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Alberta

What is the Great Reset?

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7 minute read

We are nearing one full year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the globe, ravaging all major industries worldwide and forcing the global economy to grind to a near halt. 2020 has been dominated by social and political upheaval as officials have struggled to find the balance between economic lockdown and protecting the public from the virus. Adding to the uncertainty, disinformation is circulating at an unfathomable rate. Heading into December, tension and mistrust appear to be at an all time high as individuals and groups have begun to rebel against lockdown orders and what many believe to be government forces overstepping their democratic boundaries. 

Among the hype and hysteria, the “Great Reset” has become a popular and highly divisive topic in recent months. Aggressive disagreements have broken out among experts, political leaders and the general public, often citing controversial buzzwords like “socialism”, “government control”, and “elite agenda”. In this setting, it has become increasingly difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction, as fear and confusion fuel conspiracy theories and government distrust.  

COVID-19: The Great Reset is a book originally published in July 2020, co-authored by Thierry Malleret, founder of the Monthly Barometer, and Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). This book elaborates on a recovery plan proposed by the WEF that presents the global COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to correct the shortcomings of the existing social, economic and political institutions around the world. According to the WEF, “The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems – from health and financial to energy and education – are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for our lives, livelihoods and the planet.”
Within this setting, the WEF calls for collaboration among experts and world leaders to propose and implement a vision for the future that will “build a new social contract that honors the dignity of every human being.” The values highlighted by the Great Reset propose an ideological shift away from capitalism. This includes shifting the global focus towards fairer market outcomes, the advancement of sustainability measures and the improvement of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics across industries. 

The Great Reset global agenda calls for unprecedented cooperation among countries and industries around the world to unite under one recovery strategy aimed at repositioning the current trajectory of society as a whole. “Rather than using recovery funds to fill cracks in the old system,” says Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, “we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run.” 

The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative has received support from several influential organizations around the world, including TIME Magazine, Apple and Microsoft. However, while it appears many have signed onto this initiative as a unique opportunity to build a prosperous future for all members of the human race, an equal number have emerged to furiously oppose it. 

Opponents of the Great Reset have labeled it as a radical socialist agenda being pushed on the masses by global elites. The initiative has been extensively criticized for appearing to use the global upheaval inflicted by the pandemic to implement social and economic measures not approved by the democratic process. An article released by the Post Millennial accused the WEF of using the “blunt force trauma of the pandemic to force the world to reshape according to socialist dictates.” This mentality has been echoed by a number of individuals and organizations around the world.
The National Review criticized Schwab’s book, COVID-19: The Great Reset, for having “undeniably authoritarian subtext” on which no legitimate societal transition should be based. 

These opposing viewpoints on the legitimacy and intentions of the Great Reset have led to extreme backlash for political leaders who appear to support the initiative in any way. On September 29, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed himself in hot water during his United Nations address, where he spoke of the impacts of the pandemic and the way forward for Canada. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” he said, “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”

Trudeau’s address was swiftly condemned by many, as certain onlookers accused the Prime Minister of supporting the global elitist plan to collapse the economy and renege on Canadian rights and freedoms.
In November 2020, in response to Trudeau’s UN address, Conservative Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre launched a petition called Stop the Great Reset. The petition calls on Canadians to “fight back against global elites preying on the fears and desperation of people to impose their power grab”. The petition received more than 60,000 signatures in a matter of days.

As governments and politicians around the world struggle to respond to the ongoing conditions of the pandemic under increasingly bleak circumstances, the consumption and circulation of accurate, credible information becomes increasingly important with each passing day. As businesses in every industry continue to go under and more and more individuals lose their livelihoods, the propagation of disinformation and fear serves only to divide and isolate us further. Whether you subscribe to the theory of the Great Reset as a legitimate avenue towards the creation of a healthier post-pandemic society, or as an illegitimate attack on democratic rights and freedoms, it is paramount to seek credible information.
Should we encourage our governments and politicians to adopt a Great Reset? Is it best to reinvigorate our economies? Or do we look to a combination of these two ideologies?

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Beehives and goat farms: Lacombe school shortlisted in global environmental contest

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Taylor Perez says she learned more about her passions while tending beehives, goats and fruit trees at her central Alberta high school than sitting through lessons in a classroom.

“These are all skills we don’t learn in regular classes,” says the 18-year-old student at Lacombe Composite High School.

“You’re not going to learn how to collaborate with community members by sitting in a classroom learning about E = mc2.”

Perez and her classmates are buzzing with excitement after their school’s student-led beekeeping program, goat farm, fruit orchard, tropical greenhouse and other environmental projects were recognized in a global sustainability contest among 10 other schools.

It’s the only North American school to be shortlisted by T4 Education, a global advocacy group, in its World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action contest.

“The projects are coming from the students’ own hearts and passion for taking care of the environment,” says Steven Schultz, an agriculture and environmental science teacher who has been teaching in Lacombe since 1996.

