Alberta briefs – June 1

Alberta taxpayers paid the tab for a government plane that flew home Southern Alberta members of the legislature after Tory fundraising dinners in Edmonton for the past three years, the Liberals charged in the legislature.

Taxpayers on hook

for MLA planes

EDMONTON — Alberta taxpayers paid the tab for a government plane that flew home Southern Alberta members of the legislature after Tory fundraising dinners in Edmonton for the past three years, the Liberals charged in the legislature.

“After a party, after a few drinks, it is important not to drive home,” Calgary McCall Liberal Darshan Kang said in question period.

“This government obviously recognizes this because, following the last three Progressive Conservative Association fundraising dinners for the premier, this government’s MLAs flew back to Calgary following each event on taxpayer-funded planes.

“Please tell the house that it is not government policy to use taxpayer-funded planes to fly government MLAs home following Progressive Conservative fundraisers,” he asked Premier Ed Stelmach.

The Liberals tabled Alberta government flight manifest documents showing planes left Edmonton City Centre Airport late in the evening on April 30 this year, on April 24, 2008 and on April 12, 2007, and flew to Calgary, coinciding with the nights of the premier’s dinners in Edmonton.

The flights carried Southern Alberta members of the legislature, including cabinet ministers. The reasons give in all the cases were either to attend meetings with government or elected officials or to attend a news conference or event, the documents show.

The premier reacted angrily, saying the Tory party always charters planes for members of the legislature or of.

Deadbeat parents

owe $5 million

EDMONTON — Alberta’s 150 worst deadbeat parents owe a staggering $5 million in child or spousal support and the province has retooled a website in hopes of tracking down those people.

Alberta Justice officials say one deadbeat alone owes a whopping $1.2 million for child and spousal support.

The newly redesigned website seeks the public’s help in finding defaulting maintenance debtors across the province.

Justice Minister Alison Redford says child support is a responsibility, not an option.

The website lists photos of the deadbeats, their last known addresses, their occupations and physical descriptions. Among the 150 featured, many have skipped court appearances, had their driver’s licences suspended for non-payment of child or spousal support and had their files screened by a special investigations unit.

Milk containers

can be recycled

EDMONTON — Alberta is billing itself as the first jurisdiction in Canada to include milk containers in a regulated deposit-refund system.

Starting Monday, milk and liquid cream containers will be returnable to a bottle depot for refund.

For containers under one litre, the deposit will be 10 cents while containers over one litre are worth a 25 cent refund.

The goal is to encourage more people to recycle.

The current recycling rate of plastic milk jugs is 60 per cent and only 22 per cent for milk cartons.

The province hopes to improve the overall rate to 85 per cent.

“We’re always looking for ways to protect our environment by reducing waste,” said government spokeswoman Diana McQueen.

“We’ve made this change to increase recycling rates for beverage containers in Alberta and to help to foster a culture of conservation in the province.”

More than two billion beverage containers are sold in Alberta each year, and about 500 million of those are not recycled. Only marked containers identified by “AB Deposit” will be eligible for refund.

Unmarked milk and liquid cream containers bought before June 1 are not eligible for a refund, and should be recycled through local municipal recycling programs.

Sentence awaits

man over death

A Drayton Valley driver, who killed a Sylvan Lake man in late 2007 will be sentenced in the fall.

Dwayne MacLean, 36, will be sentenced on Sept. 8 after pleading guilty this week to killing the 26-year-old Sylvan Lake man whose name wasn’t released by police. The crash occurred near Edson on Dec. 8. 2007. The victim died in hospital from injuries sustained in a single vehicle rollover east of Edson on Hwy 16. MacLean was charged with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

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