Alberta briefs – December 17

A collection agency has been fined after pleading guilty to making 66 phone calls to a southern Alberta man in contravention of the province’s Fair Trade Act.

Collection agency fined for making 66 calls to man who owed money

MEDICINE HAT — A collection agency has been fined after pleading guilty to making 66 phone calls to a southern Alberta man in contravention of the province’s Fair Trade Act.

NCO Financial was charged after an investigation by Service Alberta found the company breached regulations that prohibit more than three calls to a debtor in a seven-day period.

Court heard the man, who is from Medicine Hat, got 36 calls between November 2009 and January 2010, and one day was called by the collection agency phone five times.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Block told the court the man made the complaint because he “felt he was being harassed” by the agency.

NCO was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $1,900 to help cover the cost of the investigation.


Prostitute killer Svekla loses appeal

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of a prostitute killer for sexually assaulting a child.

Thomas Svekla had argued the ruling should be tossed out because the trial judge was biased against him and refused to grant a stay when police evidence was lost.

But the Appeal Court said the judge made no errors in reaching the verdict.

Svekla was convicted in March 2009 of sexually assaulting and touching a five-year-old girl in 1995.

Svekla, who has been designated a dangerous offender, is in prison for the murder of sex-trade worker Theresa Innes.


Enbridge to expand its Athabasca pipeline system

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says it will spend $200 million to expand the Athabasca Pipeline to its maximum capacity of approximately 570,000 barrels per day by 2014.

The Calgary-based company said the expansion is required to accommodate additional contractual commitments since the initial expansion was announced in September.

Stephen Wuori, president of the Enbridge’s Liquids Pipelines, said the low cost of increasing the pipeline’s capacity is one of the strengths of its regional oil sands system.

“Given recent announcements of continued growth and investment in the oil sands, this is an opportune time to capture construction economies by undertaking a single large expansion project,” he said.

Enbridge has $2.4 billion of commercially secured expansions or additions planned to the oil sands system which will go into service between 2011 to 2014.

Additional projects are under development to meet oil sands growth.

Enbridge is the leading pipeline operator in the Fort McMurray to Edmonton corridor.

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