“They are going to be our community leaders — maybe even our politicians — and for them to know what the heartbeat of their generation is (is) extremely important.”

Schultz says the projects are pitched and designed by students in the school’s Ecovision Club, to which Perez belongs, and he then bases a curriculum around those ideas.

The school of about 900 students began reducing its environmental footprint in 2006 when a former student heard Schultz say during a lesson on renewable energy that “words were meaningless or worthless without action,” the 56-year-old teacher recalls.

“She took that to heart and a year later she came back and told me that she wanted to take the school off the grid.”

Schultz and students watched a fire burn down solar panels on the school’s roof in 2010, an event that further transformed his approach to teaching.

“As their school was burning, my students gathered in tears. That day I realized that students really care about the environment and they really care about the projects that they were involved in.”

Since then, 32 new solar panels have been installed, and they produce up to four per cent of the school’s electricity. After the fire, students also wanted to clean the air in their classrooms so they filled some with spider plants, including one in the teachers’ lounge.

More recently, students replaced an old portable classroom on school property with a greenhouse that operates solely with renewable energy. It’s growing tropical fruits, such as bananas, pineapples, and lemons, and also houses some tilapia fish.

Two acres of the school are also covered by a food forest made up of almost 200 fruit trees and 50 raised beds where organic food is grown.

The school also works with a local farm and raises baby goats inside a solar-powered barn that was built with recycled material.

“They breed and milk them at the farm because there are really tight regulations,” says Schultz.

“We take the excrement from the goats and the hay and use it as mulch and fertilizers for our garden. The goats also chew up the grass and allow us not to have to use lawn mowers and tractors”

Perez said her favourite class is the beekeeping program with 12 hives that produce more than 300 kilograms of honey every year.

“I love that they have different roles in their own little societies,” Perez says of the bees.

She says while working with local businesses and groups as a part of her curriculum, she learned she’s passionate about the environment and wants to become a pharmacist so she can continue giving back to her community.

James Finley, a formerly shy Grade 10 student, says the Ecovision Club and environment classes have helped get him out of his comfort zone.

“I made friends, which was a hard thing for me in the beginning. But now I have, like, hundreds,” says the 16-year-old, who enjoyed the lessons he took on harvesting.

“Taylor and Mr. Schultz were the main people that made me stay.”

Schultz says the winners of the contest are to be announced in the fall.

A prize of about $322,000 will be equally shared among five winners.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sunday, July 3, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Missing 13-year-old Edmonton girl found alive in Oregon, 41-year-old man arrested

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EDMONTON — Police say a 13-year-old Edmonton girl missing for more than a week has been found alive in the United States.

She was located following a week-long search that began when she was seen arriving at her junior high school but didn’t show up for class.

Edmonton Police Insp. Brent Dahlseide says the girl, who was reported missing June 24, is currently in an Oregon hospital for a precautionary examination after being found safe in the state early Saturday morning.

Dahlseide says a 41-year-old Oregon man will be charged with child luring and is expected to face additional charges in Canada and the U.S.

He says Edmonton police received assistance from other agencies in Canada, as well as from the FBI and other police services in the U.S.

Dahlseide says it’s believed the suspect came to Edmonton, but it’s not yet clear how he initially made contact with the girl or how she crossed the U.S. border.

“We would be speculating to say they crossed the border together, but I do know that they were located together, again, in the U.S. once they gained entry,” Dahlseide told reporters during an online news conference Saturday, noting he believed the two had been communicating online.

“I don’t know how long they may have been in contact with one another. I do know that the reason we’re going with a child-luring charge at this point is that it’s one we can support because of some of the online history.”

Photos of the girl have appeared on billboards and posters across Alberta this past week asking people to be on the lookout for her and contact police with tips.

Dahlseide said an Amber Alert was not issued because investigators lacked a description of a suspect or a suspect vehicle. He said police got that information on Friday and were drafting the alert that afternoon when they learned from Canada Border Services the suspect had crossed into the U.S.

At that point the suspect was no longer in Canadian jurisdiction, Dahlseide explained, which is another criteria for an Amber Alert. He said they made a deduction about where the suspect was going and alerted authorities on the U.S. side.

Dahlseide said he believed the arrest was made outside Gladstone, Oregon, just south of Portland, away from the suspect’s residence. He said the suspect’s name would not be released until charges are formally laid.

He said the girl’s family were informed early Saturday she’d been found safe and they are making arrangements to bring her home.

“I’m sure we likely woke them up, showing up at their door so early,” Dahlseide said.

Canadian investigators have not had a chance to speak with the girl or the suspect yet, Dahlseide said, and other questions remain.

He said investigators believe the suspect was in Mission, B.C. for three to four days, so they’ll be asking RCMP there to speak to people who may have seen him or the girl during that time. The FBI will also be able to help supply bank or credit card information to piece together the suspect’s movements, he said.

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

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

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