Soaring home prices threaten food security: study

Written by admin on 26/04/2020 Categories: 老域名购买

VANCOUVER – Double-digit leaps in home prices across the Vancouver region could force farmers off the land and threaten local food security, a report from Vancity credit union suggests.

Farmland prices, including in the rich and productive soils of the Fraser River delta, now range from $150,000 to $350,000 per acre for parcels less than five acres, the study said.

Statistics from agricultural lender Farm Credit Canada show land prices above $80,000 per acre can make farming unsustainable.

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“The prices are, at the very core, threatening the viability of farming,” said report author Brent Mansfield, director of the BC Food Systems Network.

“The cost of farmland, and being able to access that, whether that is for a new farmer with limited access to capital or a farmer who wants to expand their business … is actually beyond the farm income potential,” he said.

The report said non-farmers control large tracts of actively farmed land within the Agricultural Land Reserve and lease it to farmers.

As much as 35 per cent of that land is owned by businesses, many described as holding companies with terms such as holding, investment, estate, property, land or development in their name, Mansfield said.

That raises concerns that it is being purchased on speculation for future estate homes, development or other non-agricultural use, Mansfield said.

“A robust local food system requires protecting agricultural land and ensuring it’s actively farmed. Speculation and other pressures need to be addressed.”

The public must call on governments to ensure current policies protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve are being implemented and new policies are being put into place, he said.

Options include tightening loopholes that allow land owners to receive farm-class status and lower tax rates while producing only a small amount of food, or strengthening bylaws related to the size of houses on agricultural land.

Vancity’s report comes as a Royal LePage survey revealed the year-over-year price for a home in Greater Vancouver vaulted more than 20 per cent in the first three months of 2016.

The Royal LePage study showed strong growth extended eastward into Langley in the first quarter of 2016 as prospective buyers turned to comparatively lower priced real estate compared to other regions in Greater Vancouver.

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Central Alberta parents fight, but fail to save community’s only school

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EDMONTON — It’s the outcome parents in a hamlet west of Red Deer were fighting to prevent: the community’s only school is being closed.

On Wednesday Chinook’s Edge School Division No. 73 decided to shut down Benalto School after enrolment fell to just 21 students, which the board said was not financially sustainable.

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The Kindergarten to Grade 6 school had been involved in a viability and closure review process because of the low numbers.

READ MORE: Central Alberta hamlet facing the prospect of losing its only school

Junior and senior high school students from the community are already bused 15 kilometres east to Sylvan Lake, but parents worried what the impact might be on their younger kids.

Earlier this year the local parent council launched a social media campaign in hopes of attracting more students from surrounding communities. They felt if they could just attract 10 more families, the school would be able to stay open.

The tiny community is home to 117 residents, according to Red Deer County.

Benalto School has been the heart of the hamlet since 1938, but residents fear losing the school would be the final stake in the coffin.

“So many people were concerned that if the school was to close, their property value would decrease and they’re not sure what would keep them here,” resident Angie Schickerowski told Global News last month. She has two children attending Benalto School and a third just a couple of years away.

READ MORE: Enrolment on the decline in rural Alberta schools

In its decision, Chinook’s Edge did acknowledge the high level of quality teaching and learning at Benalto, but said the challenges of low enrolment affects students and staff on a daily basis.

Even if the school were to remain open, the school district said it would have had to cut resources. There are two teachers and an educational assistant at Benalto School, leaving the cost per student to run the school about double the average of other schools in the district. There was fear that cutting back to one teacher would harm educational outcomes.

The board voted Thursday night to “begin a process of establishing strategies and timelines to support Benalto School families and staff in finalizing next steps and transitions.”

— With files from Tom Vernon, Global News

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Police capture Sask. murder suspect who escaped custody in daring ambush

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Braidy Vermette is back in custody. Prince Albert police say Vermette and his girlfriend, Tristen Smith, were arrested overnight.

Police received a tip Wednesday afternoon as to the location of Vermette and RCMP deployed its emergency response team to a home north of Prince Albert on Red Wing Road, west of Highway 2.

