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August 21, 2018
January 12, 2018

Edmonton Headlines: Friday, January 12, 2018

The week in Edmonton

Written by Jeff Samsonow

You can really tell everyone is back from the holidays now, because we’ve got a lot more stories to get to this week. Let’s start at City Hall.

It was a bit of a data dump, but the City of Edmonton has released what it has on its workplace harassment. (This follows on investigative work by Postmedia’s Elise Stolte.) The data shows men don’t see what’s happening as much as women do in toxic work environments.

I will wait for your shock to subside.

Much like we’re talking about entertainment and the arts through the #metoo movement, we need to keep expanding these calls, and this kind of digging, to all areas and all industries. If some, half, or most of your office can’t even identify harassment, the situation isn’t going to get better. 

We also need detailed data, so it can be more easily identified when women, people of colour, people with disabilities or others (who aren’t straight, white men) are being harassed, bullied, held back and pushed out.

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The City appears to be in a grey area with its rules for giving money to for-profit events and companies. Its putting up $30,000 to help 100 students attend the Make It Awkward Summit here in Edmonton. But if that money is going to the conference organizers the City is financially supporting a for-profit event. This one is going to raise some questions about the policy and how staff and politicians are interpreting the rules. It also raises questions about whether the existing event sponsorship rules are being broken or if money is flowing to corporate events in ways we haven’t even been aware of. 

The City is trying to replace its aging light poles in the next few years. One or two fall down every month. I don’t know if it’s something worth pulling out all the stops for, since we have way more dangerous issues on our roads, including crosswalks that put people in harm’s way consistently

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Are some rusted out chains and bike parts the trade-off for new bike infrastructure? If the City keeps using a salty brine to help clear snow from roads and bike lanes, that’s likely the case.

This can be the cyclist equivalent of potholes ruining car shocks! 

Our bike lanes, and expanding bike infrastructure, is likely going to keep sparking businesses like a new courier collective.

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For the first time in a long time, we’re looking at changing how some of our dog parks work and look, with fencing likely coming to more places. The Lauderdale Park example also has a new, smaller, space for shy dogs

We’ve got skinny homes, we’ve got secondary suites, and Edmonton’s next big thing is another downsized option, with tiny houses likely coming as we continue to expand our densification in older neighbourhoods.

The outgoing CEO of the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) says Edmonton needs to keep diversifying and growing its economy.  


Law and order

The Edmonton Police Commission’s third-party review of carding is under fire for relationships and statements of those doing the review. The review of the practice is supposed be done March 31 and provide the EPC with direction on how to allow officers to continue carding, if at all. 

For more on what this is all about, and why carding is seen as racial profiling, check out our latest feature story

During the carding debate last year we often heard about how police randomly stopping people and asking for their personal information was an example of community policing.

Nope. THIS is community policing

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I haven’t really written about the local news media’s issues with the Edmonton Police Service withholding names of homicide victims. It is quite the debate on public policy and the public’s right to know, and it can be argued a number of ways.

But I am very interested when the police chief admits EPS might not be doing things the same way as other Alberta police forces, even though the provincial government sets the standards for things like this. “I haven’t been following it since then. I thought we were taking a common approach. You’ve done your homework.”

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A handful of staff members have been fired at the Edmonton Institution (our maximum security prison) as investigations into toxic workplace conditions continue. Over the Edmonton Remand Centre, people locked up are protesting their conditions and reported excessive force by staff at that facility. 

A police officer injured by the same shooter who killed Constable Dan Woodall has moved on from the EPS to another area of the justice system

St. Albert looks to be the safest place to live in Alberta, when it comes to serious crimes


People and personalities

Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel is back in politics. He’s running for leadership of the Alberta Party, which is seeing a mini-takeover by former Progressive Conservatives who left the United Conservative Party once it was taken over by the far right. As usual, the Alberta Liberals look to be left out of centrist politics in this province. (There’s a good profile of Mandel from Avenue Edmonton a few years back.)

Also, I’m looking for any of these new stories that mention the political action party (PAC) Alberta Together and its ties to the Alberta Party. Lots of coverage of PACs focuses on the UCP and leader Jason Kenney, but it’s not the only dark money in Alberta politics right now.

There should be a book coming out this year about the Humans of Edmonton Experience photo project. The project, and the team behind the images, have been in the news a lot in the last week.

If you’ve been around Edmonton a long time, you probably remember the department store Woodward’s. Employees still get together to reminisce about the good old days

People behind some of Edmonton’s longest-serving restaurants have some advice for up-and-comers in the competitive industry

The Edmonton Music Prize is coming up, and this story will introduce you to the artists nominated for the city’s biggest music award (although you have probably heard their names and heard a bunch of their songs). 


Social change

Just like last year, there’s a women’s march this month. The March On Edmonton Collective (as it’s now known) is asking women, and allies, to be at the Alberta Legislature next Saturday, January 20, because there’s still work to be done.

The Alberta government is going to be holding sessions with people who were stolen from their families during the Sixties Scoop, with Edmonton the last stop on March 1. The work should also come up with next steps for people to keep healing.

The need for an interpreter database keeps coming out of the courts. It’s obviously needed there to help people participate in the legal process fairly and with less stigma, and it could be a great help in many more government and public processes.

A new sex positive community centre is opening in Edmonton next month. The same group has been holding workshops over the last few years. 


Public engagement

The winter break is over for City Council, and the Executive Committee meets Monday at 9:30 a.m. You can see the agenda online. One of the big items is the beginning of discussions around our next LRT and mass transit plans. The meeting will also stream live from the River Valley Room. 

Speaking of the LRT, it’s back-to-work on the tunnel downtown after a stop-work order to make the site safer for workers. 

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