Headlines: Sept. 22, 2022

· The Pulse
  • The City of Edmonton has a variety of initiatives planned to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, including a commemorative crosswalk downtown, an ETS bus wrapped in Indigenous artwork, and a giveaway of 1,500 trees, shrubs, and wildflowers through the Roots for Trees program to honour victims, friends, and intergenerational survivors of residential schools. Employees with the city, the police, and the library will receive a day off with pay.
  • As Homeward Trust looks for ways to support five new or upcoming supportive housing complexes in Edmonton without provincial funding, the Alberta government's anticipated action plan to address rising homelessness is three months late. Opposition NDP critic Marie Renaud called on the government task force, first commissioned by Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan in November 2021, to release its report and take immediate action. Rising rates of homelessness in Edmonton are "inexcusable for a government with a $13-billion surplus," said Renaud. Homeward Trust CEO Susan McGee said she plans to move tenants into complexes in Inglewood and King Edward Park this summer regardless, using existing funds.
  • Edmonton Public Schools informed parents that more than 6,800 students were home sick with a "respiratory illness" last week. Having received questions about what this means, board chair Trisha Estabrooks told the media that the term was chosen by Alberta Health Services. "We're not health officials," she said. "This is us still navigating this pandemic. This is the language of AHS, and this is the language we have to use." Estabrooks continues to encourage parents to tell schools when their kids are sick and keep them at home.
  • A widely viewed video of an Edmonton police officer pushing a woman to the ground has prompted continued calls for police dash cameras and body cameras, including by Judith Gale of Bear Clan Beaver Hills House. Police union leader Sgt. Michael Elliott tweeted support for cameras and asked for council to fund them, while Coun. Michael Janz called his request a distraction from needed "accountability tools" and de-escalation training. Meanwhile, Tom Engel, a criminal defence lawyer, has called on the Edmonton Police Commission to conduct a public inquiry after EPS decided to not charge the woman, but Coun. Sarah Hamilton, who serves on the commission, cautioned the public to temper their expectations about the commission's abilities.
  • The City of Edmonton's solar rebate program for homeowners ran out of money on Sept. 2 and is no longer accepting applications. First launched in 2019, the program provided $2.1 million this year after receiving more applications than the previous three years combined, according to a city spokesperson. Heather MacKenzie with Solar Alberta said she has seen "incredible growth" in solar, and the loss of the rebate will hurt up-and-coming solar companies.
  • The Edmonton Journal will no longer produce a Monday print edition as of Oct. 17, nor will the Edmonton Sun. The editions will still be available with ePaper, and subscription rates will not be lowered. Postmedia also cancelled Monday print delivery of papers in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Montreal.
  • The 36th annual Edmonton International Film Festival will open on Sept. 22 with Rosie, a film about a foster child in Montreal in the 1980s. Métis director Gail Maurice spoke to Edmonton AM about her desire to "tell a beautiful story about a little girl who has an open heart." This year's festival features 152 films.
  • In a tweet made in response to news about the federal government's plan to drop COVID-19 vaccine requirements for people entering Canada, Alberta's labour and immigration minister Kaycee Madu suggested the measures were always about "political control and power" and thanked the "freedom convoys" for resisting them. Madu is the MLA for Edmonton-South West.