Headlines: May 26, 2023

· The Pulse
  • The city has sent out its 2023 property tax notices, which Edmonton property owners can expect to see soon in their mailbox or inbox. This year, the city also sent out an educational insert that breaks down what property taxes support and the per-day amount that goes into different municipal services. The deadline to pay is June 30.
  • Postmedia published a piece on Edmonton-South West, which is considered the city's most contested provincial electoral riding. NDP candidate Nathan Ip seeking to unseat UCP incumbent Kaycee Madu, who is currently deputy premier and Edmonton's only UCP MLA. The riding, which is young and well-off, elected NDP candidate Thomas Dang in 2015 before a change in the electoral boundary put the area's eastern half into a separate riding. In 2019, Madu defeated NDP candidate John Archer by 715 votes.
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) has hired 31 new firefighters from across Canada. According to a release, three of them identify as women, including two who participated in the Camp Inspire program, which aims to attract historically marginalized communities to a career in firefighting. EFRS also announced dates and locations for its fire station open houses this summer. From June to September, eight stations will invite Edmontonians to meet personnel, see fire trucks, and learn about fire safety.
  • The Conference Board of Canada's latest Major City Insights report suggests Canadian cities will continue to see slow growth throughout 2023 due to high borrowing costs and inflation, even if they have largely recovered from the impacts of the pandemic. Edmonton's GDP growth is forecast to reach 1.8% this year. "Despite the city's existing housing market being in full retreat, Edmonton is still seeing an influx of prospective home buyers from British Columbia and Ontario," the Conference Board said in a release.
  • The Edmonton City as Museum Project published an article exploring the history of Streetcar #33, one of three active High Level Bridge streetcars operated by the Edmonton Radial Railway Society. Streetcar #33 was among a group of electric streetcars the city bought from a Missouri company in 1912, a time that saw high demand for public transit in growing urban centres across Canada. It remained active until 1951, spending its last few years on the routes that served the Calder area, which had no paved roads and couldn't accommodate buses. The streetcar was then scrapped, deteriorating on a farm until its eventual restoration. Streetcar #33 returned to the tracks in 2010.
  • The privacy commissioner offices of Canada, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta have launched a joint investigation into OpenAI, the company behind the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, in response to a complaint that ChatGPT is collecting and using personal information without consent. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which launched its investigation last month, said the provinces have joined the effort "given the broad scope and significant privacy impact of artificial intelligence and its relevance to all Canadians."
  • The Court of King's Bench denied a request by former premier Jason Kenney to throw out a defamation case brought against him by five environmental groups that he accused of using foreign money to conspire against Alberta's oilsands. Kenney made the remarks on social media in 2021 after receiving the results of an "anti-Alberta activities" inquiry, which found no conspiracy. Justice Avril Inglis disagreed with the argument from Kenny's lawyer that a reasonable person wouldn't know whom Kenney was referring to in his post because he didn't directly name the groups.