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A look back at the debate over Rogers Place as it sets to open in Edmonton

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

In a few days, Rogers Place will open to Edmontonians after years of debate.

In July 2008, Daryl Katz finally spoke to the media in person after becoming the owner of the Edmonton Oilers.  But even before that significant change, there was talk of a new barn for the beloved team.

“I was on the board of the Oilers Community Foundation;  I was on the board of Northlands,” Lyle Best tells Global News, when asked to look back on the long arena debate.

Best, an Edmonton entrepreneur, chaired the arena feasibility committee which endorsed the idea of a new arena in downtown Edmonton.

“The vitriol and the stuff they would toss at me and other committee members, but particularly me, it was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t think these people walked among us?,’” Best says.

 “If anything, this is a tremendous deal for taxpayers,” former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel says.

Watch below: ‘It’s a great time for the city’: Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel weighs in on opening of Rogers Place

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    Vitriol was also directed at Mandel.  He became the political face of the project.  Now, as a private citizen, he indicates no regrets about the deal.

    “I’m excited, it’s a tremendous opportunity for the city,” Mandel says, adding one of the goals of the project was “to build cities.”

    But before any building could happen, a deal had to be reached.  The battle lines were drawn quickly.

    READ MORE: Mandel begs province to support the downtown arena

    The Katz Group pushed Northlands to the side, wanting no partnership with the non-profit to run the new facility.

    Negotiations led to a trip to New York City in October 2011, where former mayor Mandel and a city team – along with Daryl Katz and his side – met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

    About a year later, as negotiations dragged on, the Oilers’ owner and an entourage visited Seattle, a city without an NHL franchise, but on the hunt to secure one.

    Many saw the moved as a veiled threat to move the team.  Days after the trip, Katz issued an apology.

    READ MORE: Oilers owner Daryl Katz apologizes to ‘Oilers fans everywhere’

    But the civic soap opera was far from over.  After new demands were presented, city council unanimously voted to cease negotiations in October 2012, leaving Katz Group officials stunned.

    “There were so many times during that period where I’d read a story or hear something and you’d go, ‘This is it,”’ Best says.

    “Forming those public/private partnerships is never easy,” the Edmonton Arena Corporation’s Bob Black says.

    Years later, overlooking Rogers Place as workers put the final touches on the facility, Black explains the debate was a “foreign process” to the company.

    READ MORE: Numbers connected to Edmonton’s Rogers Place construction will blow your mind

    Executives were not prepared for the fact the public process required consultation and public oversight.

    “It took us a long time to really grasp that process,” Black adds.  “We worked hard at trying to really understand that process.  But we had to come to a realization it was going to be slower than we’d wished for.”

    By May 2013, a deal was reached just months before the 2013 civic election.  Construction on the facility started in March 2014.

    Watch below: Sarah Kraus got a tour of the nearly completed Rogers Place in May 2016.

    The deal will see the Edmonton Arena Corporation – a Katz Group company – operate the city-owned facility and pay maintenance expenses.  But the company will also get all the revenues.

    “The critcism of the deal itself is that this is simply the privatization of public profit,” Jay Scherer, a University of Alberta researcher writing a book on the arena deal, laments.

    “Council had a number of key opportunities to certainly push back and to demand a better deal for citizens of Edmonton,” Scherer criticizes.

    “Luck and timing is always important,” Best says.

    For the local politicians who supported the proposal, the deal was about two things:  keeping the Oilers in Edmonton and finding a catalyst project to spark increased development downtown.

    As part of the deal, the Katz Group had to commit to spend $100 million in new development.

    Since arena construction started, the company and its partner – WAM Development Group – have announced the creation of Ice District with two office towers, a hotel, residences and retail.  The investment stands at more than $2 billion within a couple of blocks of Rogers Place.

    “It’s going to be a net gain if for no other reason than just the development around it and having a vibrant, live downtown,” Best says.

Players in Edmonton appear to knock record out of the park at world’s longest baseball game attempt

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

Dozens of exhausted but smiling baseball players wrapped up a truly epic ball game that unofficially set a record in Edmonton Monday.

