The COVID pandemic has been a challenge for everyone.
But it has been especially trying for senior citizens who are more vulnerable to becoming deathly ill from the disease.
So it’s good to know there’s an organization in Edmonton that’s tailored to helping seniors who need it the most during these pandemic times.
Drive Happiness supports seniors in our riding of Edmonton Griesbach as well as throughout the city.
Our office summer intern Josh Hui and I spent some time to get to know the good work done by the organization.
Here’s our report:
With Canada Day around the corner I want to know what you love about Canada? What’s the most Canadian thing you do? And what’s your best story about when you were proudest to be Canadian?
Whether it’s a time you were travelling and someone helped you out because you’re Canadian or the time you welcomed your new neighbours into the community with a couple of double doubles from Timmies or maybe you love Canada for our freedom, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Please send your feedback to email@example.com I’ll share several of your responses in next weeks e-newsletter.
Our strengthened Conservative Opposition has been holding the Trudeau government to account and delivering results for all Canadians.
The city of Edmonton is offering COVID-19 support to eligible small businesses with grants of up to $5,000.
The next application intake opens on Monday, June 29 at 9 a.m.
On Monday (June 15) I spoke at the Edmonton city council public hearing on policing. I argued that no changes — especially budget cuts — should be contemplated in these highly charged emotional times.
See below for the video and text of my presentation:
A horrifying event took place on May 25. That was the day that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin arrested 46-year-old African-American George Floyd. A video surfaced that showed the officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost NINE minutes.
As we know, Mr. Floyd died. Officer Chauvin and three others involved in the arrest and death were fired. All of them now are facing charges. Any sane person who watched the video was horrified and disgusted by it, including I’m sure, every police officer in our city.
As we know, Mr. Floyd’s death sparked protests in 75 U.S. cities and around the world — including here. Sadly it also sparked civil unrest, riots, looting and the deaths of innocent people. Police officers in the United States were among the victims and that too is horrific.
Let me state the obvious. But it needs to be stated. Not one member of the Edmonton Police Service was involved in the senseless death of Mr. Floyd. I’m absolutely sure that, not one EPS officer, is anything but disgusted by it.
Yet that terrible event has stoked an unspeakable anger toward law enforcement in the United States, here and around the world. It’s taken over the headlines amid the most serious worldwide health pandemic in 100 years.
There are cries to defund the police. Dismantle the police. Scores of police officers who had nothing to do with the death of Mr. Floyd have been attacked and assaulted amid a mob mentality. Right-minded people find that despicable. I certainly do.
In the midst of this world-wide anger city council has called this public hearing to take a hard look at policing here in Edmonton. There’s a suggestion to give the police $16.3 million less in 2021 than previously approved. There’s also a suggestion THAT money should be allotted to social programs.
I’m a former city councillor and member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach. I’ve got a keen interest in this subject. My riding is one of the poorest in Alberta if not THE poorest according to household incomes. I represent many impoverished and marginalized communities.
Like every city councillor here today, I want the very best for my constituents including the best policing and best social services. And we’re lucky in my riding to have both. We’ve got beat cops who genuinely care about their communities and about building relationships.
We’ve got scores of not-for-profits either located right in our riding or providing amazing service to people in it.
There’s REACH Edmonton, ASSIST Community Services, Catholic Social Services, Homeward Trust, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, CASA Foundation…There are lots more. But I’ll run out my time naming them all.
The bottom line is my constituents are fortunate to have great service from both the EPS and the many social agencies. I also know the EPS often works in tandem with many of those agencies.
I believe one of the main duties of a politician is to listen to the people they represent. I make a point to do that by sending out regular surveys to each and every home in my riding. As well I reach out regularly on social media.
The policing issue has been a hot topic. But I’ll say that 75% of people I’ve heard from online, on the phone or via e-mail are opposed to any cuts to the police budget. In fact many people I’ve heard from want increases in the police budget and more police officers in their communities.
I’d be willing to bet many city councillors might have the same experience if you disregard the complaint letters that are form letters as part of an orchestrated campaign.
These are highly emotionally charged times. People are rightfully angry over the horrible death of Mr. Floyd. Many people are angry at all police and people in authority. So I believe this is not the time to be embarking on drastic changes to the way we do policing in the city of Edmonton.
It’s almost 30 years now to the day that an EPS officer was shot and killed when he responded to a bank robbery just north of the city’s downtown. I remember it well because I covered it as a journalist. His name was Ezio Faraone. He was just 33 years old when he was killed June 25,1990. Both of the men involved in his murder were sent to prison. Today there’s a park named for Ezio and a statue in his memory.
Imagine if HIS murder had happened just a few weeks ago. Would we be having a discussion about cutting police budgets? I think not. And nor would it be the appropriate time to be discussing the matter.
I’d suggest it’s only appropriate, we all take a deep breath.
Let’s first get over the anger we feel about Mr. Floyd’s death.
Let’s talk about this very serious issue of policing when everyone has had time to heal over that death.
We need to pause. We owe that the our citizens — and we owe that to our police officers.
Alberta Public Health can also be reached by phone at 811.
There are programs available to help you and your family.
Remember: The way the government set up CERB you need to reapply every four weeks.
I love to hear feedback from constituents and others who offer it via emails, letters and social media.
Here are a couple of recent comments:
“I watched your presentation to Edmonton city council regarding policing, and I appreciated your call for a breather, to gain a measure of emotional equilibrium and objectivity, in response to the recent horrific event in the U.S. No doubt, there will be changes over the coming season, but the need to act with prudence will always be there, as there are so many counter-balancing priorities and rights to be considered.” — Ray B.
“I would strongly lobby for bodycam’s on all officers – this would reduce false complaints and hold our EPS members accountable. How can this be achieved?” — Jim K.
“Trudeau doesn’t want to go back to work. He doesn’t want to face scrutiny, criticisms and questions he never answers. Trudeau only wants adoring, obedient minions. Trudeau is the most unqualified person to hold public office, ever.” — Andrew G.
“Thank you Mr. Diotte. I am watching the hearing live as I type these words. I agree with you. I would like to ADD that there were so many biased and questionable statements made by speakers who request the defunding/dismantling of EPS, that were not challenged by the councilors.I have e-mailed and messaged through Facebook some of the councilors who propose the cuts, asking them to provide details and clarifications on where the requests to defund the police are coming from, to be more specific, are the requests coming from Edmontonians or are they coming from international organizers of the recent protests in Edmonton. I still have not received any feedback.” — Aleksandar S.
“Totally amazing. Each of us Canadians sits down at a comfy table, with a nice meal. Hot coffee. Not so for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovig in a dirty rotten Chinese Prison. No more made in China products for me. But then – this is the nature of Communist China – no rhyme or reason. Spavor and Kovig have not had access to a lawyer or even a visit by their family. Its not allowed. What a tarnished system over there!!!! And Liberals over here continue to pander to these thugs. Such awful nonesense. Our love and prayers for these two Canadians and their families. Now tell me – what are the Conservatives in our country saying or doing about this – after all – whats next – life in a filthy prison or execution?” — John K.
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I’m always eager to hear from you. Do you have beefs? Bouquets? Suggestions?
Drop me a note at my e-mail address.
Please note our local Edmonton constituency office is currently still open to serve you but it’s by appointment only. We simply ask that you call ahead to book an appointment.
Call or e-mail us and we’ll be happy to serve you.
Thanks so much. Stay healthy!
Mail (postage free):
Kerry Diotte, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6