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October 22, 2017
March 3, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, March 3, 2017

Reconciliation and healing failures

Written by Jeff Samsonow

The City of Edmonton has literally tossed hearts into the trash.

What terrible optics for a city that claims to be committed to reconciliation after the commission looking into residential schools. And, optics, aside, there’s a saying that “how you do one thing is how you do everything.”

There’s much more learning to be done to help heal people in Edmonton, and these are the kinds of examples that remind us how far we still have to go. The City needs to do more to ensure all of its staff understand the importance of reconciliation.

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The federal government needs to do a better job with its Indigenous healing lodges, specifically, it needs to make sure they all have money. Some of the lodges are funded by Corrections Canada but oversight remains with Indigenous communities. These are struggling, while lodges run solely by Corrections Canada appear to have bigger budgets. This is an issue that’s been brought to the government’s attention in two different reports in the last five years.


City surplus

The City of Edmonton is sitting on more money than expected. After a fairly dry winter, without as much snow as usual, the City’s got a $64-million surplus. A big chunk of that is because of savings on snow removal.

Here’s a look at some of the spending that happened in the last half of 2016.

More accessible cabs

Edmonton’s move last year to open up the taxi and rideshare market gave us TappCar and allowed Uber to operate legally (not their usual practice in a lot of cities) and now we’ve got a taxi service for people with disabilities. Rideshare companies are great to have in Edmonton, increasing the competition and accessibility of cabs, but this new company – Pi Live – is something that really proves Edmonton is on the right track with the taxi changes.

Fish saved

The City won’t be building a new dock in Whitemud Park this summer as planned, in order to protect an important fish habitat where the North Saskatchewan River meets Whitemud Creek. It’s also a signal the City might listen to outside experts, as the Sierra Club brought forward the concern.

Back in session

The Alberta Legislature is back in session in downtown Edmonton. The NDP government opened up the new session with a Speech from the Throne.

Highlights we’re expected to see in the spring session will include Bill 1, An Act to Reduce School Fees, caps to other household spending like electricity bills, more pushes on oil pipelines, changes to the child care system and death investigations, and updating whistleblower and conflict of interest laws.

The provincial budget is set for March 16. That will start to make clearer how some of the changes proposed in the Speech from the Throne will be paid for.

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Starting today, don’t let the opposition Wildrose, or any opposition parties, politicians and critics just rant and rave about how bad they think the NDP are doing. We need to ask them for actual details and ignore all the angry bluster.

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The provincial government is also undertaking an outside review of how post-secondary schools are funded, to try and build a more functional system going forward. There’s currently a tuition freeze on, which has some schools, like the U of A and MacEwan, worrying about budget shortfalls.


Longreads worth your time

Taproot Edmonton has published its monthly story, looking at the challenges businesses face on 104 Street downtown.

There’s also a good story in the Edmonton Examiner about the “lost” world of refugees, and a Congolese family about to reunite in our city.