Beaver benefits

May 23, 2023

Camrose is a wonderful small city in which to live. It is small enough that one can easily walk from the outskirts to the town core. The natural areas along Camrose Creek are beautiful including Mirror Lake that, although not formed naturally, has existed long enough that nature has taken over.

In addition, the creek valley extends down to join up with the Battle River, giving those with a bent for more strenuous hiking and skiing a great opportunity. At one time, there was even a small ski tow along the valley bank, as the bank is high enough above the creek to allow this. The trail extends through almost a wilderness, all the way to the river. We can thank the Ski Club for building and maintaining these trails.

Unfortunately, the City administration does not appreciate how wonderful it is to have these natural areas right in town. A few years back, there existed a beautiful little beaver pond on which one could observe the growth and maturity of a mother goose’s brood.

Tragically, the City thoughtlessly decided beavers are pests that should be eradicated. I couldn’t bear to ever again walk that trail, having to observe the dried up creek, the backhoe remains of the dam and the thought of how cruel and thoughtless it was to trap and kill the innocent beavers.

Fortunately, I found another little trail, the Bulrush Trail. We watched as the summer progressed, the leaves of the many varieties of bushes emerging, the blossoms and berries. The creek winds though a swampy area where fresh cattails develop all summer, eventually to observe the tidy seed bunches giving the plant its name.

Then, excitedly, we began to notice the level of the water was rising a little each day. We explored down stream and found a small beaver dam. Next, we met this guy driving his truck on the trail. Inquiring, we found that the City had hired him to trap the beavers.

I phoned, but never received a reply. Later, we observed the water still rising a little. The beavers had built a house and were collecting little branches they store under the water for their winter food supply. Wonderful, the trapper had relented and didn’t kill our beavers. This spring, beaver activity did not appear right away and I was concerned that they had not survived the winter. But joy, the dam is being raised and there are fresh cuttings of small poplars.

Then horrors, the trap warning signs are up again. I will never walk this trail again until I hear that the City has stopped this cruel and thoughtless destruction of nature, found unfortunately so commonly among humans.

Arnold Baker, Camrose


Keep safe

May 23, 2023

When I was two years old, I ran into the path of a riding lawn mower and lost my right leg below the knee. It all happened so fast: one moment, I was playing outside and the next, I was too close to the mower.

Having grown up as part of the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program, I am now committed to spreading the association’s PLAYSAFE message. With lawn cutting season upon us, I want everyone to know that kids should not ride, operate or play near lawn mowers.

Though I’ve learned to accept and appreciate who I am today, I want to use my experience to help prevent others from going through what I did. Make sure children are always at a safe distance from lawn mowers. And don’t underestimate the importance of safety when operating any machinery. I urge you to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you.

If you would like to learn more about how to play safely and hear stories from other young amputees like me who have lost limbs in accidents, visit

Jarod Murray,
Vanessa, Ontario

Water bills

May 23, 2023

There are all sorts of instances of what tenants can and will do when not paying for their own bills. I would like to make everyone aware that as landlords, we are trying to provide a service to the community in providing accommodations for people who need to rent.

Water bills are a very big part of our ongoing problems in doing our business. All tenants should pay all their own utilities as part of living, it  would create a more responsible attitude towards leaving things running, turning off lights and towards life and their own well-being.

We all agree the City of Camrose should hold a deposit re: water bills and when the bill is too high, they notify and disconnect. A fairly hefty deposit has been installed, all other utilities do and they seem to survive. Also on accounts that are questionable, the City could introduce a double billing system for tenants and landlords, so all are aware of risk to both landlord and City as to tenants intentions. The $324 deposit now held by the City should be a large enough amount to realize recovery when a tenant is delinquent if everyone is notified accordingly.

If and when we as landlords try to control or inquire about supposed utilities not being hooked up or disconnected, we cannot do so due to privacy laws even on our own properties; heat in winter, excessive water bills due to a broken tap, running toilet that would be nice to fix.

With the constant increase in taxes from the City, higher insurance costs and higher interest rates on mortgages, large water bills as they seem to go up all the time, we are probably going to go out of business, which will put a larger strain on the city to provide housing in Camrose in the near future.

It will put a larger strain on the City to provide affordable housing. It seems as landlords we are balked, penalized and blamed for everything. And if all else fails, the City wants to add to it by having landlords do the collecting for them. The City is running a business, same as us. We do our own collecting. Although the onus could be on landlords in the future to inform the City of tenants walking out on rent, moving without notice, etc. so bills can be stopped. I have found that we get charged the full amount even when a house is empty and have notified the City (no water used, no garbage pickup or anything from the house).

