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Around Red Deer June 13th…..

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3:10 pm – Good news to pass along regarding a missing Red Deer man. RCMP say 37 year old Michael Ginter has now been located. Mounties thank the public for their assistance.

3:05 pm – In response to citizen concerns, Lacombe City Council has approved amendments to the Nuisance Bylaw to regulate multi-day garage sales within the city and to provide enforcement on a complaint basis. Read More.

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3:00 pm – Lacombe City Council has accepted City administration’s recommendation to extend the expiration time for the urban hen licenses issued in 2017 to December 31, 2018. Read More.

2:54 pm – In an effort to provide consistency and formalize how public inquiries made to elected officials are processed, Lacombe City Council has approved a Citizen Request and Response Policy. Details Here.

2:43 pm – Game Changers Canada Presents Summer Clash Against Cancer on Saturday, August 12, 2017 in the Stockmens Pavilion at Western Park. It’s an official community event for the Alberta Cancer Foundation with 5% of overall ticket sales (Minimum of $4,000) to benefit the Central Alberta Cancer Centre in Red Deer. The $20.17 general admission bleacher tickets along with the remainder of the non-VIP tickets will be available to the public this Friday, June 16th starting at 10am through ticketsalberta.com or by calling 1-866-340-4450.

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1:46 pm – Registrations are now being accepted for the 9th Annual Berry Architecture Community Wellness Ride taking place on August 19th, 2017 in Red Deer. The event is in Support of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)-Central Alberta Region and Central Alberta Brain Injury Society (CABIS). The registration fee is $25.00 and minimum pledge amounts are required based on the distance being ridden. Click here for more info or to register.

1:22 pm – Red Deer RCMP are investigating the theft of a fifth wheel trailer from a locked compound in Queens Business Park the evening of June 3rd. Details Here.

12:59 pm – A new financial framework that will help guide The City in making decisions about its finances was approved by City Council on June 12th. Read More.

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11:22 am – At Monday night’s regular City Council meeting, Council formally adopted the High Intensity Residential Fires (HIRF) response time guidelines for Red Deer Emergency Services. What does this mean for you? Find out here.

11:09 am – Stettler RCMP are reminding Central Alberta drone users to know how to operate them properly, safely and legally. Details Here.

11:02 am – Five people from Red Deer have been arrested after being spotted in a stolen vehicle in Olds on June 5th. Read More.

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10:31 am – Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify the man who committed two armed robberies at knifepoint over the weekend and has been linked to a third robbery last week. Read More.

10:25 am – Road construction continues in Red Deer today with the Timberstone neighbourhood among the areas affected. Read More.

10:18 am – Students registered in Ecole Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School’s Chamber Ensemble program will present their final performance of the school year tonight. This recital starts at 7 pm and will feature everything from flute and tuba duets to the Percussion Ensemble performing on trash cans! Admission is free and refreshments will be served following the recital.

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10:10 am – The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools is holding it’s Reading College Kick-Off BBQ at RDC tonight. This means all Reading College students and their families can learn more about the program and transportation information. It runs from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in the Bruin’s Lounge at RDC.

10:03 am – Athletes will be honoured for their accomplishments at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School’s special Athletics Banquet being held in the school gymnasium tonight. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:00 p.m.

9:17 am – Red Deer’s Maryview Elementary School will celebrate the past year together at a fun Year-end Sundae Party this evening. Officials say School Council will provide ice cream sundaes and other treats for students and their families at this outside event which runs from 6-7 pm.

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Justice

CP NewsAlert: L’Arche says co-founder Jean Vanier sexually abused 25 women

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MONTREAL — A report commissioned by a non-profit organization founded by the late Jean Vanier says the Canadian sexually abused 25 women during his decades with the group.

L’Arche International says the investigation identified 25 women who experienced a sexual act or an intimate gesture from Vanier between 1952 and 2019.

It says the relationships between Vanier, who died in 2019, and the women are “part of a continuum of confusion, control and abuse.”

Vanier, son of former Governor General Georges Vanier, worked as a Canadian navy officer and professor before turning to Catholic-inspired charity work.

He founded L’Arche in 1964 as an alternative living environment where those with developmental disabilities could be full-fledged participants in the community instead of patients.

More coming.

The Canadian Press

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Business

Federal departments failed to spend $38B on promised programs, services last year

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By Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa

The federal government failed to spend tens of billions of dollars in the last fiscal year on promised programs and services, including new military equipment, affordable housing and support for veterans.

