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Alberta

Oilers give Evander Kane OK to negotiate with other teams

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The Edmonton Oilers have granted Evander Kane permission to speak with other teams before the NHL’s free agency period opens and Colorado’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel went from celebrating with the Stanley Cup on Saturday to not receiving a qualifying offer from the Avalanche on Monday.

In a text to The Associated Press, Kane’s agent, Daniel Milstein, wrote he’s opening talks with other teams while also continuing discussions with the Oilers with his client eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

Kane signed with Edmonton in January after the San Jose Sharks terminated the remainder of his seven-year, $49 million contract for violating COVID-19 protocols while in the American Hockey League. Kane has challenged the Sharks’ decision by filing a grievance through the NHL Players’ Association.

Earlier last season, he was suspended by San Jose for 21 games for submitting a fake vaccine card.

Kane topped 20 goals for the eighth time in 13 NHL seasons by scoring 22 goals and 39 points in 43 games with Edmonton. Oilers GM Ken Holland last week said he was having daily conversations in a bid to re-sign Kane.

In Colorado, the defending champion Avalanche informed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel he will not receive a qualifying offer and will become a free agent when the market opens, a person with knowledge of the decision told The AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced its decisions.

The move comes with the Avalanche focusing their attention on attempting to re-sign forward Valeri Nichushkin, who completed the final year of his contract.

Aube-Kubel learned of the decision two days after bringing the Cup to his childhood home in Quebec. The 26-year-old Aube-Kubel has four seasons of NHL experience and was claimed by Colorado after being waived by the Philadelphia Flyers in November. He had 11 goals and 22 points in 67 regular-season games for the Avalanche, and had no points in 14 playoff games.

Elsewhere:

— The purge in Chicago continued with the Blackhawks placing veteran forward Brett Connolly and center Henrik Borgstrom on waivers with the intention to buy out the remainder of their contracts. Both had one year remaining on their respective deals. The moves follow Chicago trading forward Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa and center Kirby Dach to Montreal last week.

— The Columbus Blue Jackets declined to make offers to defenseman Gabriel Carlsson and center Kevin Stenlund. Carlsson has just two goals and 16 points in 75 career games over six seasons. Stenlund has 11 goals and 20 points in 71 games over four seasons. The Blue Jackets did extend qualifying offers to four players, including star forward Patrik Laine (26 goals, 36 assists last season).

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AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy contributed.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

John Wawrow And Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press

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Alberta

‘Short-term pain’: Group of Alberta lawyers escalate job action over legal aid cases

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By Bill Graveland in Calgary

Alberta criminal defence lawyers are taking another step in their dispute with the provincial government over the amount of compensation paid by Legal Aid Alberta.

Organizations representing lawyers in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and southern Alberta began job action Aug. 8 by refusing to accept certain bail and duty counsel files from legal aid.

The lawyers also began refusing certificates for new cases for the most serious criminal charges, including sexual offences, firearms-related crimes and homicides.

Beginning Monday, they say all services will be withdrawn.

“We’re going to stop taking all certificates. That will include some our prior job actions still allowed us to take certificates for people who are already existing clients and there will be a very, very limited set of circumstances now where our members will do that,” said Kelsey Sitar, vice-president of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association in Calgary.

“The default will be: ‘We are just not taking any new work from legal aid until the problem is fixed.'”

Sitar made her comments at a rally in front of the Calgary Courts Centre on Friday that drew about 50 criminal defence lawyers.

A table with a sign reading “Save Legal Aid” offered bake goods for sale. Lawyers carried signs reading “Access 2 Justice Must be Equal.” Another read: “This sign is too small to fit my outrage.”

“This is drastic. I mean, what we were doing up until now is something I know has happened in Ontario before, it did not last long, frankly,” Sitar said.

“I can tell you that none of us want to be out here. We all want to be in there doing our jobs.”

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro has said nothing is going to be done until a review of the Legal Aid Alberta administrative system is complete, which is scheduled for next month.

He said any budget changes for legal aid wouldn’t happen until next year.

Sitar said the ministry chose to undertake “an incomplete and, frankly, useless review” at a time when the governing United Conservative Party is about to go through a leadership change.

“So we have to act now and they need to respond now,” she said.

Sitar said she understands the people being affected the most by the job action will be people with lower incomes who need the services to afford legal representation.

“It’s short-term pain right now,” she said. “It’s really unfortunate, but I can tell you that most of the people I’ve talked to on the street who are finding themselves caught up in this understand and are grateful that we’re doing it.”

Alberta Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the problem has been growing over the last three years. She said when her party was in power, it committed to additional funding for Legal Aid, but the UCP government backtracked.

“We simply cannot be asking the Legal Aid bar to be doing what we are asking them to do at the rate that we are asking them to do it,” she told reporters.

“We have the lowest funding for Legal Aid in the country. What that means is that we don’t have equal access to justice. It undermines the integrity of our justice system and, overall, it undermines our ability to build a sense of community safety, community security and an overall respect for the rule of law — all of which are important to community health and economic growth.

“It sounds like a niche issue, but it’s not. It actually has knock-off effects to very, very important issues that affect all of us. So, the government needs to come to the table and negotiate decently with these lawyers.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.

— With files from Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

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Alberta

‘Kind of like carnies’: International balloon festival returns to High River, Alta.

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By Bill Graveland in High River, Alberta

The windswept prairie east of the Rocky Mountains seems an unlikely spot for a hot-air balloon festival, but the town of High River, Alta., is celebrating the event’s 10th year.

More than 20 brightly coloured balloons — including a pink elephant, a black and yellow bee and the purple and yellow Eye of Ra, named after the Egyptian sun god — took advantage of a lull in the prevailing wind this week to get some up-in-the-air time to mark the opening of the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival.

“We get about 50 per cent of our flights off. Weather impacts us everywhere,” said event director Jamie Kinghorn, who is also a town councillor.

“This is our 10th. We started in 2013 partly because of the flood that happened. I’d been to a number of balloon events and thought this might lift the spirits of the folks in town.”

The town of 12,000 just south of Calgary gained an international profile in 2013 when flooding in parts of southern Alberta caused billions of dollars in damage.

High River was one of the hardest-hit communities. Entire neighbourhoods were under water for weeks.

“I called in a bunch of friends from the balloon community and they knew what happened, so 20 of them came into High River and we put on a balloon festival that was actually amazing for the community,” Kinghorn said.

“That was sort of the first major thing toward recovery after the flood and we’ve been doing it every year since at the end of September.”

Kinghorn said the festival is a boon to local tourism and there’s not a hotel room to be had in town.

He had his first hot air balloon over the city of Calgary in 1988. A year later he was a balloon pilot.

There are 23 balloons participating this year, including some from the United States, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Kinghorn said it’s a pretty small community.

“We tend to meet at various events. We tend to travel. We’re kind of like carnies to some extent,” he said with a laugh.

“We travel around to different cities to different balloon events.”

Alan Davidson, who has been involved in the sport since 1977, is one of the volunteers.

He said those who get involved tend to stick with it.

“The amazing thing is that there are still seven or eight of the people I was ballooning with in the ’70s and early ’80s who are still here at this event,” said Davidson. “They’ve been working with balloons for over 40 years.”

Kinghorn, who is the owner and pilot of the Eye of Ra, was the first balloon in the air Thursday morning after a Wednesday evening flight was cancelled due to the wind.

“My God am I glad we got this off,” he said as the flight came to an end.

The festival runs through Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.

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september, 2022

tue27sep10:00 am4:00 pmCACPC Annual SHRED Event10:00 am - 4:00 pm MST The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, 4311-49 Ave Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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