Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Alberta MP quits Harper’s caucus 

Brent Rathgeber, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-St. Albert, resigned from the Conservative Party caucus last night due to his concerns over the parties lack of commitment to transparency and open government, he said. Rathgeber made the announcement on his Twitter account Wednesday evening. Rathgeber and the Party disagree over aspects of his bill that would require high-ranking public servants and employees of Crown corporations to disclose their salaries. The Conservatives proposed amending his bill so that the minimum salary to demand public disclosure would be $329,000, not the $188,000 Rathgeber proposes. [Calgary Herald]

2. Dog walkers to take back the park today in Point Douglas

Winnipeg activist Chris Burrows sent out a news release announcing that neighbourhood dog walkers are coming for your drugs this afternoon when they meet to shoo away drug dealers who have reconvened at Joe Zuken Heritage Park in Winnipeg’s central Point Douglas neighbourhood. The park has been relatively dealer-free for six years after a group of Point Douglas residents walked their dogs through the park and confronted the dealers for three days straight until the until they left. However, this spring some dealers reclaimed old territory in the park and this afternoon, Burrows will storm the park with other concerned dog walkers  in the hopes of driving them away once again. [Winnipeg Free Press]

3. Calgary food truck rules to be formalized 

After two years of research, the City of Calgary is writing a formal bylaw for food trucks operating in the city. The new plan will remove the existing 43 vehicle limit and bring in a licence framework for new food trucks to join in. The proposed bylaw will call for trucks to be under 10 metres in length and will not allow customer seating in the vehicle. Food trucks must also operate no closer than 25 metres away from an open restaurant (unless they have permission from that business), only stay in one place for five hours and only two trucks can be on one block at a time under the bylaw. If approved, the bylaw will take effect on September 3.[CBC]

4. Alberta group enlists truckers across province to fight human trafficking

The provincially funded nonprofit, the Alberta Coalition on Human Trafficking, will distribute pamphlets and CDs at truck stops throughout the province this summer in the hopes that truckers will act as informants on the road for human trafficking-related activity. Reports of human trafficking across Alberta has increased dramatically over the last year, according to the group. [CBC]

5. Saskatoon Mayor aims to add HOV lanes for new bridge, encourages bus ridership 

Don Atchison, the Mayor of Saskatoon, wants to see a high occupancy vehicle lane exclusively for buses and vehicles with multiple passengers on the Parkway Bridge in the city’s north end when it’s completed in 2016.  Recent census data shows that over 85 per cent of people in Saskatoon commute to work in cars, as drivers or passengers, while only 3.7 per cent of commuters take the bus. [The Star Phoenix]