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UCP moves to cut vehicle insurance costs

But NDP leader Rachel Notley said the entire provincial system should be nationalized like in BC.

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The UCP is introducing new vehicle insurance regulations it says will give Alberta drivers faced with skyrocketing rates a break.

But NDP leader Rachel Notley said the entire provincial system should be nationalized like in BC.

“Alberta’s government is proposing changes that will contain costs and stabilize premiums in the auto insurance system, while increasing medical benefits to support Albertans injured in collisions. Other changes include cutting red tape and bringing efficiencies to the system to give Alberta drivers more options and flexibility,” the government said in a Thursday release.

Finance Minsiter Travis Toews said: ““Both drivers and insurers have been paying the consequences of the previous government’s ill-thought-out rate cap that left many Alberta drivers without reasonable insurance options. These actions will start to ease cost pressures and stabilize premiums for Alberta drivers.”

The UCP said the new measures will increase insurance affordability by controlling cost pressures, including putting more minor injuries under the compensation cap for pain and suffering damages, and using a floating rate for interest accumulated on pain and suffering damages.

They said there will be an increase in medical benefits to support Albertans injured in traffic accidents with access to more health professionals and inflation-adjusted benefits to deal with the after-effects of collisions.

They claim Bill 41 will create more consumer choice by enabling insurance companies to offer more insurance options such as pay-per-kilometre.

Bill 41 will also modernize and improve Alberta’s insurance system by cutting red tape in the auto insurance system and allowing direct compensation for property damage to allow not-at-fault drivers to work directly with their own insurers for vehicle repairs after collisions, the UCP said.

Alberta currently pays the third-highest insurance rates behind only BC and Quebec.

“Albertans should expect to see a break from steep increases to their premiums, or any potential savings in the coming months,” the government release said.

Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western Region, Insurance Bureau of Canada said: “We believe that auto insurance is all about balance and we are hopeful that these changes strike that right balance so that auto insurance is affordable and accident victims get the care they need. We think Bill 41 is a step in the right direction as it focuses on affordability and ensuring accident victims get the care they need to recover from car accidents.”

Meanwhile, Notley said the best thing the government can do is nationalize the auto insurance industry – much like the ICBC system in B.C. where residents pay the highest rates in the country.

ICBC also loses about $1 billion a year despite having a monopoly.

“When the insurance companies say (they) can’t possibly afford to provide insurance, ‘We’re going to leave the province,’ well, that sounds like it’s opening up a market for somebody else to provide something that would be less expensive and ensure that profits remain inside the province,” said Notley to the Globe and Mail.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

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Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox

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The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Legal fund for arrested restaurant owner Skelly hits $150,000

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

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Legal funds raised for a Toronto-area man arrested after he refused to close his BBQ joint have already topped $150,000.

A crowd of supporters chanted “Shame” as police took Adam Skelly, 33, away on Thursday afternoon.

Skelly being arrested

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

GoFundMe campaign online boasts at least 3,200 people donating over $150,000 for the owner of Adamson Barbecue

More than 10 police cars as many as 18 officers came to the restaurant after a Wednesday raid saw them change the locks and bolt it shut.

Before being arrested, Skelly vowed to remain open.

“The break-in of #adamsonbarbecue by Toronto Police and the city is tyrannical. They CANNOT silence us!” he tweeted Thursday.

He also issued a call for a locksmith to come and help him get into his place in Etobicoke.

“This isn’t just about #adamsonbarbecue. it’s about all small businesses and their livelihoods. spread the word and let’s get back to work. thank you. #IStandWithAdam” he tweeted.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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