Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • August 2020 • Circulation 5500

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EndPovertyEdmonton Has a New Executive Director

Erick Ambtman. Sharon Pasula

Edmontonians had an opportunity to meet the incoming Executive Director for EndPovertyEdmonton in the gym at the YMCA Welcome Village, Boyle Street Plaza, on Wednesday, February 19th. Erick Ambtman has a long list of accomplishments, particularly for a young man under 40. He is a member of the Edmonton Police Commission, the out-going Executive Director for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and a former Executive Director of the Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Calgary, Rocky Mountain House, Red Deer, and Fort McMurray. He is also an alumnus of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, the current vice-chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, and a board member of Edmonton’s Vital Signs Committee. He holds degrees from the U of Manitoba and the London School of Economics.

Ambtman confessed, in spite of the fact he has spoken widely, that he was nervous and scared at the podium. Nevertheless, he seemed genuine and sincere in his comments. Personally, I gained some hope for movement in this area after his brief speech. This in spite of the fact I don’t agree with him.

He apparently believes, “that as a community we have what it takes to end poverty in a generation.” However, we will always have poor people. Trying to eradicate poverty is admirable, but the reasons for the ills in society will not be fixed by mere mortals, as spiritual issues are at play beyond the scope of created beings.

Nevertheless. I appreciate his question, “How many people have we taken out of poverty?” I look forward to seeing his influence.

What really encouraged me, however, was the brief history of the Edmonton Police Service given by Deputy Chief David Veitch who had introduced Mr. Ambtman.  Deputy Chief Veitch explained the changes in the approach to policing in Edmonton over the years and the reasons for them. Currently, the model is Community Safety and Well-Being. I was quite impressed with the apparent efforts of the EPS to address community law enforcement.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

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