Impaired Edmonton school bus driver arrested with children aboard
A school bus driver has been arrested today just southwest of Edmonton. According to the RCMP the woman was impaired before driving students home Monday afternoon.
School staff at Graminia School noticed the safety concern and notified RCMP who arrived at the school where the arrest took place. It was 3:11 p.m. and the students were on the bus just prior to its scheduled departure while the driver was arrested.
Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect headline that claimed Jill Scheyk was a librarian. She was actually a library trustee.
A former board member of the Edmonton Public Library claims that the library CEO asked her to resign after she requested that the CEO apologize for posting a “transphobic” article to her Twitter acount. On Monday, Jill Scheyk gave the library her letter of resignation, according to CBC News.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton Public Library told The Post Millennial the CEO was not involved in the library board’s decision.
The Library CEO, Pilar Martinez, posted an opinion article that was published by the National Post to her Twitter account in October 2019. The article supported a librarian from the Toronto Public Library named Vickery Bowles.
Bowles defended free speech when guest speaker Meghan Murphy was set to speak at the library. Meghan Murphy is the founder of a website called Feminist Current.
Many people in the LGBTQ community wanted Murphy’s lecture to be canceled because they did not agree with her views. The library stuck with their initial decision and allowed Murphy to speak because the appearance did not go against their policy.
Murphy’s speech was held in October and hundreds of people showed up to protest the event.
When Scheyk saw the article posted on Martinez’s personal Twitter account, she emailed Martinez asking her to make an apology for the post.
“I had written an email privately to Pilar [Martinez] and the rest of the board members, you know, kind of framing this as, ‘I’m sure you didn’t intend it this way but this is actually some really transphobic language, and I think this is pretty offensive to people in the community and I think we really owe them an apology,'” Scheyk told CBC News.
She also learned about a blog post that Martinez made in support of free speech. The post was added to the Edmonton Public Library website on Nov. 1.
“Controversial or even offensive speech does not equal hate speech,” said Martinez in her post. “Censorship is a double-edged sword — while it may support your personal views today, it may be used to censor your views tomorrow.”
Scheyk, who joined the EPL board in May of 2015, disagreed with the post. She then made her own post on Twitter encouraging members of the public to engage future board meetings.
“I just kind of tweeted without really referencing the issue because I didn’t want to stir any additional reaction,” said Scheyk. “Just to say, ‘You know, if you have feelings about what we’re doing here at the library, our board meetings are open to the public.’”
The board sent a letter to Scheyk on Nov. 12 informing her that she had breached the EPL’s code of conduct. The letter noted that if Scheyk wasn’t able to meet the board’s expectations “it may be that the duty of the trustee is to resign.”
The letter also said that her behaviour “provided a catalyst for anonymous and extremely disrespectful input towards our CEO and EPL in general.”
“Your email to the CEO and copied to the board on Oct. 31, 2019, encouraging an apology from our CEO to particular community members was without awareness or input from the board.”
Scheyk later made the decision to hand her resignation into the library.
The chair of the library’s board of trustees, Fern Snart stated in an email that the board would not be making specific comments on the situation because Scheyk’s resignation is an internal matter.
“I can assure you that the EPL board of trustees is focused on acting in the best interest of Edmontonians and the library, and we welcome diverse views and healthy debate around the board table–in fact, it is what makes EPL great.”
On Tuesday, Scheyk said, “It was good to finally be able to voice my concerns out loud. You’re under a gag order as a trustee or employee. I actually feel like I have more impact now than I could have as a trustee.”
According to Dalhousie University’s website, Khadr will be speaking at an event titled Children’s Rights Upfront: Preventing the Recruitment and Use of Children in Violence in February, 2020.
The event will be hosted by the CBC’s Nahlah Ayed and will feature others who served as child soldiers, notably Ishmael Beah, now Sierra Leonian activist.
Khadr, who is well known for his victory in Canadian court for winning over $10 million dollars for human rights abuses, has been on somewhat of a media tour in recent months. After purchasing an Edmonton-area strip mall, Khadr appeared on CBC’s Tout Le Monde En Parle, a French-language TV show which gave him a hero’s welcome.
The event will also feature remarks from Dr. Shelly Whitman and author and Canadian hero Hon. Roméo Dallaire, who is well known for his work in Rwanda during the nation’s genocide.
“The event coincides with the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers Red Hand Day on February 12. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Dallaire Initiative’s partnership with Dalhousie University,” the event description reads.
In 2019, a judge ruled that Khadr’s war crimes had expired. He was then relieved of bail conditions. This allowed him to obtain a Canadian passport.
A liquor store in Edmonton is testing out a new security program to combat a string of thefts over the past 18 months. Under the proposed new security system, customers will have to scan their ID before they can enter the premises according to a recent article in CBC.
Alcanna, Canada’s biggest private retailer of alcohol is launching a pilot project in partnership with Edmonton police. The project will be tested at Ace Liquor, located at 11708 34th St. in northeast Edmonton. Alcanna stated the intent of the project is to deal with “the epidemic of liquor store robberies that has plagued the city,” a problem that has escalated rapidly in the past year and a half.
“In 2019, EPS officers responded to almost 9,600 calls of theft of liquor — about 26 calls per day across the city,” Const. Robin Wilson said in the release. An increase of 200 percent since 2018.
