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Around Red Deer April 18th…..

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1:37 pm – Red Deer Mounties are looking for a pair of suspects who allegedly tried to rob a man at gun point outside a north end bank on April 13th. Read More.

11:43 am – RCMP have released a composite sketch of one of two men accused of trying to mug another man near downtown Red Deer March 29th. Can you identify him? 

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11:33 am – Red Deer RCMP arrested a man that fled from a stolen truck after it drove over two spike belts on Easter Monday. Read More.

10:59 am – The 7th annual “Janes Walk” is taking place in Red Deer on the first weekend of May and the City is looking for people to lead these community walks. Are you a leader? Find out here.

10:51 am – A public art piece outside the downtown library in Red Deer will be getting some repairs this week. Read More.

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9:59 am – Red Deer County is hosting a “Great Neighbours” event in Spruceview Wednesday night. Read More.

9:51 am – A St. Francis Of Assisi Middle School teacher has been named a division finalist for the Edwin Parr Award! Read More.

9:29 am – There’s handball action at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School later today! The school’s handball teams will take on teams from Bentley:

  • Senior Girls play at 4:00 p.m.
  • Senior Boys play at 5:00 p.m.
  • Junior Girls play at 6:00 p.m.
  • Junior Boys play at 7:00 p.m.

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9:12 am – Hundreds of local students are taking part in the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts at RDC this week! Find out more.

9:05 am – Some street sweeping is slated for Innisfail today.

50 Ave. from 53 St. to 39 St.
52 Ave. from 53 St. to Highway 2A
49 Ave. from 53 St. to Highway 2A
48 Ave. from 53 St. to 42 St.

8:58 am – Some road closures for Red Deer motorists to make note of today. Read More.

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COVID-19

Opposition leader to meet with freedom convoy leaders in Ottawa

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With a healthy Prime Minister Trudeau isolating due to covid protocol, Canada’s Opposition leader Erin O’Toole says he’s only too happy to meet with representatives of the Freedom Convoy.  Thursday as O’Toole emerged from a caucus meeting about the results of the last election, he swept aside all questions from the media and made a statement about the Freedom Convoy headed to the nation’s capital.

Saying he’s never seen the county so divided, O’Toole blamed the Prime Minister for stoking the division by refusing to even speak to the Truckers.  He went on to say the Conservatives have always opposed mandates, and that no Canadian should be losing their livelihood over their health decisions.

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National

Crowd gathers north of Toronto to cheer on trucker convoy heading to Ottawa

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TORONTO — A large crowd gathered outside a mall north of Toronto on Thursday as a group of local truckers prepared to join a convoy to Ottawa in protest of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border drivers.

Some in the crowd threw cash and food up to truckers in their vehicles at the Vaughan Mills mall while others hoisted Canadian flags and signs protesting the government as the truckers gradually rolled out.

Mike Fabinski, a truck driver from Barrie, Ont., said the vaccine mandate means he won’t be able to work cross-border routes any more.

“You want to be vaccinated, go ahead, your choice. I don’t want to be vaccinated, that’s my choice,” he said.

Fabinski said he’s been a truck driver for 20 years but has not been able to travel to the U.S. since the federal mandate came to effect on Jan 15.

“I was going non-stop until they started last Saturday,” he said. “Now I cannot go. I cannot work no more.”

The federal government ended truckers’ exemption to the vaccine mandate two weeks ago meaning Canadian truck drivers need to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a two-week quarantine when they cross into Canada from the U.S.

Some with extreme, far-right views have latched onto the protest against the mandate. One online video includes a man expressing hope the rally will turn into the Canadian equivalent of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

On Thursday, some in the crowd that came out to support the truckers said they planned to join the convoy and make the trek to Ottawa as well.

Dean Brown said he supported peaceful protest intended by the convoy and rejected suggestions that it could lead to violence.

“The people who are in charge of this (convoy) are blocking people who are insisting or suggesting violence,” the 57-year-old Toronto man said.

“It’s all about peace. It’s all about freedom. It’s all about getting the Canadian way of life back. We are not here to turn it to violence.”

Ontario Provincial Police were urging drivers to be patient as several groups of truckers planned to drive across the province to Ottawa before a so-called “freedom rally” on Parliament Hill planned for Saturday.

Police spokesman Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said drivers should prepare for delays on Toronto-area highways, including Highway 401, Highway 400 and the Queen Elizabeth Way.

Police in Ottawa have said they are planning for as many as 2,000 demonstrators, and while protest leaders have been co-operative, there are concerns that far-right extremist groups that have attached themselves to the convoy could spark violence.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, which has denounced the convoy protest, estimates that roughly 15 per cent of truckers — up to 16,000 — are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2022.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

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