More Albertans are getting in trouble financially. And now they’re saying they regret their routine use of credit cards for such routine purchases as coffee.
The number of consumer insolvency proposals was up 20 per cent from April to June, officials say, compared with the same period a year ago. For the 12-month period ending in June, the number of insolvency filings was up five per cent year over year.
And many more Albertans are dangerously close to being unable to pay their bills, credit observers say.
“Most people don’t track what they’re spending every month,” says Randy Kobbert, a licensed insolvency trustee with MNP Debt in Lethbridge.
So trustees like Kobbert are seeing people who’ve realized, too late, that their spending habits were not sustainable.
A recent Ipsos survey, conducted for MNP, showed 50 per cent of Albertans who responded were not confident they could meet all their living expenses over the next 12 months without going further into debt.
More than 45 per cent said they’re concerned about the amount of debt they’re currently facing. And 70 per cent admitted they regret the debt they’ve taken on through random shopping or daily coffee stops.
Climb honours first responders
Commemorating the lives of the first responders who were taken in the 9/11 terrorist attack 17 years ago, Lethbridge Fire Services along with many other participants climbed the length of the 110 stories of the Twin Towers Sunday in honour of those lost in the line of duty. Around 100 firefighters, EMS, police officers, dispatchers and participants geared up in fire-safety equipment, to run the length and understand what the first responders went through.
“When we first started, it happened to be the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we thought that we should do something just so that we don’t forget that day,” says firefighter Mark Matheson. “A lot of people on the job today don’t have much of a memory of that day because it has been 17 years, so it is a great way to come together so that we can honour those people.”
Throughout Sunday, teams made their way up and around through 10 laps of the Lethbridge Center Tower to challenge their endurance on any level the participants wanted. Over the last couple years the event has grown in support and has become sold out for the number of participants.
Lethbridge hosts ALS walk
People from around southern Alberta gathered at Henderson Lake Saturday morning to bring awareness and raise money for medical research for a disease that affects thousands of people across Canada.
The ALS Society of Alberta hosts 11 walks across the province every year, with Lethbridge being one of the larger walks, drawing more than 200 people to the event. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that attacks the nerves in the body responsible for sending messages to the brain. As the disease takes over, the body begins to weaken until eventually it loses the ability to swallow and breathe.
“For us this one of the bigger fundraisers that we do,” says Karen Caughey, executive director of ALS Society of Alberta. “The walk draws people from everywhere, they come from Edmonton, Cranbrook and all over southern Alberta. It is a family focused event and surrounding each family with support is a big focus for us.”
Every day in Canada, around three people will be diagnosed with ALS and will have a life expectancy of two to five years in the early stages of diagnoses. The average cost for a family to support someone with ALS is between $150,000-$250,000 making it not only hard for the people suffering with the disease, but also difficult for the families supporting their afflicted loved ones.
Awards for U of L researchers
Two researchers at the University of Lethbridge won Parkland Institute awards for their research projects on the use of gallows humour in the Kainai, and one on midwifery care in Alberta.
Amberlea Parker, a graduate student, plans to develop an oral history of gallows humour among the Kainai people, while Tiffany Boulton, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology, will examine access to midwifery care in Alberta.
Parker, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Cultural, Social and Political Thoughts, plans to talk with Kainai Elders and younger generation in their 20s and 30s about gallows humour. Gallows humour can be defined as grim and ironic humour used in desperate or hopeless situations.