Prairie Post

Prairie Daily

Small Calgary Theatre Company puts up big fight, Winnipeg Squash star fears for his life, Saskatchewan’s random acts of kindness, and Edmonton’s stomach bug.

The Front Row Centre Players Society in their 2010 production of Chess

Front Row Centre Players Society first formed in 1998, and since have been putting on productions for the arts community in Alberta. They are currently facing an appeal with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) in a case that could setback all volunteer-driven community art groups throughout Alberta. A woman who was volunteering to help build the set for their production of Chess fractured her wrist in 2010. She filed a claim and it was paid by WCB. Since this claim, the WCB has informed Front Row Centre Players Society that they will have to pay a premium for every volunteer hour worked at the theatre.

The theatre company is looking at paying back WCB for 40,000 volunteer hours worked. According to their Vice President Janos Zeller, it could cost them between $3,000 and $4,000.

We’d take a bit of a hit, but we’re not fighting this just for our personal means,” says Zeller. “There are tons of (Alberta) arts organizations — small, little theatre companies who put in all these volunteer hours, and they can’t afford $3,000 a year.”

Front Row Centre Players Society has until mid-January to make their final appeal and it hoping WCB will distinguish between professional theatre companies and amateur ones.


 Winnipeg Squash star Asif Khan Khalil

Most people look forward to being home during the holidays, but for Winnipeg Squash player Asif Khan Khalil, it is his greatest fear. Khalil first claimed refugee status in Winnipeg in 2010, and now faces being deported home on Sunday unless his lawyer can arrange an emergency reprieve.

The 20-year-old Assiniboine Downs worker, dreams one day of being a world championship Squash player for Canada. The Taliban, especially near where he grew up in Peshawar that borders Afghanistan, sees his success in the Western sport, as a violation of Islam.

“I can’t even show how worried I am right now,” says Khalil. “If they send me back to Pakistan, they’re going to kill me.”

While Khalil has been accused of spreading poison by a member of the Taliban, according to a sworn affidavit of his father, the Canada Immigration Board of Canada still rejected his application in January, failing to see that his deportation would put him in any danger.

Khalil’s lawyer Bashir Khan has found new evidence since his case was last rejected, a sworn affidavit from Khalil’s father highlighting more threats on Khalil’s  life. Khan is hoping Khalil’s case will get due process but with recent changes to Canada’s immigration laws the new evidence may not be heard.



 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness in Saskatchewan

The calling card says “You’ve been rack’d.” Random acts of Christmas kindness were turning up in downtown Saskatoon on Tuesday. People were welcomed with sweet surprises of change in their expired parking meters, candy canes on car windshields, or treat bags that held a coffee card or hot chocolate.

The two women behind these niceties are friends Callie Spafford and Amanda Phipps. The two are not affiliated with any specific group or charity, their simple goal is to see more people smile, at this time of the year. Spafford says there have been some odd reactions.

“I went to a cab driver and at first he was a little skeptical, but I said “Merry Christmas” and I gave him a pack of hot chocolate and he really enjoyed it,” she said.

The next stop for these Saskatchewan Santa helpers is the pediatric unit at Royal University Hospital.



Stomach bug going around in Edmonton

If the bed bugs aren’t biting, the stomach one might. Edmontonians are being warned by the Alberta Health Services (AHS) that a gastro-intestinal illness has been going around. The illness lasts between 48 and 72 hours and some of its symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, along with aches and pains and low-grade fever.

Dr. Christopher Sikora, Medical Officer of Health said, anyone who has the symptoms or feel they might be coming on is advised to stay home from work, and avoid, senior homes, hospitals and to refrain from preparing food for others.  While stomach bugs get passed around all year this particular illness tend to rear its ugly head more around the holiday season.

“As a host, try to set a good example by thanking people for declining an invite due to illness,” Sikora said. “Support their healthy decision.



Chadd Cawson is an intern at Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @ChaddCawson

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