When a tenant does not pay rent and has not moved, it takes up to three months to remove them through the system. The house could be filthy, damaged and repairs of $6,000 and up to fix, means another month of down time.

Carol Kostawich,

Booster Banter

April 25, 2023

Most of us will agree that the last three years have been very difficult. During these many months, I have appreciated the effort made by The Booster to bring a grin and a giggle into the gloom.
“Booster Banter” has been such good fun. Also excellent has been the annual April Fool’s articles–very clever.

It bothers me to hear of people complaining because they were caught by the joke because they apparently did not read the entire article–their fault, not The Booster’s.

Maybe the issue goes deeper. It appears to me that people everywhere are in a mood to complain. There are demonstrators everywhere. Maybe we are all in a “crabby” mood. We need some humour to “lighten us up.”

With the comment by Emily Gillespie (April 18) that the April Fool’s article about a new hospital being taken seriously should not cause criticism of The Booster. First of all, read the whole article, realize that a new hospital would take five to eight years to finish. This is not a “quick fix.” It is time to appreciate a good joke for what it is.

Camrose Booster, I hope you will continue to be an integral part of our fine City of Camrose. I’m already looking forward to April 1, 2024.

Lyle Erga,

Downtown shock

April 25, 2023

It was with shock, disappointment, and sadness that we read about the disestablishment of the Downtown Camrose Business Improvement Area, once known as City Center Camrose, with less than half of the eligible businesses taking part in the vote.

The major mandates of the organization were to beautify and promote the downtown businesses. Much hard work by many volunteers from engaged and caring business owners was instrumental in creating the downtown as a vibrant, pleasant and exciting destination to shop and enjoy.

Because of the downtown association, we organized many events, such as Midnight Madness, Founders Days, Farmers’ Market, garage sales, Scandinavian Supper, Santa Claus Parade and more. Beautification projects included the planters throughout the downtown, the ones on Main Street with the unique rosemaling patterns commissioned by City Center. Other projects were the garbage containers, lights on the trees, and the historic information kiosks, all to promote our unique downtown.

The City Center board lobbied City council on behalf of downtown businesses on numerous occasions to present concerns and recommendations. City Center initiated meetings that resulted in the creation of Tourism Camrose.

City Center submitted the application and proposal, supported by City council, to the province for Camrose to be accepted into the Alberta Main Street Programme. Over the next decade the Camrose Main Street Project developed economic development strategies for the downtown and supported the restorations and improvements of 16 buildings.

The organization greatly enhanced the area, its businesses and was a strong united voice for not just the downtown, but for the City of Camrose.

It is a very sad day for Downtown Camrose.

Janice DePaoli, former downtown business owner,
Robert Earley, former City Center Camrose manager


Road illumination

April 25, 2023

I read Murray Green’s article “Address headlight glare to help your vision” with interest since over my lifetime, I have driven three million kilometres, a significant portion, at night. I found that in the early days, nighttime driving was quite pleasant, even if there was significant traffic. The first car I drove was my dad’s 1936 Chevy, which was equipped with sealed beam lights, which were incredibly good compared to the lights on his Ford Model T, probably because on the T, it was difficult to keep the reflectors clean and rust free.

I remember at night, on high beam, the trees, the fields off to the side and the distant road were illuminated very satisfactorily. Naturally, if we met traffic, the lights were dimmed by a little push switch on the floor. The dimmer light was designed and adjusted to prevent light from shining on the left side of the road, that angled down, and to the right, preventing glare in the eyes of the oncoming driver. The car dealers checked the adjustment of the lights on the new cars with a screen that every service business used. The factories didn’t waste time adjusting lights on the assembly line. The transport department was responsible for auto safety, so they often sent technicians out and, using a roadside screen, checked that lights were adjusted properly and made sure no bulbs had burned out.

The only problem with auto lights now is that the department of transport takes no responsibility for checking the directional adjustment.
Arnold Baker, Camrose 

Downtown vote

April 18, 2023

Thinking back on my life to when I was young and stupid, just about to the age of 48 years, I would always get my back up and retaliate when wrongs were cast upon me, then I grew up, well mostly, and I realize there are other ways to view life.

This brings me to the recent vote of the Downtown Business Association issue. I was encouraged to vote since I am within the boundaries. I thought about how passionate people are to want to keep the Association running and also on the other side. People were very passionate about ending this relationship for whatever reasons they felt were valid. Whichever way you saw this issue, this event brought to light that people loved their downtown and wanted things to be better.

