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Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three years of reconciliation

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Today marks three years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was in Edmonton. You can attend a panel event tonight at City Hall which looks at the work of the commission and what’s happened in reconciliation since it concluded its work. On this anniversary, we know there is still a long, long way to go toward healing the pain of Canada’s Indigenous communities, including here in Edmonton.

Education will be a big part of how we move forward. The truth of how settler Canadians treated the first people here, including the awful residential school system, needs to be known. The University of Alberta is buzzing about the potential of a mandatory course on this for students. (The U of A has a free, online course anyone can take to learn some of this history.)

If you haven’t read the final report of the TRC, you can do that at its website.

Along with the panel event, Reconciliation In Solidarity Edmonton (RISE) is launching a book club, where you can read “My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell” by Arthur Bear Chief. The memoir is an account of his experience at Old Sun Residential School.

Part of the healing that has to happen will mean changing how many of our programs and systems treat Indigenous people, and help them. That includes getting the disproportionate number of Indigenous people off the streets.


Around the city

Edmonton’s core neighbourhoods are going to keep getting taller, it seems. The latest story (and tower) mentions one of the reasons that’s the case; real estate costs are driving up the price of development and with only a few lots to work with, property developers have to go up and up.

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Mill Creek is the dirtiest of Alberta’s urban creeks. The City is working to clean it up and asking more people to direct runoff water into their (rain) gardens to help keep some of it from the creek. Mill Creek could also be in for a major overhaul if a plan to “daylight” it and properly re-connect it to the North Saskatchewan River comes to fruition.

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Edmonton could see more small breweries and brewpubs thanks to more money from the provincial government to boost the craft beer business.

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Our lack of heavy or wet snow this winter encouraged the use of more leaf blowers to clear sidewalks and parking lots.

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The Edmonton Oilers are in the NHL playoffs. So weird to write that sentence.

The interesting thing to watch, from a non-hockey perspective, will be whether fans get as crazy as they did back in 2006 and if the party returns to Whyte Avenue or if downtown is the new spot to celebrate. Regardless of party location, every playoff game will mean increased costs for the Edmonton Police Service.

At least we know where we’re getting our goal songs from.


Provincial politics

Want to be leader of the Alberta Liberal Party? The only candidate to officially put their name forward is pulling out for undisclosed reasons, and Friday is the deadline to get on the ballot. So things don’t look great for that provincial party right now. (There might be two candidates, maybe?)

Another party not looking great is the newly right-leaning Progressive Conservatives (well, further right). New leader Jason Kenney appears to be willing to have students outed to their parents under the guise of “parental rights“. That is not going over well with, well, most people, but especially those who see the value in gay-straight alliances in schools.

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After stories and various announcements sort of danced around the idea the last couple of months, there is now an official call for Alberta to have just one publicly funded school system.


Public engagement

There’s a safe injection meeting happening tonight in Boyle Street. (Although it sounds a little bit like this might be one-sided, and against the idea that is proven to save lives.)