While it still needs to be certified by officials with Guinness World Records, the players appear to have set a record for the world’s longest baseball game while also swinging for the fences in an effort to try and help strike out cancer.

Once the game wrapped up around noon on Monday, the final score was a staggering 378 runs for Team Red and 269 runs for Team Black after 269 innings of ball.

The game started Friday and was organized by Brent Saik who started the world’s longest hockey game in 2003. It was held in memory of his father, Terry, who died of cancer.

IN PHOTOS: World’s Longest Hockey Game at Saiker’s Acres

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    The summer after the first hockey game, Saik’s first wife Susan also succumbed to cancer. Her death prompted the next hockey game in 2005 to be played in her name. The hockey game has since been held in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

    Saik said the epic baseball game saw a range of emotions play out on the field.

    “It’s just a mess of laughing, crying and everything.”

    READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: World’s longest baseball game attempt underway in Edmonton

    Participants hoped to raise $250,000 for cancer research by playing the game, a number organizers said they surpassed.

    “To raise a quarter-of-a-million bucks is unbelievable,” Saik said. “And when you do the math, that number is very close to the hockey game. We did this in 72 hours and hockey was 252.”

    “This thing has saved lives and every one of these players know that and that’s why they come here.”

    For more information on the game or to donate to the cause, visit the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s website.

    If the record is certified, the 72-hour game will set a new benchmark for baseball games after the record was last set in Sauget, Illinois in 2015.

    “We’re talking about world’s longest football game next,” Saik said with a laugh after the game Monday.

    -with files from Caley Ramsay

    Watch below: The record still needs to be certified but over the long weekend, a 72-hour baseball game set an unofficial record for how long it was played and also helped raise money to fight cancer. But despite the serious motivation behind the record attempt, the players made sure to get in a few laughs as well. Kevin Karius explains.

    Watch below: The world’s longest baseball game got underway in Edmonton on Friday, raising funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Global’s Kevin Karius took part and on Sept. 2, 2016, he was at the ballpark with founder Brent Saik. 

    Dozens of ball players in Edmonton pose for a photo at the Edmonton Ball Park after playing a 72-hour game. Sept. 5, 2016.

    Morris Gamblin/ Global News

4 suspects wanted after woman allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint in Vaughan

Written on November 23, 2018 at 15:23, by

Police are searching for four suspects wanted in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a woman at gunpoint in Vaughan.

According to Toronto police, the woman was kidnapped from the Highway 27 and Langstaff Road area around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police said the woman was driven to Toronto’s Weston Road and Imogene Avenue area, south of Finch Avenue West, where she was able to escape and later report the incident to police.

Investigators have released the identities of two wanted suspects.

Rasha Al-Enzi, 33, of Toronto.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

Trevor Smithen, 32, of Toronto.

Handout / Toronto Police Service

Police are looking for 32-year-old Trevor Smithen and 33-year-old Rasha Al-Enzi, both of Toronto.

Smithen is described as standing 6’1” and weighing 181 pounds. He has his hair in cornrows. He has the word “TRUM” tattooed on his right forearm and the word “TREVOR” tattooed on his left forearm.

Al-Enzi is described as standing standing 5’5” and weighing 100 pounds. She has multiple tattoos on her arms.

Two additional men are also wanted, but they have yet to be identified.

Police believe the suspects are travelling in a grey, four-door 2016 Chevrolet Sonic with the Ontario licence plate BZKN 727.

Officers encouraged anyone who sees the suspects or vehicle to immediately call 911 as police believe the suspects might be armed.

Anyone with information about the investigation is being asked to contact 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

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More parking could be on the way for Terwillegar Park

Written on February 24, 2019 at 16:04, by

The parking spaces at a southwest Edmonton park could double if city council approval is given.

A report on the Terwillegar Park parking lot expansion will be in front of city council on Tuesday. The Urban Planning Committee is recommending approval.

It seeks to expand the number of parking spaces from 122 stalls to 225 stalls.

READ MORE: City wants feedback on plan to expand Terwillegar Park parking lot

The parking lot was expanded in 2011 from 80 stalls to 122 stalls but that did not seem to meet demand. The report states that park users were illegally using Rabbit Hill Road for overflow parking.

