predictions, the federal Just Transition initiative alone will risk a full 25 percent of Alberta’s economy and 187,000 jobs in Alberta, while also causing major disruptions and displacement to 13.5 percent of Canada’s workforce. At a time when Canadians are struggling to afford basic services and goods, Canada’s oil and gas sector offers some of the highest wages in Canada, which translates to strong business and community support across the country. Signalling a move away from these types of high paying jobs, threatens the national economy, and the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers across the country at a time when good jobs are needed the most. It also creates a chilling effect on investors considering large scale investments in the Alberta and Canadian energy sector.

Prime Minister, we are at a crossroads in Alberta’s relationship with the Federal Government. We can continue with the endless court challenges, legislation to protect jurisdictional rights and inflammatory media coverage over our disagreements, or, as is my strong preference, Alberta and Ottawa can work in partnership on a plan that will signal to all Canadians and investors from around the world that our governments have cooperatively designed a series of incentives and initiatives intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Substantially decreasing Canada’s and Alberta’s net emissions;
  1. Accelerating private and public investment in projects and infrastructure that utilize and develop Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), Bitumen Beyond Combustion, Geothermal technology, petrochemicals, hydrogen, lithium, helium, zero-emissions vehicles and nuclear technologies;
  1. Attracting and growing a larger skilled workforce to fill positions in both the conventional energy sector as well as emerging industries using the technologies cited above; and
  1. Significantly, and through the lens of global emissions reduction, increasing the export of LNG and other responsibly developed conventional oil and natural gas resources to Europe, Asia and the United States.

Prime Minister, all of the above objectives need to be clearly articulated and integrated into any Federal legislation or policies your government seeks to implement in the coming months, or that legislation will face irrepressible opposition from Alberta. I genuinely do not want to see that happen.

Further, this proposed legislation must be developed through cooperative discussions with affected provinces – namely Alberta. I would therefore invite you to meet with me in February on this matter, after which I would propose we have our appropriate ministers and officials meet repeatedly in the coming months with the goal of coming to a joint agreement on the key items to be included in your contemplated legislation so that it can be introduced and passed by the end of Spring.

Further, I request that you take to heart, and acknowledge publicly, the following items, in an extension of good faith to Albertans:

  1. Immediately drop the verbiage of “Just Transition”. Accordingly, rename the “Just Transition Act” to the “Sustainable Jobs Act”;
  1. Vow that all provisions of any forthcoming legislation will be designed to incentivize investment and job growth in both the conventional energy sector as well as in emerging industries utilizing Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), Bitumen Beyond Combustion, petrochemicals, hydrogen, lithium, helium, geothermal, zero-emissions vehicle and nuclear technologies;
  1. Demonstrate that no provision of the Act will be designed to phase out or reduce Alberta’s conventional oil and natural gas sector and workforce (as we are already experiencing a workforce shortage in this sector);
  1. Commit your Government to actively partnering with Alberta to expand LNG exports to Asia and Europe as part of our nation’s overall emissions reduction strategy; and
  1. Promise that you and your Government will work with Alberta in partnership to set reasonable and meaningful emissions reductions targets and will not unilaterally impose such targets on Alberta’s energy, agriculture and other industrial sectors on a go forward basis.

Investments by Alberta’s oil and natural gas industry are driving the creation of the very clean technologies needed to bring emissions down both in Canada and around the world. Oil and natural gas companies representing the majority of production in Canada are investing $24 billion on projects to help reduce annual GHG emissions from operations by 22 million tonnes by 2030, and have committed to emission neutrality by 2050. Putting an end to or hampering this important work, and continued tepid support for increased LNG export, is the best way for your government to fail in its goal of reducing our nation’s and the world’s emissions. It would be the ultimate example of scoring on our own net.

The Alberta energy sector has grown and thrived through innovation, providing good paying jobs for thousands and contributing billions of dollars in tax revenue for all levels of government.  They will continue to evolve and adapt to new technologies in search of new low to zero-emitting fuel sources like hydrogen and provide new, high-paying skilled jobs for decades to come. It is essential that the federal government stands shoulder to shoulder with Alberta to reduce emissions and continue to develop our oil and natural gas and future energy sources responsibly, while also positioning Canada as the optimal solution to global energy needs and security.

Prime Minister, we can and must work together. Operating in political silos, as adversaries on this issue, is getting us nowhere, and I believe all Canadians are tired of seeing it. Canada should be the world’s greatest energy superpower. It can be, if we come together collaboratively in pursuit of that objective. There is no limit to our nation’s potential.

Let’s turn the page starting with a meeting between us next month followed by a dedicated effort to craft “Sustainable Jobs” legislation that a vast majority of Albertans and Canadians will welcome and support. The consequences of missing this opportunity will be dire for the Canadian and Alberta economies, workforce and environment.

I look forward to your prompt reply.


First Nations say Alberta’s oilsands mine security reform unlikely to fix problems – National Post

Jan 26, 2023

EDMONTON — Alberta is preparing to change how it ensures oilsands companies are able to pay for the mammoth job of cleaning up their operations, but critics fear a year of consultations hasn’t been enough to avoid repeating past mistakes.

