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Around Red Deer May 19th – May 22nd

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4:38 pm – The Highway 12/21 Regional Water Services Commission held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Mirror Community Hall today to celebrate the Mirror to Bashaw portion of the Highway 12/21 Regional Water Line. Read More.

3:12 pm – The Lacombe Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in locating 14 year old, Rayona Steele. Rayona is considered as a runaway and was last seen in Lacombe on May 15, 2017. When last seen she was with her Rottweiler dog, “Tank”, that may still be travelling with her. Rayona Steele is described as: · Caucasian · 5’3” tall · 119 lbs · Red hair with purple ends · Blue eyes. Contact the Lacombe Police Service at 403-782-3279 if you know where she is.

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12:26 pm – RCMP have arrested a man and woman in possession of a large quantity of stolen identification documents after a traffic stop in the Town of Sylvan Lake. Read More.

12:17 pm – Innisfail RCMP are looking into a suspicious incident involving a young student outside John Wilson Elementary School. Read More.

11:46 am – Red Deer property owners can expect to receive their 2017 property tax notices in the mail in the next few days. Read More.

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11:01 am – Strong social and family relationships and good mental health are among the goals of programs chosen to receive funding from Red Deer & District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) for the next three years. Read More.

10:56 am – Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer – Mountain View will be speaking to Bill C-46 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) in the House of Commons today. The Bill deals with proposed changes to impaired driving laws. The speech will take place at approximately 11:30 AM Mountain Time and will be broadcast on CPAC and available online at www.parlvu.parl.gc.ca

10:50 am – The Town of Innisfail has provided an update on it’s search for a new C.A.O.. Read More.

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10:44 am – Just in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, the Town of Innisfail’s new RV Dump Station opens today! Details here.

10:38 am – 48th Avenue construction gets underway in Sylvan Lake on Tuesday, May 23rd. Read More.

10:26 am – As part of the Broadway Avenue/Highway 2A realignment project in Blackfalds, all trees in the area are scheduled to be mulched in the next week. Read More.

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10:07 am – Don’t forget, Red Deer’s Public Market gets underway for another season on Saturday! Read More.

10:00 am – The Woody’s RV Marathon is taking place in Red Deer this Sunday! Details Here.

9:46 am – Transit riders make note of the Transit Schedule changes in Red Deer County this Victoria Day long weekend. Details here.

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9:41 am – Canada Post has converted all Rural Route addresses in Red Deer County to the 9-1-1 Municipal Address. Read More.

9:37 am – Plenty to do around the City of Red Deer this weekend. Find out more.

9:31 am – It’s another busy weekend at Red Deer’s Westerner Park. The Hunting Hills High School Graduation May 19th, Parkland Arabian Horse Show May 19-21 and YC Alberta on Saturday, May 20th. Details Here.

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9:22 am – RCMP are investigating a robbery at the Tarmack Liquor Store in Rocky Mountain House that occurred on May 14th 2017. Suspects left with an unknown number of liquor bottles. Read More.

9:11 am – Starting Tuesday, May 23rd, parking will be limited in Great Chief Park for the next month while the parking lots are being paved. Read More.

9:07 am – Construction of the 67 Street and Johnstone Drive roundabout and surrounding roadways will resume next week. As a result, there will be traffic impacts in the area. Read More.

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9:00 am – Rocky Mountain House RCMP are happy to report that Waylon Frencheater has been located safe and unharmed. Police would like to thank the public for their assistance in this matter.

8:56 am – Rimbey RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance to identify a person of interest in the investigation of a minivan theft from the Rimbey Best Western on April 23. Read More.

8:50 am – Heads up Red Deer drivers, there are some road closures planned throughout the City starting on Tuesday, May 23rd. Read More.

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8:43 am – The May long weekend kicks off summer, and an increase in drownings in the province. As a result, the Life Saving Society has water safety tips for Albertans before this holiday weekend. Read More.

8:10 am – A ground breaking ceremony will take place at the Mirror Community Hall today to mark the official start of construction on the Mirror to Bashaw Water Transmission Line. The event starts at 2:00 pm and is being hosted by the Highway 12/21 Regional Water Services Commission. Dignitaries attending the event include:

  • Blaine Calkins, MP, Red Deer-Lacombe
  • Ron Orr, MLA, Lacombe-Ponoka
  • Brenda Knight, Highway 12/21 Commission Chairperson
  • Todd Simenson, Regional Leader, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

8:01 am – It’s Graduation Day for Grade 12 students at Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School! The Ceremony starts at 11:00 am at the Centrium & Pavillion in Westerner Park, with the Grand March and Banquet starting at 6:00 pm. Read More.

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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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