“By 2015, this first phase of expansion was proving insufficient to meet user demand, and the city was receiving complaints that the parking lot was no longer adequate,” the report reads.

The Terwillegar Park parking lot extension concept.

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The project will expand parking capacity west of the existing lot and falls within the Terwillegar Park Concept Plan study. The 27-point plan calls for several upgrades, including more paved parking and overflow parking, pedestrian bridges like the foot bridge currently being built, a program building and washroom, a designated on-leash area, a picnic area, a natural playground, a dock for canoe and kayak launches, and a 2.0 hectare paddling lake.

The report states the idea of the parking lot expansion generated some opposition from those who think the city should be encouraging park users bus, walk or bike to the park rather than drive. There was also concern about the park becoming busier as well as less of a natural space as a result of increased parking.

READ MORE: $90 million going towards improving Capital Region’s river valley

But one city councillor said the benefits outweigh those concerns.

“Generally there is significant support for increased parking. The park is so big that the loss of green space is insignificant,” said Ward 9 Councillor Bryan Anderson.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $488,000.

-with files from Karen Bartko

Giant Panda is no longer an endangered species

Written on February 24, 2019 at 16:04, by

BEIJING – A leading international group has taken the giant panda off its endangered list thanks to decades of conservation efforts, but China’s government discounted the move on Monday, saying it did not view the status of the country’s beloved symbol as any less serious.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature said in a report released Sunday that the panda is now classified as a “vulnerable” instead of “endangered” species, reflecting its growing numbers in the wild in southern China. It said the wild panda population jumped to 1,864 in 2014 from 1,596 in 2004, the result of work by Chinese agencies to enforce poaching bans and expand forest reserves.

WATCH: US National Zoo hosts sweet birthday bash for Bei Bei 

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The report warned, however, that although better forest protection has helped increase panda numbers, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35 per cent of its natural bamboo habitat in the next 80 years, potentially leading to another decline.

In a statement to The Associated Press, China’s State Forestry Administration said Monday that it disputed the classification change because pandas’ natural habitats have been splintered by natural and human causes. The animals live in small, isolated groups of as few as 10 pandas that struggle to reproduce and face the risk of disappearing altogether, the agency said.

“If we downgrade their conservation status, or neglect or relax our conservation work, the populations and habitats of giant pandas could still suffer irreversible loss and our achievements would be quickly lost,” the forestry administration said. “Therefore, we’re not being alarmist by continuing to emphasize the panda species’ endangered status.”

READ MORE: African elephant populations down 30 per cent according to new census

Still, animal groups hailed the recovery of the bamboo-gobbling, black-and-white bear that has long been a symbol of China and the global conservation movement.

The panda population reached an estimated low of less than 1,000 in the 1980s due to poaching and deforestation until Beijing threw its full weight behind preserving the animal, which has been sent to zoos around the world as a gesture of Chinese diplomatic goodwill.

READ MORE: Tiny panda cubs’ birth a huge PR production, Toronto Zoo documents show

The Chinese government and the World Wildlife Fund first established the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province in 1980. Wild panda numbers have slowly rebounded as China cracked down on the skin trade and gradually expanded its protected forest areas to now cover 1.4 million hectares (5,400 square miles).

International groups and the Chinese government have worked to save wild pandas and breed them at enormous cost, attracting criticism that the money could be better spent saving other animals facing extinction. The IUCN drew attention on Sunday to the 70 per cent decline in the eastern gorilla population over the past 20 years.

But the WWF, whose logo has been a panda since 1961, celebrated the panda’s re-classification, saying it proved that aggressive investment does pay off “when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together.”

WATCH: Toronto Zoo panda cubs turn 7 months old

—;

AP researcher Henry Hou contributed to this report.

Labour Day barbecue recognizes contributions of unions and workers to society

Written on February 24, 2019 at 16:04, by

The Saskatoon and District Labour Council hosted its annual Labour Day barbecue in Victoria Park on Monday and while more than a thousand people came out to enjoy the free food, for the Labour Council it’s a day to remember what unions have done to shape our workforce.

