The City of Calgary remains on edge following several reports of assault and harassment against women in the last two weeks.
One woman reported being targeted while in her car, when four men on foot surrounded her vehicle while it was stopped at a streetlight on Glenmore Trail as she was driving home. It was close to midnight and the roads were relatively quiet, and the woman reported the men pulled on all four door handles but were unable to enter the vehicle, as the doors were locked while she was driving – a simple action she believes may have saved her life.
Another woman was assaulted on the Calgary Beltline on March 18th while reportedly walking to work on 5th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue. Two men pulled her from the street into an alley where they proceeded to violently physically and sexually assault her. The incident was captured by security cameras on a nearby building.
These frightening attacks occurred in Calgary just as the devastating news of Sarah Everard’s murder being circulating in the UK. On the evening of March 3rd, Everard was walking home from a friend’s house in south London when she went missing. The body of the 33-year-old was found on the evening of March 10th, more than 50 miles from where she was last seen. British police officer Wayne Couzens has since been charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard.
The tragic UK story has struck chords all across the globe, and thousands of women have come forward to share their own lived experiences with physical and sexual assault. In recognition of Sarah and in solidarity with the countless women who suffer physical and sexual assault on a daily basis, women’s marches have broken out around the world. Statements such as #SheWasJustWalkingHome, #EveryWomanYouKnow and #TextMeWhenYouGetHome are now also trending online.
For many – if not all – women, the fear for personal safety is never far from mind. The extensive list of personal protection devices, such as pepper spray, pocket sirens, rape whistles, key-chains designed to smash windows from the inside, and so many more, offer just a glimpse into the lived reality of ongoing fear for women everywhere. Simply put, violence against women represents a crisis in every single city.
An analysis conducted in 2018 by the World Health Organization on violence against women, featuring data from across 161 countries and areas from 2000 – 2018 found that nearly 1 in 3 women have been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence or both.
According to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, over half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
The movement to end violence against women is not new, and it is still far from over. In addressing the complex structural factors that contribute to the continued perpetuation of violence against women, conversation is key.
Listening to the woman who has spent countless years holding keys between her fingers as a make-shift weapon while she walks home from work, or made pretend phone-calls to friends or family so she wouldn’t be perceived as alone. Understanding the fears of the girl who learned at an early age to never wear headphones in public and never be caught walking alone after dark – or even in the daytime, if it can be helped.
These women are our daughters, mothers, sisters and friends, and far too many of them have stories like this.
If you or someone you know is struggling with violence, assault or harassment, visit https://crcvc.ca/links/ – Support for Women for an extensive list of available resources including helplines, counseling and support centres, and a number of activism groups focused on ending violence against women in Canada and around the world.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Sergei Bobrovsky has 40-save shutout as Florida Panthers rout Edmonton Oilers 6-0
EDMONTON — Sergei Bobrovsky made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Florida Panthers defeated the ice-cold Edmonton Oilers 6-0 on Thursday.
Aleksander Barkov scored two goals and added an assist for the Panthers (27-8-5), who improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, Sam Bennett and Owen Tippett also scored for Florida.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 shots as the Oilers (18-16-2) lost their seventh straight.
Edmonton has a 2-11-2 record in its last 15 games.
There was no scoring in the first period despite Edmonton peppering Bobrovsky with 17 shots.
Koskinen made seven saves in the Edmonton net in the opening frame.
Florida got on the board first, scoring a power-play goal about five-and-a-half minutes into the second period. Sam Reinhart chipped a puck over splayed Oilers defender Darnell Nurse to Barkov, who fired home his 16th of the season. The Oilers have now allowed the first goal of the game in 23 of their last 27 games.
Verhaeghe was left alone in front of the net and unleashed a bullet to the top corner for his 14th goal of the season near the midway point of the game to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Edmonton outshot Florida 29-13 through 40 minutes.
Barkov added to Florida’s lead seven minutes into the third when his long shot found its way through a screen.
The Panthers made it 4-0 with a power-play goal with four minutes left in the final period as Duclair swatted a loose puck into a wide open net for his 17th of the campaign.
Just over a minute later the Panthers got another power-play goal as Bennett sent a backhand shot off the post and in for his 17th as well.
Edmonton’s end-of-game collapse saw the Panthers score their third goal in 2:36 as Tippett notched his fifth.
