By Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press - Friday, May 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
SASKATOON – He was one of the most recognizable residents in Saskatoon and some…
SASKATOON – He was one of the most recognizable residents in Saskatoon and some people consider the Prairie city a little different now that he’s gone.
Alvin Cote wasn’t a well-known politician, businessman or hockey player, but a ragged, homeless alcoholic whose tough talk would easily melt into a hearty chuckle and a big smile short on teeth.
He spent that past couple of decades living in Saskatoon. He could be seen curled up on floor of a bank foyer, sleeping on park benches or reading worn copies of National Geographic in the drunk tank.
He died April 19, a few days shy of his 60th birthday.
Saskatoon police officers are still talking about his death, even though they considered it an inevitable fate. It’s believed Cote had been arrested more times for public drunkenness than anyone else in the city’s history. Some officers put the tally at close to 1,000.
Although his obituary does not list an official cause of death, police say Cote was in hospital with pneumonia when he died. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM - 0 Comments
It is my duty pursuant to section 21 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to lay upon the table a certified copy of the reports of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions for the provinces of New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. These reports are referred permanently to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, uttered these words Monday. As it happens, one of the reports he plopped down before the House touches closely upon the interests of his other (secret?) identity as Member for Regina-Qu’Appelle. The proposed riding map for Saskatchewan is by far the most controversial of the 10 now approaching finalization. It’s so controversial that one of the three commissioners appointed to draw the map refused to sign off on it, filing a minority report instead.
This is thought to be the first time that a Canadian boundaries commission has split irreconcilably in this way. It’s a nasty failure, since the whole point of a boundaries commission is to use logic to arrive at a broadly acceptable nonpartisan consensus. A conscientious government would be careful to avoid trouble of this sort from the outset, but apparently nobody saw it coming.
The problem isn’t partisanship as such. For the past few decades Saskatchewan’s federal riding map has had a unique “pie-slice” nature whereby there are no constituencies wholly within either of the two major cities. The good folks in southwest Regina, for example, have voted in the Palliser riding, alongside residents of Moose Jaw, since 1996. Voters in the northeast of the city are in the Regina-Qu’Appelle riding, mixing their votes with those of a half-dozen small towns like Indian Head and Wynyard—the latter being almost 200 kilometres away by road.
This arrangement was originally tolerated on the premise that in Saskatchewan there are no meaningful differences of culture or interest between the city and the country. All are one under the sign of the wheat sheaf. This seems to have become a perverse point of provincial pride, much like the lack of a sales tax in Alberta; the boundary commissioners were told often at public hearings that there is no such thing as “urban Saskatchewan” for political purposes. Two of the panelists dismissed this argument, snortingly, and created five new all-urban ridings, three in Saskatoon and two in Regina. The third member of the commission, David Marit, feels so strongly about the truth of the argument that he is willing to jeopardize the whole mapmaking exercise by refusing to sign a unanimous report.
What the people making this argument really mean, naturally, is that the “pie-slice” system has allowed rural Saskatchewan and the satellite cities to dominate or at least counterbalance Regina and Saskatoon in federal elections. Dissenter Marit is the president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities; I suppose he would have us believe he wants the big cities to remain divided for some other purpose than “divide and conquer.” But, of course, anybody who followed the 2011 election knows how the rural tail ends up wagging the urban dog under the existing system. The New Democrats picked up 32.3% of the vote provincewide, but this translated to zero seats in Parliament; the Liberals, with 8.6%, recaptured Ralph Goodale’s Wascana seat quite comfortably.
I took a look at the poll-by-poll results from the election, counting only the Regina and Saskatoon votes within the mixed ridings. These totals exclude advance and mobile polls.
As you can see, within the major cities the New Democrats are very competitive indeed with the Conservatives. (Though it’s also worth noting, lest any myths of extreme injustice and skulduggery flourish, that the Conservatives do seem to have “won” both metropolises.) Palliser MP Ray Boughen, a former mayor of Moose Jaw, would have gotten his clock cleaned if not for the Moose Javian votes. Farmer Nettie Wiebe, the NDP candidate in Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, won a majority in the city and got beaten narrowly (for the third time in a row) on the strength of rural votes. And, sure enough, Speaker Scheer got fewer votes within Regina than the NDP’s Fred Clipsham.
