My trip to Edmonton was quite pleasurable. It would have been better if I’d had my own room. I’ll go into details of that later.
Edmonton is a 4-5 hour trip from Saskatoon. It’s the capital of the province of Alberta. It boasts many things including an extremely large indoor mall, many acres of wilderness within the city, a large research hospital (attached to the University of Alberta) and forward looking recycling program attempting to keep upwards of 90% of the waste out of the landfill.
We stayed at the Varscona Hotel on Whyte (though the address is on 106 St NW). Whyte Avenue is a very long avenue with many small boutiques, coffee shops, specialty stores and small restaurants. We have an area like that on Broadway Avenue. Whyte Avenue is about a gagillion miles longer.
The stay at the hotel was meh. The beds were too soft and so my back suffered from that. It was a standard spring mattress so that meant that there were areas of pressure on my ribs and hips that made for very uncomfortable spots on my body. There were no fans in the bathrooms. This meant that the mirror got very steamed up and other bathroom activities (if you get my drift) hung around like an unwanted neighbour. Let’s just say I used more public facilities to save my roommates. I shared with two other women. I ended up with my own bed because Bran was right, I am a bed hog…and I snore…but I didn’t have my own pillow so I get cut slack (in my mind if nowhere else) for that.
The conference room ranged from too warm in one area to too chilly in another. The chairs (having to sit in them for 4 hours on Wednesday, 7 hours on Thursday then again another 3 on Friday) were horrible. My butt was so sore.
The complimentary continental breakfast was the usual. A variety of muffins, bagels, croissants, danishes and other carb laden foods were available for free along with coffee, tea, and juice. Nothing like creating a carb coma before sitting for 3 hours. I minimized what I ate as I wanted to make it through without doing a face plant on the table.
The venue was chosen by the board because they liked it so much when they had their meeting there earlier in the year. I can’t think why. I’m sure there were other, more comfortable hotels in Edmonton to choose from.
The AGM was boring, pretty much like all AGMs are. The saving factor was that part was very short. The rest of the three days ranged from amusing to ok, to really excellent. I learned about how the Edmonton Police handle people who are being supervised under section 810 and 820 of the Criminal Code. There was some really good information about what is involved in testifying in court and an excellent presentation by a CSC psychologist about dealing with gang members.
We went to West Edmonton Mall and was suitably impressed by its size, the number of stores, the displays and activities and wore out my feet. I’ll load up pictures I took of the trip and the mall sometime soon. They’re on my computer, I just don’t have the energy to do the editing right now. Here’s a video of the fire breathing dragon at the ScotiaBank Theatre.
The food courts were something to behold. There was all kinds of ethnic foods from two Japanese places (one sushi one noodles), Chinese (Szechuan and dim sum), three Greek paces, the ubiquitous fast food places, crepes, and so much more. The second night we were there we went to the food court and then on to doing separate things (in my case, shopping for a new shirt because I underpacked). That night I had curry chick peas (to DIE for), potato and cauliflower and nan bread. This was a bit of a tactical error on my part as I’m no longer used to legumes anymore and it had the usual unfortunate side effects. Happily there were no fatalities.
Then my co-worker and I wandered the mall looking in various stores (she underpacked as well) for tops. I found Cotton Ginny. They have “plus” sizes for fat women like me and everything they sell (except for lingerie) is made of cotton, organic cotton at that. I got two blouses for a total of $25. They were on sale and then had 30% taken off that. It was great. If I had more money I would have spent more money.
Then we went to a place called Millenium that sells knives and swords, spiky leather jewelry and boots, black clothing (most if it having metal studs and the like on it), incense, trolls and dragons and other neat stuff. That’s where I picked up an incense sample pack for Bran. It was created by the same people who make his favourite Nag Champa. I also got a poster of Zombie Survival Guide for Boy (to go with the book I bought at Chapters the day before). I loved that store though one of the sales clerks was a bit freaked out and didn’t approve of me being in there. You should’ve seen her face when I asked what was the largest size boot they sell. Yeah, I was looking for Boy. They also had a great pair with spikes on the toes that my supervisor (and me and my co-worker) thought would be fabulous additions to the “ass kicking line” we’d like to have.
