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December 10, 2017
October 2, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Monday, October 2, 2017

We will not be divided

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Images from Edmonton’s vigil Sunday evening. photos: Twitter

The story to watch right now in Edmonton is obvious, after a man attacked the city Saturday night, stabbing a police officer outside the football game and later driving a cube van into people walking downtown while he was fleeing police.

Even though the violence is over, this story is going to continue to evolve and newsrooms will add more details as information is confirmed and searched-out. While Edmonton’s newsrooms are all trustworthy, the rush to find information and fill in the story can make for mistakes or unconfirmed reports. Keep On The Media’s excellent guide to breaking news handy and use it before sharing information on social media gives the wrong details more volume.

In terms of following the news, your best bet is likely to stick with local newsrooms you already turn to for regular coverage of Edmonton. Postmedia (the Journal and Sun) and the CBC have the largest newsrooms, and will likely lead the way with number of stories and updates, so you’ll probably see their links shared the most as the story continues. Please ignore anything from sites you wouldn’t normally be reading and visiting because they’re hate-mongering, racist or actual fake news, even if they’re shared by people you know on Facebook.

Saturday night was also a good reminder of how vital social media, especially Twitter, can be in breaking news situations. Reporters from all of Edmonton’s newsrooms were on the scenes with details and information for the public, Edmonton Police and other governmental accounts were updating people on where they could or couldn’t be and what we needed to know. It was frenzied, but there was good and important information coming out, and for the most part Edmontonians were sharing what need to be shared as quickly as possible.

There will be another aspect to this story as it evolves, and it’s going to take more strength and courage than carrying on with our daily activities or what police agencies will need to figure out what happened. There is going to be more public hate, racism, xenophobia and Islamaphobia in Edmonton. This is what we must be truly vigilant against in the coming days.

We know we already have hate here, but an event like this is going to amplify voices in Edmonton (and Alberta, and Canada) we’d rather not remember live here too. And it’s going to see people who might otherwise have been quietly hateful become publicly angry, fearful and spread hate, racism and Islamophobia. You and me are going to need to call this out, report it and shut it down, even if it might fracture some relationships (this one is basically for my fellow white people). We need more love and kindness right now, not anger and hate.

As most of our leaders have already said, Edmonton will be stronger when we stand together with everyone who will fight hate. We must now all make sure Edmonton doesn’t allow a tiny seed of evil to grow into something more violent and ruin (or take) more innocent lives, particularly those of our Muslim and Somali neighbours who have done nothing wrong.

We must stand together, Edmonton. We will not be divided.


Edmonton election

City Hall, image: Edmonton Elections

Yes, even though what’s happened in our city over the weekend will consume a lot of our thoughts (and media), we have to get back to doing everything we were doing Friday and Saturday afternoon. The municipal elections are still just two weeks away, and choosing the right leaders feels as important as ever.

Along with candidate forums where everyone running in a particular ward will share their vision for Edmonton’s future, there have been a few different forums, like the one focused on infill. This one was open to all candidates running for city council and had a mix of representation from around the city. It also wasn’t too formal, with candidates all around the room answering questions about how Edmonton’s older neighbourhoods can increase density. This is probably one of the only issues that has a direct impact in every single ward.

(More on forums below, in our “public engagement” section.)

Also, check out our new election post 👉with links to places you can read all sorts of stories like the ones we’ve been sharing here in Headlines the last couple of weeks. It’s also got links to all the Edmonton Elections information you’ll need to find out where you vote, who your candidates are and what they think about stuff (via election forum videos).

A lot of the coverage has been on city council races, but don’t forget about the school boards! Some principals got a little to excited about the election, as did some candidates, and there have had to be some reminders about politics in schools.

Edmonton’s got three different family duos running for office this year. Normally we might be lucky to see one pair of family members running, but three at once is well above average. (We did have a husband and wife run for different school board seats in 2010.)

Some candidates are talking about Accidental Beach. The next city council will decide what to do about the unexpected river attraction.

If you like your politics in podcast form, you’ve got a few options this week. The Edmonton Journal’s Press Gallery shifted from the provincial scene to take a look at municipal politics. The Broadcast, of course, has an episode about our pending election. And there’s also local politics on High Level Showdown.


