Headlines: Feb. 9, 2024

· The Pulse
  • The City of Edmonton is seeking to recover $25,000 in legal costs from the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights, the advocacy group that unsuccessfully sued the city over its encampment removals, to partially cover the city's $42,626 legal bill. In new documents filed in the Court of King's Bench, the city said the request is fair and that it balances its substantial costs with the fact the plaintiff is a non-profit organization. The coalition's case was dismissed in January after the court ruled it lacks public interest standing. In the new documents, the city said parties "with no genuine interest in the outcome should not be encouraged to attempt litigation by knowing that they can always seek cost relief if standing is denied." The coalition is expected to challenge the city's court action.
  • Bell Media made cuts to programming across Canada after its parent company, BCE Inc., announced widespread layoffs and the sale of 45 of its 103 regional radio stations. An internal memo from company executives said Bell Media will end weekday noon newscasts at all CTV stations, except in Toronto, and all 6pm and 11pm weekday newscasts at CTV and CTV2 stations, except in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. The memo also said news correspondents and technicians who report to CTV National News in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada will be replaced with "multi-skilled journalists." Sources told Daily Hive that CTV Edmonton has ended its noon broadcasts, effective immediately, and CTV National's Alberta bureau chief Bill Fortier was laid off.
  • The Edmonton Police Service held a town hall on Feb. 8 to address concerns around a series of extortion attempts targeting South Asian home builders. Police are investigating 27 incidents related to the extortion scheme that have happened in the Edmonton area since October, including 15 arsons, seven firearms offences, and five extortions. Last month, police said they are seeking information from the community to aid investigations into the scheme, which is believed to be linked to a criminal network in India. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi wrote a letter to Canada's public safety minister last month calling for a coordinated response.
  • Edmonton saw record population growth in 2023 driven by interprovincial and international migration, according to new numbers from the Conference Board of Canada. About 18,700 people arrived in Edmonton from other provinces and 47,100 from other countries in 2023, compared to about 4,000 and 33,400 in 2022. The report estimates population growth for 2023 at about 4.5%, and predicts 4.4% growth in 2024 and 3.3% growth in 2025. It also predicts unemployment will rise from about 5.9% in 2023 to 6.3% in 2024 before dropping slightly in 2025.
  • Spruce Grove has will name its new community arena after Const. Brett Ryan, one of two Edmonton Police Service officers killed while responding to a call in Edmonton last March. Ryan lived in Spruce Grove with his family, and he played hockey and refereed in the community. The arena is part of a civic centre being constructed north of Westwind Drive, which is expected to open in 2025.
  • NHL icon and former Edmonton Oilers star Mark Messier will appear in a Lay's potato chips commercial during the NFL Super Bowl on Feb. 11. The advertisement is a reboot of the company's "Betcha Can't Pick Just One" commercial from the 1990s. Messier's former teammate Wayne Gretzky is also starring in a commercial with former NFL quarterback Tom Brady and actor Vince Vaughn.
  • Edmonton-Whitemud MLA Rakhi Pancholi is the third candidate to launch a leadership bid for the Alberta NDP, joining Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman and Calgary-Mountain View MLA Kathleen Ganley in the race. NDP members will choose a new leader to replace Rachel Notley on June 22.