It remains to be seen how well Thomas Mulcair’s “Western strategy” will ultimately work out, but in essence the Conservatives will start the 2015 campaign a couple seats down in Saskatchewan by virtue of the new electoral map alone. That is assuming the Conservatives in the Procedure Committee don’t use David Marit’s dissent as a pretext to go after the new map with a fat blue pencil. Vigilance is urged.
By Jason Kirby and Erica Alini - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM - 0 Comments
This interactive graphic is best viewed in Firefox, Safari or Chrome. Click here for instructions.
The commodity boom is rewriting the list of the “haves” and “have-nots” in Canada. Unlike in the U.S., where the highest per capita incomes tend to be found in and around the biggest metropolitan centres, Toronto is nowhere near the top of Canada’s rank of wealthiest urban areas, while Montreal and Vancouver don’t even make the cut. Small and mid-sized cities are clearly winning the day.
The biggest dots on our map are, of course, in Alberta, with tiny Fort McMurray, right next to the Athabasca oil sands, topping the charts. It may not legally be a “city”—the former fur-trading post was granted the title in 1980 only to lose it 15 years later—but it sure shows all the symptoms of a boomtown. A single family home in the community of 61,000—where daylight lasts as little as seven hours in the dead of winter—cost upwards of $750,000 on average in November. That’s even more than in downtown Toronto, where the going price last month was around $740,000.
One needn’t look much further east to find more stories of vertiginous growth, happy realtors and chronic labour shortages. Welcome to Saskatchewan, the only province planning to run a budget surplus this fiscal year. The resource boom that started a decade ago is now prominently on display in Regina and Saskatoon, which boast, respectively, the lowest unemployment and highest population growth rates of any metropolitan area in Canada.
The title of hottest real estate market in 2013 will likely belong to St. John’s, however. RE/MAX sees home prices in the Nfld. capital climbing six per cent next year, faster than anywhere else and bucking the trend in Vancouver and Toronto, where the optimists are now predicting a soft landing rather than a crash. Sure, St. John’s still has a way to go to reach the top of our chart but the city is already neck-and-neck with Calgary and Edmonton in terms of employment growth. If the current trend holds up, who knows, St. John’s could soon leave Toronto in the dust.
MAP: Hover over the dots on the map to view more information about cities and per capita income and to see the tool bar in the upper right-hand corner. You can also zoom-in by double-clicking on the map. To grab and move the map, press SHIFT and click. Click on the “home” symbol to restore the original settings.
BAR CHART: Click on the symbol next to “Per capita income,” below the chart, to rearrange it from the lowest to the highest per capita income. Click again to order it alphabetically.
Use the “Province” tool bar on the right to view select provinces on both the map and the bar chart.
*Calculations: Jason Kirby. Visualization and text: Erica Alini.
By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM - 0 Comments
It turns out cramming more people into cities won’t help the environment or our health, and may even hurt the economy
Last month Toronto’s deputy mayor, Doug Holyday, uttered what has become a cultural taboo in Canada’s largest city. Downtown Toronto, he said, is no place to raise a family.
Holyday, who lives down the street from his grandchildren in the suburban Toronto neighbourhood of Etobicoke, was against a city plan to force condo developers to reserve 10 per cent of their buildings for three-bedroom “family friendly” units.
“I could just see now: ‘Where’s little Ginny?’ ” he said. “She’s downstairs playing in the traffic on her way to the park.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 5:55 AM - 0 Comments
Eschew dingy bars, dark alleys, harsh words, and all jokes about Saskatchewan
Aggravated assault is as bad as it gets before the charge is attempted murder. The Criminal Code charge of aggravated assault is laid against anyone who “wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.” It’s a world of hurt that’s best avoided, so eschew dingy bars, dark alleys, harsh words, and all jokes about Saskatchewan. Yes, Saskatoon and Regina top the list, while Edmonton is right behind. In fact, seven of the 10 worst cities for aggravated assault are in Manitoba or points west. Not that we’re picking a fight or anything.
