Current Affairs

Alberta temporarily drops 13-cent-a-litre gas tax April 1 to provide some relief at the pumps

The Alberta government is temporarily ending the collection of its 13-cent-a-litre gas tax as of April 1 in an attempt to help Albertans dealing with increasing fuel costs.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Monday that the fuel tax, which covers both gasoline and diesel, will be paused when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil is more US$90/barrel. When the price of WTI is less than $80/barrel the fuel tax will be put back in place.

WTI was hovering above $118/barrel Monday.

Kenney also announced that almost all families will also receive a $150 rebate applied directly to their electricity bill. That rebate will come “as soon as possible” Kenney said, after the government passes the required legislation.

The average price of gas in Alberta sat at $1.56.7/litre Monday morning, up nearly 44 cents from last year’s average…read more.

  • Kremlin officials told the Russian outlet Agency they didn’t know Putin was going to invade Ukraine.
  • Sources said the Kremlin prepared for smaller sanctions over its recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk.
  • “Everything is fucked,” a source close to Putin’s administration told Agency.

Kremlin officials say they didn’t know Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine, and were shocked by the severity of Western sanctions imposed upon it, the independent Russian investigative outlet Agency reported.

One unnamed senior official said people in the Kremlin “did not know” that it would be an all-out invasion and that many were shocked when news of the military assault broke, the outlet said.

In the run-up to the invasion, Putin’s cabinet had only prepared to deal with Western sanctions introduced over Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk on February 21, not for an invasion, a source close to Putin’s administration told Agency.

After Russia invaded, countries including the US and UK, as well as the EU, sanctioned Russian entities and individuals, seizing assets belonging to those closest to Putin and ejecting Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial system…read more.

Most Canadians say Canada should back Ukraine against Russia: poll

The past couple of weeks have given Canadians an opportunity to follow an international story that is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic or to political theatre in the United States.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has compelled Canadians of all backgrounds to review their knowledge of geography and seek credible sources of information.

When Research Co. and Glacier Media asked Canadians last weekend about the unfolding situation, two-thirds (66%) said they were following news stories related to the international crisis between Ukraine and Russia “very closely” or “moderately closely.”

In Canada, where more than 1.25 million inhabitants identify as Ukrainian, the invasion takes on a different meaning than in other parts of the world. Interest in the crisis is significant across the entire country, starting at 63% in both Alberta and Atlantic Canada and climbing to 65% in Ontario, 66% in British Columbia, 69% in Quebec and 71% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba…read more.

FIFA suspends Russia from World Cup, UEFA throws teams out of European competition

Russia have been kicked out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by FIFA after the world governing body and the European association, UEFA, issued a joint statement to confirm that all Russian national teams and clubs have been suspended until further notice following the invasion of Ukraine.

Amid growing pressure from European nations and the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and UEFA confirmed Monday that Russia would have no involvement in the upcoming World Cup playoffs — Russia were due to play Poland in a semifinal ahead of a potential final against Sweden or the Czech Republic in March — and that the Russia women’s team would be removed from the European Championships due to be staged in England in July.

Spartak Moscow have also been removed from the Europa League, meaning round of 16 opponent RB Leipzig will be handed a bye to the quarterfinals of the competition.

In a further move, UEFA confirmed that it was canceling its deal with sponsor Gazprom — the Russian energy company — which is worth €40 million a year to the organisation…read more.

Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine

The modern state of Ukraine was formed nearly 30 years ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, the country has often made headlines due to political instability and the looming threat of a Russian invasion.

In the map graphic above, we examine Ukraine from a structural point of view. What’s the country’s population composition? What drives the country’s economy? And most importantly, why is the country important within a global context?

With a population of nearly 44 million people, Ukraine is the eighth-most populous country in Europe. For perspective, that is slightly smaller than Spain, and four times larger than Greece.

Not surprisingly, many of the country’s Russian speaking citizens live on the eastern side of the country, near the Russian border.

Ukrainians make up almost 78% of the total population, while Russians represent around 17% of the population, making it the single-largest Russian diaspora in the world…read more.