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Calgary

It’s starting to feel like a real old-fashioned NHL playoff

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Hard to believe, but this is starting to feel like a real, old-fashioned NHL playoff. The Stanley Cup will not be awarded for months.

Yet, here we are, two weeks away from the official lid-lifters in the opening round of what will become a five-series marathon for two teams and the internet universe is full of hopes and doubts, fears and prayers — almost as if this was April, not mid-July.

The shocking news that a $600-million edifice like Rogers Place is as susceptible to flooding as a mere million-dollar structure did nothing to delay this outbreak of opinions. No further proof is needed that hockey, for large groups of us, stands at least equal to COVID-19 in daily interest.

In Edmonton, for example, there is growing hope that the Oilers will cruise through their first series with Chicago, largely because proven goaltender Corey Crawford has been declared “unfit to play” and any available backup for the Blackhawks is far less competent.

Having Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid available will also help, and there were signs late last season that the depth pieces at forward and on the blue line are more than just place-holders until the superstars take control.

In Calgary, optimism is quieter, maybe because the Flames have won only a single playoff round in six years. And maybe because talented Johnny Gaudreau was separated from familiar linemates in early workouts while other holdovers have been — like Crawford — handed the unique “unfit to play” designation.

General manager Brad Treliving went online quickly to defend Gaudreau against suggestions that he is not in game shape and has struggled in the early going. Gaudreau himself labeled the criticism “just one of those things.”

Other potential issues have not been widely discussed. Coronavirus infection for Derek Ryan and others who have stayed off the ice? Chances are fans will never know.

At least one presumed expert on Friday went so far as to say in print that the Oilers “have a real chance to win the Stanley Cup.” Pre-playoff season is the time to dream big in any sport.

In a normal NHL season — if there is ever such a thing as normalcy in sports — the focus for most fans goes to player signings, free-agent talk and the like, including inevitable calls by so-called supporters for one or several coaches and general managers to be dismissed.

A big difference now is fan interest in winners of individual honours: Ted Lindsay Award for best player, Lady Byng for most gentlemanly, Masterton Trophy for dedication to the sport and others for top rookie, top defenceman and the like.

Automatically, Calgary fans insist, for example, that Mike Giordano is the league’s top defender. Oilers fans and several media types, always convinced their opinions lack bias, have gone on record with demands that Daisaitl must win the Lindsay award and that McDavid, who used the entire 2020 pre-season to battle a career-threatening knee injury, should have no challengers for the Masterton Trophy, which this old reporter believes should go to Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators.

So far, it seems, the biggest difference between Edmonton’s observers and the similar group in Calgary is positive versus negative. Some Oilers-watchers honestly hint that their two superstars might portend the beginning of a magical run like Edmonton’s domination in the 1980s.

In Calgary, there are fresh complaints about Treliving’s performance and the sad recent finishes by a team that figures to be seriously challenged by the Winnipeg Jets in their first-round match.

Is it too soon to be talking about a Flames rebuild. Several voices in Calgary insist it is not.

Clear Answers Required

 

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Alberta

Calgary Ring Road opens 10 months early

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Christmas comes early for Calgary drivers

The Calgary Ring Road is now ready to be opened to public traffic, several months ahead of schedule.

Calgary’s ring road is one of the largest infrastructure undertakings in Calgary’s history and includes 197 new bridges and 48 interchanges. The 101-kilometre free-flowing Calgary Ring Road will open to traffic Dec. 19, completing a project decades in the making.

“Calgary’s ring road is a project that has been decades in the making and its completion is a real cause for celebration. This has been an important project and our government got it done. With this final section completed, travelling just got a little easier for families and for workers. This will not only benefit Calgarians and residents in the metro region, it will provide a boost to our economy, as goods can be transported more easily across our province.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

Although construction of the entire ring road project began in 1999 under former premier Ralph Klein, discussions on a ring road around the City of Calgary began as early as the 1950s. In the late 1970s, under former premier Peter Lougheed, high-level planning and land acquisition started and a transportation utility corridor was established to make the Calgary Ring Road a reality.

“The final section of the Calgary Ring Road is now complete, and I’d like to acknowledge the work done by former premiers and transportation ministers and their vision to build Alberta. I’m proud to announce that the final section was completed on budget and months ahead of schedule.”

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

“I’m thrilled to see the Calgary Ring Road project completed. It was something I have helped shepherd through the process since 2014. Finally, all the hard work put in by everyone has become a reality. The Calgary Ring Road will provide travellers with over 100 kilometres of free-flow travel, create new travel options for the City of Calgary and surrounding area and provide improved market access across the region.”

Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary-West

Opening the ring road means new travel options for Calgarians, which will draw traffic away from heavily travelled and congested roads such as the Deerfoot Trail, 16th Avenue, Glenmore Trail and Sarcee Trail. For commercial carriers, the ring road provides an efficient bypass route, saving time and money for the delivery and shipment of goods and services.