Florida plays the third game of a five-stop road trip in Vancouver on Friday, while the Oilers remain home to welcome the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
Notes: Florida is now 20-0 when leading after the second period… The Oilers have scored two goals or less in 10 of their last 15 games… Missing from the Florida lineup were Patric Hornqvist (upper body) and Gustav Forsling (COVID)… Out for the Oilers were Mike Smith (thumb) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (lower body), as well as Zach Hyman, Kyle Turris and Stuart Skinner (COVID)… With two goalies out for Edmonton, Ilya Konovalov was brought up from the taxi squad to serve as backup to Koskinen.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press
Kenney says he was unaware until this week of justice minister's call to police chief
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he didn’t know until this week that his justice minister had called Edmonton’s police chief 10 months earlier about a traffic ticket.
“I do recall at some point last year hearing that minister (Kaycee) Madu had gotten a ticket (and) had paid for it,” Kenney told a news conference Thursday.
“I got fully briefed on all of this, including about the call and the details, on Monday afternoon following media inquiries.
“Shortly thereafter, I called minister Madu to ask what happened from his perspective and why he made this call. I expressed my serious disappointment that he would have done this.”
These were Kenney’s first public comments on the matter since tweeting out late Monday that Madu was being relieved of his justice responsibilities pending an investigation.
Kenney said he plans to hire a third party to determine if there was interference in the administration of justice.
He said the government is drafting terms of reference for the review and has contacted former judges to oversee it.
Critics, including the Opposition NDP, have said the investigation is unnecessary given that all the principals involved, including Madu, agree he made the call to Chief Dale McFee last March.
They said that even though Madu did not try to have McFee cancel the ticket, making such a call violates parliamentary tradition that cabinet ministers don’t intervene directly in the judicial system in matters in which they have a personal stake.
NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir said Kenney has no choice but to fire Madu from his justice post.
Madu has not spoken publicly on the issue, but put out a series of statements this week on social media.
In them, he stressed he did not call the chief to cancel the ticket — a point McFee corroborates — but said he wanted, and received, assurances from McFee that he wasn’t being targeted for the ticket because he is Black or because he was in a high-profile government job.
Kenney, asked by reporters why he hasn’t fired Madu, said the issue is not clear cut. He noted that Madu did not ask for his ticket to be rescinded but did raise concerns about issues such as racial profiling.
“I was not on this call,” said Kenney.
“I think given the issues that have been raised, it is appropriate to allow for a little bit of time for an investigation from somebody with legal training who is impartial to provide me with advice on whether this constituted an effort to interfere with the independent administration of justice.”
Madu, the United Conservatives’ only legislature member in Edmonton, had been justice minister since August 2020. He is serving his first term in the legislature.
On the morning of March 10, he was ticketed for distracted driving for being on a cellphone while behind the wheel in a school zone. He paid the $300 ticket soon after but not before reaching out to McFee.
This issue did not become public until media reports Monday.
Madu, in his statements, has also disagreed with the ticket. He said his phone was in his pocket at the time.
That prompted an angry response Wednesday from Staff Sgt. Mike Elliott, head of the Edmonton Police Association, which represents rank and file officers.
Elliott, on Twitter, questioned Madu’s fitness for the justice job.
“I personally know the member who issued the ticket, and to make an erroneous assumption he was surveilling you is shameful and preposterous,” wrote Elliott.
He said that even if Madu believed he was being unfairly treated, there is a complaint process that should be followed that doesn’t include a direct line to the chief of police.
“The audacity and arrogance is very clear and you are not deserving to be the minister of justice, who is supposed to represent all citizens in a fair and impartial manner.”
Madu’s case is the latest in a string of changes to Kenney’s cabinet in just over a year.
In November, Devin Dreeshen quit as agriculture minister amid concerns over his conduct and drinking.
In September, Tyler Shandro left the health portfolio. Kenney said Shandro asked for the change, citing the gruelling fight against COVID-19 as a factor.
Leela Aheer, the minister for culture, multiculturalism and the status of women, was turfed in July from cabinet after she publicly criticized Kenney for breaking COVID-19 health rules by having a patio dinner outside his temporary penthouse office.
Aheer’s portfolio was carved up and distributed to others. Kenney denied the decision was political payback.
And just over a year ago, in January 2021, Tracy Allard resigned as municipal affairs minister after public outrage over a Christmas holiday trip she took to Hawaii. The trip happened at the same time the government was urging Albertans to stay home and isolate to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
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