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Alberta

As a Polytechnic RDC looking to offer degree programs in arts, science, business administration and education

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More higher learning opportunities in central Alberta

Red Deer College is poised to become Alberta’s newest polytechnic, ensuring residents have access to a wide variety of learning options close to home now and in the future.

Becoming a polytechnic enables Red Deer College to better align programming with local student, business and industry needs – including high-quality degrees, apprenticeship education and diploma programs.

Alberta’s government worked in partnership with Red Deer College and student leaders to determine the most flexible and best-fit model for central Alberta, with a goal of ensuring students have access to the education they need and employers in the region have access to the talent they need.

“I am thrilled that Red Deer College will become central Alberta’s polytechnic institution, best positioning it to provide residents with the wide range of educational options they need to build rewarding careers – right in their community. Ensuring all Albertans have access to opportunities to build their skills for in-demand local jobs empowers people to achieve success close to home, helps strengthen and grow communities, as well as attracting investment to the province.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

Red Deer College and the students, faculty and staff on campus play a key role in the community and local economy. The college began operations in 1964, and since then has expanded its offerings to include more than 100 programs across a range of credentials. With strong connections to business, innovation, health care, non-profits and many other organizations, Red Deer College and its students have an important role in the culture and vibrancy of the central Alberta region. The partnerships, work-integrated learning and collaboration already in place will continue to be enhanced through the polytechnic model.

“We are very supportive of the polytechnic designation because this model will allow us to build on our strengths to become an ever more innovative institution that will best serve our students, partners, industry and community members. Becoming a polytechnic achieves all of the goals we have had for many years, and it allows us to consider exciting new possibilities for the future.”

Guy Pelletier, chair, Red Deer College Board of Governors

“The breadth of programs and credentials we will offer as a polytechnic institution are exactly what this region needs. By offering students applied and work-integrated learning across all programs – from trades to our own degrees – we will assist graduates to achieve their goals and be highly employable within the ever-changing needs of the labour market. This is the ideal future for our institution.”

Peter Nunoda, president, Red Deer College

“Red Deer is ready for a polytechnic. Students of central Alberta want to learn and live close to their support systems. We need to stop the brain drain and focus on what really matters most – making sure our population is well-educated and remains in this region.”

Savannah Snow, president, Students’ Association of Red Deer College

Red Deer is Alberta’s third largest city and a key social and economic hub for central Alberta. By shifting Red Deer College to a polytechnic and supporting expanded programming to include new degree and apprenticeship opportunities, we are ensuring students have the skills they need to build rewarding careers and employers have the talented workforce they need to grow the economy.

“Red Deer city council, our community and our region remain dedicated to supporting Red Deer College, students and staff who work every day to ensure RDC remains a key competitive post-secondary institution. We need to be a competitive contender in keeping and attracting new population to our city, and one of the most promising means of doing so is through the development of a skilled labour force, offering a broader spectrum of career options locally, and attracting a population who will stay and strengthen our local economy through their future contributions in various sectors.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

These changes also align with the goals of the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy, and were considered as part of consultations to form the strategy.

An official new name for the institution has not yet been chosen but is expected to be announced in the coming months. Alberta’s government will continue to work with Red Deer College to ensure a successful path to polytechnic status.

Quick facts

  • Polytechnic status in Alberta enables institutions to offer apprenticeship education along with degree, diploma and certificate programs.
  • Red Deer College is currently approved to offer three degree programs, including the recently approved bachelor of science in biological sciences degree.
  • The institution has also put forward four degree program proposals to Advanced Education for program approval review. These include:
    • bachelor of arts (psychology)
    • bachelor of science (psychology)
    • bachelor of business administration
    • bachelor of education
  • The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy is a transformational vision and direction for Alberta’s higher education system, which will develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, strengthen innovation and commercialization of research and forge stronger relationships between employers and post-secondary institutions.

Alberta

Alberta government says jobs, economy, COVID to be focus of fall legislature sitting

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government plans a busy fall legislature sitting aimed at adding jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on tamping down the renewed surge of COVID-19.

Government house leader Jason Nixon says this will include proposed legislation on recognizing professional credentials to address labour shortages. The bill will be introduced by Premier Jason Kenney.

“Our focus will be on Alberta’s workforce, a couple of bills around diversifying the economy, a big focus on building infrastructure for our future, (and) growing our resources, particularly on the energy side,” Nixon said in an interview Friday.

There will also be new initiatives on environmental protection and conservation.