The voting event took place and the decision was to end the Association. Now some people would view this as business–simply business.  And, of course, some people are hurt and/or disappointed. And, of course, some people will be relieved. Again, maybe that is just life.

But the people who ran the Association decided to take this to a different level.  A retaliatory level. All of the lights on 50th Street were removed. Okay fine, if that is what you thought was the thing to do. But those lights did not belong to you.  They belonged to all of the businesses that paid for those lights over the years. Your group had absolutely no right to remove them.

Looking at this from a patron as opposed to a business owner, when we first came to Camrose, the lights were the first thing we commented on. Away from the west end shopping district was a little gem of an area that took the time to dress up and look spiffy for it’s customers downtown. Now I see it as a wound.
This takes me back to my younger years, the voters were retaliated against for saying something.

Does anyone else feel the same? Does anyone else care?
I feel there still could be something good downtown if businesses pulled together, maybe under a different model.

Think about it. This is your city too.

Jeff Janisse,

Refugee Centre

April 18, 2023

It is over a year since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine began. Bombardment, destruction and death continue. No one knows when this terrible war will end. Millions of Ukrainians have fled for their lives to other countries, including Canada. Approximately 60 Ukrainians have been welcomed into our Camrose and area community and more are wanting to come. Can we welcome these additional newcomers with the same hospitality and generosity that we offered to those who joined our community in the first year? That is the question that Camrose Refugee Centre is struggling to address.

During the past year we have appealed to our community for support and the response has been generous beyond our expectations. But, now the numbers of fleeing Ukrainians and their need is so much greater than we contemplated. How can we provide additional help to some of our Ukrainian friends who are already here, can’t find employment, and don’t have money to pay the rent, etc.? What kind of financial support can we offer to those who are still wanting to come to Camrose to begin their life in a new country?

So far, our community has donated over $105,000 to the Camrose Refugee Centre for the purpose of assisting Ukrainian newcomers in their orientation and settling-in process. Of this amount we have provided $85,000 to approximately 60 Ukrainians now living in Camrose and area for assistance with airfare, apartment rental, food allowance and other special needs. This amount, though small, was graciously received and was critical in the settling-in period. Most have found employment, but some are still looking for work and need further support. We think that the remaining $20,000 will be needed for those already here.

The Camrose Refugee Centre is committed to helping all refugees in our community. Because Ukrainian newcomers are technically not “refugees” and do not qualify for the support that sponsored refugees normally receive, they experience additional financial hardships and therefore are in greater need of our support. Our help will depend on what resources the community provides. Specifically, we are appealing to our generous community for the following: financial donations (tax receipts available); in-kind donations–gently-used furniture, bicycles, cars; donations of time–assisting with transportation, English teaching and child care.

On behalf of the Camrose Refugee Centre board and all our newcomers who are the recipients of your kindness and generosity.

Erhard Pinno, Camrose

April’s Fools

April 18, 2023

I am writing in response to the April’s Fools Day article. I read the “apology” in this week’s paper, but it sounded more like a defensive article to justify what you did rather than an actual apology. You stated in the article that people who have been waiting for surgeries will be able to get them sooner and that it would draw more doctors here. Currently, there is over a year’s wait list to get a family doctor, so why would you think it is funny to write an article that actually brings people hope for local access to healthcare services?

The front page photo showed someone doing the land survey, etc., which is a far cry from the photo you posted in other years of dandelions in Jubilee Park.

For people who didn’t read the full article, they may have seen the front page and immediately thought that we are finally getting better healthcare services. I have spoken to many people and they all have said, “Did you hear we are getting a new hospital?”  We have told them that it was an April’s Fools Joke and every single person has had an angry response.

I feel you have negatively impacted so many people, especially those who are medical professionals and also those who have been waiting a long time to receive access to healthcare services. Health isn’t something to joke around about. We are all very disappointed and upset about this article and it seems that you feel it was justified and that people should’ve somehow known it was an April Fool’s Joke. Jokes are meant to be funny and this was not funny in any way, shape, or form.

Submitted by Emily Gillespie, Camrose

Funny story

April 11, 2023

Thank you for the wonderful “April Fool’s” article in the March 28 paper. It was funny from start to finish. I am sure that the staff at The Booster put long hours into this article to provide readers with a great story.

It is really unfortunate that there were some individuals who could not or would not appreciate the humour that was intended. I have talked to several people about the article, including those who were fooled (to begin with) and not one reacted negatively. We all thought it was done with “tongue in cheek” and only for entertainment. The acronyms were great! Thanks again for another good April Fool’s and hope you have another great one next year.

Penny Fox,

Mixed emotion

April 11, 2023

Yesterday, I read your letter “April Fool’s” with a mixture of emotion.