“It’s not just people taking advantage of something that is easy, it’s somebody preying on people as well,” he said.
Dale McFee, Chief of Edmonton police told CBC News that investigators often find that some of the thefts are gang-related and that it presents a huge problem for the city.
“Ultimately, the way we are right now and the amount of officer time and different things that are going on in this space, it’s not working. So it’s time to try a few things.”
The new scan system requires patrons to scan their identification before the door will unlock and allow entry into the store. This practice has already been used by bars and nightclubs in Edmonton for years.
The Alcanna pilot project has been positively received by many including Const. Wilson who commended the company for “taking proactive steps to increase the safety of both their employees and the general public,”
Joe Cook is the vice-president of Alcanna which in addition to Ace Liquor, also owns the Liquor Depot, Wine and Beyond and Nova Cannabis brands. “Just as was done with pre-pay and pay at the pump for gas stations, we are hoping Patronscan creates a safer shopping experience,” said Cook in a news release. “This is not shoplifting,” he said. “It is robbery with real or threatened violence.”
Edmontonians won’t have to worry about their privacy rights as the customer ID information will not be kept in the devices but stored in Patronscan’s data centre with restricted access, according to a press release from Alcanna.
Jon Dziadyk is the Ward 3 Councillor for Edmonton.
No one moves to Edmonton for the weather, and we used to have record unemployment. We now have a substantial homeless population and that tells me that many currently experiencing extreme hardship were once bundled up, cozy, in an Edmonton home. Times have changed. Likely, in years past, they were productive members of society: sleeping in their own bed and working in the morning. Various government policies, economic cycles, bad luck, bad choices, addictions and/or mental illness may have led to their downfall. A government needs to be compassionate and utilize common sense: enter the municipal response to those shivering on the streets during our latest deep freeze. I am disappointed in what is happening in light of what could happen. The goal of any homelessness policy should be to rehabilitate with dignity. The solutions should be practical, modern, and not complicated.
Last year I successfully advocated that our LRT stations should be open during our coldest nights to much opposition. This year, despite my efforts, as a City Councillor, our homeless are out of luck.
Picture this: a public, heated, safe building sitting empty during a dark winter night has its doorway occupied by a homeless person aiming to capture a scrap of heat escaping from the mailslot. That is essentially what can be seen outside of a LRT station in Edmonton, and across the country. Our train stations close nightly and yet they are heated and designed to accommodate large volumes of people.
There are many problems with this picture, but there are two which I would like to address. The first is that there is nothing stopping this unused public space from being open overnight to allow our most vulnerable to sleep with a shed of dignity. The second problem is that—here in Edmonton—our dedicated homeless shelters are actually not full, even during the most severe winter storms. Why then are there homeless people in the doorways? What are our shelters doing wrong? If we cannot meet their basic needs, how will we rehabilitate them into society at large?
Let’s face it, governments everywhere fail at being efficient and adaptive. If a private entity had empty space that could be used for something else, you bet their bottom dollar they would find a use for it. Our LRT stations are closed for several hours every night and are not being used for what could be a lifesaving service. Sleeping outside in our winter city can be fatal at 5 below, let alone in negative 30 temperatures.
In 2009, Edmonton put forward a plan to end homelessness. Given that we are having this conversation regarding our homeless population a decade on, we have not succeeded. At what point do we reevaluate our efforts? We can alleviate the suffering of those experiencing homelessness by opening our warm public doors for a few hours until a permanent and sensitive solution is found.
I view the opening of our unused LRT stations during the night as a Band-Aid for the deeper problem. The real issue is why are our services for the most vulnerable being left largely unused? Are the services not being utilized because those who need them are not aware they exist? Can they not access them? Is the lack of co-ed sleeping quarters deterring them? In this woke era of safe injection site acceptance, are the conduct policies at shelters too strict? We need answers to these questions to find out why we have exterior doorways occupied and beds empty. For whatever reason, segments of the homeless population will not go into our homeless shelters. So it’s incumbent upon the city to modernize our services.
In rebuff to the LRT proposal, and in response to concerns raised about our homeless predicament, the City will now be opening a portion of a recreation centre just outside of the downtown core during extreme cold spells. This checks the dignity box but misses the point.
Their opposition to the LRT station use is that transit staff are not trained to deal with the homeless population and, when it was tried before, there were a few fist fights and spills of bodily fluid. I would counter and say that, obviously, transit staff should not be involved and that the referenced problems will occur anywhere this population congregates. The rec center is fancy but analogous to the LRT station except that it is not located where the homeless population actually is. Whatever arguments are used against the train station could be the same ones used against the rec centre idea. I fear that the homeless will not travel to the supposedly well thought out alternative.
As a City Councillor I sometimes fear that we look for complicated solutions versus utilization of the obvious assets. We justify spending more money because we want to congratulate ourselves on the solutions and the process of how we got to those solutions. Something as simple as hiring security to open the LRT gate is just a little too uneventful.
To the readers from the rest of Canada, many of our homeless are former energy workers. The Alberta economy is hurting and meaningful employment is the key to the recovery. Government policies that have hurt our industries have been the start of the problem. Let’s not have local paternalistic government policies perpetuate the problem or it will become a crisis.