The HUB Mall massacre and the Alberta election in the spring exacted intense emotions in an Alberta year that also saw other hotly-contested political contests and a hotly contested NHL lockout.
Fear and anger consumed Albertans in the wake of the University of Alberta shooting that took the life of three GS4 armoured car guards and that left a fourth seriously injured.
Depending on their party of choice, fear and anger also consumed Albertans going into the province’s general election in the spring. Although the contest promised to be a game changer, in the end the PCs received their 11th consecutive majority mandate from Alberta voters.
The run up to the election was but the appetizer in the veritable buffet that was politics in 2012. Politicos and regular Albertans alike mourned the passing of iconic former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, watched in wonder as the Calgary Centre byelection promised a historical upset, and ended the year pondering how the provincial Tories found themselves in so many scandals after one short legislature sitting.
Below we recap those highlights and much more in The Huffington Post Alberta’s Year In Photos 2012.
Alberta General Election 2012
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/alberta-election-2012" target="_hplink">Alberta General Election was held on April 23, 2012</a>. The contest was a heated one and one that promised to change the political landscape in Alberta, with the upstart Wildrose Party promising to end the Tories' 41-year uninterrupted tenure in Alberta. But in the end, the Alberta PCs got their 11th majority in a row and the WRP finished a distant second. (CP)
HUB Mall Massacre
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/15/hub-mall-shooting-at-univ_n_1599141.html" target="_hplink">HUB Mall massacre in Edmonton </a>was too cold, too brutal, too calculated to be true. Three GS4 armoured car guards were shot and killed during a late-night money run to the mall, allegedly by one of their colleagues. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/07/travis-baumgartner-case-put-over_n_1865008.html" target="_hplink">Travis Brandon Baumgartner was arrested soon after with a pile of cash</a>, trying to make a border crossing into the U.S. from B.C. He has been charged with three counts of murder and is awaiting trial. (CP)
The Bow Opens
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/15/bow-calgary-cenovus_n_1776511.html " target="_hplink">The Bow, the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto, opened for business on September. </a>After years of planning and construction, the building that now houses energy firm Cenovus is now one of Calgary's most iconic structures. (Handout)
Medicine Hat Rats
If there is one thing <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/alberta-rats" target="_hplink">Albertans take seriously is rat infestation </a>eradication. The province found itself in the front lines and fighting back an unannounced all-out assault of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/alberta-rats" target="_hplink">Norwegian rats in southern Alberta</a>. What started with a few rats found at the Medicine Hat dump soon turned into the biggest rat infestation in the province since Alberta became rat-free in the 1950s. More than 100 of the rodents were killed in the latest eradication. The fight took more than a month but by the end of September, Alberta was able to once again reclaim its rat-free status.
Bolsa Restaurant Trial
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/30/real-honorio-bolsa-restaurant-murder-trial_n_2047282.html" target="_hplink">Bolsa Restaurant triple murder - or the New Year's Day massacre </a>- trial captured the attention of Calgarians. The four men implicated in the murder stood trial and the court heard how the accused, dressed like ninjas and carrying firearms, systematically ambushed their victims inside the busy restaurant, killing their two targets, as well as an innocent bystander. The killings were the result of a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/30/real-honorio-bolsa-restaurant-murder-trial_n_2047282.html" target="_hplink">Calgary gang war between the Fresh Off the Boat and FOB Killers </a>gangs. Real Honorio was the last one to be sentenced on Oct. of this year. He is serving 25 years without chance of parole. (CP)
XL Foods And Canada's Biggest Beef Recall
The<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/xl-foods-recall" target="_hplink"> E. coli contamination found at the XL Foods meat packing plant in Brooks</a> in the fall resulted in the largest beef recall in Alberta history. Hundreds of different beef products were pulled off market shelves throughout the world and 18 people were infected after consuming the tainted meat. One of the victims was a four-year-old girl who suffered kidney failure as a result. The recall fired up political parties at the provincial and federal levels, and saw the plant temporarily shut down, workers left in limbo and Alberta beef's reputation tainted. The plant was eventually put under new management. (CP)
We Day Alberta
On Oct. 24 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/24/we-day-calgary-2012-spencer-west_n_2011940.html" target="_hplink">Martin Sheen, Lights, Spencer West (Above), Hedley, Mariana's Trench, Shawn Desman and Larry King </a>descended on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/24/we-day-calgary-2012-spencer-west_n_2011940.html" target="_hplink">Calgary for one star-studded event by Free The Children </a>aiming at inspiring and empowering youth to effect change in their communities and, by extension, the world.
Calgary Centre By-Election
It's been described as a dud, while others have called it a wakeup call for the conservatives. The outcome of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/tag/calgary-centre-byelection" target="_hplink">by-election for Calgary Centre </a>was a forgone conclusion immediately after Lee Richardson left the seat vacant in the spring. The riding is physically at the centre of Canada's conservative heartland and has been a sure bet for conservatives of all stripes for more than 40 years. But as the ballot loomed ever closer, polls started to show the Liberals and the Conservatives neck-and-neck, with the Grits gaining all the momentum. But gaffes by prominent federal Liberals, such as Justin Trudeau, and significant vote splitting on the centre and left resulted in another win for the Tories. What is different then? The fact CPC contender and eventual winner Joan Crockatt only received slightly more than a third of the vote.