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    “The history of Labour Day goes back to some long fought labour battles for things like unemployment insurance back in the post-war era when people came back from the war and didn’t have jobs and had to march in Ottawa,” explained Kelly Harrington, president of the Saskatoon and District Labour Council.

    READ MORE: How the CPP changes will affect your future

    Employment insurance, maternity leave and paid vacation are examples of improvements to labour regulations, but this year Harrington is celebrating the first major expansion of the Canadian pension plan benefits.

    “That’s something we’ve been fighting for for over eight years and it’s been a lead campaign of the Canadian Labour Congress,” Harrington said.

    But in her eyes there’s still more that needs to be done, including creating more full-time jobs and ending precarious online work.

    “A lot of young people coming into the workforce are forced to grapple together two or three part-time jobs to pay one rent.”

    “Now employers are choosing to use digital and online services …they don’t have a union to fight for them. They’re paid either by a quota or by a job and there’s no security,” Harrington said.

    READ MORE: Oshawa, Ont., ground zero for latest talks between Detroit Three, unions

    A few members from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Saskatchewan road motorcycles from Regina to the Saskatoon barbecue to promote respect for worker rights.

    “With the provincial government we have right now it’s much more geared toward big business and privatization than the actual workers who are working in this province,” said Ride for Respect organizer Omar Murray.

    READ MORE: Over 150 pink slips handed out to SLGA workers due to Sask. Party liquor privatization

    In Saskatoon, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has been without a collective agreement for almost four years and local president Jim Yakubowski is determined for change.

    “Our members do not deserve that treatment and we’re going to be taking steps to get a collective agreement for our members,” said Yakubowski.

    ATU will be holding a rally next Saturday at City Hall and the public is welcome to join.

Kal Tire Place fouled by sewer backup

Written on February 24, 2019 at 16:04, by

VERNON, B.C. – Brown water and debris filled Kal Tire Place Saturday morning following a sewer pump station failure.

Restoration crews continued work on cleaning up the smelly mess through the Labour Day long weekend.

“We walked in the room and it was definitely a smell that I don’t want to remember,” said Vernon Vipers assistant coach Kevin Kraus.

The Vipers first exhibition game of the B.C. Hockey League season was canceled Saturday night due to the sewer backup.

As about two inches of brown water covered floors, most of the equipment in the way of the foul mess was moved to higher ground.

The city of Vernon is blaming the flooding on a pump station failure following a water main break at 35A Street and 40 Avenue.

“Kal Tire Place, because the bowl of the arena is cut down into the ground and it is below ground level, we were affected by that because all of our drains are below ground level,” said Doug Ross, Vernon’s director of recreation services.

Ross said damage to the city owned arena is significant.

“It’s throughout the whole lower concourse,” he said. “Anywhere where there was a drain there was water and sewer coming up.”

Ross said, “all of our flooring down here has been affected. Luckily there was very little drywall mostly cinderblock and concrete, so that is lucky for us.”

Restoration crews are working to have the arena ready for use again Saturday, September 10.

Other teams affected by the flood have had to move to other facilities until Kal Tire Place is clean.

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First-year students at University of Regina transitioning to life on residence

Written on February 24, 2019 at 15:40, by

Many students at the University of Regina (U of R) spent the long weekend unpacking as they prepare for the beginning of a new semester.

For Greenwater Lake, Sask., resident Sydney Stadnek, it’s the first time she will be living away from home. She, like many other first-years, will be moving into residence at Paskwaw Towers at the U of R.

“It’d be nice to get everything organized,” Stadnek said.

“I’m kind of nervous.”

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    Stadnek’s story is a common theme during this time of year. In fact, her new mate hails from Sydney, Australia. It’s the first time Olivia Brunton has ever even been to Canada.

    She said the transition has been tough.

    “It’s been quite hard. I have had quite a few homesick moments,” Brunton explained.

    She said moving proved difficult because of transportation and weight restrictions.

    “Packing was quite interesting because you can’t bring a lot of stuff with you… I was making do with what I have,” she said.

