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Alberta

De Havilland Canada to build airline manufacturing plant east of Calgary

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By Colette Derworiz in Calgary

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. announced plans Wednesday to build a new aircraft manufacturing plant east of Calgary that could eventually employ up to 1,500 people.

The company said the facility, dubbed De Havilland Field, is to be located in Wheatland County between the communities of Chestermere and Strathmore. De Havilland said it has acquired about 600 hectares of land in the area.

It said construction could begin as early as next year, with its first buildings operational by 2025 — though the project’s full buildout could take years.

“This is a huge day for our company and for our customers past, present and future who rely on us to keep our airplanes flying,” CEO Brian Chafe said at a news conference in Calgary.

“De Havilland Field will be a full aerospace campus, from aircraft manufacturing, assembly, delivery, research and development, educational facilities and distribution.”

The plant is to be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft, DHC Twin Otter and the Dash 8-400 aircraft.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called it a “banner day for Alberta’s economy, for diversification in this province, for manufacturing and most importantly for the aviation sector.”

He said aviation will be a major part of Alberta’s future.

“Today, that dream comes through in technicolor with De Havilland Field, a cutting edge, world-leading aerospace campus that over the years to come could employ up to 1,500 Albertans in high-paying jobs.”

Tanya Fir, the province’s minister of jobs, economy and innovation, added that it was a “huge win” for the province.

“We wanted to find ways to leverage Alberta’s strengths, like our available land close to logistical hubs and our young, skilled and motivated workforce, to find a path back to our position as Canada’s economic engine,” she said in a statement.

“De Havilland’s investment in Alberta, to help carry forward its aircraft into its second century of operations, proves that our plan is working.”

Amber Link, reeve of Wheatland County, said she couldn’t be more excited to have De Havilland make its permanent home in the rural area.

“Today is pivotal,” she said. “The decision to build De Havilland Field in Wheatland is revolutionary in the diversification of our economy. The employment opportunities being created are significant and will capitalize on the long-standing strong work ethic that built Wheatland County.

“That same work ethic that built Wheatland County and Alberta will now build legendary planes.”

Company co-owner Sherry Brydson said the full project will take a long time to complete and will depend on the growth trajectory of the business.

“De Havilland Field, like Rome — I have to warn you — won’t be built in a day,” she said. “We anticipate the full buildout will take somewhere between 10 and 15 years. We’re planning to take it slowly and seriously … and we’re going to make sure it works.”

Company co-owner Rob McDonald said De Havilland doesn’t need government handouts and aims to be self-sufficient.

“We need people to buy our planes. We don’t really need or want support from the government.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2022.

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Alberta

Fatality inquiry begins into death of Calgary teen who weighed 37 pounds

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CALGARY — An Alberta judge is looking for answers in the case of a 15-year-old boy who died in his Calgary home weighing less than 37 pounds.

Alexandru Radita died in May 2013 of bacterial sepsis brought on by complications due to untreated diabetes and starvation.

His parents, who had moved from B.C. to Alberta, were found guilty in 2017 of first-degree murder.

Witnesses at the trial testified that the Raditas refused to accept their son had diabetes, failed to treat his disease and kept him isolated at home.

Alberta provincial court Judge Sharon Van de Veen said Monday the fatality inquiry will seek to find out what could have been done to save the boy’s life and prevent other cases like this from happening again.

There were government officials involved throughout this child’s life, including child and family services in the province of British Columbia and doctors and pharmacists,” Van de Veen said.

“I will not be reviewing the facts relating to the horror of this child’s life. My purpose is going to be to review to what extent the state itself could have intervened in the life of this child to save his life.”

Van de Veen said the inquiry, which is scheduled to run all week, will see if protocols between the children’s services ministries in Alberta and B.C. would help in similar cases. She also questioned if a pharmacists association could provide assistance when insulin is accessed sporadically for patients.

The first day of the inquiry focused on whether Alex’s lack of attendance in his home-schooling could have alerted officials.

He was enrolled in a Catholic home-schooling program in September 2009 for Grade 5, but not a single piece of work from him was submitted. Teachers and a principal attempted to contact his parents through phone calls and letters throughout the school year but were not able to reach them.

Michel Despins, vice-principal of the School of Hope online school, said 25 attempts were made to reach the Raditas. Neither Alex nor his three siblings ever submitted school work.

Despins said there are now electronic records for each student, but any information about a student not registering is only available in Alberta.

Despins offered some possible solutions, including that a previous school board get an alert if a student is no longer registered anywhere.

He said there needs to be a protocol on what to do if that happens and parents can’t be reached.

“If in September we get an alert and we contact the parents and they register somewhere else, no problem. But if they do not, what’s the standard protocol to do with that?” he asked.

“Do you submit it to social services?”

Van de Veen said the inquiry will only hear from witnesses from Alberta, even though there were protection orders for Alex in place in B.C.

Emil Radita, Alex’s father, is watching the proceedings from prison in B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Pressfficials involved throughout this child’s life, including child and family services in the province of British Columbia and doctors and pharmacists,” Van de Veen said.

“I will not be reviewing the facts relating to the horror of this child’s life. My purpose is going to be to review to what extent the state itself could have intervened in the life of this child to save his life.”

Van de Veen said the inquiry, which is scheduled to run all week, will see if protocols between the children’s services ministries in Alberta and B.C. would help in similar cases. She also questioned if a pharmacists association could provide assistance when insulin is accessed sporadically for patients.

The first day of the inquiry focused on whether Alex’s lack of attendance in his home-schooling could have alerted officials.

He was enrolled in a Catholic home-schooling program in September 2009 for Grade 5, but not a single piece of work from him was submitted. Teachers and a principal attempted to contact his parents through phone calls and letters throughout the school year but were not able to reach them.

Michel Despins, vice-principal of the School of Hope online school, said 25 attempts were made to reach the Raditas. Neither Alex nor his three siblings ever submitted school work.

Despins said there are now electronic records for each student, but any information about a student not registering is only available in Alberta.

Despins offered some possible solutions, including that a previous school board get an alert if a student is no longer registered anywhere.

He said there needs to be a protocol on what to do if that happens and parents can’t be reached.

“If in September we get an alert and we contact the parents and they register somewhere else, no problem. But if they do not, what’s the standard protocol to do with that?” he asked.

“Do you submit it to social services?”

Van de Veen said the inquiry will only hear from witnesses from Alberta, even though there were protection orders for Alex in place in B.C.

Emil Radita, Alex’s father, is watching the proceedings from prison in B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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