Headlines: March 2, 2023

  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said he is glad the 2023 provincial budget, which the UCP government tabled on Feb. 28, follows through on promised infrastructure projects including funding for the Terwillegar Drive expansion, the Valley Line West LRT extension, and the Yellowhead freeway conversion. However, the budget falls short of the mayor's requests, which included money for downtown revitalization, renovations to Commonwealth stadium, and more affordable housing, shelters, and addictions support in Edmonton. Trisha Estabrooks, chair of the Edmonton Public School Board, was happy to see investments in schools after years of frozen education budgets, adding school boards will have a clearer picture of funding in the coming days.
  • Mary Jane James, CEO of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE), told CTV News she is disappointed the 2023 provincial budget includes no additional money to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. SACE met with the province in January to request more funding. The centre's waitlist for survivors of sexual violence to access counselling has since increased from 12-14 months to 15-16 months.
  • Erick Ambtman, chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, has dismissed allegations of unethical conduct against commission member Coun. Anne Stevenson after receiving the results of a third-party law firm's investigation. Last summer, former commissioner Ashvin Singh accused Stevenson of attempting to "actively influence" an investigation related to Progress Alberta editor Duncan Kinney's press credentials. He later sent a letter to Mayor Amarjeet Sohi accusing Stevenson of interfering in an unspecified investigation, which may have also referred to a police investigation of Kinney for alleged vandalism, though Singh has not specified which matter he was referring to. "I didn't think how former commissioner Singh had characterized my actions is accurate," said Stevenson, "and I think that's been demonstrated through the investigation."
  • City council's executive committee unanimously approved the sale of two plots of land in The Quarters, a neighbourhood east of the downtown core, to affordable housing developers, which the city said will advance its goal of building 2,700 new affordable housing units by 2026. One of the sites is next to The Armature and contains the Koermann Block, a historical building that the future buyer will need to rehabilitate to allow for both retail space and various types of housing. Ward O-day'min Coun. Anne Stevenson suggested redeveloping the lot will also help revitalize The Quarters.
  • Matthew McKnight, a former Edmonton club promoter convicted of sexually assaulting five women from 2010-2016, has had his prison sentence increased from eight to 11 years. The Court of Appeal justices who issued the ruling wrote that the eight-year sentence imposed in 2020 by the Court of King's Bench was "demonstrably unfit" and that there was a "predatory aspect to the assaults." In February, Crown prosecutors tried to get McKnight's sentence extended to 15 years. McKnight's defence lawyer said the case is unlikely to see further appeals. McKnight already lost an appeal bid earlier this year.
  • The provincial government said a series of nine Alberta Emergency Alerts sent to phones, televisions and radios on March 1 were an unintended testing glitch. The province had initially intended to send one test alert out at 1:55pm, but eight more were sent over the next six minutes. Mike Ellis, minister of public safety and emergency services, apologized for the disruption. "Incidents like the one that occurred are exactly why we conduct testing on the Alert System," he said.