“The ring road investment generated thousands of local jobs and will now play an integral role in keeping Calgarians and the economy moving. This important transportation link will ease congestion on city routes and greatly improve connectivity and access for businesses transporting goods.”

Jyoti Gondek, mayor, City of Calgary

The ring road is a critical component to growing economic corridors in Alberta and Western Canada, as it connects the Trans-Canada Highway to the east and west, and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway and Highway 2 to the north and south. It is also part of the CANAMEX corridor, which connects Alberta to the highway network in the United States and Mexico.

The completion of the ring road is a major boost for Calgary, opening new business opportunities and supporting key components of the Calgary economy. It sends a signal to businesses and investors that Calgary has a strong highway infrastructure, providing economic corridor connections through the entire region.

“With one of the smoothest commutes in Canada and the capacity to reach 16 million customers by road within a single day, Calgary offers unmatched quality of life and economic opportunities. The triumphant completion of the Calgary Ring Road further improves our capacity to attract even more companies, capital and talent to our city.”

Brad Parry, president & CEO, Calgary Economic Development and CEO, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund

“This is an exciting step forward for the Calgary Metropolitan Region. This key artery will not only improve the quality of life for the residents of the region, it is also a key economic enabler and we are thrilled to see its completion.”

Greg Clark, chair, Calgary Metropolitan Region Board

Quick facts

  • Stretched into a single lane, the highway is 1,304 kilometres long, the distance from Calgary to Winnipeg.
  • Other sections opened in 2009, 2013, 2020 and 2023.
  • The West Calgary Ring Road is the final piece of the ring road project.
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Alberta

Canadian pizzeria owner planning civil suit against gov’t officials over tyrannical COVID mandates

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

They shut a man’s business down of 20 years, two families that depended on that, 30 people that were employed by the millions of dollars in taxes that I collected every year,’ Jesse Johnson said.

The owner of a popular Canadian pizzeria says he is planning a civil suit against government officials for a “travesty of justice” after enduring a prolonged legal battle on charges — that were just dropped — for defying COVID rules banning the vaccine free from eating at his restaurant.

On Wednesday, a City of Calgary court dropped all COVID-related charges against Jesse Johnson, who owned Without Papers Pizza, and in 2021-2022 refused to ask his customers for their vaccine passports so that he could serve “everyone.”

Johnson said when speaking with independent media reporter Mocha Bezirgan outside Calgary’s main courthouse Wednesday that he will be “pursuing a civil suit” against government officials and institutions that forced his restaurant to close.

“I plan on pursuing a civil suit, yes. It is a bittersweet irony what happened here today. My restaurant was shut unadjudicated,” Johnson said.

“They shut a man’s business down of 20 years, two families that depended on that, 30 people that were employed by the millions of dollars in taxes that I collected every year.”

Johnson said that the reason he got shut down was that he went against a system that discriminated against the vaccine-free, which was something he did not like.

“Because I did what? Because I chose to accept all and to extend my love to all the fine people of Calgary,” he said.

“A travesty of justice is what occurred? Really, truly a shame.”

Johnson said that he “hopes” and “prays” that his “brothers and sisters in the restaurant industry will stand up in the future and refuse to discriminate any of their customers for any reason whatsoever.”

“It’s the most difficult experience of my life. These bastards, they literally tried to break me. They tried to break me financially.”

Johnson praised “millions” of Canadians from coast to coast who came together to fight COVID dictates through various protests.

“Never give up hope. Never give up hope and believe in yourself. One thing I’ve learned across this journey is that the power of the human spirit is indomitable. And if there’s a mountain in front of me, that mountain shall move,” he said.

The Democracy Fund (TDF), which funded lawyers Martin Rejman and Chad Williamson in defense of Johnson, noted in a press release that the once-popular pizzeria was charged in October 2021 with “breaching multiple bylaws after its business license was suspended for not complying with public health orders and after undercover inspectors were permitted to purchase pizza and remain in the restaurant without providing proof of vaccination.”

“Among other things, the allegations against the pizzeria were that it permitted persons to enter and remain on the premises without proof of vaccination and that it did not display prescribed signage, all of which was contrary to bylaws passed by the City of Calgary,” the TDF noted.

Johnson’s charges being dropped came in the wake of a recent court ruling that declared certain public health orders effectively null.

At the end of July, Justice Barbara Romaine from Alberta’s Court of Kings Bench ruled that politicians violated the province’s health act by making decisions regarding COVID mandates without authorization.

The decision put into doubt all cases involving those facing non-criminal COVID-related charges in the province.

As a result of July’s court ruling, Alberta Crown Prosecutions Service (ACPS) said Albertans currently facing COVID-related charges will likely not face conviction but will instead have their charges stayed.

Danielle Smith took over from Jason Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on October 11, 2022, after winning the leadership of the party. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down, as well as enacting a vaccine passport.

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime.

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