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Harm reduction for hot rods
Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot wants to legalize street racing, clashing with his views on drug use
In 2011, a harm-reduction program created by Alberta Health Services to provide people who smoke crack with clean paraphernalia and reduce the risks of spreading disease, came under criticism from a certain right-wing city councillor.
The idea of the program, similar to handing out needles to people who use intravenous drugs, is that these activities are going to take place regardless, therefore health authorities have an obligation to ensure they are done in the safest way possible.
“To me it just seems illogical that, somehow, a provincial agency would be promoting, in essence, illegal activity,” said Coun. Andre Chabot at the time.
In other words, the law is the law and authorities shouldn’t make it easier to break it, even if doing so would save lives.
Fast forward to December 2021 and Chabot is singing a very different tune when it comes to illegal street-racing, putting forward a notice of motion to create spaces in the city’s industrial areas where young hotshots can put the pedal to the metal in relative safety.
The Ward 10 councillor is advocating a policy of harm reduction, just not for the city’s most vulnerable populations.
His notice of motion was defeated in committee this week, but the reasoning behind it is nonetheless revealing of the Chabot’s warped worldview.
Chabot said he was “speaking to some of the young folks” who “have no venue” to race their cars after the closure of Calgary’s race track in 2011.
“What they’re doing is they’re using residential streets and so it’s a danger to the people in these communities and I was looking at what options are there other than, you know, the private sector creating a race track,” he said.
From the Calgary Herald:
The notice of motion says many Calgarians who have altered their vehicles do not have a legal outlet to test their cars, leading them to race illegally. A possible solution, the notice says, could be creating a facility through temporary road closures in an industrial area with supervision from police, EMS and fire teams.
These racers could wait until the completion of the racetrack in Carstairs — located about 40 minutes outside Calgary, depending on how fast one drives — in the new year, or they could simply get a real hobby and not race at all.
As former city councillor Druh Farrell pointed out on Twitter, this motion to promote the frivolous burning of fossil fuels came not even a month after council voted to declare a climate emergency, which unsurprisingly Chabot voted against.
But Chabot didn’t vote against the climate motion just because he thought it was overly ambitious — he isn’t even sure there’s a problem, citing “different presentations” he’s heard about the cause of rising temperatures.
So while the planet is burning to a crisp and people who use drugs are dying in record numbers, this bozo wants to bend the rules for illegal street-racers.
In other news …
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced Monday that the new K-6 guidelines for social studies, French immersion and francophone language arts, science, and fine arts will be delayed, and a new advisory group will be formed to give the government recommendations by spring.
"I, at this point, don't think any amount of finishing touches is going to make this a workable document for students and for teachers," said Taylor Schroeter, moderator of the Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft Facebook group.
The English language arts, math, and physical education and wellness curriculum will still go ahead in September 2022, despite concerns about its content.
It remains to be seen what involvement notorious anti-Indigenous bigot Chris Champion will have this time around.
In the name of “providing and ensuring safe and caring school environments,” the Sam Livingston School in southeast Calgary sent a letter home to parents on Friday, urging the importance of “stopping conversations about who has and who has not” been vaccinated.
“Kids can treat each other unfairly based on a host of topics. Censoring conversations about vaccines in a pandemic is not the way to deal with it,” said concerned parent Steve Pieroway.
By Monday, that verbiage was changed from “stopping conversations” to having “respectful and caring conversations around the choice to be vaccinated.”
There won’t be any candidates defending Premier Jason Kenney in the yet-to-be-scheduled by-election after Jean won the nomination with a commanding 68% of the vote.
Jean has made no secret of his desire to replace Kenney, who defeated him in the UCP leadership race to 2017 in a vote marred by allegations of fraud that have been under RCMP investigation for nearly three years.
The vote in favour of the deal reached between the Alberta Union of Public Employees, which represents 95,000 workers across the province, and the provincial government was 91% in favour, although turnout was a paltry 46%.
The agreement, which will last until March 31, 2024, includes job security for full-time staff until the end of December 2022, a 1.25% salary increase for those who still have their jobs in January 2023 and an additional 1.5 - 2% increase in September of that year, while those working in the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence response force get an 8% increase retroactive to April 1, 2021.
Edited by Ximena González
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