The Pulse: March 8, 2023

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

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • -12°C: A mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of flurries. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 12. Wind chill near minus 22. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Purple: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple for International Women's Day. (details)

Two women sit in upholstered chairs, reading magazines, while surrounded by equipment for a video shoot

Maggie aims to help more women practice being themselves

By Colin Gallant

The founders of Maggie are looking to create an online platform to empower women around the world, using the same practice they've developed in Edmonton to help themselves.

Dani Strang and Jennifer von Berendt founded Maggie, originally called The Magazine Club, in 2021. The idea was to convene women to have conversations about magazine articles in an effort to help them move "from suppression to expression."

The practice helps participants "unlearn" their response to the negative feedback they've received in the workplace, which they describe as a "better not reflex" — as in, "I better not speak up, or I'll be dismissed." The club became a safe place to share and be heard, offering a "positive corrective experience" (also called a "corrective emotional experience").

The need was great. As they were developing the idea, Strang and von Berendt conducted a "problem interview" — an idea they got from The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. They asked 56 women, more than half of whom were women of colour, this question: "Do you feel comfortable or confident in your current work environment to express your innermost ideas, perspectives, or opinions in critical conversations?" Only two of 56 said yes, both of whom own their own businesses in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

They further developed their solution while filming a Telus Storyhive docuseries. The series, which was released earlier this year, follows Strang and von Berendt on their entrepreneurial journey, weaving in from participants and experts about their experiences of being suppressed and the discoveries they've made by talking to each other.

The company's 2022 was dedicated almost exclusively to the first pilot and the completion of the docuseries. Next, Maggie intends to launch further pilots where women from far and wide come together to discuss magazine articles. But 2023 will also be a year of "designing and building out the wireframe so that we can launch it as a public platform to women all over the world," Strang told Taproot.

In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, Maggie will be spotlighting a clip where participating women are given permission to thank themselves, to profoundly emotional effect.

"The women said things that they wouldn't typically say in other situations or conversations in their lives," Strang said.

Photo: Dani Strang and Jennifer von Berendt read The Walrus during the filming of The Magazine Club, a docuseries about the development of an idea to empower women to speak authentically. (Supplied)


Headlines: March 8, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Premier Danielle Smith met on March 7 to discuss Edmonton's urgent needs related to community well-being and safety. Ahead of the meeting, their first since Smith took office, Sohi sent the premier a letter asking the province to fund shelter spaces, supportive housing, and addictions facilities in Edmonton and put $100 million toward revitalizing key areas like downtown, Chinatown, and Whyte Avenue. Afterwards, Sohi said he was optimistic and that the province has committed to working with the city on priority areas, but has not made promises about timelines. According to a release, Smith agreed the province would be an active partner in addressing issues of downtown safety, including through the Edmonton Public Safety and Community Response Task Force. Smith also brought up concerns about high property taxes and the need to collaborate on large capital projects but identified a need for "detailed plans" to address Sohi's requests.
  • Some Ottewell residents are concerned that the Ottewell neighbourhood renewal project will reduce parking availability. Ward Métis Coun. Ashley Salvador said parking will be removed in some areas to make room for drainage infrastructure and to narrow roads to encourage slower driving, adding that the city has tools like permit parking and time-limited parking it can use if necessary. In an emailed statement, the city said public engagement was incorporated into the neighbourhood renewal design, which was already changed to reflect parking concerns.
  • Despite the 2023 JUNO Awards happening at Rogers Place on March 13, local music venues are still struggling to survive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Venues are trying to reopen and ... do their best to stay open at this point, and so are artists," said Tyson Boyd, owner of The Starlite Room, who attributes the closure of Station on Jasper in early February to a lack of municipal and provincial support. Over 50 artists are performing at venues across the city from March 10-12 as part of JUNOfest.
  • The Saville Community Sports Centre at the University of Alberta is getting six new year-round tennis courts. The university is one of four locations in Canada to receive funding for a year-round tennis facility through a partnership with Rogers Communications. A soil-turning ceremony was held March 7.
  • Flair Airlines announced two new flights from Edmonton beginning this summer. The airline will fly to Kamloops three times a week beginning June 15, and to Quebec City twice a week starting on July 7.
  • The UCP government tabled the Alberta Firearms Act, which it says will strengthen its ability to regulate and administer gun ownership and advocate on behalf of gun owners. In addition to clarifying the role of Chief Firearms Officer Teri Bryant, the legislation gives Justice Minister Tyler Shandro the ability to enact regulations around how the federal government's proposed firearms legislation is administered in Alberta. The act would also allow Shandro to prevent municipal police from entering into any funding deals with the federal government to confiscate firearms under Bill C-21.
Two newspaper clippings, one headlined "Bus drivers may vote on city's offer" and the other headlined "Snowballs, abuse hurled at nurses"

A moment in history: March 8, 1982

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1982, picket lines stood across Edmonton as nurses and transit workers took part in two separate strikes.

Edmonton's buses and LRT system shut down on Feb. 15 after transit workers went on strike, demanding the same pay offered in other cities. ETS drivers were making $9.85 an hour at the time — almost $3/hour less than their Calgary equivalents.

The strike caused then-mayor Cec Purves to cut his vacation short to deal with the issue, although news reports seem to suggest that commuters adapted to the loss of transit service, at least in the strike's early days.

The nursing strike, however, was a different story. It came after a series of other nursing strikes in 1977 and 1980. In February 1982, the United Nurses of Alberta were in negotiations on a settlement for outstanding issues in their contract. The union had set a vote on Feb. 12 to decide on a settlement proposal, but Alberta's labour minister demanded a government-supervised ballot the day before. UNA urged its members to boycott the earlier vote. Things broke down, and the union declared a strike on Feb. 16, one day after the transit workers' strike started.

Not all nurses went on strike. Due to a ruling from the province's labour board, some locals were not allowed to vote on a strike. As a result, nurses walked out of 69 hospitals across the province — about two-thirds of the 8,300 nurses represented by UNA at the time. The University of Alberta Hospital ended up taking many of the patients who would have been treated by other Edmonton facilities at that time.

Contract negotiations between the nurses and the province broke down multiple times throughout February and March. News accounts reveal confrontations on picket lines, including one man throwing snowballs at striking nurses who had gathered outside the labour minister's home, the Edmonton Journal reported.

In response to the strike, the Alberta government introduced a bill that forced the nurses back to work and made it illegal for nursing staff to strike, imposing harsh penalties. That didn't stop nurses from striking again anyway in 1988. The ban would be deemed unconstitutional in 2015.

As for the transit strike, it dragged on longer, with the union and the city disagreeing over changes to driver scheduling and part-time positions. Eventually, drivers returned to work with a raise that brought them up to par with their Calgary counterparts.

Compared to the '80s, public service strikes are rarer now. But labour tensions are brewing, with drivers for the city's Dedicated Accessible Transit Service (DATS) likely to vote on a strike next week.

This is based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.