    READ MORE: University of Regina U-Pass encourages students to take the bus

    U of R president Vianne Timmons said it was a much different scene compared to last year.

    “Last year we had lots of snags. We had challenges with the alarms and the elevators, not this year,” Timmons explained.

    “We had had no issues this year whatsoever.”

    It’s a plus students no doubt appreciate, making for a smoother transition for some students so they can focus on other things, like meeting new people and experiencing many new firsts.

    “I’m excited to start. I’m a bit nervous for classes, but pretty excited to live in a new city and stuff,” Stadnek cheerily said.

    For others like Brunton from down under, she’s preparing herself for a winter she said is the opposite of anything she’s ever experienced before.

    “I found out that it can get down to minus forty with the wind chill so this will be a very interesting experience,” she laughed.

    The first day of classes is Tuesday, Sept 6.

    Follow @ChristaDao

How a B.C. man’s typo while booking campsite online nearly cost him $1,100

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A B.C. man is warning campers to be extra careful when making online reservations.

Last month, Michael Dixon tried booking a spot on the BC Parks website for next year. While making the reservation, he accidentally typed in August 2016 instead of August 2017.

“Oh my goodness, what did I just do?”  Dixon said.

Within minutes of making the mistake, he contacted BC Parks and tried explaining what had just happened. He was told by an agent nothing could be done.

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“He said his hands were tied and there was nothing he could do about issuing the refund,” Dixon said.

Dixon was on the hook for $1,103.90. The BC Parks cancellation policy states all fees are forfeited for cancellations made less than 28 days from the date of the reservation. Because of Dixon’s accidental typo, the computer had read he was only giving two days notice.  The policy also states refunds will not be granted for errors making a reservation.

“I just felt like the BC government stole eleven-hundred dollars from me for an error,” Dixon said.

Dixon said he was stonewalled and contacted Global BC’s Consumer Matters. Global BC contacted the provincial Ministry of Environment and received the following statement:

BC Parks has looked into this specific situation. The customer made an honest error in their booking.

The customer has been notified and the situation has been resolved and a refund has been issued.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate the customers patience.

Dixon says he’s now looking at other options. He’s considering other campgrounds without strict cancellation policies.

“I can’t see them having made the refund unless I took further steps to contact [Global News] for help,” says Dixon.

Dog overcoming disease goes on ‘barket’ list adventure

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Gremlin is a valley bulldog from Alberta that’s become a beacon of hope for pets with trouble eating. Since being skin and bones nearly four years ago, he now looks like a new dog.

At one year old, Gremlin was diagnosed with a condition called megaesophagus.

“It’s like his esophagus is paralyzed and the muscles that are supposed to propel his food down into his stomach don’t work properly,” his owner, Chrissy Wilson, explained.

Because food couldn’t be digested properly, it would come back up. Gremlin would regurgitate regularly – more than 20 times a day.

“It was a little sad, because we thought he wouldn’t make it,” said Chrissy’s youngest son, Rayden.

At his sickest, he weighed just 19 pounds.

WATCH: Gremlin has been able to overcome his condition that limited his food intake thanks to a special chair. Now, he’s on an adventure.

“He was getting really, really skinny and we couldn’t put any weight on. Then he started getting colds. He got pneumonia once,” Chrissy said.

At one point, he could hardly walk – his muscles were so weak.

“It was really really difficult to see someone literally wasting away and to do everything in your power to make it so he could eat, but he just kept regurgitating and regurgitating.”

When the Wilson’s took their dog out – strangers cast judgement.

“Most people were pretty cruel. They didn’t understand and there was a lot of ‘why don’t you just put your dog down?’ or ‘just let him go, you’re hurting him by keeping him alive.’

“But they didn’t get to see that he had so much spirit in him. So much to give and so much to live for.”

Even veterinarians told the family their beloved pet wouldn’t survive.

Refusing to give up on Gremlin, the Wilson’s found a mega-esophagus support group on Facebook and other owners suggested they make a doggie high chair that would force Gremlin to eat vertically. That way, gravity could help push the food down his throat, into his stomach.

