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Conference in Red Deer to discuss national unity vs. separation

Meeting the challenge of national unity is the focus of discussion during a two-day event in Red Deer this weekend.

The 7th annual Essentials of Freedom Conference will be held at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel and Conference Centre on Friday and Saturday (Nov. 15-16)

Danny Hozack, chair of the Economic Education Association, says the event aims to facilitate an intelligent discussion about policy matters important to voters in Alberta and across Canada.

“Our belief is that sound policy should be based on sound economics and sound science,” explains Hozack.

“We’ve been trying to hold conferences where we talk about the sound science, the sound economics that lead to good public policy formation. We had one on meeting the climate change challenge, one on meeting the challenges of debt and deficit, and of course this one – we’re talking about meeting the challenges of western separation or meeting the unity challenge depending on what side of the fence you’re looking at it from.”

Hozack says there will be three groups of speakers at their Red Deer event.

“We have one group that are making the case for separation. They’re saying why they think Albertans would be better off if they had a separate country.

“There are going to be some people defending federalism, saying not that any of us don’t love the country, but they’re going to be saying we love the country, we realize it needs to be fixed, and these are the things we can do to fix it.”

Hozack says the third group will talk about universal challenges and forging a strong relationship with our neighbours.

“Meaning America, First Nations, the other provinces,” adds Hozack. “Whether you’re one country or whether you’re two, you have to get along with America, you have to get along with the First Nations, you have to get along with your neighbours. We’re going to have a broad group of people with a lot of different perspectives, and we’re hoping to talk about it with both sides in the room.”

One speaker of note that Hozack points out is Patrick Moore – an original founder of Greenpeace.

“His message is that a few focused people can literally change the course of history,” Hozack explains. “And I think that’s our message to the 300 and some people that are going to be there. By being involved, by being active, by calmly going out and taking your views to your neighbours, you literally can change the course of history and so that’s what we’re hoping to do, is we’re hoping to make a positive impact on our province and our country’s future.”

For more information or to register, visit www.freedomtalk.ca.

Crash on Taylor Drive leads to minor injuries

Only minor injuries were reported following a two-vehicle crash this morning on Taylor Drive in north Red Deer.

Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Karyn Kay says a Kia car rear-ended a Dodge pickup truck while both were travelling northbound, south of 67 Street near the G.H. Dawe Community Centre.

The car caught fire as a result and crews attended to the scene to extinguish it.

Kay says neither of the drivers involved was taken to hospital.

An investigation into the collision is underway but Kay says alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as factors.

Traffic is expected to return to normal shortly.

Red Deer RCMP bike bait project catches crooks

Multiple people were arrested and/or charged after the Red Deer RCMP Downtown Patrol Unit conducted their first Bait Bike Project over a two-day period in September.

During the operation, members strategically situated a bike in a high visibility area. Members then conducted surveillance on the target bike, and when a theft of the target bike occurred, surveillance teams moved in and apprehend those responsible.

Hilary Gouda, 26, of Red Deer, Jordan Pearle ,25, of Airdrie and Joseph Decock 43 of Red Deer were arrested, and are facing a total of 11 Criminal Code charges, including, theft Under $5,000, mischief under $5,000, and possession of break and enter tools.

Three other individuals were charged under City of Red Deer Bylaws.

“Other communities have had success with bait bikes, so we decided to try it for Red Deer as a tool for reducing bike theft,” said Cpl. Dwayne Hanusich, head of the Red Deer RCMP Downtown Patrol Unit. “We are happy with the results of this first operation.”

For more information on crime prevention strategies visit reddeer.ca/rcmp.

UCP top advisor billed taxpayers $45,000 for lavish trips London: NDP

For the second time in as many weeks, the UCP Government is being accused of mismanaging taxpayer dollars.

The NDP Opposition released documents on Wednesday showing that David Knight Legg, a principle advisor to Premier Jason Kenney, billed Albertans for over $45,000 in expenses over six months, including $18,000 relating to four recent trips to London, England.

Heather Sweet, NDP critic for democracy and ethics said Knight Legg was staying in five-star hotels while overseas.

“What on Earth could this close adviser of the Premier be doing in London?” she asked. “While the Premier is hiking taxes, cutting funding for schools and hospitals, disbanding firefighting teams and throwing Albertans off the senior’s drug plan amid claims the province is broke, David Knight-Legg was living a life of luxury in London at Alberta taxpayer’s expense.”

David Knight Legg was hired on as an advisor to Kenney in May 2019, with a salary of $195,000.

The NDP is calling on the province to release a full itinerary for a full itinerary for the London meetings.

“Otherwise Albertans have no way of knowing if this former international banker was conducting his own business and making the taxpayer pick up the bill,” Sweet said.

Matt Wolf, Executive Director of Issues Management for the Premier of Alberta responded with a series of tweets.

