The vibrant community of Fort McMurray – A statement in the Senate

Posted June 5th, 2014 in blog, Statement by Doug Black

Yesterday, I delivered a statement in the Senate about the wonderful community of Fort McMurray, in recognition of the opening of its new airport terminal next week.

This new addition to the community, as well as the twinning of the highway from Edmonton, further symbolize the exciting growth in this community that is so critical to Canada’s prosperity.

You can listen to my statement below.


Canada Post Drops Parcel Surcharge to Fort McMurray

Posted January 14th, 2014 in blog by Doug Black

CanadaPost14Yesterday, Canada Post reversed its plan to impose a $5 surcharge for all parcel deliveries to Fort McMurray (see article below).

I would like to thank the many people, in Fort McMurray and across Canada, for expressing their opposition to this discriminatory surcharge. I would also like to thank Canada Post for their reconsideration.

As I said in my letter to Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra, Canada Post has a mandate to provide equal service to Canadians wherever they live. The people of Fort McMurray and their friends and family across Canada should expect and demand no less.

There’s no doubt that Canada Post faces a challenging business environment, but that problem won’t be solved by targeting one specific community.


Canada Post retreated Monday from its plan to add a $5 surcharge on parcels to Fort McMurray following an outcry from disgruntled residents.

The Crown corporation confirmed last week it had planned to introduce the new fee for the northern Alberta city, suggesting the standard rates did not adequately reflect delivery costs.

The surcharge would have been assessed on business clients beginning Monday and residential customers in February, but a loud and sustained backlash from the community has apparently prompted Canada Post to backtrack.

The proposal “unfortunately caused concern and confusion in the market. As a result, Canada Post has withdrawn the surcharge,” Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier said in a prepared statement. “Going forward, Canada Post will rely on its normal pricing mechanisms for parcels to ensure we continue to offer good value in the highly competitive parcel delivery market.”

Recent problems with mail delivery in Fort McMurray no doubt fuelled the backlash, as customers in the area began complaining about subpar service over Christmas. Canada Post has acknowledge the problems, saying it has had difficulty retaining staff in the oilsands hub.

Fort McMurray resident and former Chamber of Commerce president Jon Tupper said he was pleased Canada Post listened to residents and reversed its decision.

“You don’t have to go very far to hear people complaining about missed packages or missed deliveries,” he said. “Then to find out they were going to charge a $5 surcharge for service below what other Canadians would expect, it kind of created a perfect storm.

“We’re pleased that Canada Post did take the time to listen to what was a very strong and united voice of the community, and I hope they continue to listen a little bit deeper to the service frustrations that we’ve had.”

My letter to Canada Post about their $5 Delivery Surcharge to Fort McMurray

Posted January 13th, 2014 in blog by Doug Black

CanadaPost14Recently, Canada Post imposed a $5 surcharge on parcel deliveries to Fort McMurray.

Canada Post has a mandate to provide equal service to Canadians wherever they live. The people of Fort McMurray and their friends and family across Canada should expect and demand no less.

I wrote a letter to the CEO of Canada Post asking him to recall the $5 surcharge (read below). I encourage you to write and ask the same:

Deepak Chopra
Chief Executive Officer
Canada Post
1200-2701 Riverside Dr.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0B1

Read my letter to the editor on this issue published by Fort McMurray Today

Dear Mr. Chopra,
I am writing to express my concern with a Canada Post decision that affects my constituents in Fort McMurray.
The discriminatory $5 surcharge on parcels shipped to Fort McMurray is an insult to a community that is one of the pillars of Canada’s prosperity.
Fort McMurray’s economic contributions reach across the country, from Victoria to St. John’s. Like any other Canadian community, Fort McMurray is already paying its fair share towards the operations of Canada Post.
Canada Post has a mandate to provide equal service to Canadians wherever they live. The people of Fort McMurray and their friends and family across Canada should expect and demand no less.
There’s no doubt that Canada Post faces a challenging business environment, but that problem won’t be solved by targeting one specific community.
I urge you to recall the $5 surchage on parcels shipped to Fort McMurray.
Thank you for your consideration.
The Hon. Doug Black, QC
Senator for Alberta

Interview with Fort McMurray’s Mix 103.7, Oct. 3

Posted October 22nd, 2013 in blog by Doug Black

My Northern Alberta Tour – October 2&3, 2013

Posted October 5th, 2013 in blog, Event by Doug Black

I’ve had the privilege of travelling across the province this summer to connect with Albertans and hear about the issues of importance to them. I want to thank everyone I met on this trip who reminded me why I ran for the Senate: to represent your interests in Ottawa and help to build a better Alberta and a better Canada.


photo 3In Edmonton I met with Premier Alison Redford to discuss how we can bring Canadians together to discuss our shared energy future. Advocating for responsible energy development and telling our province’s story is my top priority as a Senator representing Alberta. I also met with Minister of Service Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Aboriginal Relations Robin Campbell, and Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.

Finally, I had an informative briefing from Alberta Innovates Vice President Richard Wayken. We discussed the work that they are doing to ensure Alberta remains the world leader in the development of pipeline safety innovations, such as participating in the Canadian Pipeline Technology Collaborative.

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

photo 16The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is one of Canada’s most dynamic communities and a major driver of our economy. As I argued in a statement in the Senate earlier this year, securing market access for the energy produced in this region must be an urgent priority for our country. We must not forget that getting the best price for our resources allows us to build more schools, hospitals, roads, and support the arts.

My first meeting in town was with Mayor Melissa Blake, one of Canada’s most dedicated and energetic municipal leaders. Mayor Blake has a bold vision to make RMWB a leader in sustainability through projects such as the Zero Waste Initiative. I hope that many Albertans and Canadians will come see this vibrant community for themselves when it hosts the Western Canada Summer Games in August 2015.

photo 13Next I visited the Redpoll Centre – an incubator for social profit organizations. By providing low-cost rent in a high-cost city, as well as valuable shared services and opportunities for collaboration, the Centre works to make sure that the social needs of the region are met alongside economic ones. I was able to hear from organization representatives about the great work being done by the United Way of Fort McMurraySafe Community Wood Buffalo, The HUB Family Resource Centre, Non-Profit Sector Link, Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, and ConvergenceYYM.

Later in the day I headed off for a meeting with Interim Executive Director of the Oil Sands Developers Group Lee Funke, MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin Don Scott, and Minister of Energy Ken Hughes, to discuss how the oil sands industry contributes to workforce, infrastructure and community development in the region.

Outside MacDonald Island, Canada's largest community, recreational, leisure and social centre, a tremendous place for meeting and staying active

Finally, I had the privilege of a tour of MacDonald Island with COO Tim Reid. MacDonald Island is Canada’s largest community, recreational, leisure, and social centre, and is undergoing a dramatic expansion with construction of the Shell Place addition. When I wrote my recent Letter to the Editor in response to comments made by uninformed celebrities about Fort McMurray, this is the side of our community that I wanted people to understand. MacDonald Island boasts an incredible variety of activities and is packed throughout the year, including with young families. As I told local radio station Mix 103.7, Fort McMurray is a vibrant and caring community and we need to do a better job of making sure that people here at home in Canada and around the world know that truth.

You can view more photos of my tour in the gallery below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.