Federal departments are blaming a variety of factors for letting a record total of $38 billion in funding lapse in 2021-22, including delays and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also say much of the money remains available for future years.

The unspent funds also played a big part in the Liberal government posting a smaller-than-expected deficit in the year ending March 31, 2022.

Canada rang up a $90.2 billion deficit — $23.6 billion less than had been projected in the budget.

The unprecedented amount of lapsed funding, much of which has been returned to the federal treasury, has one observer suggesting it is a sign of long-standing challenges delivering on big federal projects for the country.

The amount of lapsed funds across government is spelled out in the most recent iteration of the public accounts, a report on federal revenues and spending by every department and agency tabled in the House of Commons every year.

The $38.2 billion that was reported as lapsed in the last fiscal year marks a new record over the previous year, which was $32.2 billion. That was a dramatic increase over the previous record of $14 billion in 2019-20.

That compares to around $10 billion about a decade ago, when Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was accused by political opponents and experts alike of using large lapses to make cuts by stealth.

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada reported the largest lapses of all departments and agencies, with nearly $11.2 billion of their combined $28.2 billion budgets going unspent.

Much of that had been set aside for COVID-19 initiatives that were not needed, said Health Canada spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau. Those include vaccines, personal protective equipment and rapid tests.

“Both Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada have rigorous internal financial management controls designed to prevent, detect and minimize errors and financial losses, and ensure the funding is spent in the best interests of Canadians,” she wrote in an email.

The pandemic figured in the responses and explanations from many other departments and agencies, with many blaming COVID-19 for delays.

One of them was the Defence Department, which reported a lapse of $2.5 billion in the last fiscal year. Much of the money wasn’t spent due to delays in the delivery of new military equipment such as Arctic patrol vessels and upgrades to the Army’s armoured vehicles.

There were also delays on major infrastructure projects for the military, according to Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande. Those include upgrading and rebuilding two jetties for the Navy in Esquimalt, B.C., and a new armoury in New Brunswick.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many of our business lines,” Lamirande said.

“The impacts of the pandemic on supply chain and industry capacity are causing manufacturing backlogs and delays.”

Lamirande added most of the unspent funds are expected to be available in future years through a process called reprofiling, in which schedules are revised to reflect planned spending in future years due to those delays.

Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page said the government’s handling of lapsed funding now is “a little more relaxed” than in previous years, when unspent funds were not reprofiled and even used to justify budget cuts in Ottawa.

But defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute said the Defence Department’s lapse, which has been steadily growing in recent years, is a symptom of Ottawa’s continued difficulties purchasing new military equipment.

“If we’re not getting those procurement projects through, we’re not getting new equipment into the inventory, so we don’t actually have the gear for our troops,” he said, noting many of the delayed projects were launched under the Harper government.

Perry also noted the current rate of inflation, which is already naturally higher for military equipment and the defence sector than most other parts of the economy. Not spending money now means Canada will have to pay more for the same gear and services later, he said.

The Infrastructure Department, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. and the Fisheries Department, which includes the Canadian Coast Guard, also reported delays with different capital projects, including on affordable housing and broadband internet.

“Due to the unprecedented circumstances over the last few years such as the COVID-19 pandemic, disbursing funds to proponents for many projects are expected to and will take longer,” CMHC spokeswoman Claudie Chabot said in an email.

Perry suggested a bigger problem.

“The government of Canada’s ability to actually deliver services to the public, especially when it comes to large projects, large capital projects, be it for equipment or infrastructure or IT projects, is struggling across the board,” he said.

Other federal entities with large lapses included Indigenous Services Canada, which failed to spend $3.4 billion, and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, which reported a lapse of $2.2 billion.

Spokesman Vincent Gauthier attributed much of the latter lapse to “the timing and progress of negotiations for specific claims and childhood litigations,” adding that funds will available “in some instances” in future years.

Gauthier did not say why Indigenous Services, which is responsible for delivering federal services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, failed to spend billions of dollars. He did say most of the money had been reprofiled “so that it will be available when recipients need it.”

Veterans Affairs Canada also reported a nearly $1 billion lapse last year, which the department blamed on fewer ill and injured ex-soldiers applying for assistance than expected.

However, critics have described earlier lapsed funding as evidence of the challenges many veterans face in accessing benefits and services. In 2014, the Royal Canadian Legion demanded the Harper government explain why $1.1 billion went unspent over seven years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.

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