Nixon said there will be 18 to 20 bills for the sitting, which begins Monday and is scheduled to run to the first week of December. 

“It’s a very robust fall agenda,” he said.

Nixon said the government will continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 cases, which have severely stressed the health system.

No COVID-19-specific bills are planned, he said, noting they were passed in previous sittings. 

“There’s certainly other stuff to be done to manage the pandemic … but we’ll stand ready if Alberta Health needs us to pass any legislation to deal with the pandemic.”

He said debate in the chamber is expected to return to some semblance of normalcy.

In the spring sitting, both the United Conservative government and the Opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the chamber to prevent the spread of the virus. 

This time, with all NDP members and all but one on the UCP side vaccinated, all will be allowed back in for debate.

The lone UCP member has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly, said Nixon.

He said there are still masking rules and members will try to maintain distancing where possible.

The NDP said it plans to hold the government accountable for what went disastrously wrong on COVID-19.

“This fall sitting of the legislature will be laser-focused on getting answers from the UCP on why they’ve failed Albertans so miserably in managing the devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christina Gray, the NDP house leader.

“Since July 15, more than 85,000 additional Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died.”

Gray said the NDP will call for an all-party inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic with the power to compel documents and testimony.

Nixon said the government will not agree to such a motion. He said it would be wrong to redeploy vital health resources right now and that Kenney has promised an eventual review of how the province handled the pandemic.

Kenney has also promised to bring forward a motion to ratify and act on the results of Monday’s provincewide referendum on Canada’s equalization program.

Final results aren’t in from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities suggest the referendum will pass with about 60 per cent in support of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution.

Kenney has said the issue is not about removing equalization, something no province can do unilaterally, but about getting leverage to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers to attain a better deal with Ottawa.

Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney will likely continue to focus on initiatives such as the equalization referendum, if only to change the narrative on his low popularity ratings.

“The premier will be spending most of his time, if he has anything to say about it, outside the province, stumping for this fair deal,” said Wesley, with the University of Alberta.

COVID-19 numbers have been trending down in recent weeks. But Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, say the situation remains precarious.

On Friday, there were just over 10,000 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. And there were 191 COVID-19 patients in intensive care. 

Alberta’s fourth wave troubles began after Kenney lifted almost all COVID-19 related health restrictions as of July 1, boasting that the pandemic had moved to the “endemic” phase and there was no need to plan for a renewed case surge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

'You're looking at it:' Undercover officer says suspect led them to burial site

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CALGARY — A Calgary man who killed his girlfriend and is on trial for the murder of her young daughter took undercover officers in the middle of the night to a remote, snow-covered area where they were buried.

Robert Leeming, who is 36, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Jasmine Lovett and not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. 

The mother and toddler were reported missing in April of 2019 after they didn’t show up for a family dinner.

Court heard this week that Leeming was befriended by two undercover officers, who told him they had retrieved a bag of evidence from a nosy neighbour. 

They offered to help him with his problems — including removing the bodies of Lovett and her daughter, who were in a shallow grave under a pile of mulch and branches in a day-use area west of Calgary.

One of the officers testified that Leeming knew exactly where the bodies were.

The officer said they went to the area in the early morning of May 6, 2019, and walked a short distance on foot.

“I said, ‘OK, where to?’ And (Leeming) goes, ‘You’re looking at it.’ And he points down. And underneath and against my left foot were branches and a pile,” said the officer.

“(Leeming) goes and he grabs a branch and lifts it up as if to prove what’s underneath all these branches. As he does that, I see a small bit of blue that I believe to be the moving blankets.”

Investigators previously testified that the mother and child were doused in gasoline and wrapped in blue blankets before they were covered in dirt, mulch and branches.

The trial also heard that Lovett had skull fractures and was shot in the head. Aliyah died of blunt force head trauma.

The officer said Leeming boasted about steps he had taken to hinder a possible police investigation — including hiding wads of raw bacon around his house to throw off cadaver dogs and filling the back of his car with mulch.

“Well, mulch is death, right? So it smells like death,” Leeming told the officers in a tape recording played in court.

“You cleaned that car up good?” asked the undercover officer. 

“Oh, yeah,” he replied.

The officer said Leeming also expressed relief that his 2014 Mercedes seized by police was an older model.

“It’s funny ’cause they were telling me the Mercedes, they pretty much can hook up to the computer in the car and know exactly where I’ve been,” Leeming said with a laugh. 

“It’s too old a car. If it was an ’18, then I’d be in jail.”

The prosecution was expected to wrap up its case Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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