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    Just after 1 a.m. CT Thursday, Vermette and Smith were arrested while leaving the house after it caught on fire. The house is expected to be a total loss. Fire crews were still on scene Thursday and some road restrictions were in place in the RM of Buckland.

    There were no injuries among Vermette, Smith, the officers or members of the public.

    Vermette, 28, escaped late in the evening on March 30 after a daring ambush.

    READ MORE: Sask. murder suspect escapes custody after corrections officers ambushed

    He was being taken to hospital by correctional officers for treatment of a self-inflicted arm injury when they were approached by two masked individuals – one armed with a gun and the other bear mace.

    The two correctional officers were sprayed and Vermette went willingly with the two individuals in a dark-coloured SUV.

    Vermette is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Troy Napope, who has been missing since June of last year. He was being held at the Prince Albert Provincial Correctional Centre for a pending court appearance on April 4.

    RCMP have asked for another police service to conduct an independent, external investigation into the matter. An independent observer has also been requested from the Saskatchewan government.

    The Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice is still investigating the initial ambush and considering possible protocol changes. Giving guards guns is not being considered, according to Drew Wilby, executive director of corporate affairs with the Ministry of Justice.

    “I think it’s safe to say that if we had armed correction workers, we may not have two corrections workers that are alive today,” Wilby said.

    Police are still searching for Ricky Favel, 30, who is currently wanted for breach of recognizance and is believed to be one of the individuals who took part in the ambush.

    Favel is five-foot six, 166 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Prince Albert police at 306-953-4222 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

    Ryan Kessler contributed to this story

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Chicago PD makes dream come true for little girl battling terminal cancer

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Madison Pruitt’s biggest dream is to be a Chicago police officer.

But the six-year-old Chicago girl is battling rhabdomyosarcoma, a terminal cancer for which she was diagnosed just after Easter 2015.

So on Wednesday afternoon, dozens of uniformed officers from the Chicago Police Department, including officers on horseback, a K9 officer, SWAT team members, and interim Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson paid a special visit to Pruitt.

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    “Hi, I’m Superintendent Eddie Johnson. I heard your lifelong dream was to become a Chicago Police officer,” Johnson told Pruitt on the front porch of her home, flanked by officers and local media.

    “So today I’m going to make it official and make you a lifelong Chicago police officer. Congratulations!” the superintendent said as he placed an official police cap on her head.

    Caught on Camera: News crew rescues man from oncoming wildfire

    The department also presented Pruitt with a commendation for valour for her courage in battling the rare form of muscular cancer, which is most prevalent in children and teens.

    The special moment was all thanks to Pruitt’s social worker, Lindsay Wooster, who initially arranged to have Pruitt visit a nearby police station.

    But the little girl, who receives hospice care at home after undergoing numerous chemo and radiation treatments, was not feeling up to the journey.

    “Her spirits are well, but she’s doing pretty poorly at this point,” Sgt. Ernest Bradley of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, the department’s community policing program, told NBC Chicago.

    So a last-minute change of plans led to the visit Wednesday, with around 75 officers paying Pruitt a visit.

    Uniformed officers flanked both sides of Pruitt’s street Pruitt.

    “I kind of was anticipating we might be able to set up a little meet and greet for her, perhaps with one officer,” Wooster told CBS Chicago.

    “I never imagined that it would be this much so, it’s pretty incredible for Madison.”

    READ MORE: Shooting caught on video? Chicago police waiting to speak with victim

    “I am overjoyed with the Chicago Police Department,” Pruitt’s grandmother, Pamlor Nelson, said. “It makes me feel real joyful. That was the most wonderful part, when they said they were going to come to us.”

    After being presented with her police cap and award for bravery, young Pruitt was asked why she wanted to be a police officer.

    “Because you get to protect people,” she said.

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Panama Papers: EU threatens to sanction tax havens like Panama

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BERLIN – The European Union has threatened to sanction countries like Panama if they continue to refuse to co-operate fully to fight money laundering and tax evasion, after a leak of data showed the tiny country remains a key destination for people who want to hide money.

