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Alberta

15 year old girl rescued from Edmonton based sex trafficers

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News Release from Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Edmonton RCMP

Edmonton youth rescued from human trafficking

A 15-year-old girl has been rescued from human trafficking and ALERT has charged her perpetrators. Three Edmonton men have been charged with a total of 35 criminal offences.

ALERT’s Human Trafficking and Counter Exploitation unit has arrested three suspects for human trafficking with the most recent arrest coming on June 29, 2021. The suspects allegedly procured the youth for sexual services.

The arrests came following a two-month investigation when the Edmonton Police Service first received information about a 15-year-old girl being sexually exploited. The investigation revealed the youth was first groomed online, which escalated to nude photography, and eventually she was steered into the sex trade.

“Perpetrators are very skilled at grooming and manipulating their victims with gifts, money, affection; but it’s all a mirage. What this survivor endured was appalling and represents a heart-breaking set of circumstances,” Acting Staff Sergeant Chris Hayes, ALERT.

The survivor is receiving support and specialized care resources. Survivors of sex trafficking can call 211 for help.

Tyson Shaw, 24, Islam Montasser, 26, and Amir Idris, 30, have been jointly charged with:

  • Trafficking a person under the age of 18;
  • Material benefit;
  • Procuring a child;
  • Advertise sex services;
  • Arrange sexual offences against a child;
  • Invitation to sexual touching;
  • Making child pornography;
  • Distribute child pornography;
  • Possession of child pornography; and
  • Administer a noxious substance.

Additionally, Shaw has been charged with:

  • Sexual assault of a person under 18;
  • Sexual contact with a child;
  • Sexual counsel of a child; and
  • Indecent exposure to a person under 16.

Montasser was also charged with sexual assault of a person under 18.

Anyone with information about this investigation, or any human trafficking offence is encouraged to contact local police or Crime Stoppers.

ALERT’s Human Trafficking Counter Exploitation unit investigates domestic human trafficking involving sexual exploitation occurring in Alberta. The integrated unit also works in collaboration with agencies and organizations involved in rescuing and supporting survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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Alberta

TDF funds defence of the “Coutts Three”

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The “Coutts Three,” Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen

News release from The Democracy Fund

A jury trial is expected to proceed after pretrial applications.

LETHBRIDGE: The Democracy Fund (TDF) is funding the defence of three men charged with mischief in Lethbridge, Alberta. The men, known as the “Coutts Three,” are Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen. All three are alleged to have been leaders of the 17-day trucker protest against COVID-19 restrictions that shut down the Coutts border in February 2022.

The matter is expected to proceed to a jury trial after pretrial applications are heard over the next few days. Jury trials are only available for serious criminal matters where the accused faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment or more.

The men should not be confused with the “Coutts Four,” who were among the twelve persons arrested in connection to an RCMP raid that resulted in the seizure of weapons and the end of the protest. According to Van Huigenbos, the message of the Coutts protesters “had been lost” following the arrests and the border blockade was voluntarily dismantled.

Donations for the three men can be made on this page.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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