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Report from the legislature

Report from the legislature thumbnail

Carl Benito, MLA

Edmonton Mill Woods

Government sets new guidelines for Taser use

The Alberta government has developed new guidelines on the use of Tasers for all police agencies in Alberta.

The new guidelines require police agencies to have a Taser coordinator, set requirements for ongoing testing, and establish a use of force reporting system for Tasers which will be monitored by Solicitor General and Public Security. The new guidelines apply to all police services in Alberta.

Police services will be responsible for ongoing annual testing of Tasers and must test all new Tasers before putting them into service. Tasers that do not meet manufacturer specifications are destroyed or returned to the manufacturer for repair. Any repaired Taser must be independently tested before going back into service.

Community Organizations Reach Out to End Homelessness

Community organizations that serve the homeless are changing lives, one person at a time. This year, the Government of Alberta will support their efforts with $32 million in provincial funding for vital outreach supports and services.

Outreach supports and services may include intensive medical, psychiatric and case management services including life skills training, landlord liaison assistance and addictions counselling.  This year, Alberta will provide permanent housing with outreach supports and services aimed at ending homelessness for 1,000 chronically homeless individuals.

Under Alberta’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, funding is provided to local community-based organizations, which work with community partners to deliver services necessary to meet the unique needs of the homeless. Funding is allocated based on factors such as population and shelter space usage in the community.

Calgary Homeless Foundation: $13.8 million
City of Red Deer: $1.1 million
Lethbridge Social Housing in Action: $800,000
Medicine Hat Community Housing Agency: $780,000
Edmonton Homeward Trust: $9.8 million
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo: $950,000
City of Grande Prairie: $800,000

The remaining $4 million will be retained by Housing and Urban Affairs to help meet emergent needs in the province.

The funding is an important step in the implementation of Alberta’s groundbreaking 10-year plan to end homelessness. The plan adopts a “housing first” model – providing long-term housing followed by the health and social supports homeless people need to resolve underlying issues.

In addition to the $32 million for supports, the province is providing $100 million in capital funding to help create 700 permanent housing units for homeless Albertans.  Alberta municipalities, as well as non-profit organizations and industry, can apply for provincial capital funding for housing projects under the Housing for the Homeless 2009/10 Request for Proposals.

For more information on this year’s RFP, please visit www.housing.alberta.ca.

Sheriffs nab 2,388 unsafe drivers over August long weekend

Members of the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol spent the August long weekend cracking down on unsafe drivers. Between Friday, July 31 and Monday, August 3, Sheriffs laid 2,388 charges across the province, including:

  • 1,818 speeding violations;
  • 64 seatbelt infractions;
  • 26 child restraint infractions;
  • 27 Gaming and Liquor Act violations;
  • 22 failing to stop at a stop sign infractions;
  • 77 other hazardous violations (e.g. careless driving, stunting); and
  • 354 non-hazardous violations (e.g. no insurance, suspended drivers).

Sheriffs also arrested 19 people for outstanding arrest warrants and helped remove 14 suspected impaired drivers from the road.

Sheriffs are currently working with RCMP traffic services on integrated traffic enforcement pilot projects in Whitecourt, Wetaskiwin, Olds and Airdrie. Sheriffs and RCMP laid 452 charges in those four areas including:

  • 296 speeding violations; and
  • 156 other Traffic Safety Act and Gaming and Liquor Act violations.

During the month of August, road safety partners are focusing their safety message on impaired driving. On average, approximately 7,700 people are convicted of impaired driving in Alberta each year. Warmer weather months (July to September) experience the highest number of casualty collisions involving alcohol. Statistically, August has the most alcohol-related deaths and injuries.

Albertans are encouraged to let the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol know about traffic enforcement concerns such as speeders or aggressive drivers on our highways. Concerns can be shared online at www.sheriffs.alberta.ca (click on the traffic service request form) or by calling toll-free 1-866-922-3389.

Celebrate the heritage spirit by becoming Ukrainian for a day

Celebrate what it means to be Ukrainian at Ukrainian Day on Sunday, August 9 at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village.

Co-hosted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council, Ukrainian Day includes an exciting concert featuring world-renowned bandurist Charlie Sakuma, Stephania Romaniuk, Troyanda Ukrainian Dancers from Grande Prairie, Zorepad and more.

The day starts with a pancake breakfast, followed by the ‘Taste of Ukraine’ food fair. Other activities include divine liturgies, memorial services, centenary celebrations, a village market, historic village, Kozak games, children’s activities and a petting zoo. Be sure to take in the colourful exhibits and hands-on workshops co-ordinated by the Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for youth (7 to 17) and $20 for families. For free admission, show your current Experience Alberta’s History Pass or Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society membership card. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for seating.

The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is located 25 minutes east of Edmonton on Highway 16.  Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day) and weekends Labour Day to Thanksgiving Day. For more information, visit www.ukrainianvillage.ca or call 780-662-3640 (dial 310-0000 for toll-free access within Alberta).

As the MLA for Edmonton Mill Woods, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Tasers, the plan to end homelessness, highway safety, Ukrainian Day, or any other matter, I can be reached in my constituency office at (#218, 4128A – 97 Street) at (780) 414-1000, or in my Legislative office at (780) 422-9299. I can also be reached through e-mail at edmonton.millwoods@assembly.ab.ca









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