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Alberta justice minister warns Edmonton and Calgary not to comply with calls to ‘defund the police’


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“As minister of municipal affairs, (Madu) was very keen on scrubbing down our budgets,” Iveson said. “Now, as minister of justice, to suggest that we should not be looking at our largest cost centre — which is policing — seems a bit ironic to me.”

Iveson’s office did not respond to emailed follow-up questions about Madu’s specific comments by press time.

Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee-Madu: “An adequately funded police service is essential to ensure that all citizens are able to live safe and secure lives in our communities.” Photo by David Bloom/Postmedia/File

On Thursday, Calgary city council met with the police commission and Calgary police management about the state of policing in the city; the day before, the Calgary Police Service released a document detailing its commitment to anti-racism and equality.

The force argued there needed to be new policing models and would favour reallocating some funding — amounts are not specified — to other community agencies.

“We are in agreement with the community that better models of systems integration involving health, social services, justice, and policing could produce better outcomes and reduce demand on police,” the report reads.

In Edmonton, council voted in June to remove $11 million from the 2021 police budget of around $389 million and approved 20 proposals to reform policing in the city.

In his letter, Madu argues “an adequately funded police service is essential to ensure that all citizens are able to live safe and secure lives in our communities.”

“This is particularly true of racialized members of our communities, including Indigenous Albertans, who are often overrepresented as victims of crime,” he writes.



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Calgary company providing trailers throughout North America during COVID-19 crisis – Calgary


A Calgary company says it has received more than 100 requests over the past two weeks to set up field hospitals, quarantine accommodations, testing centres and other temporary structures needed for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been getting requests from all jurisdictions in Canada as well as the U.S.,” said Black Diamond Group CEO Trevor Haynes.

One of Black Diamond’s main lines of business is workforce housing in remote locations for natural gas, pipeline, forestry, mining and other industries. It also provides modular trailers that can be used in a variety of ways, such as temporary classrooms or offices.

The offerings have been well-suited for the current crisis and have kept the company busy at a time when other businesses, particularly those in the energy sector, have slowed.

Of the roughly 100 requests it’s received, Black Diamond has been able to move on almost half so far.

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It already has all of the trailers and equipment on hand, which it rents out on a monthly basis.

One typical single-wide trailer unit costs a few hundred dollars a month, not including add-ons like handwashing stations or furniture. Multiple trailers are often attached together to create bigger buildings that can sometimes be two or three storeys high.

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Haynes said it can take just a couple of days to transport and set up basic trailers outside a hospital or health care centre for COVID-19 testing or screening, helping to avoid crowding inside.

“It’s just a matter of relocating them to that site and then getting them connected together and powered up.”


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In the past Black Diamond has put together temporary medical facilities on U.S. military bases while existing hospitals were being refurbished.

READ MORE: SHA to prepare field hospitals in Saskatoon, Regina for coronavirus patients

Now, the company is able to set up such a similar medical building surrounded by temporary living quarters for doctors and nurses as well as quarantine accommodations for patients.

“You can essentially create a field hospital based on the various components that we have in our fleet of assets,” said Haynes.

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A set-up like that would take about seven to 10 days to put together and accommodate 500 to 1,000 people.

Most requests for COVID-19-specific uses are from public health authorities, but Black Diamond has also been talking to U.S. prisons and military installations.

Private companies that provide essential services, such as power, are also asking for temporary buildings to allow for more physical distancing in break rooms, Haynes added.

Black Diamond has experience providing temporary structures to relief workers after natural disasters, including a 1,600-person camp in a northern California community that was ravaged by wildfire in 2018.

“It’s a different reason why the facilities are needed, but the exercise and the use of the asset is very similar,” Haynes said.

“The challenges are continuing to have our crews go out in the field and conduct work. We’ve got to make sure we keep them safe.”


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The company has the means to provide temporary homeless shelters, but Haynes said existing buildings like empty hotels and convention centres would likely work better.

Black Diamond’s core workforce has remained steady during the COVID-19 crisis, and it can always bring on extra contractors as needed.

“It’s exciting to have a way that we can help,” said Haynes. “I think our team is really engaged and working hard to be of assistance wherever they can.”

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© 2020 The Canadian Press







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Cancun flight bound for Calgary flight diverted to Memphis after smoke reported on board


CALGARY —
A  737 bound for Calgary from Cancun was diverted to Memphis early Tuesday evening, where it landed safely.

Sunwing flight WG596 declared a Mayday for smoke in the aircraft, which was possibly from a passenger’s personal item, which was extinguished prior to landing.

According to a tweet by a passenger on the flight, the cause of the smoke was someone vaping on the plane.

The flight landed safely in Memphis and taxied to the gate.

The flight departed Cancun at 4:51 Cancun time and was scheduled to arrive in Calgary at 7:45.

There was no word on when it would resume the flight to Calgary.

