|City council postponed voting on the second part of Calgarys anti-smoking bylaw on May 6, but it may still be implemented on schedule.
Council voted for the postponement to give the city more time to await anticipated new provincial government smoking guidelines, and to examine a proposal that would enable community associations to better meet the financial obligations that would come along with the regulations.
If approved, the second part of the bylaw is scheduled to take effect in 2003. The changes would require separate smoking rooms within public areas that allow smoking, like restaurants and bars.
Many bar and restaurant owners oppose the bylaw because they say only larger companies will be able to afford the construction of separate smoking rooms. They welcomed the decision to delay voting on the bylaw because it gives them more time to provide input into its creation.
Council will revisit the issue in September, at which time it could still be approved in time for its 2003 implementation.
New Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper has not responded to another request to appear at a candidates forum prior to the Calgary Southwest byelection.
The forum, sponsored by the Council of Canadians, is scheduled to take place May 10 at 7 p.m. at St. Andrews United Church, but Council member Mel Teghtmeyer says Harper didnt respond to the invitation before the deadline.
Harper also snubbed NDP candidate Bill Phippss earlier request for a debate.
In addition to Harper and Phipps, three other candidates are in the running for the seat vacated by Preston Manning: the Green Partys James Kohut, the Christian Heritage Partys Ron Gray and Independent Gordon Barrett.
The nightclub formerly known as Desperados is scheduled to reopen under the name Coyotes Bar and Dance Saloon prior to this years Stampede.
The space was recently taken over by Paul Vickerss Penny Lane Entertainment, which also owns Cowboys, The Drink and Ceilis, among other eating and drinking establishments.
The bar, which has long been a Stampede watering hole, has been closed for several weeks. Its new owners pledge it will be open in time for Stampede.
The Holy Cross Hospital was sold by the Alberta government for a quarter of its appraised value, according to documents obtained by the Alberta Liberals.
Liberal health critic Kevin Taft says the documents, received under a Freedom in Information and Protection of Privacy (FIOP) request, show the Calgary Health Region sold the site for about $4.5 million in 1998 despite an independent appraisal that pegged its value at $20 million.
Differing opinions about whether the hospital buildings needed to be demolished led to variations in appraised values of the site, but the Liberals say the discrepancy between the appraised value and the sale price raises questions about government policy.
Under a new agreement, each midwife in Alberta will pay out $4,000 for professional malpractice insurance, while the provincial government picks up the rest of the tab.
The deal is similar to a controversial agreement reached last year to help Alberta midwives cover the costs of an insurance hike that raised their premiums to about $15,000 each per year from about $4,000.
The one-year deal will see the province offer about $10,000 to each midwife for insurance, leaving individual practitioners to pay the remainder.
The government says it will pay out a total of $250,000 for the program, and in exchange for the funding, midwives will be required to offer some additional public services.
The provincial government also pledged to continue to examine midwifery to determine if it should be funded by the public health care system in the long term.
Alberta is one of five Canadian provinces that regulates midwifery, but it is the only one that does not fund midwife services.