The Stampeders' Heartbreak At The Grey Cup
The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/25/grey-cup-2012-argonauts-stampeders-cfl_n_2189637.html" target="_hplink">Calgary Stampeders dared to believe </a>that after rebuilding in the off-season and trading away, among others, the face of the franchise - Henry Burris - they could reach <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/25/grey-cup-2012-argonauts-stampeders-cfl_n_2189637.html" target="_hplink">the 100th edition of the Grey Cup</a>. They made good in that belief and found themselves staring at the Toronto Argonauts in their home turf for that once-in-history contest. But the dream was just a bit too far out of reach for the Calgary squad. The Stamps lost to the Argos 35 to 22.
Winter Storms Of October And November
Cold weather and deep snow is nothing new in Alberta but this fall brought with it some pretty dramatic, and seemingly instantaneous, dumps and cold snaps. On October 23, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/23/snow-storm-southern-alberta-october-23_n_2006004.html" target="_hplink">it happened to Calgary and surrounding area</a>. On Nov. 8, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/08/southern-alberta-snowstorm-calgary-prepares-for-major-snowfall_n_2093952.html" target="_hplink">southern Alberta got it bad</a> . And then there was the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/07/edmonton-snowstorm-city-stalls_n_2088565.html" target="_hplink">fatal snowfall that struck Edmonton </a>on Nov. 7.
Amanda Todd and the Firing
The one moment of justice in the entire Amanda Todd story - the tale of a bullied B.C. teen driven to suicide - came when <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/16/amanda-todd-christine-claveau-man-fired_n_1971880.html" target="_hplink">the entire country seemed to cheer Albertan Christine Claveau</a>. The Calgarian, tired of the cyber hatred and bullying that seemed to follow Todd to her grave after she committed suicide, got a Toronto man fired for comments he posted about the dead B.C. teen online.
The Edmonton Arena Debacle
This year should've been the year when the contract for an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/12/edmonton-downtown-arena-talks-daryl-katz_n_2286977.html" target="_hplink">Edmonton downtown arena </a>was signed, the deal sealed and the handshake, well, shaken. Instead, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/12/edmonton-downtown-arena-talks-daryl-katz_n_2286977.html" target="_hplink">Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers and Rexall pharmacy billionaire</a>, told council the deal could not proceed unless the government coughed up more cash. The demand, which Edmonton city officials said left them feeling broadsided, all but drove a spike through the heart of the dream and forced council and the Katz group to entrench themselves further in their respective ends of the negotiating spectrum. We now go into 2013 no further ahead in knowing if a downtown arena is in the cards for the provincial capital.
The NHL Lockout
Yes, it happened again. Unable to find common ground regarding pay and allotment of hockey profits, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/nhl-lockout" target="_hplink">the NHL once again locked out the players</a>. There have been moments of hope throughout the negotiations between the owners and the NHLPA but as the dispute drags on, it seems more and more likely the 2012/2013 season will be scrapped. The lockout has hurt the faith of countless fans but it has also left a big hole in the bottom line of bars and restaurants, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/14/nhl-lockout-edmonton-charities_n_2298944.html" target="_hplink">and has even affected donations to charities</a>. The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers tried to have the lockout deemed illegal in court but their legal efforts failed. Even U.S. president Barack Obama weighed in in mid December, encouraging both sides to make a deal and get back on the ice.
The Passing of Former Premier Peter Lougheed
Albertans of all political stripes mourned, and paid tribute to, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/peter-lougheed" target="_hplink">Peter Lougheed after his passing on Sept. 13</a>. Lougheed was remembered as the father of the PCs current 41-year, uninterrupted grip on the Alberta government. He was also remembered as a family man, a pragmatic leader, a fierce defender of Alberta but an even more fiercely proud Canadian. (CP)
Alberta Government Scandals
When the furor of the Alberta spring election simmered to a roar, it seemed the mandate handed to the Tories by the electorate would buy the PCs at least a year of leniency. That was not the case, as autumn brought with it a whole list of scandals to plague the governing PCs with. There's the question of whether <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/29/daryl-katz-donation-redford_n_2041403.html" target="_hplink">Oilers' owner Daryl Katz tried to "buy a government," </a>and whether <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/03/alison-redford-tobacco-lawsuit-speaker-may-rule-today-whether-alberta-premier-misled-house-_n_2229872.html" target="_hplink">Premier Alison Redford was in conflict of interest </a>when her ex's firm was given an enormous contract, or whether the premier's sister abused the system through expenses in her capacity as an official with Alberta Health Services.
Highway 63 Twinning
It may be the single biggest public safety issue in northern Alberta. The single-lane link connecting the Canada's economic engine - the Alberta oilsands - to the rest of the country kills motorists with an uncanny regularity and it seems that in 2012, the provincial government saw the urgency of the situation. In October, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/19/alberta-highway-63-twinning_n_1990453.html" target="_hplink">the province announced that the twinning of Hwy. 63, also known as the Highway of Death, was being fast tracked </a>and that the entire link between Fort McMurray and Grassland - which sees hundreds of thousands of tons of workers, machinery and oil and gas products move along its lanes - would be completed by 2016.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Announces He'll Run Again
The national media turned their attention to local Calgary politics again when <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/11/07/nenshi-2013-calgary-mayorseek-reelection_n_2089774.html" target="_hplink">Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said his job wasn't done </a>and that he would be seeking a second term when voters head to the polls in late 2013. The Canadian mayor with the uncharacteristically high approval numbers made the announcement in a slick video in early November. (Handout)
Paul McCartney Rocks Out In Edmonton
What was probably the most talked about concert of the year? Why <a href="http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Concert+review+Maybe+amazed+Paul+McCartney/7627393/story.html" target="_hplink">Sir Paul McCartney in Edmonton, of course</a>. The sold out back-to-back performances were the first time the former Beatles had played the City of Champions. (CP)
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