“There’s no signal to me from this government that they are going to hold industry accountable for clean-up costs,” said Melody Lepine of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, one of the Indigenous groups consulted.

Official estimates price that cleanup at $33 billion while internal estimates from the Alberta Energy Regulator put it closer to $130 billion. Even at the lower figure, industry has only put up about four per cent of the money required, a percentage that is shrinking as the liability grows.

After two highly critical reports from the province’s auditor general, Alberta’s United Conservative government began considering reforms to the Mine Financial Security Program in January 2022 through a series of meetings with industry and area First Nations.

Read More:

Community, industry and policy leaders call for action to conquer Canada’s Indigenous digital divide – UCalgary News

UCalgary prof Gregory Taylor advises summit on social implications of communications policy

It’s a bleak statistic. While 97 per cent of households in Canada’s largest cities enjoy high-speed internet, that number falls to 37 per cent in rural areas, and just 24 per cent in Indigenous communities.

“Current spectrum management policies are contributing to Canada’s deep digital divide,” write western Canadian Indigenous leaders James Hobart and Cindy Woodhouse in Policy Options. “This lack of connectivity exacerbates socio-economic inequities, including business opportunities, employment, education, and physical and mental health.”

While the tide is slowly turning, the gap remains troubling for a key group of Indigenous leaders, digital network operators, and policymakers. The group, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit, met recently in Winnipeg to identify actions to narrow the gap, improving access to fast, affordable internet in often remote First Nations communities.

Read More:

Tainted milk led to deaths of Alberta residential school children, group says – CBC

Jan 24, 2023

First Nation group intends to excavate what it believes to be a mass grave

A new report suggests tainted, unpasteurized milk was responsible for the deaths of many First Nations children at an Alberta residential school.

The conclusion comes from a preliminary report released Tuesday by the Acimowin Opaspiw Society. The Saddle Lake Cree Nation formed the group in 2021 to investigate unmarked burial sites of the Blue Quills residential school in Alberta.

The organization has been gathering testimony and sifting through documents provided by the Catholic Church to produce the report with some of its early findings.

“It appears as though people like to accept the fact that these children just died of tuberculosis because First Nations people are natural carriers of tuberculosis and that is a farce,” Leah Redcrow, executive director for the society, said at a news conference held at the Sacred Heart cemetery grounds in Saddle Lake.

Read More:

Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities don’t trust City of Calgary: report – Global News

January 24, 2023

Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities in Calgary do not trust city staff, administration and council to achieve their anti-racism goals, a city administration report has found.

The report, which was first presented to council on Tuesday, said many of the 2,500 Calgarians surveyed in a community engagement process indicated that racism and discrimination are widespread in the city.

Indigenous, Black and other people of colour (BIPOC) expressed distrust towards the City of Calgary because there have not been meaningful changes to address systemic racism in the past, the report read.

Dr. Linda Kongnetiman, managing lead of the city’s anti-racism program, said more work needs to be done to combat racism in the city.

“No more talking, we need to take action,” said Kongnetiman.

Read More:

Fewer than half of Indigenous students graduate on time from Edmonton public high schools – CBC

Jan 25, 2023

83 per cent of Alberta students finish high school in 3 years, provincial reports show

Indigenous students in Edmonton continue to have lower high school graduation rates than their non-Indigenous peers.

Annual education results reports, which include statistics from Alberta Education for 2021-22, show that more than 80 per cent of Edmonton public school and Catholic school students finish high school on time, but the completion rates are significantly lower for students who self-identify as First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI).

According to the reports, 67 per cent of FNMI students in Edmonton Catholic schools and 47 per cent of those in Edmonton public schools completed high school in three years. The province-wide three-year high school completion rate for FNMI students was 60 per cent.

The three-year completion rates for FNMI students decreased slightly for both school divisions since the previous school year but they have been increasing over the longer term.

Read More:

RMWB – It’s Time to Read Book Club begins 2023 with bestselling memoir: In My Own Moccasins

January 23, 2023

Join the It’s Time to Read Book Club as it explores In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience, Helen Knott’s fearless account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence.

First published in 2019, the national bestseller was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, and won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Indigenous Peoples’ Publishing. Knott’s debut memoir is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

About the Book Club

Featuring the works and voices of Indigenous authors, the book club is a partnership of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and the Wood Buffalo Regional Library (WBRL) and is part of ongoing efforts to build more understanding and awareness of Indigenous culture, history, and current issues.

Book club members regularly explore and discuss story themes and share thoughts through discussion forums, polls, and other methods. All are welcome to join; however, it is important to note that books may contain adult content, including but not limited to adult language and themes, and violence.

Join the conversation

You can find more information about the book club on the municipal website or join the conversation on the club’s Facebook Page.


About the author

Helen Knott is an Indigenous poet-writer, grassroots activist, leader, social worker, and educator from the Prophet River First Nation. In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience is her first book. In 2016, Helen was one of 16 global change makers featured by the Nobel Women’s Initiative for being committed to ending gender-based violence. In 2019, she was selected as an RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author. Her second book, Becoming a Matriarch, is slated for release in 2023.

