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Alberta

“We can no longer watch our city decay” EPS Chief Dale McFee on province’s “zero tolerance for crime” initiative

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Zero tolerance for crime

New targeted prosecution units and stricter bail protocol will make offenders accountable for their actions and better protect Albertans from violent criminal activity.

Albertans deserve to feel safe and protected from repeat violent offenders, which is why the province is introducing new measures to make sure Albertans feel secure and protected in their communities.

Targeted prosecution units in Alberta’s major urban centres will help address deteriorating safety and keep Albertans safe from those who commit violent crimes. The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) will create teams with expertise to focus on the increased level of crime and the prosecution of violent criminals in Edmonton and Calgary. Prosecutors on these teams will work with law enforcement to focus on specific issues affecting these communities, including drug houses and available social supports, and how these factors affect the amount and type of crime occurring.

“The position of the Alberta government is absolutely clear: there is no safe haven in Alberta for criminals. These changes add to our existing efforts to make sure all criminals, especially repeat violent offenders, are held accountable for their actions.”

Mickey Amery, Minister of Justice and Attorney General 

Changes to the bail practice protocol for Crown prosecutors will prioritize public safety and take a tough approach on crime caused by repeat violent offenders and gang activity. The protocol provides guidance to prosecutors to seek to detain any accused who is a threat to public safety, especially repeat violent offenders, unless the risk to public safety can be addressed by bail conditions. Prosecutors must evaluate the risk that the accused will commit another offence if released.

In addition, the attorney general is terminating the triage practice protocol, which has been met with public concern since it came into effect in 2017. Eliminating this protocol will better address violent crimes in the community and ensure all viable charges are prosecuted. This change is possible through government investments in the ACPS, which give the prosecutors resources to fully prosecute all matters involving violence.

“In the absence of needed bail reform from the federal government, Alberta is taking a zero-tolerance approach to ensure citizens are safe and secure in their communities. Violence, social disorder and open-air drug use is unacceptable, and we will do everything in our power to take back our streets and ensure they’re safe for Albertans.”

Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services

These measures build on several actions Alberta’s government is taking to improve public safety, including increased investments in the Alberta Sheriffs, additional funding to hire 100 more street-level police officers in Edmonton and Calgary, and a $5-million grant to each city to improve public safety on their transit networks.

“The criminal activity and disorder that is happening on our city streets is truly devastating. I am pleased by the changes being proposed by the minister of justice and the new approach of Edmonton Police Service to keep public spaces safe. These interventions are important to stabilize the situation while we continue to work together on long-term solutions.”

Amarjeet Sohi, mayor, City of Edmonton

“There is no question that Edmontonians are concerned about the condition of their city’s public spaces, with open-air drug use and associated crime and violence a top issue. We have many government and community partners we lean on to support those impacted by mental health, addiction and victimization, and will continue to do so, but the EPS is taking a clear stance on the criminality and disorder being directly fed by the drug trade.”

Dale McFee, chief, Edmonton Police Service

Together, these initiatives will help strengthen the Alberta justice system and the ability to prosecute crimes and keep repeat violent offenders off the street.

Quick facts

  • Investments in the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service include the addition of 50 new trial prosecutor positions since 2017.
  • Public concern about the triage practice protocol introduced in 2017 resulted in some prosecutions not proceeding even if they were in the public interest and had a reasonable likelihood of conviction.
  • Alberta is providing funding for 100 new front-line police officers in Calgary and Edmonton – 50 in each city.
  • The Alberta Transit Cleanup Grant is providing Edmonton and Calgary with $5 million each for initiatives that create a safer, more welcoming environment for transit riders.
  • In February 2023, the Alberta Sheriffs entered into an agreement with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) to deploy 12 sheriffs for a 15-week pilot project to address public safety and social disorder in the downtown core. In response to a request from EPS, 10 sheriffs remain deployed with EPS until the end of the year.

Alberta

Male suspect involved in tragic incident between Beaumont and Edmonton sought by police; EPS release photos of suspect

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News release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is assisting the RCMP with the investigation into a tragic incident that claimed the life of an innocent woman last night on 50 Street.

Yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:40 p.m. various EPS resources were deployed to the area of 50 Street and 22 Avenue SW at the request of the RCMP. It was reported to police that RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspicious U-Haul in Beaumont, when the vehicle fled. The U-Haul subsequently travelled north on 50 Street into Edmonton, where it struck and killed a woman inspecting the exterior of her vehicle. Moments later the U-Haul came to rest just outside a gas station off of 22 Avenue and 50 Street.

After crashing the U-Haul, the male suspect then reportedly stole a Honda Civic that was parked outside the gas station with a child inside. Police did consider an Alert to the public at the time, though thankfully the child was located unharmed in the area of 66 Street and 25 Avenue minutes later. The suspect then fled the scene in the Honda Civic. The stolen vehicle has since been recovered outside of Edmonton.

The EPS and RCMP continue to actively seek the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect described as being approximately 5’11” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes. CCTV photos of the suspect are included below.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic death of the innocent woman who was killed on 50 Street,” says Det. Nigel Phillips with the EPS Investigative Response Team. “Our hearts are with her family and friends who will now have to carry on with this unfathomable loss.”

“We are doing everything we can to track down the suspect and we trust the public will help us identify and locate him as soon as possible.”

Assist to identify and locate: Male suspect running in area of 50 Street & 22 Avenue SW
While the RCMP is leading this investigation, the EPS is assisting and working collaboratively with its law enforcement partners.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity and/or their whereabouts is asked to contact the EPS immediately at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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