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Alberta

Edmonton council to ask province to support new centre to fight downtown crime

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By Fakiha Baig in Edmonton

City council has voted unanimously to ask the government of Alberta to support the creation of a hub in Edmonton’s Chinatown where social workers, firefighters and peace officers could work together to reduce crime.

City administration submitted a report to council Monday that describes the proposed Healthy Streets Operations Centre.

David Jones, who is with the city and presented the report, told councillors it would not be a traditional police station.

“The people who will see the benefits of this include Chinatown residents and businesses, but also people who are on the streets who are vulnerable and being preyed on by some of the criminal element,” Jones said.

The creation of the centre is one of several actions the city has promised to address a spike in violent crime downtown, in nearby Chinatown and on the transit system.

Edmonton police officers have already increased their presence in problem areas.

In May, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro used his ministerial power to demand a report from the city on what is being done to get crime under control.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said during Monday’s council meeting that the city has delivered with its plan for the centre and now it is time for the province to step up.

“Edmonton gets the lowest per-capita funding to support ending homelessness compared to seven other cities (in Alberta). I think it’s really important that we ask the people whose inaction has caused harm to the community to be stepping up,” Sohi said.

“Most of the violence in Chinatown is related to houselessness … and addictions causing a lot of harm to the community and to individuals. We’re asking city taxpayers to pick up the pieces or pay for the consequences of lack of investment in health and lack of investment in housing.”

Sohi added he gets the sense the province wants to help.

The provincial government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report says the centre will operate seven days a week, 21 hours a day, and could cost up to $18.1 million over the next four years.

The city and Edmonton Police Service could partially support the centre and Jones said there have also been offers from different businesses in Chinatown to provide a building for the hub at no cost.

But council voted in favour of asking the provincial government to determine how it can provide mental health, housing and shelter support.

Sohi said he plans to engage with the province and will report back to council on Aug. 15.

Jones said to get the centre up and running by next summer, the city aims to hire four peace officer sergeants, 16 community peace officers, two community safety liaisons and three firefighters or fire prevention officers.

The report said community members asked for increased security in problem areas and that building a centre in “hot spots” can effectively reduce crime. Research cited in the report has also shown it wont displace violence to other areas.

“Studies have consistently found no noticeable displacement and, in some cases, a diffusion effect, meaning that hot-spot policing reduces crime in the areas adjacent to the hot spots as well.”

Dr. Temitope Oriola, a criminology professor at the University of Alberta, said the hub model has been around for at least a decade in Canada and the centre is a good start.

“The real test is to ensure it is not too heavily tilted toward and reliant on policing,” he said in a email.

“The approach needs to have law enforcement as one of several critical components with people, community revitalization and customized social service at the epicentre.”

Oriola added the centre would be most effective in reducing crime if it also goes hand-in-hand with other initiatives in the city that address addictions issues and homelessness.

“Employment created should also focus on those most directly connected to Chinatown,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 4, 2022.

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

Storytelling is in our DNA. We provide credible, compelling multimedia storytelling and services in English and French to help captivate your digital, broadcast and print audiences. As Canada’s national news agency for 100 years, we give Canadians an unbiased news source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness.

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Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney kicks off campaign to attract skilled workers to Alberta

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CALGARY — Premier Jason Kenney kicked off a campaign to lure skilled workers from Toronto and Vancouver as he doubled down on his criticism of a so-called Alberta sovereignty act pitched by one of the candidates running to replace him.

Kenney held a news conference Monday to announce the United Conservative government’s plans to start recruiting workers to Alberta as the provincial economy grows.

“Alberta is back in a big way, but one of the biggest challenges to sustaining that amazing growth is having enough people who are filling the jobs that are being created,” he said.

“As far as problems go, that’s a pretty good one to have.”

The campaign comes after Kenney called a key platform promise of one of the candidates to succeed him as leader and premier “nuts.”

Candidate Danielle Smith has said if she wins the leadership, she would bring a bill this fall to give Alberta the power to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed not in the province’s interest.

Legal scholars say such a bill would be illegal, unenforceable and a dangerous dismissal of respect for the rule of law.

Kenney said he’s certain that even if the legislature passed the law, the lieutenant-governor would refuse to give it royal assent and Alberta would become a “laughingstock.”

Smith chastised Kenney in a statement Sunday for “interference” in the leadership contest, saying his comments were “ill-informed and disrespectful to a large and growing majority of UCP members that support this important initiative.”

