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Alberta

COVID-19 outbreaks declared in 2 hospitals in Edmonton zone; case numbers on the rise

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the high hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in the province is partly due to outbreaks at those facilities.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says three people have tested positive at a cardiology unit at Edmonton’s Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and another two people have contracted the virus south of the city at the Leduc Community Hospital.

Hinshaw says the rise in COVID-19 numbers in the Edmonton zone continues to be a concern, accounting for 54 per cent of active cases in Alberta.

She says Calgary is on the COVID-19 watch list with 686 active cases, which is 50.9 per 100,000 people.

Alberta is reporting 332 new cases provincewide and no new deaths. 

The province has confirmed 21,775 cases since the pandemic began in March, 2,836 of which are active.

There are currently 117 people in hospital, 11 of them in intensive care.

Hinshaw is also urging people to get the flu shot this year to limit emergency visits and hospitalizations. 

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Alberta

Cross-country skiers to pay for parking to use groomed trails in Kananaskis, Alta.

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KANANASKIS, Alta. — The Alberta government says skiers will need to pay for parking to have groomed cross-country trails in the popular Kananaskis Country.

Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon says the province has entered into a one-year partnership with Nordiq Alberta to groom winter trails in the park system west of Calgary.

To support their operations, Nordiq Alberta will start charging $10 a day and $50 for the season to park at trailhead lots in several areas by Dec. 1.

Cross-country ski trail grooming was one of several cuts to parks in the provincial budget last March.

NDP critic Marlin Schmidt says the introduction of fees for cross-country skiing in Kananaskis is just the start of the United Conservative government charging Albertans to access parks.

He says the province is prioritizing corporate tax cuts over the protection of Alberta parks.

Some sporting goods stores across the country have already noticed an increasing interest in ski equipment as people search for ways to get outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Former MP Rob Anders accused of not reporting $750K in income for tax purposes

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CALGARY — Tax authorities allege former Conservative MP Rob Anders failed to report more than $750,000 in net income over five years, court documents show. 

Anders faces five charges, including tax evasion. Some of the charges date back to his time as a member of Parliament.  

Anders, 48, was elected as a Reform MP in 1997 and went on to to represent his Calgary riding until 2015.  

He did not appear in person at his first court date Friday, but was represented by a lawyer who indicated he had just received disclosure on the matter.  

Anders has reserved his plea and the case was set over to Nov. 20.  

The government alleges that in 2012, 2013, and 2014 Anders under-reported his income, which led to multiple charges of making false statements on a tax return.   

Prosecutors further allege that between 2012 and 2018, he evaded payment of taxes, and between 2012 and 2015 he claimed refunds or credits he wasn’t entitled to receive.   

An application to obtain a search warrant for Anders’s Calgary home was filed in March 2013 by the Canada Revenue Agency and outlines some of the allegations in the investigation. 

The charges stem from an audit in 2012 and 2013 that found reported net rental losses on properties in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario at the same time as there were “unexplained” deposits in Anders’s bank account.  

“I reviewed the history of the rental income and rental expenses reported by Mr. Anders and noted he had reported a net loss on his rental properties every year for the 2001 to 2015 tax years inclusive,” wrote the case investigator in the court document.  

“I have reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Anders has understated his income.”  

The document estimates the unreported income at $752,694. 

None of the allegations in the 35-page document has been proven in court.

 In 2012, members of Parliament made about $157,000 a year, and by 2014 they were making about $163,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 30, 2020.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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october, 2020

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