Worst cities (% higher than national average)
Kamloops, B.C. (156%)
Best cities* (% lower than national average)
Châteauguay, Que. (100%
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. (100%)
Montcalm MRC, Que. (100%)
Caledon, Ont. (100%)
South Simcoe, Ont. (100%)
*38 cities reported zero aggravated assaults in 2010
By Kate Lunau - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:50 AM - 1 Comment
In Saskatoon’s inner city, the health bus delivers medical treatment straight to the hood
At home and in her job, Jodi Spence has to deal with other people’s health problems—major and minor—on a nearly daily basis. She’s the mother of four kids, all under eight, one of whom has a heart rhythm disorder. She’s also director of a daycare centre located inside a Saskatoon high school that watches over the babies of adolescent moms while they’re in class. So, whether it’s a baby’s rash, a teen who needs birth control, or her daughter requiring a medication refill for her heart condition, “I probably [go for medical attention] once a week,” says Spence, 32. Instead of visiting an overcrowded emergency room or her family doctor, who’s often booked solid for the day, Spence goes to the Health Bus—Saskatoon’s walk-in clinic on wheels.
A retrofitted 1976 RV that launched in 2008, the Saskatoon Health Bus parks at different spots around Saskatoon’s inner-city neighbourhoods—outside a Giant Tiger store, the Safeway or a Shell station, for example—seven days a week, year round, seeing an average of 12 to 14 clients a day. A nurse practitioner and paramedic are on the bus, offering medical attention to anyone who stops by, whether they have a health card with them or not. Known as the “Magic Bus,” it’s been so successful that, on Nov. 24, the rickety old RV will be replaced with a new model.
The Health Bus was created as a way to reach out to Saskatoon’s Aboriginal population, newcomers, children, the elderly and others who might not have regular access to a doctor, says Sheila Achilles, director of primary health and chronic disease management at Saskatoon Regional Health, which oversees the program. “There are family physicians in the area, but people aren’t going to see them,” Achilles says. And unlike patients who visit a series of walk-in clinics and emergency rooms, those who come back to the Health Bus get some continuity of care. “People who visit feel very safe,” Achilles says, and because it’s mobile, it can reach different people in different parts of the city.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 1:42 PM - 4 Comments
Paris of the Prairies leads the pack, followed by Vancouver and Regina
International migration has led to a population boom in Saskatchewan. According to data from Statistics Canada, Saskatoon is the fastest-growing city in Canada, with a population growth rate of 27.7 per 1,000 people between 2009 and 2010. Vancouver and Regina tied for the next spots, each with growth rates of 22.3 per 1,000 people. Nearly half of the population growth in Saskatchewan was fueled by new Canadians, Statistics Canada says. The data shows Saskatoon has overtaken the international appeal of larger cities such as Hamilton and Quebec City.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM - 0 Comments
If you or your town would like to host a large stadium, arena or field suitable for hosting professional sports activities, but don’t have the money to build one yourself, federal government operators are standing by to hear your request.
“In terms of financing major sports facilities, there are demands here, there are demands in Quebec City, I am aware of demands elsewhere,” Harper told reporters Thursday in Saskatoon … ”In terms of financing these things going forward, we’re going to have to respect the precedents we have had in the past and be sure any treatment we’re prepared to make to one city we’re prepared to make to all,” said Harper.
By Claire Ward - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM - 3 Comments
Community involvement soars in the prairie city
The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie may have been on to something when he famously referred to Saskatoon as the “Paris of the Prairies.” In 2010, Saskatoon emerged as a leading centre of culture and learning, ranking second overall in the Canadian Council on Learning’s Composite Learning Index, beating Ottawa and Calgary, and finishing well ahead of Toronto. Behind that ranking are some surprising revelations about Saskatoon, which topped the list as the most socially engaged, and is one of the most literate cities in Canada.