This is a developing story…



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Calgary visits Detroit after Backlund’s 2-goal game – Calgary



Calgary Flames (31-25-6, fourth in the Pacific Division) vs. Detroit Red Wings (15-44-4, eighth in the Atlantic Division)

Detroit; Sunday, 7 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: The Detroit Red Wings host Calgary after Mikael Backlund scored two goals in the Flames’ 4-3 loss to the Bruins.

The Red Wings are 10-18-2 on their home ice. Detroit is last in the league averaging just 5.5 points per game. Anthony Mantha leads them with 30 total points.

The Flames have gone 17-13-2 away from home. Calgary has given up 32 power-play goals, killing 82.1% of opponent chances.

In their last meeting on Oct. 17, Calgary won 5-1.



TOP PERFORMERS: Cody Goloubef leads the Red Wings with a minuszero in zero games played this season. Mantha has totalled 6 points over the last 10 games for Detroit.

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Derek Ryan leads the Flames with a plus-nine in 60 games played this season. Johnny Gaudreau has collected nine assists over the last 10 games for Calgary.

LAST 10 GAMES: Flames: 4-6-0, averaging four goals, 6.3 assists, 3.9 penalties and 13.4 penalty minutes while allowing 3.8 goals per game with a .885 save percentage.

Red Wings: 3-7-0, averaging 1.6 goals, 2.6 assists, 3.7 penalties and 7.7 penalty minutes while giving up 2.9 goals per game with a .913 save percentage.

INJURIES: Red Wings: None listed.

Flames: Derek Ryan: day to day (illness).

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.




© 2020 The Canadian Press








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Calgary students battle Islamophobia during Islam Awareness Week – Calgary


Students at Mount Royal University in Calgary are fighting Islamophobia by educating themselves and others about Islam.

It’s all part of United Islam Awareness Week, an event that runs from Jan. 20 to 24 and is designed to dispel Islamophobia.

The Muslim Student Affiliations, an on-campus group for Islamic students, is marking UIAW by hosting a speaker series featuring scholars with real-life experiences dealing with racism.


READ MORE:
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Dilly Hussain, the deputy editor of Muslim news website 5 Pillars, was the first speaker of MRU’s weeklong series.

Hussain said he has seen a rise in Islamophobia in Europe and the United States, and hopes more people start having tough conversations about religious differences.

“If there is a growing sentiment among non-Muslims in the Western world that Muslims believe in x, y and z or they find certain rituals or beliefs problematic or in contradiction with secular liberal values, then we need to have that conversation,” said Hussain.

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READ MORE:
How one website became the voice for millennial Muslim women

He said his presentation on Monday night focused on Muslims becoming more vocal, especially during tenuous political times.

“The situation isn’t getting any better,” Hussain said. “So the best thing to do is not to become shelled inside. You actually need to be out there and engaged.”

Lectures on combating Islamophobia run through the week at MRU’s Jenkins Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Upcoming topics include “Quran Burning Doubt” and “Is Jihad Lit.”




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.







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Mississauga murder suspect has criminal history in Calgary


The man accused of killing a Mississauga man in October was due to appear in a Calgary courtroom two weeks after the deadly shooting.

Brandon Horatio Drakes-Simon, 24, was arrested by Peel Regional Police Dec. 6 in connection with the Oct. 22 shooting death of Mario Ibrahim outside of a Webb Dr. condo in Mississauga.

On Monday, members of the Calgary Police Service arrested 24-year-old Melnee Christian in connection with Ibrahim’s death, charging her also with first-degree murder.


Brandon Drakes-Simon, 24 of Mississauga, is charged with first-degree murder.

She was escorted on a commercial flight from Calgary to Toronto Pearson Airport in handcuffs by Peel police Tuesday evening.

Drakes-Simon, who has appeared on Calgary’s ‘most wanted’ lists from as far back as May. 14, 2015, was due to appear in Calgary court Nov 5. for robbery and failure to appear on recognizance charges.

Those proceedings were stayed.

Sources also tell the Sun Drakes-Simon had active warrants issued against him at the time of his arrest.

Two days prior to his Oct. 22 murder, Ibrahim narrowly escaped an attempt on his life when a dark-coloured SUV pulled up beside him on the eastbound lanes of the 401 near Hwy. 427 and opened fire.

Police are also working on linking Ibrahim’s murder with an earlier robbery and shooting at a Mississauga strip club.

Thirty-eight-year-old Jason Williams faces robbery and gun charges in connection with that crime, and a Canada-wide warrant was issued for 34-year-old Justin Malcolm of Brampton, who police describe as “armed and dangerous.”

The investigation continues.



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‘We are hiring big time’: Calgary tech companies join forces to attract job seekers – Calgary


A Calgary-based group of tech companies held a hiring fair downtown on Saturday to help get the word out that the technology sector needs skilled workers.

Jason Moore was working as a geologist in Calgary for the past eight years until September when he was laid off.

“I left on good terms. They treated me very fairly but it was more just a side effect of what all of Alberta is going through at this time,” Moore said.


