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Alberta

Canada’s largest fireworks show of the year set for Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Red Deer to celebrate the Stampede

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News Release from The Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede to Light up the Night Sky Across Alberta!

The Calgary Stampede is proud to celebrate the resilience and determination of our great province through a province-wide fireworks display on Friday, July 9. The Fireworks Spectacular presented by Bell, will take place in Lethbridge, Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary and we invite all Albertans to join together in celebration as we light up the night sky in recognition of our shared goals and bright future for our province. This incredible display will be a must-see, as the largest and most sophisticated firework event produced in Canada this year.

Since 1912, fireworks have played an important role in Stampede celebrations. Taking place in coordination with the fireworks of the Calgary Stampede Evening Show performance on the first night of Stampede 2021, the sparkling world-class display will occur simultaneously in all four participating cities to a synchronized musical soundtrack.

“This is our way of lighting up the Alberta skies and providing the opportunity to celebrate together,” says Steve McDonough, President & Chairman of the Stampede Board. “Thousands of Albertans will be able to view this amazing firework show from their own neighbourhood at the same time, with the same soundtrack on July 9th.”

“On behalf of Lethbridge City Council, we congratulate our friends in Calgary for their creativity and collaboration on this fireworks spectacular. We look forward to helping celebrate the beginning of the Calgary Stampede with what is sure to be a brilliant display of fireworks for residents and visitors to enjoy,” says Mayor Chris Spearman of the City of Lethbridge.

“The Calgary Stampede is leading the way in the return to community life in our province. Red Deer is honoured to be a part of this initiative to celebrate our Western heritage together,” says Red Deer Mayor, Tara Veer. “Albertans have been hit hard by the pandemic, but together we can rebuild and demonstrate our resilience on July 9th.”

The pyro-technical experts from Fireworks Spectaculars Canada, an Alberta based company, are familiar with all four cities, and bring their award winning and awe-inspiring team together across the province to create this magical moment to kick-off the 2021 Stampede.

“At this stage, we have to think about how we get major events up and running again. The Calgary Stampede is leading the way and, one by one, other events will follow. As Explore Edmonton takes over management of K-Days in Edmonton, we are watching and learning from our friends at the Stampede. This will mark the beginning of recovery for the events sector and it marks a milestone moment for Alberta as we emerge from the pandemic,” says Maggie Davison, Interim CEO, Explore Edmonton

“As we move hopefully into our post-pandemic future, this fireworks display will allow us to safely honour what we’ve been though, to express our gratitude to all the essential workers who gotten us through, and to look forward with optimism,” says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

The Fireworks Spectacular presented by Bell will feature four identical, world-class firework displays in each city – Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge – starting at 11 p.m. on July 9. Albertans are invited to participate in this in this free, family-friendly celebration with specific viewing locations and information available at CalgaryStampede.com. It will also be broadcast live on CTV Calgary, CTV2 and CTVNews.ca beginning at 11 p.m., so that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Tune in as we light up the night sky to celebrate Stampede Spirit across Alberta. We thank our community partners Explore Edmonton, The City of Red Deer, Westerner Park and Lethbridge & District Exhibition. This is a celebration of our province, and at the Calgary Stampede we believe we are Greatest Together.

Watch in person from your seat at the 2021 Calgary Stampede Evening Show! Evening Show and Rodeo tickets are now available and include admission into Stampede Park the day of the show. New in 2021, a VIP, full-service, outdoor experience that will put you in the heart of the action on the Grandstand tarmac. Reserve a table for your group of four or six people to enjoy the experience in a brand-new way! To book your Evening Show, Rodeo or VIP Tarmac tickets, or to purchase general Park admission for days you are not attending the Evening Show or Rodeo, go to CalgaryStampede.com

About the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

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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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