“Under the NDP’s watch, Alberta saw tens of billions of dollars in job-creating investment flee our province,” he tweeted. “Mr. Knight-Legg’s role involves working to bring that investment back to Alberta, including meeting with companies and investors. The fact that the socialist NDP doesn’t understand that London is a global financial capital shows just how ignorant they truly are.”

Wolf added, “Mr. Knight-Legg is an experienced, highly-credentialed professional, with excellent global connections. We are fortunate that he is now working for the people of Alberta.”

There was widespread criticism last week towards Kenney for spending $16,000 of taxpayers’ money on private flights for himself, several other conservative premiers and their wives from a photo-op in Calgary to a meeting in Saskatoon.

“The premier must apologize for the ongoing pattern of entitlement and frivolous spending of Albertans’ tax dollars in his office,” Sweet implored.

(With file from NDP media release)

Innisfail mayor and councilors opt for no pay raise

There will be no pay increase for councilors with the Town of Innisfail.

On Tuesday, councillors approved a recommendation from the Council Remuneration Review Committee that their remuneration and benefits remain unchanged for 2020 and 2021.

Heather Whymark, Director of Corporate Services says this means council honorariums will not be increased, nor a COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) taken.

“Probably not surprised being the budget that came out from the Province, as well as going forward economically,” says Whymark. “I wasn’t surprised that the Committee did present to council no increase. I was however, a little surprised that they went with no COLA.”

Whymark notes, though, it’s always council’s choice to accept the Committee’s recommendation or to change it.

“They felt that at this point in time, that COLA was not required either,” adds Whymark. “So of course going forward with the budget, we honour the resolution that was passed.”

Whymark feels the message to the community is that council is well aware of the current economic climate.

“That taxpayers are having to adjust their spending and their lifestyle to accommodate with the provincial budget that came down and that council is aware of that same situation in this budget,” she explains. “So it is awareness going out to the community that they are aware of the changes that have come down from the Province, and that we’re trying to be fiscally responsible here as well.”

Tuesday’s resolution means the mayor and councilors will receive base monthly honorariums of $2700 and $1300, respectively, along with per diems of $105 for half-day meetings and $210 for full-day meetings.

Members of council are also eligible to participate in Extended Health Care, Dental Care and Healthy Initiative benefits, with premiums paid for by the Town of Innisfail.

Lacombe County writes off $600,000 in oil and gas property taxes

Lacombe County writes off $600,000 in oil and gas property taxes

Lacombe County has been hit hard in the pocketbook by Alberta’s struggling and gas industry.

Last week, county council voted to cancel $599,842.35 in unpaid taxes related to oil and gas wells, pipelines and other facilities.

Of that amount, $504,014 will be funded from the county’s “Allowance for Uncollectable Taxes” account. The remaining $95,828 will be funded from the 2019 operating budget.

“The number of oil-based bankruptcies encountered by the County over the past 12 months has slowed as companies have shed a number of unproductive and costly wells,” read a report to council for their Nov. 7 meeting.

“The natural gas industry is also going through a prolonged period of low commodity prices. Even with the Province’s Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative, the County may see further consolidation in this industry,” the report adds.

Approximately, $94,000 of the cancelled property taxes involves companies already insolvent. The County says it continues to work with the receivership and bankruptcy processes to collect additional payments towards these balances.

The balances (shown below) for the cancelled property taxes do not reflect the amounts cancelled as part of the Province’s Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative.

Last December, Lacombe County wrote off $374,000 in oil and gas property taxes dating back to 2016.

Conference in Red Deer to discuss national unity vs. separation 1(Source: Lacombe County)

Also at their meeting on Thursday, council denied a funding request from Central Alberta Synergy, a group which meets on a regular basis to provide a link between oil and gas companies and rural residents.

The group says on its Facebook page that is was formed in fall of 2018 in response to increased oil and gas activity in central Alberta.

Central Alberta Synergy had been seeking $1000 in one-time funding along with further support under the county’s annual budget process. They will be making similar funding requests to other local municipalities.

Agri-Trade 2019 a success: Organizers

Event organizers of this year’s Agri-Trade Equipment Exposition are pleased with what they say was a successful outcome of the event.

Nearly 475 exhibits utilized almost every square inch of the available indoor space and over 130,000 square feet of outdoor exhibits at Westerner Park from Nov. 6-8.

Organizers say attendance was strong this year with 29,952 qualified attendees.

“Despite the challenging harvest this year, the show was an overall success,” says Dave Fiddler, Show Manager. “Agri-Trade’s important relationship with the agriculture industry continues to grow and its relevance to the many sectors within the industry also continues to increase on an annual basis.”

Fiddler says the show’s success can be attributed to a number of factors. The introduction of many new products from exhibitors, and a balance of business and entertainment, provided something for everyone.

Agri-Trade launched a new format for the Ag Innovations program this year, with $25,000 up for grabs. New innovations applied early in the year and the top five came to present their innovations in a pitch style presentation before a panel of judges and attendees on November 7th. We are pleased to announce the Farmers’ Choice Award for $5,000 was won by Farmbucks and the Grand Prize of the 2019 Ag Innovation Award for $20,000 went to SIWI Combi Hitch.

