Alberta News in Brief for May 31

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 11:14am

Province to extend state of emergency for Wood Buffalo

May 30, 2016. At the request of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the provincial legislature will be asked to extend the local state of provincial emergency 28 days until the end of June. “This will ensure that we have the tools required to complete the return, to get health services fully up and to attend to the other challenges we must deal with as we go through the resettlement and move-in process,” said Premier Rachel Notley.


Red Cross to provide more funding for those returning to Wood Buffalo

May 30, 2016. The Red Cross will be providing an additional $40 million to support wildfire evacuees as they return to Fort McMurray. “Whether you plan to return home as soon as it is declared safe by the province or whether you plan to delay your return, the Red Cross will continue to stand beside you,” said Jennifer McManus, vice-president, Alberta and Northwest Territories, Canadian Red Cross. When people return, funds will be distributed through e-transfers with $300 going to the first member of the household and $50 each for every other member. As well, Red Cross will be investing $15 million into transportation to pay for charter buses to leave Edmonton, Calgary and Lac La Biche for Fort McMurray, as well as air fare for those outside of the province to travel to the pick-up points. Alongside funding, the Red Cross will provide a full range of support including clean-up and after fire kits, hygiene kits, child friendly spaces and outreach. There are presently 1,600 trained Red Cross workers supporting evacuees. “This won’t be the end of our support to you,” said McManus. “These funds reflect the portion of the support that will be provided by the Canadian Red Cross in the next weeks to come, the months and years.” To date, the Red Cross has received just over $112 million in donations from across Canada. At this point $49.4 million of $50 million has been dispersed to evacuees in initial payments of $600 per adult and $300 per child. Premier Rachel Notley said the province will be contributing in excess of $30 million in matching funding to the Red Cross. The federal government will also be contributing in matching funding. Monday was the last day for individual donations to the Red Cross to be matched be either level of government.


Edmonton, RISE commemorate anniversary of release of TRC report

May 31, 2016. RISE Edmonton and the city will join with others across Canada on Thursday as part of a mass blanket exercise marking the one year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and 94 calls to action. The blanket exercise will take place at city hall and is one of a number of events planned for the week. Today, RISE will unveil Walk with Me in the lobby of the Boyle Street building. This interactive audio installation shares the stories of neighbours, colleagues, and friends in reconciliation. On Saturday, there will be a pop-up round dance at 2 p.m. at the Federal Building plaza on the Legislature grounds near the original site of Fort Edmonton. For a full list of events, check out


Jean says Fildebrandt can return to caucus if follows steps laid out

May 30, 2016. Wildrose Leader Brian Jean says steps have been put in place to allow MLA Derek Fildebrandt to return to the Wildrose caucus. Fildebrandt was suspended Friday after what Jean referred to as an “unacceptable comment” on social media. “Since Friday night, Derek has apologized to Albertans on this issue, and I thank him for that apology. We know that it is a mistake that he deeply regrets and we know that it in no way reflects his personal values,” said Jean in a statement. A poster on Fildebrandt’s Facebook page wrote a homophobic comment about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Fildebrandt said he didn’t read the message fully before responding with his support. Fildebrandt’s suspension also followed public criticism the Wildrose Opposition received for heckling Wynne, when she was introduced in the Legislature on Friday, and what was viewed as a “disrespectful tone” during question period, led by Fildebrandt. Opposition house leader Nathan Cooper said Friday his party shouldn’t have raised the questions with Wynne present as a guest. Jean did not release the steps that caucus had outlined in order for Fildebrandt’s suspension to be lifted.