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November 20, 2017
October 13, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, October 13, 2017

A break from the election

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

Let’s catch up on stories from around Edmonton that aren’t the election. Next week’s Headlines will probably be nothing but election, so it’s nice to remember there’s still other stuff going on, as well as still keep an eye on other issues. (Plus, we’ve got two posts for you to find everything you need on the big issues of this election and where to find background and information for your own vote.) 

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It’s been less than two weeks since a violent attack in Edmonton, and people in our city’s Muslim and Somali communities are experiencing hateful backlash. It was in the days following the incident when these fears were first being expressed, especially for women who are more visible wearing a hijab

These are often already vulnerable communities, often with people new to the city, or Canada, trying to find a way to start new lives. I know if you’re reading EQ you’re not the kind of person out on the streets screaming racist things at people, but if you can do anything to stop someone else from doing it, now is the time to protect neighbours who are at risk. 

Slightly related, Edmonton Public School’s Arabic language programming is setting the stage for studies right across Alberta. Arabic will be the eighth language curriculum to be offered in the province.  

No, Edmontonians are not just acting racist to Muslims, Somalis (and likely other people of colour), we’re also being (openly) racist to Indigenous people. A woman here for school had her car defaced and has been attacked online simply for being Indigenous. You know if these stories are making the news, there are many more that are not. 

Racism also showed up on the election trail. At least three Edmonton-area candidates have seen racist attacks and hatred during the campaign. Two are in Edmonton’s Ward 9 and one is in St. Albert

As the Edmonton Institution for Women goes under scrutiny, advocates says the prison is failing Indigenous inmates and those with mental illness.  

MacEwan University’s new president, the first Indigenous woman to lead the school, wants the new consolidated downtown campus to exhibit “equity, diversity and inclusion“.

In the spirit of not just saying “Hey, Edmonton is totally being racist, have a good weekend” one place you could offer some help right now is to the Shades of Colour Community. It’s a space to “celebrate and advocate for queer and trans black folks, Indigenous folks, and people of colour (QTIBPOC)”. Shades of Colour is currently fundraising to pay for food and accessibility needs to ensure everyone has equitable access to the space. They are particularly calling on allies to help with donations.


Health stories

An Edmonton psychiatrist is being honoured by the University of Alberta for decades of working with, and for, transgender people. For years, Dr. Lorne Warneke was one of the few doctors in western Canada working with patients with gender dysphoria. He’s also been an advocate for LGBTQ issues, promoting gender teaching at the U of A and opening the city’s first gender clinic. 

Coinciding with International Coming Out Day, a survey of transgender youth got a special Alberta-specific release of data. The survey shows that young transgender people face violence, discrimination and barriers to healthcare. The provincial government is promising some related updates to health programming this fall. 

Another survey, this one the annual Vital Signs report, finds that one-in-five Edmontonians is feeling socially isolated and more people lack connections to communities and groups. The City of Edmonton has recently started working on mental health and social isolation issues, but the program has a pretty minimal budget and it won’t achieve a lot of its goals without more support

In more positive health news, CapitalCare Norwood is getting a boost of funding from the Alberta government and will be expanding its number of beds in many areas of continuing care.


City news

We’re already looking ahead at some of Edmonton’s next pressing issues (that haven’t been election issues) with a potential traffic study on 75 Street, considering a widening the road. With the LRT soon to pick people up throughout the southeast, it seems like widening 75 Street would be an homage to induced demand only, but I guess we’ll see what the next city council thinks.  

image: High Level Line

The idea of building some kind of shared-use path and/or park across the High Level Bridge continues to pick up steam. It’s an idea that started getting kicked around last year, after changes to the bridge reduced the space for people to walk and bike. The idea to re-purpose the top of a rail bridge into park space comes from New York, although most pitches include Edmonton keeping the streetcar running across the top of the bridge. 

In less exciting development news, Queen Mary Park continues to face a wall of north downtown and Oliver building butts. The Oliver Square West-West Brewery District hasn’t done any better designing something that allows Queen Mary Park to feel connected with neighbouring communities south of 104 Avenue. 

A fight over a daycare in Westmount is over, at least officially. The daycare will go ahead, even after neighbours complained about parking and traffic (which were part of the legal challenges) and “the noise of children playing“. Make sure those kids get some City permits!

Dog attacks, and which breeds are more violent, are an issue which usually brings with it a lot of emotion. So, when we’ve got data showing pit bulls are a problem, it might make it easier to do something about the animals in public. 

Homeless Connect is back this weekend. It’s a twice-yearly event that offers a number of services to people who are homeless, and it’s an absolutely worthwhile effort driven by volunteers. As the weather gets colder, it gets more dangerous for people to be living outside, which is an issue in an Edmonton. The city is waiting on provincial and federal governments to put more money into affordable and supportive housing programs, which is obviously needed from the 1,700 camps cleaned up in the river valley this year alone. That’s nearly six camps every day.

You’re going to keep seeing changes to policing and security at major events, and some festivals, after reviews following the September 30 attack in Edmonton.


Business stories

Here’s a good feature on some of Edmonton’s restaurant black holes – locations that always seem to fail to bring their owners success. Speaking of restaurant failures, most of Alberta’s Chili’s will close.

As the next legislative session gets closer, we’ll start seeing more items rolling out from the provincial government. New rules about buying condos are coming, and you can still get in your feedback for rules about living in condos

We had just been talking about how pay-at-the-pump rules could save the lives of people working in gas stations… and a new death will bring in legislation to protect these employees.


In the arts

DEDfest is hoping this isn’t its last year. The small film festival is challenging the way the Edmonton Arts Council hands out festival grants, both in terms of who selects winners and how much money is tied to a festival’s budget. If we give big festivals more money, are we hindering small and new festivals from succeeding

The show is over for CBC’s sketch comedy program The Irrelevant Show. It got canceled before a new season could begin, so you’ve already heard the last of it on the airwaves.  

 


Public engagement

I know, I know, this is supposed to be an election-free zone. But I wanted to let you know about an election night event before the weekend started, in case you were looking for something to do Monday. CBC Edmonton is hosting a free, live show at the Garneau Theatre, 7 – 10 p.m. 

Now that we’re back talking about the vote, this is probably the mayoral meme of Edmonton’s election.

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