The Pulse: Nov. 3, 2023

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  • 7°C: Mainly cloudy with 60% chance of flurries in the morning. Clearing in the afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High 7. Wind chill minus 6 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit red for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving's annual Project Red Ribbon campaign. (details)
  • 3-4 The Edmonton Oilers (2-6-1) lost to the Dallas Stars (7-1-1) on Nov. 2. (details)
  • 1pm, Nov. 4: The Oilers play the Nashville Predators (4-6-0) at Rogers Place. (details)

Six people sitting on elevated chairs on a stage listen to a seventh speaking

Task forces launched to support regional economic development

By Colin Gallant

Those involved in the economic development of the Edmonton region are shifting their focus from celebration to action with the launch of four task forces.

The working groups, which were announced at the second annual forward/slash at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Nov. 2, set high-level goals for the region to become:

  • Canada's fastest-growing and most resilient economy;
  • Canada's most connected and respected business community;
  • Canada's smartest working and most adaptable workforce;
  • Canada's most attractive region for affordability and quality of life.

About 18 months in the making, the task forces began development even before last year's inaugural forward/slash.

"We realized that there's so much that needs to happen and that from a sector perspective, there's actually quite a bit of activity already. But what was missing was more of the connective tissue across the community," said Chris McLeod, vice-president of global marketing and communications for Edmonton Global. "The sectors were going incredibly well, but we still had some missing parts. So that's where we started doing the work around shifting our thinking a bit and started to look more at what are the underlying foundations that we need to make sure are strong."

The names and objectives emerged from more than 50 interviews with business and community leaders across the 14 municipalities Edmonton Global serves. About 100 businesses weighed in on the themes.

"We are purposely doing this under forward/slash, rather than Edmonton Global," McLeod told Taproot. "We want it to be something that any organization can lead and can be part of. And while we're doing some of the upfront organization of it … we're trying to ensure that it really is a regional approach — that Explore Edmonton, Edmonton Unlimited, airports, businesses, and others can say, 'This is the part of it that we own and that we're doing.'"

The approach can also reduce duplication of effort, said Joan Hertz, a member of the forward/slash advisory circle.

"If Edmonton Global is trying to bring investors to the city, or if the airport is trying to attract airlines to the city, or if Explore Edmonton is trying to attract more conferences and events to the city, doesn't that all sound like the same thing?" she told Taproot. "And yet, we're doing it in three different ways. So how do we pull together and make sure we're all chasing the same thing?"

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Headlines: Nov. 3, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Two Edmonton Police Service officers were found guilty of assault in an October 2020 incident in which they roughed up a homeowner after dragging him from a house party where they were responding to a noise complaint. Justice Barry Nordin found the officers' use of force unnecessary because the victim posed no safety risk. The officers are Sgt. Marc Chmilar and Steven Minarchi, who was a sergeant at the time but resigned in 2021. A sentencing date will be set later this month.
  • Coun. Michael Janz spoke to CTV News about the city's proposed 7.09% tax increase, which is 2.13% higher than what council approved in December 2022. Of the increase, 1.63% is linked to the Edmonton Police Service budget and police salary settlements. Janz said there are "fair questions" about whether police should find more efficiencies amid expenses on things like the police helicopter, high pay for police managers, many communications staff, and a downtown high rise office. In response to Janz's comments, a police spokesperson said Edmontonians are focused on the "very real safety concerns in our city." Det. Cory Kerr, vice-president of the Edmonton Police Association, said it is irresponsible to use "overworked police members as a scapegoat" for the tax increase.
  • Postmedia reporter Lauren Boothby shared her experience riding the Valley Line Southeast LRT from Mill Woods to downtown and back on a preview of the line, which begins service on Nov. 4. Boothby said the 13-kilometre trip is "mostly smooth sailing," except for a "shaky ride" in the tunnel through downtown. She also noted "intentionally loud alarm bells" at all 11 stops that "may make riders wish they brought earplugs." She also found the seating less comfortable than the cushioned benches on older LRT cars. The full commute took about 30 minutes each way, but Boothby suggested it could be hard to keep that schedule during regular service.
  • Health Canada issued a safety advisory after identifying a series of "significant issues that may pose serious health risks" at the Canadian Cord Blood bioRepository, a cord blood bank in Edmonton. The federal agency says issues with processing, testing, and storing of the blood could lead to contamination and transmission of infectious diseases. It also identified a lack of qualified personnel, staff not following processes, a lack of proper record-keeping, and misleading online advertising. The company has been asked to notify customers about the safety concerns and take corrective action.
  • The gang suppression unit of the Edmonton Police Service made the biggest cocaine seizure in EPS history on Oct. 27 when they stopped a vehicle carrying 40.5 kilograms of the drug, which has a street value of $1.8 million. Insp. Lance Parker said police are concerned about violence that accompanies drug trafficking, adding the service will have a second gang suppression unit as of Nov. 5.
  • Dr. Paul Parks, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said the province's funding model for physicians is challenging doctor retention and threatening the healthcare system. Parks said the existing fee-for-service model is forcing doctors to close their doors because they can't pay overhead, adding that doctors are increasingly taking on unpaid administrative work. The AMA signed a memorandum of understanding with the province in October that commits the parties to resolving gaps and developing a new compensation model.
  • Finance Minister Nate Horner tabled legislation called the Alberta Pension Protection Act, which would guarantee the province doesn't launch an Alberta Pension Plan unless the public votes for it in a referendum. He also told reporters he plans to listen to provincial finance ministers about their views on Alberta withdrawing from the CPP. An Alberta Pension Plan engagement panel is holding regional telephone town halls throughout November, including an Edmonton town hall on Nov. 16. The province is also running a survey until Dec. 10 for Albertans to provide their feedback.
A table displaying Great War artifacts, including a Union Jack flag and a gas mask

Weekend agenda: Nov. 3-5, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

Events this weekend include a delicious festival, a pottery reception, a winter wonderland experience, a geeky craft market, a remembrance of the Great War, and a chance to compost your jack-o'-lantern.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup and the Food Roundup.

Photo: Rutherford House is hosting a presentation ahead of Remembrance Day, complete with samples of the kind of food soldiers would have prepared on the front during the First World War. (Facebook)


A story in the Nov. 1 edition of The Pulse said 63% of ETS revenues in September came from fares paid by Arc cards. In fact, Arc use accounted for 63% of Arc-eligible fares, and 55% of total ETS revenues. The story has been corrected.