Headlines: Nov. 4, 2022

· The Pulse
  • City administration released its proposed 2023-2026 operating budget, the second of four budgets council will finalize over the next six weeks. City manager Andre Corbould said the budget "balances the needs and aspirations of Edmontonians with economic realities and pandemic recovery." An accompanying report by administration says passing the proposed budget would result in property tax rates going up 3.9% four years in a row, due in part to staff wage increases, the rising cost of debt for already-approved projects like LRT expansion, higher energy costs, and the return of a police funding formula.
  • Pearl Gambler, a member of Bigstone Cree Nation, is suing Covenant Health, alleging she was forced to deliver her baby alone at the Misericordia Hospital while being subjected to racist and dismissive treatment. Gambler's baby girl died in the hospital following her delivery. Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta has released a list of demands including a review of anti-Indigenous discrimination at the hospital and a public inquiry into anti-Indigenous discrimination in Alberta's healthcare system. "I can guarantee this would not have happened to a Caucasian woman," said Grand Chief Arthur Noskey. "What happened to Pearl and her daughter proves that Indigenous lives continue to be less important than others in Alberta's healthcare system."
  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Stephanie McCabe, deputy city manager of Urban Planning and Economy, will attend the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from Nov. 8-12 as part of a provincial delegation. Sohi will participate in a panel about municipal leadership in reaching net-zero emissions. The conference runs Nov. 6-18.
  • In response to a request from Coun. Michael Janz in May, Edmonton Police Commission chair John McDougall sent a letter to council with details about public relations and communications spending by the Edmonton Police Service. The letter revealed EPS has 19 full-time staff working in leadership, media relations, public affairs, and digital media. It also spent $70,500 this year to retain an external consultant for "strategic communication and engagement support." According to McDougall, the police service's largest public information campaign expenditure related to cannabis legalization, amounting to nearly $266,000 between 2019 and 2021.
  • The Edmonton International Airport rolled out a new tool called YEG EXPRESS that allows passengers to pre-book their spot in central security if they're travelling in the domestic and international terminal. Passengers who book a time slot can jump to the front of the line, which the airport says will reduce wait times.
  • The Office of the Correctional Investigator, a federal prison watchdog, has once again singled out the Edmonton Institution in its annual report, citing the maximum security prison's oppressive confinement conditions, staff shortages, lack of meaningful work opportunities for inmates, and more. The report also mentioned the institution in a section about discrimination, which cites claims of pervasive racism towards Black prisoners and staff. James Bloomfield from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said the watchdog report reveals "just the tip of the iceberg," adding that 20-30% of management and officers at the Edmonton Institution are currently on leave due to work-related physical and mental injuries.
  • The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) released its decision regarding a police shooting on Boxing Day 2018 that left one man dead after police fired 37 rounds in 11 seconds in response to a shot fired toward officers at the scene. "Viewing the situation as a whole, the subject officers' uses of force were reasonable," concluded ASIRT in its report.