Headlines: Jan. 24, 2024

· The Pulse
  • A "heavily armed" man was arrested at city hall in Edmonton on Jan. 23 after firing shots and throwing a Molotov cocktail from the second floor of the building's atrium. Councillors were at a public committee meeting inside the River Valley Room on the main floor when the commotion began, forcing the building into lockdown. No injuries were reported. Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee said during a new conference that the man entered the building armed with a long gun and several Molotov cocktails. An unarmed security guard detained him before police responded. The suspect's name hasn't been released and police said charges are pending. In a video statement, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the city will "follow the advice of security professionals" to determine next steps. "I'm proud that Edmonton city hall has been an open and welcoming space for decades, and I'm confident that it will continue to be," he said.
  • The Edmonton neighbourhood formerly known as Oliver has been renamed wîhkwêntôwin, a Cree term meaning "circle of friends," in a move to reflect the area's diversity. The change is the result of the Uncover Oliver campaign, launched in 2020, which highlighted the harmful legacy of the neighbourhood's former namesake Frank Oliver, who enacted policies that displaced Indigenous peoples and restricted immigration based on ethnicity. The renaming was led by an Indigenous-led committee and is part of a broader effort to remove problematic historical names and memorials from the city.
  • Adam Laughlin, the deputy city manager for Integrated Infrastructure Services at the City of Edmonton is set to leave his position on Feb. 2, Postmedia reported. His departure marks the fifth high-ranking official to leave the city's executive leadership team in the past year, following a series of departures that began in March 2023. Laughlin has been with the city since 2005 and played a key role in Edmonton's infrastructure projects and pandemic response.
  • In an interview with Postmedia, Sgt. Curtis Hoople, president of the Edmonton Police Association, highlighted the mental health toll on city police, with 10% of staffers on leave as of mid-December. The Edmonton Police Service is facing renewed public scrutiny in the wake of recent encampment removals, and members are continuing to deal with the aftermath of the March 2023 on-duty killings of two constables, Hoople said, adding he'd like to see more support for officers from the police service and the City of Edmonton.
  • Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in Edmonton for a three-day caucus meeting to strategize for the upcoming parliamentary year. The NDP is targeting growth in the city, and Singh and local MPs Heather McPherson and Blake Desjarlais canvass with Edmonton Centre candidate Trisha Estabrooks. Singh also hosted a town hall meeting in the Inglewood neighbourhood on Jan. 23 to hear from Albertans and outline the NDP's affordability plans.
  • Alberta Medical Association president Dr. Paul Parks warned that family medicine in Alberta is facing a major crisis, as new data shows that 91% of family doctors are concerned about the financial viability of their practices and 61% are considering leaving the health-care system. Parks urged the government to act quickly, noting that other provinces have changed their funding models, while Alberta continues to reimburse doctors using a fee-for-service model. In a statement, Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange noted the province has committed $200 million over two years in stabilization funding to help physicians continue their practices.
  • Despite an impressive 14-game winning streak, the Edmonton Oilers are not necessarily destined for a Stanley Cup victory, sports journalist Ryan Dixon wrote. While six other NHL teams have managed to match or beat that streak, just two went on to the final, and only one team won the Stanley Cup, he noted. "Short term, it seems like the Oilers have a decent chance to end up at the top of the all-time list," Dixon wrote. "Long term, all they care about is doing what most of the teams in that group didn't even come close to."