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    A leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca showed it had helped thousands of individuals and companies from around the world to set up shell companies and offshore accounts in low-tax havens. Because such accounts often hide the ultimate owner of the money, they are a favoured tool to launder money, pay bribes or evade taxes.

    So far, the scandal has brought down the leader of Iceland and raised questions about the dealings of the president of Ukraine, senior Chinese politicians, famous actors, athletes and the circle of friends of Russian Vladimir Putin, who some allege has profited indirectly from such accounts.

    “People are fed up with these outrages,” said Pierre Moscovici, who heads financial affairs for the 28-nation EU. He took to task countries like Panama that facilitate such secretive, low-tax accounts.

    READ MORE: RBC to comb through decades of records

    “The amounts of money, the jurisdictions and the names associated with this affair are frankly shocking,” he said. Speaking of countries like Panama, he said the EU has to “be ready to hit them with appropriate sanctions if they refuse to change.”

    Panama is listed by the EU as a country that is not co-operative on tax issues, and Moscovici urged the country to “rethink its position in this regard.”

    The Central American country’s government said late Wednesday it is creating an international committee of experts to recommend ways to boost transparency in its offshore financial industry.

    President Juan Carlos Varela said the committee’s findings will be shared with other nations so joint action can be taken to boost transparency in legal and financial centres worldwide.

    But Varela defended Panama against what he called a “media attack” by wealthy nations that he says are ignoring their own deficiencies and unfairly stigmatizing Panama.

    Europe is also home to countries with a record of acting like tax havens and providing banking secrecy – Luxembourg, Switzerland, Andorra, among others. The United States has also become a haven, with several states including Wyoming and Delaware now popular places to open anonymous accounts that are cheap to maintain and pay little or no local tax.

    READ MORE: Bank CEO defends Canada’s anti-money laundering practices

    Since the first reports were published Sunday, prominent politicians, celebrities and businesspeople have had their offshore business dealings dragged into the spotlight. On Thursday, the German newspaper that first obtained the so-called Panama Papers, said it won’t publish all the files, arguing that not all are of public interest.

    Sueddeutsche Zeitung received the documents from an unidentified source more than a year ago and shared at least parts of them with dozens of other media outlets around the world. It was not clear if it had shared all the data with the other media outlets or signed an accord with them on what could be reported on.

    Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the complete set of 11.5 million documents “won’t be made available to the public or to law enforcement agencies. That’s because the SZ isn’t the extended arm of prosecutors or the tax investigators.”

    Authorities have legal powers to obtain such documents from those suspected of wrongdoing, and in many cases there’s no public interest in revealing companies’ or individuals’ offshore business dealings, the Munich-based paper said.

    Responding to readers’ queries about the absence of prominent German or American politicians in the reports, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said such names haven’t yet been found in the documents.

    READ MORE: What you need to know about shell companies

    It said the documents include copies of the passports of 200 Americans, and about 3,500 shareholders in offshore companies listed addresses in the United States.

    “One possible reason why comparatively few Americans appear in the documents could be that U.S. citizens have no reason to contact a law firm in Panama,” the paper said. “That’s because offshore companies can easily be created in U.S. states such as Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.”

    Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied having any links to offshore accounts and described the Panama Papers document leaks scandal as part of a U.S.-led plot to weaken Russia.

    Speaking Thursday at a media forum in St. Petersburg, Putin said Western media pushed the claims of his involvement in offshore businesses even though his name didn’t feature in any of the documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

    Putin described the allegations as part of the U.S.-led disinformation campaign waged against Russia in order to weaken its government. “They are trying to destabilize us from within in order to make us more compliant,” he said.

    The Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which co-ordinated reporting on the leaks, said the documents it obtained indicated that Russian cellist Sergei Roldugin acted as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists, and, perhaps, the president himself.

    The ICIJ said the documents show how complex offshore financial deals channeled as much as $2 billion to a network of people linked to the Russian president.

    —;

    Casert reported from Brussels. Irina Titova and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow also contributed to this report.

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Sleep-deprived teens take dangerous risks

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NEW YORK – High school students who get too little sleep — or too much — are also more likely to drive drunk or take other risks, according to government researchers.

