“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.
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.
The City of Edmonton has announced Joe Zatylny as the city’s new fire chief.
Zatylny is currently a deputy chief with the Calgary Fire Department.
“With more than 25 years of emergency service experience, including over 10 years in senior fire leadership roles, we are fortunate and excited to have Joe lead Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and continue its legacy of exceptional work,” interim city manager Adam Laughlin said in a media release Tuesday morning.
Zatylny’s appointment comes after former chief of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Ken Block announced his resignation in December.
Block was Edmonton’s fire chief for 10 years before announcing he was heading to Australia to become the first fire commissioner of soon-to-be established Fire Rescue Victoria in Victoria, Australia.
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Edmonton fire chief talks about what to expect when he heads to Australia
During his time with the Calgary Fire Department, Zatylny led the fire training academy, critical medical response support, technical teams support, 911 service management and hazardous materials response support.
He also focused much of his work on training sustainability, fostering a culture of empowerment and enhancing firefighter health and wellness, the City of Edmonton’s media release read.
“Building on the strengths of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, incoming chief Zatylny has been given a clear mandate to evolve and enhance EFRS to meet the demands of a changing, growing and diverse city,” said Rob Smyth, deputy city manager of Citizen Services.
“We expect he will focus his leadership on strengthening our frontline fire rescue services, fire prevention programs and public education to make the city a safer and healthier place.”
Zatylny has a a Bachelor’s Degree from Lakeland College Canada in Applied Business of Emergency Services and an Advanced Certificate in Labour and Industrial Relations from Queen’s University. He also received a Master’s Certificate in Municipal Leadership from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
Zatylny will officially take over the role on June 1.
A number of schools east of Edmonton have partnered with a local charity to help ensure children in the area who don’t have a proper bed will get one.
On Wednesday, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) issued a news release about the initiative, which sees Bev Facey Community High School, F.R. Haythorne Junior High School and Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary work with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a charity that operates in Strathcona County.
EIPS said students at the schools had learned from the charity about sleeping conditions some families in the area are enduring and “agreed to turn their construction labs into bed-producing workshops to help the charity meet demand.”
“Each school pledged to build 60 beds, and under the guidance of their construction teachers, students of all grade levels got to cutting, routing and sanding bedframes and bundling the finished pieces for delivery,” Laura McNabb, director of communication services for EIPS, said in a news release.
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According to the school division, many students took part in assembling the beds themselves.
“Building these beds with my class made me realize how fortunate I am,” said Sarah Weidmann, a Grade 12 construction student at Bev Facey. “I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have a bed with pillows and blankets to sleep on.
“These families who are having trouble meeting their basic needs are out there and we don’t even realize it. By building these beds, I know we’re helping to make a difference for these kids.”
Students at F.R. Haythorne also planned a school dance and a “game-a-thon” to raise money to buy bedding for the initiative. EIPS said that fundraising campaign raised nearly $2,250 and was able to purchase 44 sets of bedding.
“The initiative students have shown in organizing this fundraiser is inspiring,” said Erin Clark, an assistant principal at F.R. Haythorne. “They were responsible for all of it, from the initial planning, to the organizing and running of the events.
“We’re so proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.”