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Economy Takes A Big Bite Out Of SPCA Budget


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By Sheldon Spackman/photo and video by Lindsay Wiebe

Like many Albertans, our province’s struggling economy has affected the Red Deer and District SPCA as well. Current economic conditions have forced the organization to cut it’s Operating Budget of over $1 million by 18 percent in the past year. That, according to Executive Director Tara Hellewell who acknowledges however that strong donations over the past Christmas Season will help them through the first quarter of 2017.

Hellewell says Central Albertans have always been very generous with them and she reminds residents that they also run a number of programs that benefit people too. Among them, a program that sees special needs volunteers provide support for the animals and a K9 Companion Program that benefits 30 facilities in the Central Alberta region, with K9 assisted therapy for long-term care residents, children with autism and sick kids in hospital. The organization currently has a volunteer base of roughly 500 people but are always open to more.

Fund Development Coordinator Melissa Parker says they have some upcoming fundraisers to keep in mind as well, including Central Alberta Cupcake Day on February 24th and their Annual Garage Sale. That will run over three weeks in May and sees the organization collect donations from the public which are then sold over three days in early June. Last year’s Annual Garage Sale netted $60,000 for the SPCA.



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Canada donating four Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine

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Ottawa – Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada will send four of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine “in the coming weeks.”

Anand announced the move this afternoon, making Canada the latest country to promise the heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Canada is also providing trainers, spare parts and ammunition, while Anand left open the possibility of sending more Leopards in the future.

Ukraine has implored Western allies to send such weapons for weeks as its forces struggle to make gains against Russia.

But Canada was unable to respond until Germany agreed on Wednesday that countries could re-export their Leopards.

The Leopards that Canada is donating are among the 112 currently owned by the Canadian Army, which includes 82 designed specifically for combat.

Retired military officers had warned that any donation would have an impact on the Army and will need to be replaced, given that the fleet is already stretched thin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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No more expensing home internet bills to taxpayers, Pierre Poilievre’s caucus told

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Ottawa – Members of Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative caucus have been told they are no longer allowed to charge taxpayers for home internet services.

As first reported by the National Post, a breakdown of recent expenses shows 31 Tory MPs have charged taxpayers for home internet services for either themselves or staff.

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons says that is allowed under existing rules for members of Parliament, who can expense the fees through their office budgets.

No rules have been broken, but the opposition whip’s office told MPs that a new policy has been set for caucus, according to a recent email obtained by The Canadian Press.

The email says after a discussion with Poilievre, it has been decided no caucus member or employee can expense home internet costs.

The message says if the party expects Canadians to see Conservatives as responsible financial stewards, “we must lead by example.”

Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the chief opposition whip, says in a statement that given the high cost of living, “we do not expect that taxpayers should be left paying the bill for the home internet” of MPs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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