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Around Red Deer May 30th…..

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3:09 pm – A reminder from the Penhold Fire Department to not discard smoking material in gardens or planters. This, after a flower garden fire in Penhold today that caused ,000 damage to a garden and the adjacent home on Harvest Close just before 1:00 pm. Fire Chief Jim Pendergast says the flames spread to the vinyl siding on the outside of the house and up onto some electrical lines. Luckily there were no injuries, as everyone evacuated safely.

11:20 am – Red Deer College is inviting central Albertans to celebrate the best films of the year at Film Works 2017. This annual event features films created by RDC’s latest student actors, directors, cinematographers and all-around filmmakers. The event runs Friday, June 2nd and Saturday, June 3rd. Read More.   

11:15 am – RDC is getting set to hold it’s 53rd annual Convocation Ceremony on Friday, June 2nd. Read More.

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11:04 am – RCMP are looking for two suspects after a truck was stolen in Erskine and a break-in soon afterwards at the Erskine Grill May 5th. Read More.

10:25 am – Some road closures are in place throughout the Town of Innisfail today. Read More.

10:15 am – Temporary Road Closures are now in place at many rail crossings throughout Lacombe County over the next several days. CP Rail is doing some work at these locations. Read Where.

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10:08 am – Farm Vehicle Safety Checks are taking place in Lacombe County over the next couple of days. Read More.

9:54 am – It’s Vibrant Neighbourhoods Week and the Crossroads Church in Red Deer will be the site tonight to host a Rural evening with Jim Diers who will share his passion for getting people engaged with their communities. It runs from 7:30 – 9:00 pm. Read More.

9:43 am – The 2017 Summer Clash Against Cancer wrestling fundraiser is moving locations from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer on August 12th. Read More.

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9:25 am – Week 1 is in the books for the Central Alberta Bucaneer’s 2017 season. The Bucs emerged victorious with a final score of 44-14 over the Grande Prairie Drillers on Saturday, May 27th. Read More.

9:17 am – It’s Business After Hours at Westerner Park tonight, while the Southside RV Centre Spring Event continues on site. Read More.

8:56 am – The City of Lacombe has released it’s 2017 Spring Coffee with Council Resident Feedback Summary Report. Read More.

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8:45 am – Municipal property tax notices for the 2017 taxation year were mailed out to Lacombe residents on May 26th. Read More.

8:35 am – Grade 8 students in Red Deer will participate in a Track & Field Day at École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School today!

8:27 am – To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, every school in the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division will celebrate on the 150th day of the year. That’s today, so all students are encouraged to wear Red and White to mark the occasion. Click here to see what the Catholic schools are doing!

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8:14 am – It’s the final concert of the season at Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer tonight. There will be performances by Concert Band, Jazz Band, Rock Band, Steel Drums, Drumline and Dance students. Tickets $10 each, available at Hunting Hills music room or at the door.

8:07 am – STEM Subjects, coding, 3D modelling and printing and robotics are all part of the Makerspace Open House from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Mountview Elementary School tonight!

7:58 am – Students at Red Deer’s Glendale Science and Technology School have their Outdoor Education Spring Camp today and overnight into tomorrow. They will be at the Alford Lake Conservation Education Centre participating in fishing, camping activities, wildlife identification, archery and survival training!

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Indigenous

Advocate asks AFN chiefs to ensure $40B settlement deal leaves no child behind

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By Stephanie Taylor in Ottawa

A First Nations child welfare advocate on Wednesday implored chiefs to ensure “no child is left behind” in a landmark $40-billion settlement agreement with the federal government.

Cindy Blackstock delivered the message to an Assembly of First Nations gathering in Ottawa, after being invited to take the stage by Cindy Woodhouse, regional chief in Manitoba who helped negotiate the agreement, which had been thrown into question since being rejected by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The AFN, representing more than 600 First Nations across the country, had asked the tribunal to approve the settlement deal, which would see the government spend $20 billion to compensate families and children for systemic discrimination in the Indigenous child welfare system. It would also spend another $20 billion on making long-term reforms.

Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Caring Society who first lodged the complaint at the heart of the issue, raised concerns that the agreement wouldn’t provide $40,000 in compensation to all eligible claimants, which is the amount the tribunal ruled they should get.

“We can make sure that in our First Nations canoe of justice, no child has to see their money go away and no child is left behind in justice,” she said Wednesday.

“We are capable of that.”

Following the tribunal’s decision in October, the federal government filed for a judicial review of some parts of its decision.

Endorsing the settlement agreement loomed as one of the biggest items on the assembly’s agenda, with chiefs being asked to vote on what the organization should do next.

The chiefs had been preparing to vote on conflicting resolutions, with one asking them to support the final settlement agreement, while another sought to see the organization not appeal the tribunal decision and renegotiate the deal.

But on Wednesday, further talks between both sides took place, assisted by former senator and judge Murray Sinclair, who helped the AFN, federal government and lawyers for two related class-action lawsuits reach the $40-billion agreement in the first place, which was formally announced in January.