The scientists say they don’t know if sleep issues cause teens to take dangerous risks, or whether both are a reflection of depression or other problems. But the link between sleep and injury-causing risks is striking — especially when it comes to drinking and driving, said the study’s lead author, Anne Wheaton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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    “I thought that was really, really surprising and just really worrying,” she said.

    Students who get only five or six hours a night were twice as likely to say they’d driven while drinking in the previous month, compared to kids who regularly got a full night’s sleep. That was also true of kids who got 10 or more hours per night, compared to the regular sleepers, the researchers found.

    The CDC released the study Thursday. It’s based on in-school, anonymous, paper-and-pencil surveys of more than 50,000 high school students conducted nationally in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.

    READ MORE: What are the common sleep disorders keeping Canadians awake?

    Too-little sleep is very common, and too-much sleep is pretty rare. About 69 out of 100 high school students get insufficient sleep — defined as seven hours of sleep or less on average school night. About two out of every 100 get too much — 10 or more hours.

    Previous research has found a link between insufficient sleep and injuries from car crashes, sports or workplace accidents.

    The CDC investigators wanted to probe which students got proper sleep, and to see if it was related to which kids said they recently had decided not to wear seat belts or bike helmets, or were texting while driving, drinking while driving, or riding with a drunk driver.

    READ MORE:Sleep industry worth tens of billions of dollars

    For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours each night. Previous CDC research suggests at least a third of adults get less than that.

    Doctors offer tips for good sleeping that include sticking to a regular bedtime schedule, getting exercise each day and avoiding caffeine and nicotine at night. Parents are advised to keep kids away from TV, video or cellphone screens before bedtime.

    Visualization by Graphiq

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Can building a bank save Canada Post?

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As Canada Post prepares to undergo an in-depth government review, the major unions representing postal workers across the country say the key to the corporation’s future may actually be found in the past.

For over a hundred years, Canadians could waltz into their nearest post office and open a savings account or cash a cheque. Postal banking ended here in 1968, but it is still a viable model in many countries around the world, according to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA).

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READ MORE: Study proposes solutions to Canada Post’s woes

With the new Liberal government preparing to launch a review of the postal service, the unions say the time is right to bring back postal banking for the 21st century.

“The Liberals need to consider what a 21st century post office could be doing for all of us,” said Brenda McAuley, national president of the CPAA.

The unions have joined forces to launch a social media campaign this week in support of the idea, arguing that banking profits could help boost Canada Post’s bottom line. After making a profit in the second quarter of last year, the Crown Corporation reported a loss of $13 million in the third quarter.

Providing banking services in post offices will also improve access for people living in rural communities or on Aboriginal reserves, the unions argue.

WATCH: Union president Mike Palecek says public being ‘misled’ about financial health of Canada Post

According to Mike Palecek, the CUPW’s national president, postal banking could be especially beneficial for low-income Canadians, migrant workers and precarious workers. Anyone without a bank account currently pays hefty remittance and cheque-cashing fees, he said in a prepared statement.

“Postal banks are an alternative to payday lenders, providing basic financial services to the millions of people currently excluded from access to Canada’s big banks.”

According to Dr. Robert Campbell, current president of Mount Allison University and an expert in postal systems, there are several things to consider when it comes to postal banking in Canada.

“There was a reason why it went out of business in the late 1960s, and that was that it wasn’t being used to any great extent,” said Campbell, who chaired the federally appointed committee that reviewed Canada Post’s mandate in 2008.

“The countries in the world which have a history of postal banking, for example in Europe or in Japan, they were countries in which the ordinary citizen did not have as easy access to banks as in North America.”

In addition, Campbell added, the government would likely need to change Canada Post’s mandate and possibly even invest money into the new venture. The banking and postal services would need to remain separate financial entities, he said.

“You can’t have a monopoly provider of mail (service) cross-subsidizing a competitive business. People would be up in arms about that.”

Then there’s the question of the corporation’s ability to launch a banking service while still fulfilling its mandate to reliably deliver the mail. It would need to build up an expertise and hire staff, then train them.