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 5 Comments
Knife-related crimes are on the rise in urban areas
In Saskatoon, says police Chief Clive Weighill, “knives, swords and machetes are the weapons of choice.” In the ﬁrst 10 months of 2009, Saskatoon police documented 299 knife-related incidents. Though that number is down from previous years, Weighill says the proliferation of such weapons in urban settings is increasing. So he wants to give police across the province the power to conﬁscate knives.
The Criminal Code prohibits carrying concealed weapons, or weapons dangerous to the public peace, but a knife worn in the open can only be seized if police have reason to believe it has been—or will be—used in a crime. Weighill is pushing for what he calls “proactive” legislation, which would provide “non-criminal intervention”—the weapons would be conﬁscated but no charges would be laid. But the proposal is troubling many. “Knives are everywhere. We use them at work. We use them in our cars,” says Glen Luther, a law professor at the University of Saskatoon. “How can you ban knives without coming to grips with the fact that they’re used lawfully by people from all walks of life?”
According to Luther, the kind of legislation being proposed by Weighill would be highly subjective in its application. It suggests, he says, that “police can tell the difference between someone who is up to no good, and who [isn’t].” And he fears that giving police “a massive amount of discretion to decide when they’re going to enforce the law” could lead to racial proﬁling—a claim Weighill dismisses as “absolutely ridiculous.” Says Weighill: “The increase we’ve seen involving street weapons crosses all cultures and ethnic groups.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 8, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 19 Comments
At the prorogation protest on Parliament Hill a couple weeks back, someone held a sign that read “I Can Haz Democracy?” Now this.
The Saskatoon chapter of Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament organized another protest Friday to greet a visiting Conservative Party politician. Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped in Saskatoon and the group brought out about 75 people to protest Harper’s presence and policy…
Security paced the hotel’s entrance, and four Saskatoon police officers arrived to disperse the members of the crowd because they were blocking the doors of a business. “Accountability fail,” one protester yelled when the protesters got back to their corner across the street.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM - 208 Comments
With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 21, 2009 at 2:45 PM - 25 Comments
The Ottawa Citizen compares and contrasts.
There is a strong argument to be made that Omar Khadr was a child soldier, which makes this government’s treatment of him all the more egregious. The Conservatives have made a few half-hearted attempts to explain why they won’t accept his child-soldier status; most of the time, they’ve simply ignored the question, as if it weren’t important.
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Burmese man in Saskatoon, Nay Myo Hein, was about to be deported this month when he got the news that two cabinet ministers had intervened to save him. Granting a stay of deportation and a residency permit was the right thing to do. But it raises the question: How can Canada be so compassionate to one former child soldier, and so indifferent to another? Canada shouldn’t merely reach out to help its citizens when the courts decide it has a legal duty, or when there are rallies in the streets. It should follow a consistent, transparent policy.
Fair enough. Unfortunately, the Citizen overlooks the important fact that Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, possesses the power to determine who qualifies as a child soldier simply by looking the suspect in the eye.
By Andrew Coyne - Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Get all the numbers behind our exclusive survey. And see where your city ranks.
The Maclean’s survey of Canada’s Best and Worst Run Cities, published in our July 27th issue, misstated the residential tax burden for the city of Longueuil, Quebec. The original figure, as compiled for Maclean’s by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, put the average tax burden per residence at $666. The city of Longueuil has now revealed its own estimate is $1241 per residence. The published figure was calculated using only those taxes directly assessed by the City of Longueuil and failed to include the taxes paid by city residents to cover services provided to the entire Longueuil Urban Agglomeration (of which the city forms a part).
The adjustment means Longueuil’s grade for taxation efficiency falls from an A+ to a C+, or from 1st to 14th among the municipal governments surveyed. Accordingly, it drops from fifth place to seventh in the overall rankings.
Maclean’s regrets the error.
This survey, the first of its kind in Canada, provides citizens in 31 cities across the country with comparative data on how well—or poorly—their city is run, measured by the cost and quality of the public services it delivers. (Why 31? We took the 30 largest cities in Canada, added whatever provincial capitals were not on the list, then subtracted a few cities from the Greater Toronto Area for better regional balance. Somehow that left 31.)
