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City of Red Deer responds to the Provincial Budget


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From The City of Red Deer

As was expected with the release of the Provincial Budget yesterday, The City of Red Deer will work to maintain the programs and services citizens expect with reduced Provincial funding.

Given Alberta’s continued economic challenges, The City anticipated a drop in Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding and has budgeted appropriately. Administration built The City’s proposed capital plan with a reduction in MSI funding.

“This is the austerity budget we were expecting and planned for as a municipality. We are, however, encouraged to see that municipal capital funding will be legislated as The City’s capital plan relies heavily on this source,” Mayor Veer said. “Our budgets are built with community and province building in mind, and this predictable funding source will provide stability in long-term infrastructure planning.”

Municipalities will also see a province-wide reduction of $30 million in grants in place of property taxes paid by the Provincial Government by 2023 compared to the amounts received in 2018. The amount will be reduced by 25 per cent in 2019-2020 with a further reduction of 25 per cent the following year.

In terms of community safety and crime, one of Council’s priorities in their 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, the Government will continue its investment in the Justice Centre and there will be an additional $50 million investment over the next four years in the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT).

“Safety is the top priority for The City of Red Deer and our citizens. The continued development of the new Provincial Justice Centre reinforces our ongoing efforts to enhance safety in our community by strengthening the court’s ability to uphold charges and obtain justice for victims of crime,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “The additional funding for ALERT is a welcome enhanced investment in combating organized and serious crime with the result of creating safer communities for all Albertans.”

To further our commitment to safety and crime reduction, Red Deer is advocating for several new Crown Prosecutors with the previous announcement of 50 Crown Prosecutors across the province. It is also hoped that Red Deer and region will get a number of the 4,000 addictions treatment spaces announced as part of our response to local social issues.

“As a community, we are disappointed in the lack of funding for the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital in this budget,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “However, the opportunity exists for our community to advocate jointly for this expansion and to work with The Province to develop a pragmatic phasing plan for its development.”

Like many other communities, Red Deer continues to experience gaps in social services for mental health and addictions. The City will work with the Provincial Government on these initiatives including the implementation of mental health and addiction services and opioid response strategies. These initiatives align with Council’s priorities in the current Strategic Plan.

“There is still a need for Provincial infrastructure investment in the form of a 24/7 shelter in Red Deer,” said Mayor Veer. “We’ve discussed this need with the Minister of Seniors and Housing and we will be working alongside her in the coming months to convey the scope and needs in Red Deer to ensure it is included in future budgets.”

While it is still critical that Alberta gets its energy to market, the announcement of the reduction in the corporate tax rate has the potential to stimulate private investment and spur economic development in Red Deer in the meantime.

Administration will continue to review the Provincial budget and watch for more details in the coming weeks. The impact on property tax notices will be calculated in April when the approved municipal operating budget is combined with the Provincial Education Requisition and tax rates are set by Red Deer City Council.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Police arrest two more people following killing of eight-year-old girl in Alberta

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An Edmonton Police Service logo is shown at a press conference in Edmonton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson


Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital.

Officers responded on April 24 to a welfare call about the girl at an Edmonton home but were unable to locate her.

Her remains were discovered five days later on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis.

Shayden Lightning, who is 21, and Raighne Stoney, who is 36, have been charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.

Three others were initially charged in the case.

Police are not releasing the names of two of the accused in order to protect the identities of other children related to the victim, whose identity is under a publication ban.

A 27-year-old woman faces a charge of first-degree murder and a 25-year-old man faces charges of being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.

Edward Nievera, 67, was charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.

Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem said in a release Friday that the recent arrests will be the last in the case and that the investigation has concluded.

“We want to thank the RCMP in Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin for their assistance with this investigation,” he said. “Needless to say, this was an exceptionally distressing investigation to work on, and they went above and beyond in helping to facilitate these final arrests and bring this file to conclusion.

“While nothing can change the horror of what occurred, we hope (the arrests) can provide some measure of justice to those who knew and loved this little girl.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.

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Smith says despite difficulty with Ottawa, Alberta has allies in Trudeau cabinet

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to business leaders at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. Smith told the conference that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government there was some cabinet ministers she can work with. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Banff

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told a business conference on Friday that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government, there are some cabinet ministers she can work with.

Smith has been at odds with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson amid concerns over Ottawa’s climate-change policies and transition plan for a net-zero emissions economy.

Guilbeault intends to publish draft regulations this fall to cap emissions from oil and gas, then force them downward overtime. Ottawa has also set a target to have the electricity grid be net-zero by 2035, but Alberta says it’s unrealistic.

Smith says Alberta won’t implement the emissions cap, nor will it follow the 2035 target.

The premier told delegates at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., that Wilkinson needs to answer for comments he made earlier this week at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary.

Wilkinson’s call for the industry to work aggressively to get to net-zero was basically telling them to “pack it up, because the oil and gas industry is winding down,” said Smith.

“You could just feel the energy leave the room and you could just feel the investment dollars leave the room.”

Smith said energy producing provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, can’t trust the Trudeau government to look out for their interests at international conferences.

“After hearing how the natural resources minister talks about our industry, after hearing how the federal environment minister talks about our industry, we can’t afford to let them carry our message,” Smith said.

“We can’t afford not to be there.”

Smith said she has been in discussions with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and intends to talk to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey about joint presentations at conferences in the future.

Despite her disappointment with Wilkinson and Guilbeault, Smith said it’s not all bad.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland among the top allies, she said.

“Let’s give her credit for shepherding through all of the constant need to give more debt financing to Trans Mountain pipeline to get that to the finish line. That has not been easy,” Smith said.

She also praised Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault.

“I would say it’s not uniformly negative in the Liberal caucus. But for some reason they’re allowing Stephen Guilbeault to be a maverick and a renegade and quite offensive to those of who are trying to be reasonable and adult about this,” Smith said.

Smith said it’s time for the federal government to back away from setting “aggressive targets” in dealing with the provinces.

“Aggressive targets are not helpful. They’re not helpful to us. They’re not helpful to investors.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.

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