“I would have some concerns that it would be taking its eye off the ball,” Campbell said. “There would have to be an unbelievably compelling business plan.”

No comment from Canada Post

Canada Post has apparently been examining the feasibility of reviving the postal banking model for years. A mountain of documents on the subject was obtained through an access to information request made by Parliamentary news site Blacklock’s Reporter in 2014.

READ MORE: Canada Post suspends community mailbox program

The material was heavily redacted, but Canada Post concluded that it could successfully launch a profitable banking network that would rival those already in place in countries like New Zealand and Japan.

A spokesperson for Canada Post would not comment specifically on postal banking, saying only that “we will work with the government to determine the best way forward given the ongoing challenges faced by the Canadian postal system.”

Testifying before a Parliamentary committee last month, Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote confirmed that the upcoming review of Canada Post by an independent task force will “look at other avenues of business” that could “enable Canada Post to have more revenue to carry out its responsibility to deliver mail.”

Foote said the task force, which was initially supposed to be formed in late 2015, would likely be established within a month.

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Paris Jackson gets tattoo in memory of her father, Michael Jackson

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Paris Jackson celebrated her 18th birthday by getting a tattoo in memory of her father, Michael Jackson. The 18-year-old showed off her new ink on Instagram on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Janet Jackson delays tour to start ‘planning a family’

She held up her wrist, showing the words “Queen of My Heart” in her dad’s handwriting. Jackson captioned the picture as, “To everyone else he was the King of Pop. To me, well, he was the king of my heart.”

The permanent tribute to the late musician was done by Justin Lewis, and her cousin, Austin Brown, joined her for support.

READ MORE:Jackson’s son reveals details of pop star’s final moments

The tattoo artist also posted a photo of the three of them together on Instagram, showing off the fresh ink. Lewis, we should note, has also tattooed Michael Jackson’s oldest child, Prince Jackson, and close friend Omer Bhatti.

View this post on Instagram

Paris Michael Jackson got her tattoo today, letters from her father, so sweet. #parisjackson and Austin Brown her cousin.

A post shared by Tattoo Artist/Painter/NDN (@dermagraphink) on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:59pm PDT

In 2009, Michael Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. Paris Jackson was only 11 years old when he passed away at the age of 50.

Michael Jackson | PrettyFamous

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Edmonton Oilers add 1,000 more season ticket seats at Rogers Place

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The Edmonton Oilers are adding an extra 1,000 season ticket seats for the 2016-17 inaugural season at Rogers Place, due to high demand. The increase means 15,000 of the 18,500 seats at the new downtown arena will now be available to season ticket buyers.

“Well over 90 per cent of our current season seat holders have already selected their new seat locations,” Oilers Chief Commercial Officer Stew MacDonald said.

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“With the growing number of members on our season seat registry, we made the decision to expand our season seat base to allow the greatest number of registry members to become season seat holders at Rogers Place.”

The Oilers said they created a seat registry to provide a fair way to ensure those who want season seats get them when they become available. The deadline to register to be eligible for season seats for 2016-17 is Friday, April 22.

The Oilers will also continue to offer Power Packs and individual game tickets. Details on those will be announced in the coming months.

READ MORE: Fans make noise in stands, on social media for last Oilers game at Rexall Place

On Wednesday night the Oilers played their final game at Rexall Place and afterwards held a big bash to say goodbye to one of Canada’s most famous hockey rinks.

A long farewell ceremony followed the game, as generations of Oilers players had their names announced on the PA system as they walked out to centre ice at Rexall for one last time.

