The Pulse: Sept. 10, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 22°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing near noon. High 22. (forecast)
  • Sept. 11: The Edmonton Elks take on the Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium at 5pm. (details)

A picture of drinks at Fleisch Delikatessen.

Alberta provides no timeline on digital vaccine card, amid calls to implement passport system

By Paul Cashman Paul Cashman in the Business Roundup

The provincial government, facing pressure from businesses to implement a vaccine passport system, promised again that it is working to make it easier for Albertans to provide their vaccination status.

At a news conference on Sept. 9, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that a vaccine card should be available in mid-September but gave no timeline on providing a scannable QR code.

Digital proof of vaccination, already provided in some Canadian provinces, was promised by Premier Jason Kenney on Sept. 3 when he announced a new curfew on alcohol sales and a province-wide mask mandate for indoor public places.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and the mayors of 11 neighbouring municipalities responded to rising case counts, hospitalizations and deaths earlier this week by calling on the provincial government to implement a mandatory vaccine passport system.

But Minister Shandro refused to address that possibility during Thursday's media availability. "Shandro has been asked repeatedly whether government-mandated vaccine passports are on the table. He avoids answering by pointing out that no one can predict the future," tweeted Globe and Mail Alberta bureau chief James Keller.

Some businesses have already decided to require proof of vaccination from patrons using paper records or through the MyHealthAlberta portal. "It doesn't look like they're going to be making the right decision to move forward with this, even though every other province is doing it," Arcadia Brewing Co. owner Darren McGeown said in an interview with CBC News.

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By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

  • A group of Edmonton-area doctors have formed a committee to tackle the opioid poisoning crisis. The Opioid Poisoning Committee, formed by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association (EZMA) will advocate for better services for those who use drugs, and recommend short- and long-term strategies to reduce overdose deaths.
  • Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko says she never agreed to sign the letter calling for vaccine passports. Doblanko told Postmedia that the version of the letter she agreed to sign made no mention of vaccine passports. "We don't believe in Leduc County that we have the expertise to say that that's a good idea, or not a good idea," she said.
  • Alberta Health Services is preparing to open a field hospital in Edmonton as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to overwhelm the system. Meanwhile, the province announced increased home care funding and began moving patients out of hospital to make more room for those with COVID-19.
  • Post-secondary students in the city's north are reporting hour-long journeys and multiple connections due to the city's new bus routes. Coun. Jon Dziadyk says there is a lack of service on the north side, since Edmonton Transit Service cut a number of its routes in half in April.
  • The city has not issued a single photo radar ticket at a construction site this year, as the province reviews the practice of using automated traffic enforcement. A moratorium on new photo radar locations was imposed in December 2019, and the city has not been able to create enforcement sites in new construction zones since.
  • The first direct flight to the U.S. from the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) took off on Thursday. The non-stop flight to Las Vegas marks the gradual return to international service. By the end of 2021, 20 international destinations, for a total of 45, will be added to EIA's network.
  • Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw admitted that move to treat COVID-19 as an endemic was premature. Experts told CBC News that the decision to lift COVID-19 health measures in July were based on wishful thinking and political expediency, rather than scientific evidence.
  • The NDP are calling for another round of business supports after the government announced new COVID-19 restrictions last week, including a 10pm curfew on alcohol sales.
A map of Edmonton's sipiwiyiniwak ward

sipiwiyiniwak: Where the candidates stand on the People's Agenda

By Karen Unland Karen Unland

Taproot asked candidates to complete a 30-question survey based on what we heard when we asked what key issues people wanted candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes in the 2021 municipal election.

Here are the answers we've received from the candidates in sipiwiyiniwak:

After nominations close on Sept. 20, we'll invite you to take the same survey so you can see which candidates line up best with your own stances. Subscribe to The Pulse for free so you don't miss that opportunity.

Find more on this project on our People's Agenda page.

The podcast art for Acimowin.

Podcast pick: Acimowin

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

In July, the federal government passed legislation to recognize Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a federal statutory holiday. When the Alberta government decided not to make it a provincial statutory holiday, it sparked anger and conversation about the spirit of reconciliation. For those who want more information to participate in these discussions, CJSR's Indigenous community radio show and podcast Acimowin is a good place to start.

The CJSR program has been dedicated to uplifting Edmonton's Indigenous community since May. Host Shayna Giles is Métis and also contributes to CJSR 88.5FM's Gaywire. A crossover episode with Acimowin earlier this summer unpacked Indigenous identities alongside the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society.

Federal recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one step towards honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. The actions propose reducing the amount of Indigenous children in social care, preserving culture and language, and more.

Acimowin is a complete series, so you can dedicate a sitting or two to Giles' collection of decolonized content. The show is brimming with information on Indigenous issues, culture, and history, including Red Dress Day, the Alberta Indigenous Games, and the St. Jean Baptiste Church fire.

The 11-episode series is available on Spotify and Deezer.

You can listen to podcast picks from Taproot on Listen Notes or Spotify.

More information