Headlines: July 3, 2024

· The Pulse
  • Edmonton city council is considering changes to its code of conduct bylaw that would keep details of council members' misconduct private by default, limiting public access to integrity commissioner's reports, and potentially holding sanction hearings in private. The proposed changes include confidentiality requirements for all parties involved in a complaint and dual procedures for public and private hearings. Council will discuss the proposed bylaw at its meeting on July 3.
  • The City of Edmonton has streamlined its Mobile Food Vending program by eliminating additional permits for vendors on public land, reducing wait times, and simplifying location approvals. Vendors can now operate in designated park spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis and use any legal parking spots in other city areas. The changes will be evaluated for further adjustments by the end of the year.
  • The City of Edmonton unveiled a redeveloped Centennial Plaza downtown featuring art installations, play areas, and new seating. The space is also expected to host year-round events. Located just south of the Stanley Milner Library, the $17.4-million project was supported by federal funding from PrairiesCan through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.
  • Edmonton city council will vote on a proposed bylaw that would regulate the sale of bear spray by requiring retailers to record buyer details, secure the product, and prohibit sales to minors. The move aims to reduce the misuse of bear spray, which has a higher potency than other sprays and has been linked to an increase in attacks. Retailers would need to obtain a licence to sell bear spray, and violations could result in fines up to $2,000.
  • The Board of Governors for the University of Alberta is proceeding with an independent review of the decision to remove a pro-Palestine campus encampment on May 11. Retired Justice Adèle Kent will lead the review, which will gather input from the university community throughout the summer and early fall. The results are expected later this year and will be publicly released.
  • Two days after aircraft mechanics for WestJet ended their strike, passengers were still facing cancellations and confusion, with challenges getting through to customer service. The airline had grounded 72% of its fleet due to the strike, leading to 1,137 cancelled flights, including five out of Edmonton. Although the strike ended on June 30, disruptions persist, with limited rebooking options available due to peak travel periods. In an update, WestJet said 125 planes in its fleet of 180 were active as of July 2.
  • Legal Aid Alberta, which provides legal services to vulnerable Albertans, says it will effectively cease operations next week after the provincial government stopped negotiations to renew its governance agreement. The agreement expired on June 30, and without renewal, the organization said it will stop issuing legal certificates, which assign lawyers to cases, on July 9. Board chairman Ryan Callioux said a new grant agreement proposed instead by the government would reduce Legal Aid Alberta's independence and funding. Alberta Justice said the interim funding provided is sufficient for ongoing operations while a new agreement is finalized.
  • The B'nai Brith Youth Organization is raising funds by selling Montreal's St. Viateur bagels, with a goal to sell 1,130 dozen. Proceeds will help fund programming for Jewish teens in Edmonton. Orders can be made online by Aug. 6 and picked up at the Edmonton Valley Zoo on Aug. 22.
  • The Edmonton Oilers' schedule for the 2024-25 season has been released, starting with a home opener against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 9th at Rogers Place, where they will raise their Western Conference Champions banner. It will be the first of four home games, followed by a brief two-game road trip. The team's longest road trip happens from Feb. 22nd to March 1st, including games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.
  • Jeff Jackson, CEO of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers and current acting general manager, made significant additions to the team's forward group during the free-agent market, including signing Viktor Arvidsson and Jeff Skinner, which could make it the most dynamic in decades. However, Jackson did not address the team's need for a stronger right defence, leaving that as a potential weak spot. Despite the improvements, the Oilers are now over the salary cap and must make further moves to balance the roster before the new season.
  • A significant number of prescription drugs are going missing in Alberta, particularly addictive opioids like codeine and oxycodone, with 88% of cases between 2018 and 2023 classified as "loss unexplained", according to Health Canada data. Alberta ranks second in Canada for total drug losses, including a major theft of 54,500 oxycodone tablets in 2019.