Contact us


9909 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta T9H 2K4

T. 780-743-7000

Toll Free 1-800-973-9663

Media Inquiries

Media Inquiries Form

T. 780-743-7000


Indigenous women’s association launches campaign to change Canadian $20 bills – Western Standard

January 24, 2023

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) announced it will be launching the Change the Bill campaign, a call to action to promote reconciliation through art.

“Change The Bill is not just about placing an indigenous woman on a banknote, it is about recognizing the contributions and significance of indigenous women in Canada and creating a more inclusive society,” said NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx in a Monday press release.

“Educating future generations about the contributions of indigenous women and fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of their significance creates a more just and equitable society for all Canadians.”

Read More:

Axxcelus Closes 1600 Hectare Land Acquisition for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128

Transaction provides opportunity to transition newly acquired land into reserve land to support community growth

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan. 24, 2023 — Axxcelus Capital Fund (“Axxcelus” or “the Company”), as advisor to Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 (“WFLFN” or “the Nation”), is proud to announce the closing of the Nation’s land acquisition. The Nation acquired over 2,600 Hectares of deeded fee simple land and 95 contiguous grazing leases located adjacent to the north and northeast portions of the Nation’s home reserve. The Nation is located 125 kilometers northwest of Edmonton, Alberta.

This newly acquired land and grazing leases will support the Nation’s growth for years to come. In the near-term the land will allow for a 1900% expansion of WFLFN’s cattle operations, providing significant economic and employment opportunities, in addition to added food security for the Nation. In the long term, the land may be converted to reserve land to support housing for the expansion of WFLFN’s membership. This purchase also provides WFLFN with almost 100 new grazing leases for cattle, allowing for cattle grazing from the west and southwest borders of the reserve all the way to the north and northeast borders.

“Today’s announcement is a monumental one for our proud Nation,” says Stan Houle, Chief of Whitefish Lake First Nation #128. “This deal is a significant step for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 along our path to self-determination and economic renewal, and I could not be more excited to see the many ways our community will grow and thrive for years to come as a result of this transaction.”

Axxcelus was named as exclusive advisor on behalf of the Nation on this transaction. As a firm with a mandate to help to facilitate and support Indigenous ownership of major assets and capital project, the Company is extremely proud to have played such a pivotal role in this transaction.

“On behalf of the entire team at Axxcelus, we want to extend our congratulations to Chief Houle and the entire Whitefish Lake First Nation #128,” said Paul Poscente, CEO of Axxcelus. “We are happy to support the Nation’s vision and are excited to see what the future holds for WFLFN, knowing that the impact this deal will have for the community will be far-reaching and long-lasting.”

Financing for the deal was provided by the First Nations Bank of Canada, the first Canadian chartered bank to be independently controlled by Indigenous shareholders with its primary focus on providing financial services to the Indigenous marketplace in Canada.

“Since our founding in 1996, we have been solely focused on delivering value and providing best-in-class services to our customers as the Indigenous economy continues to grow,” said Keith Martell, CEO of First Nations Bank of Canada. “This deal is emblematic of the type of strategic transaction we are happy to support as we continue to champion Indigenous prosperity across the country.”

“We are very pleased with the First Nation Bank of Canada for providing the financing for this historic investment, as well as the high quality of work and professionalism of Axxcelus in assisting us to make it happen. This land purchase represents an important investment for our nation for generations to come. The increased land base will allow the Goodfish Lake Business Corporation to significantly expand our cattle operations, and will provide other economic opportunities for Whitefish Lake First Nation #128 in the future,” said Tom Jackson, CEO, Goodfish Lake Business Corporation.

About Axxcelus Capital Fund:
Axxcelus structures and finances Indigenous ownership in major Canadian projects. Current Indigenous Community client projects include: Renewable and Non-Renewable Power Generation, Energy Storage, Energy Infrastructure, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage, on reserve infrastructure, and land acquisition.

For more information about Axxcelus, please visit

Media inquiries:
Shauna MacDonald
Brookline Public Relations, Inc.


Edmonton opens new shelter as numbers of people without safe lodging continues to climb – APTN News

Jan 23, 2023

An old hotel in Edmonton is being used to house people who don’t have a safe place to shelter from the cold this winter.

The Jasper Place Wellness Centre is operating the shelter after it received permission from Talltree First Nation – the owner of the Bedfort Inn and Suites – and $7.5 million from the City of Edmonton.

The goal is to keep people safe – and find permanent housing.

Taylor Soroka, co-founder of Jasper, said the shelter will have 59 rooms for “people who are currently experiencing homelessness and are working with our housing first teams will be the first people to move in, as they work their path to find permanent housing that meets their needs.”

Soroka said the entire 209 spaces will be filled by mid-February.

“Sixty-two per cent of individuals we serve are Indigenous. So our goal in this partnership is to open the door for Indigenous leaders to take control of some of the narrative, create cultural space on site, and better serve their people,” she told APTN News.

Read More:

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More