Chiefs ultimately voted late Wednesday against re-entering negotiations but to instead support compensation for victims outlined in the agreement and “those already legally entitled to the $40,000 plus interest under the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal compensation orders.”

It also included a provision that AFN leaders must regularly return to chiefs to provide it with progress updates and “seek direction” from chiefs on implementing the final agreement.

Many chiefs thanked Blackstock, who was greeted with applause after further agreement was met and said she was honoured to see people come together for children harmed by Ottawa’s discrimination.

“We have had too many apologies, we’ve had too many compensation deals, we’ve had too many kids hurt. And this has got to be it,” she said.

She added more discussion on the long-term reform part of the deal would be presented to chiefs on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the assembly heard from sisters Melissa Walterson and Karen Osachoff, plaintiffs on the case, about the impact the foster care system had on their lives.

Osachoff said she had been in the child welfare system since she was born and didn’t have a chance to grow up with her sister.

“Had it not been for the ’60s Scoop and the child welfare (system), her and I would have grown up together.”

She said she understands why the tribunal characterizes those like her as “victims,” but told chiefs to instead think of them as survivors.

“I am not a victim and our claimants are not victims.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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Business

What the latest Bank of Canada rate hike means for inflation, consumers

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By Tara Deschamps

The Bank of Canada hiked its key policy rate by half a percentage point to 4.25 per cent — the highest it’s been since January 2008 — on Wednesday in its final rate decision of a year that has been marked by stubbornly high inflation and rapidly increasing interest rates.

The bank, which has made a steady succession of large hikes over the course of the year, is widely believed to be nearing an end to the increases.

In announcing the rate hike Wednesday, the bank said it will consider whether the rate “needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target.”

Here’s a look at what the rate means, how analysts are interpreting it and what it could mean for consumers.

What is the key policy rate and what does it do?

The key policy rate, also known as the target for the overnight rate, is how much interest the Bank of Canada wants commercial banks to charge when lending each other money overnight to settle daily balances.

Knowing how much it costs to lend money, or deposit it with the central bank, helps set the interest rates charged on things like loans and mortgages.

Lowering the rate generally makes borrowing money more affordable, while raising it makes such activities more expensive.

Why is the bank using the rate to target inflation?

Inflation is a measure of how much prices of goods and services are rising or falling. High inflation is a sign of an economy that’s overheating.

Canada’s annual inflation rate reached a peak of 8.1 per cent in June, the highest level in four decades.

It has eased since then, reaching 6.9 per cent in September, but didn’t budge in October. And shoppers have seen higher prices for common expenses like groceries. Grocery prices have been rising at the fastest pace in decades and were 11 per cent higher in October than they were a year ago.

Economists and the central bank want to see a further easing, which is why interest rates have been rising so quickly in the hope of cooling consumer spending patterns.

“Inflation is still too high and short-term inflation expectations remain elevated,” the bank said in its announcement. “The longer that consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the target, the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.”

What does this mean for my mortgage?

Mortgage rates tend to increase or decrease in tandem with interest rates.

When Canadians buy homes there are two kinds of mortgages they can select — fixed rate or variable. Fixed-rate mortgages allow borrowers to lock in the interest rate they will pay for a set amount of time, while variable-rate mortgages can fluctuate.

Allison Van Rooijen, vice-president of consumer credit at Meridian Credit Unit, estimates the rate hike Wednesday will bump payments on a $450,000 variable-rate mortgage on a 25-year amortization up another $130 or so every month. Since the beginning of 2022, rising rates have amounted to roughly $1,000 more per month since the beginning of 2022.

“Because of the high cost of housing in Canada and years of low borrowing rates, Canadians are carrying record-levels of debt on mortgages and lines of credit, so it’s really important that people go through their expenses and look to scale back discretionary spending where they can,” she said in an email.

She recommends people double down on efforts to pay off debt with higher interest rates as much as possible and if they are running into trouble making payments, discuss whether switching to another format of mortgage is right for them.

Does this mean interest rates will stop rising soon?

Shortly after the announcement, many economists predicted the bank isn’t done with hikes yet, even though the language in the statement signalled the possibility of holding steady at 4.25 per cent.

BMO Capital Markets chief economist Douglas Porter said a further hike of about 25 basis points is likely still to come because he’s concerned about the “stickiness of underlying inflation.”

James Orlando of TD Economics agreed. He expects the bank will deliver its final rate hike for the foreseeable future in January, bringing the measure to 4.5 per cent.

“We don’t think the Bank of Canada is done yet, but it is quickly approaching the end of its hiking cycle,” he wrote in a note to investors.

“As all Canadians know, the rapid rate hikes over 2022 have caused a dramatic adjustment in the real estate market, and we are starting to see this in consumer spending data. We expect this to continue to weigh on the economy over 2023 as the lagged effects of past hikes filter through.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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