Headlines

· The Pulse
By Kevin Holowack
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  • A city-managed encampment for people with nowhere else to live is under consideration in light of the growing need for housing and support. The idea was proposed by Coun. Anne Stevenson of Ward O-day'min, who is worried this summer "is going to be the worst we've ever seen." The Bissell Centre says the number of people experiencing houselessness in Edmonton grew from around 1,900 to more than 3,000 during the pandemic. Christel Kjenner, the city's director of affordable housing and homelessness, says similar measures have been implemented in other jurisdictions. Council will hear a presentation from administration on the topic in the coming weeks.
  • The Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association's opioid poisoning committee has laid out a series of recommendations for the provincial government that it says will reduce drug poisoning deaths, including increasing access to supervised consumption sites, especially ones with inhalation booths, implementing a safer drug supply program, and decriminalizing personal possession. The Alberta government currently has plans to open an overdose prevention site in Strathcona and two in Calgary, but doctors who spoke to Postmedia say it is not clear what the site will offer. In 2021, 1,771 Albertans died from drug poisoning, the highest ever number.
  • Edmonton lawyer Avnish Nanda is predicting more overdose deaths in Alberta after the Supreme Court dismissed his bid for an injunction on the province's policy to require personal health-care numbers at supervised consumption sites. He was representing Moms Stop the Harm and the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society. Nanda said a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the requirement will go ahead, but it may take years to get a trial date.
  • Edmonton photographer Amber Bracken has won the World Press Photo of the Year for an image taken at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The photo of red dresses hung on crosses commemorating children who died at residential schools was taken for The New York Times. In her response to the win, Bracken cited the words of Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc chief Rosanne Casimir, then added: "I'm keenly aware this photograph could not exist without the hard work of the community to heal, to search, to recount their stories, to honour their missing children. The traumas of Residential Schools are not mine, but their legacy is a shared history that calls us to action."
  • The Supporting Indigenous Language Revitalization (SIRL) project at the U of A is working on a curriculum to help revitalize Indigenous languages on campus and beyond. According to a 2016 census, 15.6% of Indigenous people in Canada can have a conversation in an Indigenous language, which is down from 21.4% in 2006.
  • The Roxy Theatre, the iconic 124 Street venue that burned down seven years ago, is about to reopen. A free housewarming event is planned for April 15 and 16, and the first show will be a Crows Theatre production of As You Like It, opening on April 26.
  • Alberta's Crown prosecutors are threatening to strike if the province doesn't take seriously their demands to be allowed to engage in collective bargaining. The Alberta Crown Attorneys' Association (ACAA), which represents 380 members, sent a letter to Premier Jason Kenney declaring they might take "drastic steps", citing chronic underfunding and repeatedly denied requests for meetings with the justice minister.
  • The province does not intend to reintroduce public health restrictions, despite increasing COVID-19 rates, Health Minister Jason Copping said Thursday. He reported that Alberta's average test positivity rate rose from 24.5% to 26.3% between March 29 and April 4. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said people who are worried can keep following measures on their own and that at-risk Albertans should get vaccinated and pick up free rapid test kits from pharmacies.