Former and current Edmonton Oilers players gather at centre ice for the farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Wayne Gretzky waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Wayne Gretzky waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Wayne Gretzky waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Wayne Gretzky looks to the fans as he takes part in the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

Former player Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Mark Messier waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Ryan Smyth waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Ryan Smyth waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Current player Connor McDavid walks out during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016. T

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Jari Kurri waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Georges Laraque waves to the crowd during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Marty McSorley walks out during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Edmonton Oilers alumni salute the crowd during a farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Wayne Gretzky watches a video of days pass during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Ryan Smyth reacts during an interview during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Former player Wayne Gretzky is interviewed during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Current Oilers player Connor McDavid takes in the festivities during the Edmonton Oilers farewell ceremony at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Walter Gretzky is honoured during the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers NHL game at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

A fan shows his support as he watches the final game at Rexall Place as the Vancouver Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Fans shows their support as he watches the final game at Rexall Place as the Vancouver Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

A fan shows his support as he watches the final game at Rexall Place as the Vancouver Canucks play the Edmonton Oilers during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

To see how construction is coming along at Rogers Place, several team members and their families got a tour of the new facility earlier this week.

“The way that locker room is set up, the dressing room itself, where our equipment is going to be, they did a great job. Definitely they had some good things in mind,” said left winger Matt Hendricks. His parents drove all the way up from Minnesota to take the tour with him. ”

Last month construction crews poured the concrete slab that will sit under the ice surface and began installing seats.

“It’s crazy. It’s hard to imagine how massive this is,” gushed defenceman Oscar Klefbom.

“You get really excited to come in here and start playing. It looks really, really good.”

Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Andrew Ference and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were among the dozens of people also on the tour.

READ MORE: Where does Rogers Place construction stand 6 months ahead of opening day?

The team also checked out the 1000-seat community rink attached to the arena, which the Oilers will be able to rent for practice when the arena is not available.

GALLERY: Edmonton Oilers tour Rogers Place construction site

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

Several Edmonton Oilers members and their families got a tour of the Rogers Place construction site on Monday, April 4, 2016.

Credit: Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers

For more pictures of the team tour, click here.

With files from Caley Ramsay, Phil Heidenreich and Emily Mertz, Global News

Follow @KarenBartko

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Clinton, Sanders clash over who’s qualified to be president

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NEW YORK – The race for the Democratic nomination took a negative turn, with front-runner Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders exchanging criticism over each other’s qualifications for the presidency.

In press conferences, the rivals addressed the accusations, with Sanders vowing to fight back.

“This is not the type of politics that I wanna get in,” he told journalists in Philadelphia. “But we’ll get used to it fast. I’m not gonna get beat up. I’m not gonna get lied about.”

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Clinton, campaigning in New York City, sought to shift attention back to her Republican opponents, saying: “I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time, so let’s keep our eye over what’s at stake in this election.”

READ MORE: Obama embracing his role as the anti-Trump

It was a notable shift in tone for a primary contest that has remained largely civil. As the race moves toward the New York primary on April 19, the stakes are higher for both campaigns. Sanders’ recent string of victories is complicating Clinton’s efforts to march toward the general election in November.

Sanders told a crowd in Philadelphia on Wednesday that Clinton has been saying that he’s “not qualified to be president.”

“I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds,” he said, referring to a political action committee.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders backs off on Clinton not qualified as president comments. Brian Mooar reports.

Clinton earlier in the day questioned Sanders’ truthfulness and policy expertise.

In a discussion of Sanders in an interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News, Clinton was asked if “Bernie Sanders is qualified and ready to be president of the United States.”

She responded, “Well, I think he hadn’t done his homework, and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions.”

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Despite her sizable delegate lead, a loss in the New York contest would be a major political blow for Clinton that would highlight her weaknesses within her own party, particularly with younger voters who’ve supported Sanders primary bid.

A former New York senator, she’s been touting her work in Congress for the state, highlighting her economic record during visits to struggling cities.

On Thursday, she took a quick trip on the New York City subway. The photo op was aimed at Sanders, who told the New York Daily News in an interview this week that New Yorkers still used tokens to pay for the train. The system switched over to pre-paid MetroCards in 2003.

A Brooklyn native, Sanders left New York for Vermont in 1968. Still, he’s cast himself as a native son of the state.

He sees the New York contest as a springboard into primaries out West and a chance to close his more than 250-delegate gap with Clinton.

The Vermont senator must win 68 per cent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted super delegates if he hopes to clinch the Democratic nomination. That would require huge victories by Sanders in upcoming states big and small, including New York.

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Whack reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press writer Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

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