It worked. Nearly four years later, Gremlin weighs 47 pounds and is loving life – playing fetch, chasing other dogs and cuddling with the Wilson kids.

You would never know he was sick – unless you watched him eat in his special chair.

“We just want to tell everybody that there is hope out there for people that do have dogs diagnosed with this condition,” said Chrissy. “It’s not a death sentence.”

Now, in hopes of raising awareness about mega-esophagus and sharing how their dog is overcoming the disease, the Wilson’s are spoiling Gremlin by taking him on a “barket list” adventure – the canine version of a bucket-list.

On Monday, he ate like royalty at Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse in Camrose – drawing lots of attention from other diners.

“With the permission of Alberta Health Services they granted us the OK to do this on our patio,” explained owner Colleen Konowalyk.

Konowalyk has a pair of labrador retrievers and said she could relate – and wanted to help. “I can’t imagine if someone, a veterinarian especially, said your only hope is to put your dog down.”

The meal at Mr. Mike’s crossed off two items on Gremlin’s list – eating a steak dinner and dining in a restaurant with his family. He’s also been jet-skiing.

Still on the list? Playing in a pool full of squeaky toys, having a play-date with all 10 of the other dogs in his litter and going on an ATV ride.

“He’s one of our kids. He’s part of the family. There’s no other way to put it.”

Follow @SarahNKraus
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Struggling Calgary cafe desperate in downturn gets no love from city inspectors

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

A Calgary cafe in the heart of Kensington is facing the threat of closure. The Red Bush Coffee Company is a candy and coffee shop that’s struggling to survive.

Owner and operator Heather Ferguson has done whatever it takes to keep the doors open in spite of what she’s up against.

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    “We’ve had so many road shutdowns and with the economy I’m just working hard to think outside the box,” Ferguson choked back tears. “Honestly it’s gotten very hard —; and I love my store and I really want to keep the doors open, [but] this is the last straw.”

    Upstairs from the store is a wide open space she uses for free events. She hosts neighborhood movie nights and brings in aspiring artists and musicians. But the city’s business license inspectors say she doesn’t have the appropriate entertainment license to include those activities and is forcing them to stop.

    “They’ve been brutal and very heavy handed.”

    Ferguson says it’s too expensive and too timely to get the new addition to the existing license. She insists the city shouldn’t be so stringent on entrepreneurs who are working through the rough times.

    “It’s just become laughable and I’m pulling my hair out,” Ferguson added.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) supports small businesses and says red tape is the number one gripe.

    “When small businesses have to deal with silly regulations and the city enforces stringently in a ‘down economy’ it makes customers and in turn employees suffer,” Amber Ruddy with CFIB said.

    Regular customers – who adore the place – said they’re frustrated a honest business is being treated like this.

    Zelda Brennan goes to the Red Bush almost every day.

    “We should all be supporting local business make it simple for them. It’s ridiculous really to put someone like that through the hoops.”

    Ferguson said she’d be happy just to be breaking even and wonders if she can beat City Hall.

    “I’m a lover not a fighter and I think this is going to one of those ‘for lease’ buildings. I think the outcome is not good.”

Labour Day sees calls for more action from province over economic downturn

Written on January 24, 2019 at 20:57, by

Robert Parker has been out of work for more than a year. It’s tough enough on the Edmonton man, but even harder because he has nine children and thereby, nine mouths to feed.

“Stressful. [I] got lots of resumes out but haven’t [had] any calls,” he said.

Parker was a welder in the oilfields when he was laid off. He said he has sent out more than 100 resumes across Canada but hasn’t had any luck.

“We need work. I don’t want to be another statistic.”

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Parker was just one of hundreds who lined up at the 27th annual Edmonton and District Labour Council Barbecue on Labour Day.

President Bruce Fafard said organizers started the event early this year because of the lineup. He said increased attendance at the barbecue may be the result of the downturn in the province’s economy.

READ MORE: 91% spike in Alberta EI claims since 2015; economist warns of defaults

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment numbers are at their highest in Alberta since September 1994 – 8.6 per cent in July, a 0.7 percentage point increase from June.