I swear I walked at least 10 miles in the two shopping trips to that mall, probably more. The first night I wore thongs (flip-flops to the dirty minded young folk out there). I didn’t make that mistake a second time and wore sandals. On Friday morning my calves were very stiff.
I wish I had more money though. I could’ve gone nuts in Cotton Ginny and there was another store for fat women there that I didn’t even look into (it was on the second level and we were on the first when I saw it on Thursday evening – by then we were pretty worn out).
The trip to and from were fun. There was all kinds of work chat that we don’t get a chance to do when we’re at work. The scenery was prairie lovely including a really neat cloud bank that turned out to be a fog bank with dark clouds above it. I have a photo of it, but I couldn’t do it justice through the window of a moving car, mostly because trees kept getting in the way. There was water galore because of the extremely we spring we’ve had. (As a side note, apparently it’s extremely difficult to get mosquito repellent in Saskatoon. My co-worker had to pick up some in Edmonton.) On the way home I played Trivial Pursuit on my supervisor/co-worker’s phone. I think she won more than I did, but at least I won some.
When I got home the paperwork for the enduring power of attorney was here. Since I didn’t get home until after 6 pm on Friday we (Bran and I) went to bank branch and took care of it on Saturday afternoon. It was fairly painless as far as legal paperwork goes. Now I’m registered to be the conjoined legal twin to my sister in terms of Dad’s business.
Someone in Saskatchewan won $25 million. That takes my odds down from 1 in however many billion/million to 1 in around 900,000. I’m not quitting my day job though.
Behind the cut is a brief rundown of the talk I learned most in.
These people have served their entire sentences. Someone, a member of the community, a prosecutor or police can apply to have the court review a person’s file and decide if they are going to require more supervision based on what the person might do because of what they have done in the past. Now, before you get all up in arms about Canadians being all unfair (and forgetting about laws in your own country that screw up individual rights and freedoms), this is for people who have a) taken no programming in prison that might help them not commit crimes in the future, b) people who have mental health issues that require taking medication to keep them from committing crimes and/or c) unrepentant violent/sex/violent sex offenders. These are people who were kept in prison to the end of their warrant (warrant expiry) and would be released with no supervision, no monitoring of the medications to ensure compliance, and no warning to the general public. If you’re interested, this is the hearing process that Karla Homolka was released on when she first got out on warrant expiry for her part in the sexual assaults and murders of Kristin French and Leslie Mahaffy in Ontario during the 1980s. The 810 and 820 rulings can last up to 2 years and be renewed if the interested parties can show just cause for doing so. 810 is for people who have committed sexual assaults of children 16 years old and under. 820 is for those who have committed violent crimes and/or violent sex crimes against people over the age of 16. Note, the victims can be either male or female and so can the offenders, though men made up all of the 810 offenders and only 3 of the 820 offenders (none of which were sex crimes) were women. The police also don’t have the monetary resources that parole has (see next paragraph) and the failure rate for 810 and 820 offenders without good support is very high.
Another subject the detectives talked about were long term supervision orders (LTSO). This is a condition that is added at the time of sentencing and again, starts when an offender reaches warrant expiry. These are different from 810s and 820s in that LTSOs are under the jurisdiction of Correctional Services of Canada (CSC). LTSO offenders are supervised by parole officers, receive services given to anyone who is still on parole such as addiction programs, family violence reduction programs and anger management skills training. LTSOs can range up to 10 years following warrant expiry. They also do not require that a person is in prison up to their warrant expiry date (WED). The offender can have day parole or be released on day parole and then live in the community to their WED and then go on the LTSO.
I didn’t ask if the LTSO can be renewed like the 810 and 820 orders. I suspect not.
The forensic psychologist was a real interesting mix. His voice was monotone. Really, there was nearly no tonal inflection in his voice at all. Luckily for him he has a sense of humour, had interesting subject matter and was able to convey that information in a way that held our attention without the monotone boring us silly. His subject was about treating gang members in prison. I wish I could give you verbatim what he said, or that you could see a video of his presentation. It totally rocked. I learned all kinds of stuff that will be helpful in my work.