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Five Tweets on Alberta’s extreme cold weather energy crisis


Extreme cold weather has rolled into Western Canada, increasing the risk of rolling blackouts in Alberta. Record-breaking temperatures have dipped below -45 C.

This past weekend, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for operating the province’s power grid, posted an urgent message on the social media platform X, declaring a “grid alert” and asking residents to conserve electricity. This was after power demand hit an all-time high.

Albertans were urged to immediately turn off lights, reduce their space heater usage, and hold off on using dishwashers or charging their electric vehicles.

The operator blamed two offline natural gas plants, and low winds and sunlight, which has resulted in a lack of renewable energy production.

Albertans were quick to come together and respond by greatly reducing their electricity usage.

Here are five tweets that show the reactions of Canadian politicians and experts on the energy crisis and the resilience of Albertans in these extraordinary circumstances.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith praised citizens for pitching in, reposting a graph from Blake Shaffer, an economics professor at the University of Calgary, which demonstrated Albertans’ immediate response. She also called renewables “unreliable”:

Professor Shaffer expanded on his initial findings with three graphs showing how Alberta’s electricity output drastically declined over the weekend from January 13th, 6:45 pm onwards:

In light of the crisis, Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe announced his province would be providing electricity to Alberta, assisting its neighbour as it weathers the extreme cold. He also criticized the Trudeau government’s climate change policy.

Federal minister and Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault who hails from an Alberta riding, called the premiers’ statements “a petty, untrue and partisan attack” and blamed the crisis on “decades of under investment in the electricity grid.”

Andrew Leach, a professor of economics at the University of Alberta, highlighted AESO’s precarious state, as extreme weather persists:

Former Conservative leader and MP Andrew Scheer joined the fray, criticizing the CBC for reporting on the benefits of electric vehicles in cold climates, as Westerners desperately conserved electricity:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault have yet to comment on Alberta’s energy crisis.

For now, major power outages in Alberta have been avoided.

Five Tweets: South Africa charges Israel with genocide dividing Liberal caucus


On December 29th, 2023, South Africa filed an 84-page application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel, claiming the state is committing genocide in Gaza, breaching the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Public hearings around South Africa’s application against Israel at the ICJ will begin today.

South Africa’s allegations have been both supported and criticized by politicians here in Canada.

Here are five tweets that illustrate the reaction abroad and at home.

The day after the application was submitted, the South African government issued a press release, which its President Cyril Ramaphosa posted on X (formerly Twitter), demonstrating its position on Israel’s actions in Gaza and the impact they have had on the civilian population.

Lior Haiat, a spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, fired back at South Africa’s application by disputing its legal basis and calling it “blood libel.”

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has spoken out against South Africa’s application, stating that, “the charge of genocide is meritless.”

In Canada, reactions have varied including with the Trudeau government’s own caucus.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather released a joint statement via X with his colleague MP Marco Mendicino that argued against South Africa’s claims.

However, not all members of the Liberal Party agree. The caucus appears split, with a handful of Liberal MPs asserting the motion should be supported. Liberal MP Salma Zahid is one of the MPs speaking out via her own statement.

Other Liberal MPs have since shown their support.

On January 9th, A Globe and Mail op-ed, written by former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Rosalie Abella, critiqued South Africa’s application against Israel as an “outrageous and cynical abuse of the principles underlying the international legal order.” Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman defended the former Supreme Court Justice while critiquing Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly for still not issuing a position.

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