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Alberta

Violence Against Women is a Crisis in Every Single City

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The City of Calgary remains on edge following several reports of assault and harassment against women in the last two weeks.  

660 City News reports uptick in attacks on Calgary Women

 

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. 

Tributes to 33-year-old Sarah Everard continue to pour in following her murder

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.

Alberta

Reducing funding for RCMP on the table for Saskatchewan amid firearm buyback debate

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REGINA — Saskatchewan says it would consider reducing its funding for the RCMP if the force was to help the federal government with its proposed firearms buyback program.

Public Safety Minister Christine Tell says all options are on the table, signalling the province will not help Ottawa collect guns it has banned.

“We as a province fund the RCMP to a tune of 70 per cent, so it could even get more interesting,” Tell said Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Party government said it is pushing back to protect law-abiding firearms owners from what it views as federal intrusion on its provincial autonomy.

Under Ottawa’s proposed firearms buyback program, it would be mandatory for people to have their assault-style firearms rendered inoperable or have them discarded. That could also include centrefire semi-automatic rifles or shotguns designed to accept a detachable magazine that can hold more than five cartridges.

In response, Saskatchewan has introduced its own firearms act to forbid municipalities and police services from receiving federal money to help confiscate firearms.

The proposed law says a municipality, police service or board would have to get written approval from the province’s public safety minister before agreeing to support the federal buyback program.

It also states that Saskatchewan’s chief firearms officer would enforce which federal agent can or cannot confiscate firearms in the province.

“These legal firearm owners are not the ones committing the crimes,” Tell said.

The legislation was tabled Thursday, months after Tell wrote a letter to Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, the head of Saskatchewan’s RCMP. It stated that the province would not support the Mounties using provincially funded resources to help confiscate firearms.

Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick have sent similar letters to their RCMP forces. They have joined Saskatchewan in asking Ottawa to not use up “scarce RCMP and municipal resources” for its buyback program.

In October, Blackmore said Mounties are service providers, not decision-makers, and any decisions over the buyback program are between the federal and provincial governments.

“As the service provider, we would be the individuals that get our information from them,” Blackmore told The Canadian Press.

That includes if additional resources would be needed by RCMP once the buyback program rolls out.

“It would depend on the level of expectation, and what that looks like, and what the involvement is if there are additional resources,” Blackmore said.

The specific role of the RCMP and the details surrounding the buyback program have not been determined.

On Friday, the Saskatchewan RCMP said it will continue to prioritize front-line services and the safety of communities is its highest priority.

The Saskatchewan Firearms Act also calls for helping firearm owners get fair market value for guns collected through the buyback program and would require all seized firearms to go through forensic and ballistic testing.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, which advocates for hunters and the protection of the province’s hunting heritage, praised the proposed act, saying it would mitigate the “draconian” federal legislation.

There are approximately 115,000 licensed firearms owners in Saskatchewan, 75,000 of whom may be penalized under the federal government’s policy. That’s about 10 per cent of Saskatchewan’s adult population, the province said.

Saskatchewan’s NDP Opposition has stood united with the government to denounce the program.

“It does not strike the right balance for Saskatchewan,” justice critic Nicole Sarauer said last week in the legislature.

“These amendments are overbroad and capture rifles that have legitimate uses for both hunters and producers in Saskatchewan.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2022.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Premier Smith goes on the attack against NDP opposition to the Alberta Sovereignty Act

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It appears Premier Danielle Smith has had enough of playing defence. In the days since introducing the Alberta Sovereignty Act in the Alberta Legislature this week, Smith has found herself explaining and re-explaining how the Act will survive scrutiny and serve the province well in ongoing battles over issues of contention with Ottawa.  Peppered by the media and by the Official Opposition NDP inside and outside the legislature, Smith and her team decided to turn the tables.
The media and the official opposition claim the Sovereignty Act allows laws to be crafted by cabinet members “behind closed doors” after the legislature has declared a federal overreach into provincial jurisdiction.
However that appears to be a confusing opposition tactic since the Sovereignty Act does not require the passing of new laws.  Rather, the Province will simply provide reasons for declining to enforce federal laws which (i) intrudes into provincial legislation jurisdiction, (ii) violates the rights and freedoms of Albertans under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or (iii) causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans.
Thursday, Premier Smith took the opportunity during Ministerial Statements to lash out at the opposition leader Rachel Notley for siding with Ottawa instead of Alberta in the struggle to defend provincial rights.

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