Around the city

What are we measuring when we talk about transportation projects? “On Jasper Avenue, Edmonton is measuring driving times. That’s it.”

That was, of course, on full display when changes were made mid-summer on a pilot project because drivers were waiting a few extra seconds.

You can see some reaction to the kinds of things Dr. Karen Lee was talking about at the Connectivity event on the weekend on Twitter. She’s a former Edmontonian with a lot of experience in place-building and thinking about roads and neighbourhoods differently. That quote from her above about Jasper Avenue really hits home when we see the election discussions about LRT and bike lanes. If we aren’t measuring how these projects really change our city, beyond driving times for people in personal vehicles, how can we ever actually have the right kinds of conversations? This is a huge question to carry forward with the new city council we elect in two weeks.

Speaking of measuring the right things (or, at least, more things), this story about how the downtown bike lanes are “taking away parking” exposes the fact we aren’t looking for what changes about people’s habits, their spending at downtown businesses or other potential health, economic and planning outcomes. The conversation is about flow of personal vehicles and parking (lots on parking!). Interestingly, the story flirts with the idea that event nights at the new arena actually create a lot of parking pressures, and give people the impression parking rules are confusing and have unpredictable cost. Rightly or wrongly, that feels like the bigger issues to tackle here instead of thinking a few bike lanes have somehow completely transformed Edmonton’s downtown. And then let’s measure all kinds of stuff too!

Proposed annexation land, image: City of Edmonton

The Edmonton-Beaumont annexation fight will continue. After Edmonton announced success with Leduc County on a major annexation, there was still some land around Beaumont left hanging. Both Edmonton and Beaumont want it. The town to Edmonton’s south has made moves to develop the land, but was recently rebuffed by the capital region board.

With its official application for the Leduc lands, the City of Edmonton has also made it official that it still wants the land Beaumont currently holds. We’re not talking about a lot of land, but it could be important to either municipality in land development and increasing the tax base. We’ll have to see who gets elected mayor in Beaumont and if they can work with Edmonton’s mayor (99% sure that will still be Don Iveson) to find a deal that works for both municipalities.

Alberta’s minimum wage went up again on the weekend. We’re now one year away from a minimum wage of $15, which will be the envy of a lot of jurisdictions around North America (sadly?).  As with other jurisdictions that raise the minimum wage, there’s a lot of pushback from business and conservative circles.

While it can definitely be argued that there are plenty of other government supports, programs, rebates, funding and even a living wage that could help lift people out of poverty, we don’t have all of that working for us right now so increasing the minimum wage is a good thing for people who need it (and then maybe we could get to work on better poverty-reducing tools). The labour minister is standing by the decision too, noting that the economy has been improving even as the wage has gone up and Alberta is going to hit $15 next year.


Public engagement

Monday

Alright, Ward 7 and Ward 8, you’re up. Both wards have their official election forums tonight, running 7 – 9 p.m. The Ward 7 forum is at St. Bernadette Elementary School and Ward 8 candidates will be debating over at McNally Composite High School.

As with all of the official candidate forums, Edmonton’s NextGen is gathering politically-minded folks before each one for pizza, pints and politics. Before the Ward 7 event you can meet at Drake Cafe Lili’s Pad, 5 – 6:45 p.m. Ward 8 folks can meet at the Dogwood Cafe-Riverside, 5 – 6:30 p.m. Both groups then head over to the forums.

There’s also a forum in Ward 10 Monday night, hosted by the Parkallen Community League. It also  7 – 9 p.m. and is at Parkallen School.

Tuesday

The first big mayoral forum of the election is Tuesday, at Harry Ainlay Composite High School. The event runs three hours, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. We’ll need all that time too, since we’ve got 13 candidates running for mayor.

Remember, you can watch all of the forums live as they happen, and the video will be uploaded after too. You won’t miss anything your candidates say!

Also, the Edmonton Catholic School District has uploaded short videos from each candidate. Meet the campaigners and hear what they’re about. (We should see video from the public school board soon.)

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