Headlines: May 19, 2022

· The Pulse
By and
  • Jason Kenney resigned as leader of the United Conservative Party after receiving only 51.4% approval in the party's leadership review, in which 34,298 UCP members voted by mail on whether they approved of the current leader. "The result is not what I hoped for or frankly what I expected," Kenney said to a gathering after the results were announced. "While 51% of the vote passes the constitutional threshold of a majority, it clearly is not adequate support to continue on as leader." He had earlier indicated that the support of 50% + 1 would be enough. The UCP caucus is to meet in Calgary this morning and is expected to choose an interim leader.
  • City council's executive committee voted 3-2 in favour of a motion from Coun. Erin Rutherford to recommend setting base funding for the Edmonton Police Service at $385 million per year and to align the 2023-2026 budget process for police funding with other city departments and agencies. "It is unsustainable to have police funding go up year after year," she said. John McDougall, chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, said the proposal is out of line. "Arbitrarily assigning a number to the police budget cuts the legs out from underneath the commission and is usurping our role," he said. City council will vote on the recommendation next week.
  • Two years after an Indigenous student collected 7,000 signatures in favour of renaming Dan Knott School, the Edmonton Public School Board voted to call it kisêwâtisiwin School. Board chair Trisha Estabrooks said the Cree name, which was chosen in consultation with an Indigenous naming committee, can be translated as "the act of being kind," which aligns with the school's motto of "Do Nice, Be Kind." The southeast junior high school's former namesake was an Edmonton mayor with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Edmonton Public School Board trustees heard a report about substantial cost increases linked to the rising price of water, natural gas, electricity, and insurance. The details come as the division is expecting 1,700 students to be underfunded in the upcoming year due to enrolment outpacing the board's projections. The board is now "expected to do more with precipitously less," said trustee Nathan Ip. "This will have an impact on student learning over time."
  • NAIT is partnering with STEM Collegiate to build a STEM-focused charter school at the site of a vacant office building in southeast Edmonton. The UCP government promised $28 million to the project in its election platform in 2019 and reaffirmed its support this week. STEM Collegiate founder Lisa Davis called the school a "makerspace on steroids" that responds to demands for science and tech graduates in Alberta, while EPS board chair Trisha Estabrooks expressed disappointment over "dollars siphoned off and put into the charter school model" rather than public education.
  • Front Yards in Bloom has launched its next season, noting 2022 has been declared the Year of the Garden. Nominations for beautiful front yards, public spaces, balconies, and more can be submitted online from May 20 to July 5. This year, the city is highlighting the Edible Garden category, which includes fruit, berries, and mushrooms.
  • St. Albert city council voted unanimously to withdraw the city's notice of intent to annex 46 hectares of land from Edmonton, which was severed from the rest of the city by the construction of Anthony Henday Drive. During consultations, landowners expressed strong opposition to the annexation, arguing it would cause development delays and subject them to off-site levies. Mayor Cathy Heron suggested the landowners are being shortsighted. "We could have provided them access to South Riel, and we could have given them sewer and storm, which would drastically increase the value of their land," she said.
  • Sports columnist Terry Jones got Wayne Gretzky to suggest that he thinks Calgary will win the Battle of Alberta. "I don't want to tell you (who will win) because everyone in Edmonton will be mad at me," said the Oilers legend, who has a new role as a commentator for ESPN. "Just write that my heart's with Edmonton, but …"