Headlines: Nov. 6, 2023

· The Pulse
  • Hundreds of transit enthusiasts flocked to the Valley Line Southeast on Nov. 4 to take a ride on the inaugural 5:15am trip on the long-awaited $1.8-billion LRT line. The first trains departed from stops in Mill Woods and 102 Street downtown and were standing room only, with city officials, residents, and transit officials on board to take in the festive atmosphere. Passengers brought cake, champagne, and homemade signs to celebrate the occasion. "It was so much fun, and so great to see everybody enjoying the experience," said Stephen Raitz with advocacy group Paths for People. The line was initially scheduled to open in December 2020, but faced a series of setbacks, including cracked concrete piers and signalling cables that needed replacing. It is operated by TransEd, the consortium that built the project through a public-private partnership.
  • The Red Road Healing Society will receive more than $6.9 million in federal funding to address Indigenous homelessness in Edmonton through its Restoring Home Fires initiative. The society is working with six other organizations to help provide safe and stable housing, along with emergency and transitional spaces, for Indigenous people and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. The funding comes from the Indigenous stream of Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy.
  • A new Senate report on Islamophobia in Canada fails to address the need for mental health support for victims of Islamophobia, says Edmonton-based advocacy group Sisters Dialogue. The report reflects the growing discrimination faced by Muslim Canadians, particularly Muslim women. It recommends educational campaigns and new Criminal Code offences for hate-motivated crimes, but does not address the need for mental health supports. "We are seeing such a massive spike in people's ability to manage the world ... and there just isn't any funding," said Salima Versi, a psychologist and Sisters Dialogue member.
  • Thousands of protestors gathered in Churchill Square on Nov. 4 to join a global call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The demonstrations were organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, with similar protests taking place in cities across Canada and around the world. The group is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to support for Israel's military action against the Gaza Strip. "We're here to call for ceasefire in Palestine and an end to the siege in Gaza and an end to support of Israeli occupation," said Mousa Qasqas. Israel began a bombing campaign in Gaza following attacks launched by Hamas in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
  • Gamers in Edmonton participated in a 25-hour gaming marathon beginning Nov. 4 to raise funds for the Stollery Children's Hospital. The event, organized by Extra Life Edmonton, has grown in popularity over the years, starting with just 30 gamers a decade ago and growing to 250 in 2019. The organization said it raised $200,000 during the event. The funds will support programs, equipment, training, teaching, and research at the hospital.
  • Despite the official end to Alberta's wildfire season, 72 fires continued to burn across the province as of Nov. 3. The season, which runs from March 1 to Oct. 31, was characterized by hot, dry, and windy weather, and resulted in a record-breaking 2.2 million hectares of land burned, which was 10 times more severe than the average. "The amount of area burned this year was significantly higher than anything we've seen," said fire information officer Derrick Forsythe. Throughout the season, thousands of firefighters from across Canada and the world came to Alberta's aid. Alberta Wildfire says it has started planning for next year's season.
  • Sports analyst Ryan Rishaug suggested that Edmonton Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft's job may be in jeopardy as the team delivers a weak start to its season. "It's a results-oriented business, and they've had no results so far. I do believe that this option is on the table," Rishaug said during a TSN segment on Nov. 5. The team has lost six of its past seven games and are seventh in the Pacific Division. "Our struggles are all over the rink," said Oilers captain Connor McDavid following the team's 5-2 loss against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place.
  • The University of Alberta Golden Bears football team will play in the Hardy Cup for the first time since 2010, after the team's decisive 40-17 win against the Saskatchewan Huskies on Nov. 4. The Golden Bears will take on the UBC Thunderbirds in the final on Nov. 11 in Vancouver.