A lot of us are glad to see 2016 go. Aside from the rampant and unending barrage of celebrity deaths, there are some other things going on as well. Here is a collection of our top picks.
This terrible example of the justice system at work is more drawn out than a ‘Freebird’ solo. Lyle and Marie McCann disappeared in 2010 and Travis Vader has currently been charged with manslaughter and is being sentenced. No doubt his case will be studied as a ‘how not to solve a murder’ case for future generations.
We hope the McCann family can finally start healing from this terrible ordeal.
Ol’ Iron Foot is alive and kicking in the heart of downtown Edmonton. The Ice District is ramping up, the concerts and games are filling the seats, and the city has embraced its new attraction. Positivity about Rogers Place is on the rise.
Also on the rise is meth use in the area, parking prices, and the city’s hopes of an Oilers’ playoff.
Racism and ignorance
Racism and ignorance have always been a part of human culture, but recently the ignorant among us seem increasingly emboldened.
In one particular happening, local actor and producer Jesse Lipscombe was verbally assaulted during a video shoot, catching the whole ordeal on film.
Using the situation to start a city wide conversation, Lipscombe created the #makeitawkward campaign.
Let’s hope the good outsmarts the bad from here on in.
There was a rash of deaths this year that all to point towards opioid overdoses. Fentolyn, a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent (with carfentanil being more potent than that), has led to some police carrying a naloxone kit, an antidote to fentolyn. About 200 deaths were linked to fentolyn in Alberta over the first half of 2016. Fifteen overdose deaths have been linked to carfentanil in Alberta, 14 of them occurred between September and the end of November.
In January, Education Minister David Eggen announced that gender-diverse students and teachers are able to choose which school bathrooms they want to use, as well as the names, pronouns and clothing that represent their gender identity.
That information sent out in a guide to help Alberta’s 61 school boards revise regulations and hash out new policies.
Brian Coldwell, chair of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society and representative of two schools who are rejecting the guide, stated that Alberta Education doesn’t have the ‘dictatorial power’ to enforce their ‘gay activist’ agenda.
This story is not anywhere near over.
Fort McMurray wild fires
On May 1, 2016, a wildfire known as ‘the beast’ began southwest of Fort McMurray and by May 3, it hit the city destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings. It forced the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta history. The fire spread across roughly 590,000 hectares, reaching into Saskatchewan. On July 5, the wildfire was declared to be under control and is now considered the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
During this horrible time, Albertans dug deep and helped each other out.
From getting horses safely to Edmonton, to Syrian refugees donating money and hygiene items, to those who drove water and gas amongst the traffic stuffed Highway 63 evacuation route, true humanity prevailed.
MLA Sandra Jansen
Sandra Jansen, the MLA for Calgary North-West, had a busy year. Starting out as the PC representative of the aforementioned riding, Jansen decided to throw her hat into the leadership race on Oct. 12. Then, during the PC annual general meeting, things turned sour for Jansen. On Nov. 8, she withdrew her candidacy. “I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend,” she said in a letter to her supporters. “Insults were scrawled on my nomination forms. Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”
Nine days later she crossed the floor to join Rachel Notley’s ruling NDP government.
In November, the federal government approved the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline, the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline replacement, and denied the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.
In doing so, the world of Alberta politics was spun on its head. This NDP government did something that the Progressive Conservatives couldn’t do—even with another Conservative government in power in Ottawa. This lead anti-Notley denizens to search for something else to complain about because, as it seems, they are so used to griping that they just can’t stop.