“If elected to replace him as leader and premier, I will work closely and collaboratively with our entire UCP Caucus to ensure the Sovereignty Act is drafted, passed and implemented in accordance with sound constitutional language and principles,” Smith said in her statement.

Kenney said Monday that he’s not interfering in the leadership campaign, but restating his position on an important public policy issue.

“This government was elected on a commitment to create jobs, grow the economy and get pipelines built,” he said. “This so-called sovereignty act would be a body blow to all three of those things.

“It would massively drive away investment, it would cause people to leave the province, businesses not to come here just when our economy is experiencing fantastic economic investment.”

Kenney said it could also hurt the campaign to attract people to the province.

“Here we are launching a campaign for Canadians to move to another part of Canada,” he said. “If Alberta were to decide effectively to launch a separatist project, I think that would automatically exclude a lot of Canadians.

“To the contrary, instead of being able to attract people, we would start hemorrhaging people.”

He said that’s not theoretical because of what happened in Quebec in 1976 when René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois were elected on a separatist platform.

“Quebec overnight began to hemorrhage people, money and investment,” Kenney said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 15, 2022.

Colette Derworiz and Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

WEF? Capital NO: Danielle Smith replies to claims she endorses Justin Trudeau’s green agenda

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Submitted by Danielle Smith

Say No to the WEF and Trudeau Agenda!

In politics, negative attacks are still an unfortunate part of the process. I usually just tune them out.

However, I did have to do a bit of a double take on the latest attack by my friends, Travis Toews and Brian Jean, who accused me of endorsing…wait for it…Justin Trudeau’s radical green agenda.

🙄

Now, that’s a new one I haven’t heard before! Until yesterday I was accused of being too tough on Ottawa…what changed gentlemen?

Danielle Smith and 300 friends in Grande Prairie, Alberta. August 6th.

Obviously, their accusation is absurd on many levels, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to share my thoughts with you on the dangers of Justin Trudeau’s WEF-inspired radical climate agenda, and why we need to tackle environmental issues in a much different way – the Alberta way.

First off, the WEF is an anti-democratic group of woke elites that advocate for dangerous socialist policies that cause high inflation, food shortages and a lack of affordable energy, which in turn, leads to mass poverty, especially in the developing world.

There is no question what their agenda is – they want to shut down our energy and agriculture industries as fast as they can.

We need to join with allies, like Scott Moe in Saskatchewan, and stand up for our farmers and our provincial rights.

Justin Trudeau has openly adopted the WEF agenda and has instituted a wealth of policies meant to drive up the cost of energy and food production so he can meet arbitrary and aggressive WEF CO2 emissions targets.

Let me be perfectly clear – As Premier, no individual in my government or provincial agency will be permitted to associate with the WEF in any manner.

Secondly, WEF inspired policies imposed upon us by Ottawa will not be enforced by any Provincial agency under authority of the Alberta Sovereignty Act.

The fact is the Federal carbon tax, the recent announcement of a 30% reduction in fertilizer use by farmers, and the proposed arbitrary emissions cap on our energy sector are scams that do nothing to improve the environment.

You don’t improve the environment or reduce emissions by destroying livelihoods and causing food shortages.

We can, however, lower emissions and pollutants the right way, the Alberta way – through Alberta technology and exporting our clean Alberta energy to the world.
We must support and recognize the work of Alberta companies working on technology that makes producing and using fossil fuels more sustainable.
Alberta is a world leader in carbon tech, carbon capture and hydrogen and we must maintain this advantage.

Our largest oilsands producers have proposed a pioneering project, called Pathways, to use carbon tech and small modular nuclear to dramatically reduce all types of emissions from oilsands production.

Further, we must get Alberta LNG and our other clean energy products to Asia, Europe and the US to replace reliance on higher polluting fuels such as coal, wood and dung.

Our forestry, ranching and farming sectors are also proud to provide nature based solutions to offset emissions, and they deserve recognition and credit for providing this service to the world.

These initiatives – advancing Alberta technology and exporting our clean energy to the world – will do more for the environment than all of the harmful virtue signaling policies of the WEF and Justin Trudeau combined – and will do so while creating jobs and wealth, rather than unemployment and poverty.

I invite my friends, Travis Toews and Brian Jean, to stop the silly attacks and join with me in fighting Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley and their WEF Agenda together!

– Danielle Smith

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