“Millions of dollars in business transactions take place during the Show or following the show,” says Fiddler. “Each year Agri-Trade contributes more than $275 million in economic impact on the equipment sector and tourism.”

Fiddler notes part of the show’s success is also because it’s the first show of the new planting season and producers come to the show to view new products and services, with a goal to make purchases.

Agri-Trade attracts attendees primarily from throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia. This year we also hosted over 60 international visitors from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Polland, South Africa, Switzerland and the US.

The partnership of Agri-Trade began in 1984 and is a joint venture of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park.

(Media release)

Star runners named RDC Athletes of the Week

A pair of cross country runners who turned in solid performances last weekend at CCAA nationals in Grande Prairie have been honoured as the latest RDC Athletics Bedford Food Company Athletes of the Week:

Shayla Sklaruk- Queens Cross Country Running
Hometown – Stony Plain, AB
Bachelor of Education Elementary (2nd year)

Sklaruk (26:50.53) had a strong race In snowy and cold weather conditions in leading the RDC Queens to a fourth place team finish, narrowly missing bronze.

Sklaruk completed the 6 km race in 11th spot in a deep and talented field of the top collegiate female runners across Canada.

Devin Saunders – Kings Cross Country Running
Hometown – Red Deer, AB
Business Administration General Management (2nd year)

Saunders (29:33.32) ran incredibly well at nationals and led the Kings to bronze, which was the first national medal for the RDC men.

The second-year competitor from Red Deer placed tenth over 8 km and earned a spot on the CCAA Men’s Cross Country Running All-Canadian team.

“The White Buffalo” burger raises over $1,500 for Alzheimer Society

“The White Buffalo” burger raises over $1,500 for Alzheimer Society

The creative juices were flowing (and dripping from one beard in particular) for our October Burger of the Month, “The White Buffalo!”

It was inspired by the indie band and our guest chef Peter Michaels love of music! The long time 106.7 THE DRIVE host was all in to help give back to a local cause near and dear to his heart.

Peter helped dream up this tribute burger which included a bison patty, pork belly, smoked white cheddar, Snake Lake Varsity Hall bbq sauce, Blindman Brewing Triphammer drunken onions, tomato, mixed greens and chipotle aioli with sliced jalapeo garnish on a pretzel bun!

Conference in Red Deer to discuss national unity vs. separation 2

$2 from every burger sold went directly to his charity of choice, Alzheimer Society Alberta and Northwest Territories, which provides education and support for families living with dementia.

Thanks to the INCREDIBLE support of our Burger of the Month program, Peter handed over a cheque for $1588!

Peter’s Dad was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His family has reached out to the society’s Red Deer office and thanks to their help and information about the disease and local programs, he says they’re feeling much more confident they can handle everything that comes their way.

More than 45,800 people in Alberta have been diagnosed with dementia. The local Alzheimer Society office provides educational programs and support groups to over 1,000 clients in the Central Alberta region.

November’s Burger of the Month is “Lake Life”, created in collaboration with local guest Chef Sean McIntyre, the Mayor of Sylvan Lake. It includes The Ranch Gate Market grass fed beef patty, smoked cheddar, crispy onions, 2 strips of bacon, basil aioli, and a drizzle of hot sauce on a brioche bun with one hot wing and one salt + pepper wing on top!

$2 from every burger sold will go directly towards Sean’s charity of choice, Sylvan Lake & Area Community Partners Association.

(Cilantro and Chive)

City to share road closure costs for downtown events

In a bid to encourage more positive uses of the downtown area, Red Deer City Council has passed a resolution to have the city share 50 per cent of the costs associated with road closures related to special event permits.

This is contingent on approval during the operating budget review in January 2020, the city says in a release.

Under the new resolution, the maximum amount of the fee waived for a single event is $2,500. Fee waivers will be allocated on a first come, first served basis up to an accumulated total of $27,000. The funding would be available in 2020 and carried into 2021, if funds remain.

Until now, event organizers have had to pay the entirety of costs associated with downtown road closures.

“This decision is in line with The City’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan’s objective of Red Deer being an economic leader and hub with a revitalized downtown,” said Erin Stuart, Inspections and Licensing Manager, “Local events and festivals play an important role in achieving this objective and enhancing the vibrancy and quality of life within Red Deer and encouraging citizen engagement.”

The city says the cost-sharing resolution will promote and sustain events in the downtown core and enhance relationships among businesses, social agencies, residents and the general public.

Following 2021, this program will be evaluated to determine future recommendations.

According to a report to council, The City of Red Deer in an average year receives approximately 300 permit requests with approximately 15 to 20 of them requiring road closures. In 2018, the costs associated with event road closures was approximately $27,000 which was recovered from the event organizers. Road closure costs for individual events ranged between $250 to $5,600.

(With file from City of Red Deer media release)