The Pulse: Oct. 13, 2021

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  • 6C: Increasing cloudiness. 30% chance of showers this afternoon. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light near noon. High 6. (forecast)
  • Oct. 13: The Edmonton Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks in the season opener tonight at 8pm. (details)
  • 85%: First vaccine doses have been given to 85% of eligible Albertans. (details)

Lisa Holmes is the former mayor of Morinville, Alta.

Former Morinville mayor looks at gender parity in municipal elections

By Nathan Fung

Gender representation in Alberta mayoral races this year stayed the same in most communities, or saw a slight increase, compared to 2017, a former mayor and political consultant said.

Lisa Holmes, former Morinville mayor and founding partner of Diplomat Consulting looked at the number of women running in mayoral and council races in 16 mid-sized Alberta cities. She shared some of her findings in a Twitter thread on Oct. 4.

Holmes looked at the numbers because she's always been passionate about getting more women to run for office. It was something she pursued while president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) from 2015 to 2017, and she's also involved with the Searching for Izena project, which looks at female representation in Edmonton municipal politics.

"Something that's really at the forefront of what I do is trying to get more leadership options for women," Holmes told Taproot. "And getting them on the ballot is just as important as getting them elected.

"So I thought it was important to just give us a bit of a report card to see where we were in 2021."

Holmes said the four larger cities in the Edmonton region — St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, and Leduc — have relatively good numbers for women running in mayoral races, while the percentages are a little lower for female candidates running for councillor positions.

The highest percentage of female mayoral candidates is in Fort Saskatchewan, where both contestants for the role are women — incumbent Gale Katchur and city councillor Deanna Lennox.

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By Michelle Ferguson

  • The Valley Line LRT won't open until sometime early next year. The $1.8-billion line, which will connect downtown to Mill Woods, was initially expected to open in December 2020. The most recent delays are being caused by a longer-than-expected testing process for new trains, according to TransEd.
  • Edmonton police Det. Dan Behiels was suspended without pay for leaking information to the press about the investigation into Edmonton landlord Abdullah Shah. Behiels gave CBC News confidential files after the investigation concluded in January 2021 and no charges were laid against Shah, who is suspected of running a criminal organization involved in drug trafficking and mortgage fraud.
  • Edmonton has been ranked one of the top 100 best cities to live in for the second year in a row. The ranking, produced by Resonance Consultancy, put Edmonton in 86th between Baltimore and Lyon. The city's immigration, downtown revitalization plans and reputation as a festival city, as well as the University of Alberta, all helped it make the list.
  • Hope Mission is scrambling to collect winter gear, after a fire destroyed a warehouse containing its winter clothing supply on Friday. Donations of gently used warm clothing items can be dropped off at their main office downtown.
  • The commuter bridge at Ada Boulevard over Wayne Gretzky Drive has reopened amid safety concerns from cyclists and pedestrians. The redesign features a low barrier on the south side of the bridge. The city is advising pedestrians and cyclists to use the shared path on the north side.
  • Former City of Edmonton planning director Kalen Anderson was appointed executive director of the Urban Development Institute - Edmonton Region (UDI-ER). UDI-ER represents the development industry in the Edmonton region. Anderson served in the city's planning department for over a decade.
  • The province's app to scan proof-of-vaccination QR codes is now available. After Nov. 15, the scannable QR code will be the only acceptable record of vaccination. On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said that the vaccine passport system will stay in place until next year, despite the recent downward trend in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI and host of the AI4Society Dialogues

Second season of podcast explores AI applications in medicine

By Nathan Fung in the Health Innovation Roundup

The AI4Society Dialogues podcast is back with a second season that plans to help listeners explore the intersection between artificial intelligence and health care.

The show is hosted by Katrina Ingram, CEO of Ethically Aligned AI. The podcast was initially conceived last year as a way to explore some of the AI research being done at the University of Alberta, and how the technology relates to different fields.

The first episode of season two was released on Oct. 11.

"The bigger question that we're trying to answer with the podcast is, 'How will AI shape society and how will society shape AI,'" Ingram told Taproot.

"That's kind of the overarching theme of the entire series."

The first season, which launched in January, looked at how AI intersects other disciplines like administrative law, or women and gender studies. The podcast makes a deliberate effort to examine subjects in a way that's accessible to a general audience.

However, season two hones its focus on the medical applications of AI and the technology's potential for addressing health-care concerns in a highly personalized way.

Ingram said the shift in direction was prompted by the strong awareness of health-care issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Eight mayoral candidates spoke at the Africa Centre's forum.

Municipal election rundown: Oct. 13, 2021

By 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

Mayoral candidates

City council candidates

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