The Pulse: Sept. 15, 2021

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

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  • 15°C: Clearing in the morning. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 15. (forecast)
  • 1,434: Alberta reported 1,434 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. (details)

A photo of a vaccine passport.

Local mayors lament letter advocating for vaccine passport in the Edmonton region

By Nathan Fung Nathan Fung in the Regional Roundup

Several mayors in the Edmonton region are speaking out about how an open letter advocating for a vaccine passport system was rolled out.

The letter was signed by 12 mayors and sent to the provincial government on Sept. 7, calling on Health Minister Tyler Shandro to introduce additional public health measures.

But since then, one mayor who didn't sign on has expressed frustration about how the initiative was organized. Three others said they didn't agree to the final version of the letter that was sent.

Fort Saskatchewan Mayor Gale Katchur was the only Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB) member to not sign it. She said she chose not to because she didn't get a chance to review it with city council, and that she saw no reason why the letter couldn't have waited for that to happen first.

"I was very disappointed on how it went forward," Katchur said. "It wasn't sanctioned under the EMRB, it wasn't sanctioned under anybody. This was basically mayors … that made the decision to go out and do this on their own."

While Katchur didn't sign, Leduc County Mayor Tanni Doblanko's signature does appear on the letter. However, she said she only agreed to an earlier version, which only requested more COVID-19 data and not for the implementation of a vaccine passport system.

"I take very seriously a misrepresentation of anything that has to do with our municipality," she told Taproot. "I believe we were truly, grossly misrepresented in that letter and we needed to make sure that people understand that there was a mix-up."

Devon Mayor Ray Ralph and Beaumont Mayor John Stewart gave similar statements to Postmedia, saying they only agreed to sign an earlier version of the letter asking for more data.

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By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

A map of Edmonton's O-day'min ward.

O-day'min: 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 the candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes in the 2021 municipal election.

Here are the answers we've received so far from the candidates in O-day'min:

We have not yet received finalized surveys from Adil Pirbhai or Ibrahim Wado. We will update the links above when we receive them.

Want to see which candidates line up best with your own stances? Take the survey and find out.

For more coverage of the 2021 municipal election in Edmonton, visit And for more on the origins of this project, visit our People's Agenda page.

A photo of a man in protective gear holding vials.

U of A joins new Canadian biomanufacturing collaboration

By Hiba Kamal-Choufi Hiba Kamal-Choufi in the Health Innovation Roundup

The University of Alberta-based Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing (ACTM) has partnered with The Ottawa Hospital's Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre (BMC) and BioCanRx to strengthen Canada's biomanufacturing industry and boost its capacity to produce medical treatments and vaccines.

"It takes teamwork to get biomanufacturing done and that's what we're doing. (This collaboration) with Ottawa puts us at the forefront in Canada," ACTM scientific director Dr. Greg Korbutt told Taproot. "This would allow us to maybe get good access to products that we produce."

ACTM is the only facility of its kind in Western Canada and is known for its Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility and clean rooms, which offer the level of cleanliness and sterility required for manufacturing.

Korbutt said ACTM will help BMC with the fill-finish process, which involves filling vials with pharmaceutical drugs.

The U of A facility previously partnered with BMC and Entos Pharmaceuticals to manufacture a made-in-Edmonton COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

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A photo from the Alberta Enterprise Group candidate forum.

Municipal election rundown: Sept. 15, 2021

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

Every week in the lead up to Edmonton's municipal election on Oct. 18, we're rounding up the news and announcements you need to know to stay informed.

Policies and campaign updates

Weighing in on the campaign trail

  • Global Edmonton rounded up where some mayoral candidates stand on mandatory vaccinations for city employees, with Michael Oshry, Kim Krushell, Cheryll Watson, and Amarjeet Sohi in support and Mike Nickel in opposition. Later, the Edmonton Journal reported that Oshry's stance shifted at the Alberta Enterprise Group forum on Sept. 8. The article said that Oshry "doesn't believe people can be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine, however if a city employee or citizen wants to use a city service or building, they will have to get tested every day at their own expense with a rapid test."
  • Private mayoral forums have left some candidates feeling excluded. Mayoral candidate Diana Steele, who was not invited to the Alberta Enterprise Group forum, addressed this issue with Global News.
  • Mayoral candidates Amarjeet Sohi, Kim Krushell, Michael Oshry, and Cheryll Watson fielded questions about affordable housing, permits and licensing from seven real estate groups at a forum moderated by Ryan Jesperson on Sept. 9.
  • Last week, a series of focus group discussions hosted by pollster Janet Brown and CBC found that Edmontonians prioritize economic recovery, transit, and affordable core neighbourhoods. Brown's focus group also found that conversation and advertisements about the upcoming federal election are overshadowing the municipal races.
  • A panel hosted by CBC's Edmonton AM invited three voters to share their concerns ahead of the municipal election.
  • Mayoral and city council candidates can pledge to end misogynistic attacks on women in politics with the #LiftHerUpCampaign by the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) in partnership with Equal Voice Alberta.
  • Edmonton Journal columnist Keith Gerein wrote an opinion piece calling the city's municipal races "one of the most intriguing in decades."

Upcoming forums

A list of all of the candidates who have announced they are running in the Edmonton municipal election is available here. Learn more about Taproot's effort to ground our election coverage in what is important to Edmontonians on our People's Agenda page.

Photo: Kim Krushell, Cheryll Watson, Amarjeet Sohi, and Michael Oshry answered questions at the Alberta Enterprise Group forum. The other mayoral candidates were either not invited or, in Mike Nickel's case, declined the invitation. (Global News)

More information