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Province grants $150,000.00 to Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre


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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Albertans were struggling with addiction and mental health. And now, with the immense challenges that the pandemic has placed on families, the need for local support has become even more evident.

Alberta’s government has always prioritized treating those suffering from addiction and mental health concerns with care and compassion. We understand that partnering with local providers is often the best way to deliver the support Albertans need. On the heels of Bell Let’s Talk Day, we must keep the mental health discussion going 365 days a year.

That is why we are excited to announce that as part of Alberta’s Government COVID Mental Health Action Plan, Red Deer will be receiving funds to support wellness and recovery right here in our community.

The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is a not for profit organization rooted in the protection and recovery of the most innocent and vulnerable Albertans – our children. Under Phase 3 of this Community Funding Grant Program, they will receive $150,000 to support their work and continue responding to children, youths, and families in need.

Phase 3 of our Community Funding Grant Program also includes $20,000 for Red Deer Family Services Bureau, a nonprofit organization that provides preventive, supportive, and early intervention services throughout Central Alberta.

I am thrilled to have had an active role in advocating for these projects in Red Deer. As the local MLA, I believe in the platform our government ran on, which included a comprehensive plan to expand mental health and addiction and treatment.

Among other things, we created Alberta’s first Associate Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction to respond to the addiction crisis, we eliminated user fees for Albertans accessing publicly funded addiction treatment beds, and we invested $25 million towards building five new long-term recovery communities, one of which will be right here in Red Deer.

Alberta’s government will continue supporting services that build lasting recovery for Albertan’s facing mental health and addiction challenges. We are excited that the Associate Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction is working closely with local treatment providers to provide the best service possible to those in need.

If you are struggling with mental health or addictions, know that you are not alone and there is help available 24/7. These resources were dramatically expanded as part of the COVID Mental Health Action Plan.

Addiction helpline: 1-866-332-2322

Mental health helpline: 1-877-303-2642

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or text ‘CONNECT’ to 686868

MLA for Red Deer North Adriana LaGrange

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Alberta’s Walker into Hearts semifinal with 9-8 win over Manitoba’s Jones

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CALGARY — Alberta’s Laura Walker advanced to the semifinal of the Canadian women’s curling championship with a 9-8 win over Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones in Sunday’s tiebreaker game.

Walker faces defending champion Kerri Einarson in an afternoon semifinal with the winner taking on Ontario’s Rachel Homan for the championship at night.

Jones missed an attempted double takeout in the 10th end, which left Walker an open draw to score three for the win in the tiebreaker.

Manitoba and Alberta were tied for third at 9-3 after the championship round, which required a tiebreaker game to solve.

Jones, a six-time champion at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, was chasing a record seventh title.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Let ‘er buck: Study suggests horses learn from rodeo experience, grow calmer

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CALGARY — Rodeo fans love the thrill of a bronc exploding into the ring, cowboy temporarily aboard. How the horse feels about it hasn’t been so clear.

Newly published research out of the University of Calgary looks at three years of roughstock events from that city’s Stampede in an attempt to peer inside the mind of an animal about to let ‘er buck.

“I try to understand the animal’s perspective,” said Ed Pajor, a professor of veterinary medicine. “We asked the question whether or not horses find participating in the rodeo to be an adversive experience or not.”

Pajor and his co-authors — Christy Goldhawk from the University of Calgary and well-known animal behaviourist Temple Grandin — studied 116 horses in bareback, novice bareback, saddle bronc and novice saddle bronc events. They looked at animals about to be loaded into a trailer and taken to the ring. They also observed how the horses behaved while in the chute waiting to be unleashed.

Horses have all kinds of ways of showing they’re unhappy, Pajor said. They might move back and forth, chew their lips, swish their tail, defecate, roll their eyes, paw the ground, toss their head, or rear up in protest.

The researchers found that the more people were around them, the more likely the horses were to show unease. That’s probably because they spend most of their time in fields and pastures and aren’t used to the bustle, Pajor said.

The other factor that affected behaviour was experience. If it wasn’t their first rodeo, the horses were much less likely to act up.

“We didn’t see a lot of attempts to escape. We didn’t see a lot of fear-related behaviours at all,” Pajor said. “The animals were pretty calm.

“The animals that had little experience were much more reactive than the animals that had lots of experience.”

There could be different reasons for that, he suggested.

“We don’t know if that’s because they’re used to the situation or whether that’s because of learned helplessness — they realize there’s nothing they can do and just give up.”

Pajor suspects the former.

“When the cowboys came near the horses, they would certainly react and you wouldn’t really see that if it was learned helplessness.”

The researchers also noted that the horses’ bucking performance, as revealed in the score from the rodeo judges, didn’t seem to be reduced by repeated appearances as it might be if the animals had become apathetic.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the horses are having a good time, said Pajor, who’s also on the Stampede’s animal welfare advisory board. There are a couple of ways of interpreting active behaviour in the chute, he said.

“An animal might be getting excited to perform. Or an animal might be having a fear response.”

“Understanding if animals like to do something is a tricky thing to do.”

Pajor knows there are different camps when it comes to rodeos and animals.

“People have very strong opinions on the use of animals for all kinds of reasons. I think no matter what we’re going to use animals for, we really need to make sure that we treat them humanely.

“My job is to do the research to understand the animals’ perspective.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021.

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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february, 2021

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