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Moore is one of the hundreds of people who attended the first Tech West Collective hiring expo on Saturday. He now considers himself lucky. Moore is learning the world of coding and discovering a passion he never knew he had.

“I think one of the great things about coding is you get to build stuff, and you get to see if it works right away. It’s like the mouse pushing the button and you get the pellet,” Moore said with a laugh.

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READ MORE:
Online tool launched to help oil and gas workers find jobs in Calgary’s tech sector

The Tech West Collective is a group of Calgary tech companies that have teamed up to help fill vacant positions.

“We are feeling a talent gap. Now we want to build up the talent pool,” said Tech West Collective organizer Kat Lesperance.

Lesperance works at Showpass, a Calgary-based tech company that provides ticketing solutions for event organizers. Showpass and Avanti Software are two of the seven members of the collective.

“We are hiring big time,” said David Owen Cord, Avanti Software co-CEO.

He said the company is looking for people of all backgrounds — not just tech-related positions.

“It’s been interesting because of the negative headlines here in Calgary and the layoffs that are going on but we are having a very different reality in the business we live in every day. One of our biggest challenges is actually filling the open spots that we are trying to hire for,” Owen Cord said.

Part of the problem is a lack of people with tech skills.

EvolveU is a non-profit educational institution that is helping job hunters transform their careers to adapt to the rapidly changing digital economy.

“There’s so much opportunity right now that people don’t even know about. That’s exciting for me and it’s exciting to watch the students go through the transformation,” said Jen Morrison, program manager with EvolveU, at the job fair on Saturday.

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READ MORE:
Calgary working to attract tech talent

Members of the Tech West Collective said it’s time for tech companies to stop poaching talent from each other and get the word out that Calgary’s economy goes beyond oil and gas. Those transitioning from the energy industry said the job hunt in the tech world is more encouraging.

“There [are] more jobs than would be for my old profession. It’s not that they’re handing them out, but there definitely does seem to be more excitement and more opportunity and a desire for more people to enter this industry,” Moore said, adding that he’s taking courses at EvolveU.

According to Calgary Economic Development, the city has over 2,000 open tech jobs.




© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.







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Calgary Flames continue to investigate allegations of racist comments by head coach Bill Peters


CALGARY — The Calgary Flames are continuing to investigate allegations head coach Bill Peters made racist comments directed at former player Akim Aliu.

Aliu, who played seven games for the Flames in 2012 and 2013, made the allegation over social media on Monday, saying Peters hurled racial slurs at him while he played for the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League during his rookie year.

While he didn’t mention Peters by name, Aliu indicated that’s who he was talking about when he tweeted the following:  “Not very surprising the things we’re learning about (former Leaf coach) Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”

The IceHogs are the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted Aliu 56th overall in 2007 out of the Ontario Hockey League. Aliu played 48 games under Peters with the IceHogs, and 13 more with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

In an interview with TSN on Tuesday, the Nigerian-born Aliu elaborated on the allegations.

“He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n—– s—,’ ” Aliu told TSN, with Peters, who was then the Ice Hogs head coach, referring to Aliu’s selection of hip-hop music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing this n—–s f—— other n—–s in the ass stuff.’

“He then walked out like nothing ever happened. You could hear a pin drop in the room, everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”

Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving responded to allegations on Monday, and again on Tuesday morning.

“We hope to have this completed quickly, but it’s got to be thorough and it’s got to be done correctly, and I’m not about to comment on anything halfway through or give tidbits or give soundbites at this point other than to say the serious nature of this is not lost on us,” he said.

“We take it with extreme seriousness and until such time as I can personally talk to all parties involved, we’re not going to comment.”

Treliving said he has spoken to both Peters and Aliu.

“Until such time as I can put everything together, I’m not going to comment on any individual in terms of what they’ve said,” he said.“This needs to be handled correctly, it needs to be thorough and it needs to be deep.”

The Flames are currently on the road, having played in Pittsburgh on Monday night before travelling to Buffalo.

Treliving called the allegation, “repulsive.”

“Now it’s my job to find out exactly what’s taken place.”

At the time of the alleged incident, John McDonough was president of the Blackhawks while Stan Bowman was general manager.

Aliu added on social media: “First one to …admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonough and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL. 20 year old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his …Pro career.”

Aliu has played seven career games in the NHL, all of them with the Flames between 2011 and 2013.

The NHL issued a statement Tuesday morning.

“The behaviour that has been alleged is repugnant and unacceptable,” it read. “We will have no further comment until we have had an opportunity to look into the matter more thoroughly.”

Another player, Sean McMorrow, tweeted Tuesday that Peters was the “Worst human being ever to coach me.”

“Treated me terrible on a AHL team (IceHogs) where I won a League Award for Community Service,” he wrote in part, adding the hashtag, #badguy.

McMorrow was with the IceHogs for the 2008-09 season and played one game in the NHL, with the Buffalo Sabres, in the 2002-03 season. He has been with the Jonquiere Marquis in the LNAH since 2014-15.



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