Though the overall results—Burnaby, Saskatoon and Surrey, B.C. lead the pack; Charlottetown, Kingston, Ont., and Fredericton trail—will be of particular interest, they are less important than the process this is intended to kick off. We aim not merely to start some good barroom arguments, but to help voters to hold their representatives to better account, and indeed to help city governments themselves. For without some sort of yardstick to measure their performance, either against other cities or against their own past record, how can they hope to know whether they are succeeding?
To compile the survey, Maclean’s commissioned the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, expanding on the institute’s earlier work measuring the performance of municipalities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Unlike other studies, this does not try to measure quality of life, or which city is the “best place to live.” Rather, it focuses on the contribution of local governments to this end.
This survey looks at a city’s efficiency—the cost of producing results—and the effectiveness of its services, including how well each city does when it comes to things like maintaining roads and parks, picking up garbage and putting out fires. Click below to see how the numbers break down. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 30, 2009 at 3:16 AM - 14 Comments
The thief who nabbed my bag will have found a copy of Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale, and Cdn poet David Manicom’s Theology of Swallows.
I hope my thief reads them. (Wagers on the chances of that?). Both are moving works in part about redemption.
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM - 9 Comments
Restructuring of police force has put 32 more cops on the street
The Problem: Data from 2007, which is the most current available from Statistics Canada, puts Saskatoon’s rate of aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents at 341 per cent above the national average. That’s an increase over 2006, when the rate was 204 per cent above the national average, putting Saskatoon in second place behind Regina.
What’s being done to deal with it: Aggravated assaults are a particular area of focus for the Saskatoon police, says Alyson Edwards, the department’s public affairs manager . What makes dealing with this type of crime tough, says Edwards, is that it often “occurs between people who know each other,” and can involve substance abuse, making it “very difficult to prevent.” But she says a complete restructuring of the police force, implemented in June 2007, has “increased our presence and our visibility overall,” and significantly reduced the number of every category of violent crime. The new plan divided the city into three distinct districts, allowing police to identify problem areas and redeploy officers accordingly; a change that has resulted in 32 more cops on the streets. At the same time, police implemented a computerized analysis system to compile daily crime statistics. “Often times,” says Edwards, “[the police] stop trends before they begin.”
By Rachel Mendleson - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM - 2 Comments
City’s robbery rate is 266 per cent above the national average
The problem: Saskatoon, which has a population of 206,000, had the highest robbery rate in the country in both 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the city’s robbery rate per 100,000 residents increased slightly over 2006, to 266 per cent above the national average from 243 per cent. Winnipeg was a close second in both 2006 and 2007, with a robbery rate 221 and 234 per cent above the national average respectively.
What’s being done to deal with it: Most often, says Saskatoon police public affairs officer Alyson Edwards, the robberies constitute random street thefts; items like hats and iPods are nicked from unsuspecting pedestrians. Under the new restructuring plan, implemented in June 2007, the police divided the city into three distinct districts, and assigned an inspector to field concerns from the neighbourhood residents. Crime statistics are now analyzed daily and presented at a monthly meeting, during which inspectors are held accountable. Currently, 40 per cent of resources are dedicated to the central district, where most violent crimes occur. Almost immediately, says Edwards, “we were beginning to see results.” In 2008, she says, the number of robberies was down 31 per cent over 2007. Says Edwards, “We’ve made some really great strides here.”
By kadyomalley - Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 1:29 PM - 85 Comments
Speaking with reporters following a campaign event in Saskatoon earlier today, Stephen Harper was asked, in English, about his government’s decision to cut funding for the arts:
[...]You know, I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the tv and see a gala of a bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala, all subsidized by the taxpayers, claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough when they know the subsidies have actually gone up, I’m not sure that’s something that resonates with ordinary people. Ordinary people understand we have to live within a budget. We have increased culture. We haven’t increased anybody’s budget without limit, so we’re not going to do this. I think this is a niche issue for some, but that’s my view [...]
Which, moments later, produced the following question, asked (and answered) in French: