3:42 pm – Penhold Fire crews were called out to a potential gas leak at an apartment building on Fleming Avenue around 1:30 pm Thursday afternoon. Five people were evacuated but were eventually allowed to go back in once there were no H2S readings confirmed.
3:32 pm – Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating a stabbing that resulted in the suspects from Maskwacis fleeing from police and driving into the side of a brick building. A 32-year-old Wetaskiwin man sustained two stab wounds to his back. Read More.
3:29 pm – An Order in Council at the Alberta Legislature on Wednesday, July 12th, dissolved the Village of Botha east of Stetttler. As a result, the former area of the village will now be designated as a hamlet and become part of the County of Stettler No. 6, effective September 1, 2017.
3:22 pm – Alberta Government officials say a private courier’s van was stolen on June 23rd that had mail to be delivered in Red Deer. Read More.
3:17 pm – Lacombe County and the Town of Blackfalds celebrated the official commissioning of the new Rescue / Pumper unit Wednesday night and invited the community to get a close-up look at the new fire truck. Read More.
12:01 pm – The Town of Sylvan Lake is hosting a fun and unique event this August Long Weekend. Are you brave enough to take part? Read More.
11:39 am – Check out the Blackfalds Community Market at the Multi-Plex Arena Parking lot today from 4 – 7 pm! Read More.
11:18 am – Due to repeated misuse and vandalism, the Burnt Lake Recycling Facility will be closing. If you wish to drop off your recycled goods you may do so at the Horn Hill Waste Transfer Station. Read More.
10:56 am – Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier will address the delegates of the Agriculture Service Board at a Pancake breakfast in Olds on Friday, July 14th. The 2017 ASB Tour is a jointly hosted tour of innovative agriculture in Red Deer County and Mountain View County. The tour began July 11th and wraps up on July 14th. It includes tours of various farming operations and tourism locations in both counties, as well as impressive ag-related demonstrations and discussions at Olds College. Hundreds of Ag Service Board delegates from across the Province will be in attendance during the 4 day event.
10:44 am – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has deployed 125 firefighters and support staff, five air tankers, two birddog planes and 3,000 lengths of hose to British Columbia to help with the wildfire efforts. Also, Alberta RCMP are sending 40 members from the Special Tactical Operations unit. Read More.
10:36 am – More than 350 Alberta Health Services (AHS) ground ambulances will soon be equipped with power stretchers and load systems to help reduce injuries for paramedics. Read More.
10:30 am – A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for the Red Deer Region today. Details Here.
10:25 am – Red Deer RCMP are investigating a targeted shooting that sent a man to hospital with a gunshot wound to his leg, and are looking for public assistance to identify the two men who dropped him off at the hospital shortly before 8 pm Tuesday night. Read More.
10:20 am – A Red Deer man faces charges after he assaulted a Community Peace Officer in downtown Red Deer Wednesday evening, fled on foot and was located after a police dog track. Read More.
10:06 am – The Bard on Bower returns for it’s 7th season of live Shakespearean Frolic tonight! Read More.
9:58 am – Sunshine and live tunes on the Ross Street Patio today! Enjoy, you deserve it! Details Here.
9:46 am – A Canadian Gospel Music Celebration gets underway at Red Deer’s Westerner Park today for the next three days! Details Here.
9:38 am – Lots of construction throughout Red Deer today. Avoid the traffic delays by knowing where the current road closures are!
9:30 am – Some parts of Red Deer’s Westpark neighbourhood have Boil Water Advisories in place today, including some addresses on Welton Crescent and Waghorn Close. Read More.
9:25 am – Air Quality Advisories remain in place for areas to the west and north of Red Deer today, while some areas to the south are under Heat Warnings. Read More.
Poilievre among those marching with soldier charged for criticizing vaccine mandates
By Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre joined the final leg of a march led by a Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements that has sparked promises — and fears — of a new wave of protests in the capital.
James Topp was charged in February with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for comments made while wearing his uniform, and has since been leading a four-month march to the capital from Vancouver.
His march has been supported by many of the same figures involved in the “Freedom Convoy” that snarled downtown Ottawa for weeks until police used force to end what they and the government described as an illegal occupation.
His arrival in the capital and promises of a new round of protests starting Canada Day have set residents on edge. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the city’s interim police chief, Steve Bell, have promised to crack down on any illegal activity.
Poilievre walked alongside Topp for about half an hour after the two met in the parking lot of a strip mall west of downtown Ottawa shortly before noon, where hundreds of people had gathered to see the army reservist.
Video of the meeting shows Poilievre citing to Topp a famous quote by then-prime minister John Diefenbaker about being a “free Canadian” when the latter signed the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, before expressing his opposition to vaccine mandates.
When Topp says he wants the reinstatement and reparations for anyone who lost their job because of vaccine mandates, Poilievre said: “Everybody who lost their job simply because of a COVID mandate should be restored to their job, no question about it.”
The two also spoke about the divisions within Canada, with Poilievre saying: “People are desperate for hope … I think it’s time to put this country back together, and heal the wounds and reunite our country.”
The two were then followed by about 200 supporters, many of them carrying Canadian flags and some sporting camouflaged backpacks and other gear, as they walked down the sidewalk of a major street for about half an hour before Poilievre left.
Poilievre’s appearance with Topp comes as the presumed Conservative leadership front-runner has been accused of unabashedly cozying up to anti-vaccine protesters and other groups associated with the “Freedom Convoy.”
Topp has said he has no plans to lead an occupation of the capital, and invited Ottawa police to work with him to facilitate his march through the city to the National War Memorial.
However, an organizer for a group calling itself Veterans 4 Freedom said in a recent video posted to YouTube that it plans to set up a semi-permanent camp east of Ottawa called “Camp Eagle” and hold events in the city all summer.
While police have since managed to prevent similar protests from taking over the city, stopping planned demonstrations from getting out of hand during Canada Day is likely to be complicated by the presence of thousands of people celebrating the holiday.
The charges against Topp relate to two videos posted online in the winter in which the army reservist appears in uniform criticizing vaccine requirements for military personnel and other federal employees.
Canadian Armed Forces members are severely restricted in the comments they can make while in uniform, particularly when it comes to criticizing government policies, in large part to protect the military from any perception of politicization.
His lawyer has argued such restrictions should not apply to policies that affect Armed Forces members personally.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said police are taking their responsibility to keep people safe during Canada Day celebrations “very seriously,” while Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on those intending to protest in Ottawa to respect the law.
“Folks, be considerate this weekend, you’re going to Ottawa, be considerate. It’s Canada Day, we’re Canadians, just everyone have a good time, a safe time, stay healthy and safe and spend time with your families,” Ford said.
Ford said he is disappointed to see such protests return to the capital.
“I’m all for peaceful protests and you can demonstrate, but no shenanigans this weekend, just be peaceful and let the people of Ottawa enjoy their weekend,” he said.
“Honestly, we shouldn’t even be going through this. It’s disappointing, but it is what it is.”
More than two dozen Conservative MPs hosted Topp and other leading figures in the Freedom Convoy on Parliament Hill last week, posing for pictures, promising their support and listening to a lecture on the purported dangers of COVID-19 vaccines.
Health Canada says only vaccines that meet strict safety, efficacy and quality standards are approved for use in the country, and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of the disease. About 85 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose.
Topp told the MPs that he was marching in part to get all vaccine mandates repealed, as well as to demand the reinstatement of anyone who lost their job because of such a requirement and compensation for wages lost.
At the same time, he and the others raised the spectre of civil war in describing the state of the country.
“We won’t be intimidated by any group that plans to disrupt the celebrations,” Mayor Jim Watson said during a briefing earlier this week. “We’re prepared and we will not tolerate any illegal activity by anyone.”
Bell said police are prepared for a number of different scenarios, and will respond quickly to any illegal activity, including efforts to set up structures such as stages.
In late April, the Ottawa Police Services Board approved a request from Bell to appoint up to 831 RCMP officers to help with the Rolling Thunder motorcycle events, and made those appointments valid until July 4.
The city is warning that vehicles will be ticketed and towed if they’re found violating no-stopping zones, although the full extent of the areas that will be off limits has not been determined.
Many Ottawa residents remain angry at how the city and police handled the “Freedom Convoy” protests, with several community groups banding together to launch a citizens’ inquiry into how that protest was handled.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.
Calgary Stampede receives $10M from federal government to aid recovery from pandemic
Calgary – The Calgary Stampede has received more than $10 million from the federal government to help it bounce back after last year’s event was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report to the city this week showed the Stampede had an operating loss of $8.3 million in 2021.
Last year’s Stampede ran at half capacity because of COVID-19 public health measures and was cancelled all-together the year before.
Daniel Vandal, the federal minister for Prairies Economic Development Canada, says the money aims to support a full-scale Stampede to deliver the “authentic western experience” this year.
He says it would also help to reignite Alberta’s visitor economy.
The 2022 Stampede is set to run from July 8 to 17.
“Festivals large and small were hard hit during the pandemic,” Vandal said in a news release. “They are events where families and friends come together and take in the exciting atmosphere.
“The tourism industry is facing a strong comeback providing quality jobs across the country, showcasing stunning landscapes and offering exciting experiences right here in Alberta.”
The federal government also provided about $1.8 million for four other tourism projects in southern Alberta: Charmed Resorts, Cochrane Tourism Association, Heritage Park and Tourism Calgary.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.
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