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Alberta

Frustrated Red Deer Business Owner asks Provincial Justice Minister to enforce strict minimum jail sentences for repeat offenders

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jail cells

You may have already seen this letter.   It was shared on a community facebook page last weekend and has since been shared dozens of times, collecting hundreds of reactions.    Certainly some disagree with the math presented by the business owner.  Others argue the numbers do not go far enough to consider costs of providing health care, and other services.  

Regardless,  this has the community talking and it underlines the frustration of struggling home owners, and business owners who feel politicians are not moving quick enough to deal with issues related to crime and public safety. The letter has been sent to Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer.  We’ve asked the author of the letter to keep us informed on any reaction.  

Printed with the permission of the author.

Like many people in Alberta and Canada I have been a victim of crime, in 2018 I had over $140,000.00 stolen and 2 vehicles damaged (1 destroyed) in 4 separate thefts (of these events insurance would only cover $40,000.00) this had created an extreme hardship on my mental and physical well being as well as the well being of my family. Forcing us to make less than $18,000.00 last year. But not qualifying for supplemented income as I am self employed, however the criminals that are caught in a stolen vehicle with drugs and firearms are free to collect government aid and continue stealing from us!

Since the last major theft on Remembrance Day 2018, I had security cameras installed and I actively monitor these cameras every night, this has led to me contacting the police and personally intervening in the attempted theft of my neighbour’s and my property over 200 times. This is absolutely unacceptable, I have been told by the R.C.M.P to move, buy a different vehicle, and there’s nothing they can do even while handing over hard evidence of parole papers and a criminal’s photograph of him in my vehicle!

These criminals are armed with knives (from lock back to kitchen), machetes, pipe wrenches, firearms, baseball bat’s, needles, and anything else they can find to make a weapon.

Our Laws need to change now!

We could cut major crimes down within 3 months implementing a strict minimum sentence for all repeat offenders, 5 yrs minimum for any drug conviction with intent to sell or crime over $5k, 10 yrs for any assault during the commission of a crime or evading police, and 20 yrs for any major crime committed while in possession of a firearm or weapon.

The first thing our government needs to understand is it only costs $150/day for an inmate, these criminals on average are stealing $1000 a day.
Also the majority of these criminals are on supplemented income and free benefits costing tax payers another $30,000.00/yr (in other words the government is paying these criminals to steal from us).

So if we say 100 criminals are stealing $356,000/yr each for a total of $35,600,000/yr and are drawing an additional $3,000,000.00 in tax funded services.

The cost of these 100 criminals to citizens is $38,600,000.00/yr

If we were to incarcerate these same criminals our cost would be $5,340,000.00/yr this would leave us ample room to implement rehabilitation services in prison, as well create many more jobs in the prison, construction, and health sectors, also freeing up our health services in each municipality to aid those in need instead of hundreds of junkies and criminals!

Sincerely,

(author does not wish to be identified)

(Stats for incarceration figures from: https://edmontonjournal.com/…/70-per-cent-of-prisoners-in-a…)

(Average theft costs based on Red Deer crime watch stats compiled over 1 year.)

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Alberta

Too many new pet owners, not enough vets make getting animal care a problem

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CALGARY — Dr. Liz Ruelle says it was a difficult decision to close her veterinary practice to first-time patients after being swamped with requests by new pet owners who turned to animal companionship during the pandemic.

For Ruelle, who operates the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary, everything takes two to three times longer with COVID-19 safety protocols, so providing timely medical attention to animals can be challenging.

She’s six months behind on regular checkups and so decided last October to refer new furry patients to emergency clinics.

“Everyone was running out and getting pets … and we’re now facing backlogs of annual exams, because we weren’t doing them for months,” Ruelle said.

“I have a hard time saying no to people. It’s gut-wrenching for us. When we’re saying no, it’s because we physically can’t.”

Humane Canada says 78,000 cats and 28,000 dogs were in shelters across Canada in 2019. Sixty-five per cent of the felines and 73 per cent of dogs were either adopted or reclaimed by their owners.

Numbers for last year aren’t yet available, but shelters across the country say demand has been brisk, although the number of cats and dogs available has dropped.

“Our adoptions have thankfully stayed steady throughout the pandemic and haven’t seen a marked increase in animal returns,” said Jessica Bohrson from the Calgary Humane Society.

“With so many folks now working from home, they’ve been able to give their new pets a great deal of attention.”

There are about 10,000 veterinarians in Canada. Dr. Enid Stiles, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said that’s too few vets for the number of pets.

The greatest shortfall is in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s become a triage of what’s most important. Certainly these new pets have thrown a wrench into things, because in Canada we already have a very big shortage of veterinarians,” said Stiles, who shut down her Montreal clinic to new patients in December.

“My clinic said we would never do that, but … we ended up having to stop taking any new patients because we’re burning out. We had to put the brakes on and that’s hard because where are those pets going to go?

“The irony is they’re going to end up being pushed out to more rural vets, who may still have some ability to see these patients, but now they’re having to travel great distances in a pandemic just to get veterinary care.”

Lack of attention for newer patients has led to many veterinarians being subjected to verbal abuse from angry pet owners, Stiles added.

“People get frustrated and they’re very emotional when dealing with pets. We understand, but certainly with the pandemic it’s even more of a struggle,” she said.

“People’s fuses are short.”

The Toronto Humane Society switched to virtual adoptions last spring. The organization has fewer animals available than usual because it isn’t allowed to bring in any from the United States with the border closed.

Hannah Sotropa said the society has received more than 11,000 applications for adoption since the pandemic began.

“Definitely the interest has certainly increased. We’re not seeing an increase in adoptions per se largely due to the fact we have had fewer animals,” she said.

The Toronto Humane Society has its own public veterinary service clinic which vaccinates, spays and neuters pets. It also has a dental suite.

“There’s going to be backlogs. What’s really important is we find ways to make veterinary care more accessible, so we can prevent animals ending up in our shelters simply due to affordability or lack of availability to basic, veterinary care,” Sotropa said.

“It’s important for people to know that even if they are an adopter, they can still come for help if they need it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021

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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

WestJet grounds Max flight before takeoff after system indicates ‘potential fault’

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CALGARY — WestJet says a Boeing 737 Max that was scheduled to fly from Calgary to Toronto on Friday returned to the gate before taking off due to a warning in the cockpit.

A WestJet spokeswoman, Lauren Stewart, said that after the plane’s engines were started, its monitoring system indicated a “potential fault that needed to be verified and reset.”

The process takes time and requires an engine run, which the airline does not perform with passengers on board, Stewart said.

In the interests’ of passengers’ time, WestJet cancelled the flight and booked passengers on the next available flight to Toronto, Stewart said.

The aircraft has since been cleared by maintenance and will return to service as scheduled on Jan. 24, Stewart said.

The Max was cleared to fly in Canadian airspace on Wednesday after it was grounded for nearly two years following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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january, 2021

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