From July 2015 to July 2016, the province lost 103,000 full-time jobs and while EI claims are down from previous months, the number of beneficiaries is essentially unchanged at 77,000 in June. Year over year, the total number of beneficiaries in the province is up 48 per cent.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire presents silver lining for Alberta contractors

One man named Carl, who did not want his last name used, said he has been looking for work for more than a year.

Carl was laid off from his construction job and he adds he believes it was because of the drop in the price of oil.

“It’s been tough. It’s been very tough,” he said.

“Instead of [the province saying] ‘We have a plan to do it, we have a plan to help’…those plans take a long time. We want something immediate.”

However, Fafard said the provincial government is on the right track when it comes to the economy.

“The provincial government has been doing a good job of moving forward, like with the budget and investing in Alberta and into communities, infrastructure projects and not by cutting services,” he said.

Premier Rachel Notley said she understands people are hurting and the province is doing what it can to help them.

However, she touts how the province is maintaining civil service jobs and investing in a capital program to create 10,000 jobs a year.

“When you make capital available for diversification and for business to develop additional jobs – that takes a while. On the other side of it, we’re also dealing with job losses at the same time we’re injecting jobs into the economy,” she said.

Stampeders down Eskimos 45-24 in Labour Day Classic

Written on December 24, 2018 at 12:43, by

The Calgary Stampeders extended their unbeaten streak to nine in a row with a 45-24 win over the Edmonton Eskimos in Monday’s Labour Day game.

The Stampeders (8-1-1) haven’t lost a game since their season-opener against the B.C. Lions. A three-game winning streak ended for the Eskimos (5-5).

The Stampeders have won seven of the last eight Labour Day games against Edmonton, including five in a row.

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    Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell compiled 380 passing yards to join Edmonton counterpart Mike Reilly with over 3,000 passing yards this season.

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    Mitchell improved to 36-7-1 as a CFL starter and 17-3 at McMahon Stadium. He threw touchdown passes to Anthony Parker and Bakari Grant in front of an announced 31,440 for an afternoon kickoff.

    Jerome Messam rumbled for a pair of rushing touchdowns late in the fourth quarter and Roy Finch returned a punt to score for the Stampeders.

    Rene Paredes booted field goals from 21, 33 and 24 to get to 31 successful attempts in a row. The Calgary kicker is pursuing his own record of 39 consecutive set over the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

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    Reilly ran 19 yards to score with just over three minutes remaining in the game and threw a touchdown pass to Derel Walker.

    Kenny Ladler ran an interception back for an Edmonton touchdown. Reilly totalled 217 passing yards.

    Messam scored rushing touchdowns of 47 and nine yards in the final six minutes and has at least one in each of his last five games.

    Jamar Wall picked off a Reilly pass intended for Adarius Bowman in the end zone in the first minute of the quarter.

    Mitchell faked a hand-off to Messam before throwing to a wide-open Grant for a 21-yard score and a 30-17 lead at 11:34 of the third quarter.

    Little went right for the visitors until late in the first half, when Reilly connected with Walker for a 36-yard pass and Ladler ran an interception back 65 yards in the final three minutes.

    Shaw added an 84-yard punt single to pull the Esks within a converted touchdown, but Calgary led 24-17 at the half.

    Reilly was sacked on back-to-back plays during Edmonton’s opening drive and intercepted by Wall again in the second quarter. The Eskimos lost a coach’s challenge and thus a timeout in the first quarter.

    Shaw’s short punt gave Calgary the ball on Edmonton’s 52-yard line. The Stampeders capitalized with their first offensive touchdown of the game.

    Calgary’s Finch recovered his own fumble on a punt return and ran for an 85-yard score to end the opening quarter. Mitchell was stopped running for an attempted two-point convert, but his team led 18-0 after the first quarter.

    With Eskimos defensive end Odell Willis on his heels, Mitchell got a 17-yard touchdown pass away to a sliding Parker in the end zone at 13:35.

    The hosts converted a two-point convert on Mitchell’s subsequent three-yard toss to Grant. Calgary immediately picked up another single point on a 93-yard kickoff by Paredes.