It was masterfully done, as you explained that the hospital story was intended to cause laughter, which it did for me and, I am certain, for a great many of your readers. I consider myself to be “very slow on the uptake”, yet it was quite obvious that the story was in jest. Further, it had a number of creative witticisms within it which gave me more amusement. (Indeed, April Fool’s is, itself, very witty.)

I am disappointed, but not surprised, at the vehemence which was directed at The Booster. Lashing out at anyone who is perceived to have a differing thought process appears to be increasingly popular. We need to respect others’ opinions and comments, and should we disagree in some fashion with them, have the class to say plainly and simply that we do not and will not agree with that individual. And put our name to our opinion.

The English language has a horizon of words which can get the point across without belligerence, anger, crudity or rudeness.
I feel bad that you Booster folks had to receive such treatment for an effort meant to make people laugh and hope that you all will put the invective where it belongs–in the garbage.

In the meantime, I look forward to each edition of The Booster.

Best wishes.

Don Gregorwich,
Leamington, Ontario

Laughter welcome

April 11, 2023

Kudos to The Booster and staff with respect to the levity and laughter provided by your ongoing “April Fool’s” stories. Year after year, the comedic relief this world so sorely lacks is provided by these stories.

As print media continues to be attacked, there will no doubt be more of the keyboard or phone warriors who call in and hide behind anonymity to make a complaint. I, for one, want to be as clear and concise as possible. I wholeheartedly support and encourage print media and tip my hat to the good work that on-the-ground journalists do–whether that be on-the-ground factual reporting we continue to need as a society or providing a good laugh with stories such as this. As we move forward and print media continues to be attacked from all sides, I want it to be known that I read Mr. Fowler’s good words in the April 4 edition and I am taking this chance to offer my “constructive criticism” in the Letters to the Editor column.

Hear this–those who choose to attack without substance might as well say nothing at all since they’ve offered nothing to consider. I, for one, found the story quite amusing in the moment of innocent laughter I experienced and it brought levity to the ongoing world we live in. In particular, I enjoyed that helium was escaping from a spy balloon. Kudos, and keep on keeping on.

From one grateful reader to a wonderful staff.

Brent H. Thygesen,


New hospital

April 11, 2023

Telling us all we are getting a new hospital and then letting us know it was April Fool’s joke was extremely upsetting. I’m getting up there in age and was thrilled to hear about the new hospital, which helped our decision to stay living here. Shame on you.

Barb Goodwin,

Loved joke

I loved your front page article about the new hospital for Camrose (April Fool’s joke). Those who read the whole article would soon realize that this was real fake news.

I wonder how many people read only the headlines and jump to the wrong conclusion. How gullible can one be.

Name withheld
upon request

Light bulb

April 11, 2023

I have enjoyed The Booster's April Fool's story for years.
I’m usually half way through the story when the light bulb comes on and I chuckle to myself.

The acronyms are typically a great hint and crack me up.
Cheers to The Booster team and thanks for keeping us laughing.

Kevin Gurr,

April Fool’s

April 4, 2023

Be assured. Camrose is not on the verge of landing a new hospital, let alone one that is dedicated to the exclusive use of the judicial system for the Province of Alberta.

Frankly, we thought the story that was prominently featured on/in last week’s issue of The Camrose Booster (and which was full of what we perceived would be obvious misinformation from start to finish)  was clearly for entertainment purposes only. Laughter, after all, is supposed to be good for the soul. But, based on half a dozen calls and emails to our office following last week’s April Fool’s spoof, a longstanding tradition in our weekly publication on the last Tuesday before April Fool’s Day, some readers clearly found our joke neither funny nor even remotely appropriate.

A universal theme among those who expressed displeasure, or anger, at this year’s April Fool’s week lark was that personnel in the medical community were significantly negatively improperly burdened and adversely impacted by the words. One of the individuals who relayed their personal comments, correctly and eloquently noted that those incarcerated for crime should not be the brunt of any level of joking. A key worry for her was the mention of a potential violent force scenario, as outlined in the fictitious story.  One caller summarized her thoughts by saying, “I guess you just can’t fix stupid” before angrily ending the phone call. Each of these contacts implied that they were not just speaking for themselves, but many others in their profession, social circle, or the community at large. Even though we made this “letters to the editor” column available to almost all of those who submitted their constructive criticism, our offer drew no submissions.

To any and all people who found this year’s joke distasteful, too believable, disturbing, or out of bounds in any way, we offer our apology. Our sole intent was levity, reader amusement and a moment of innocent foolishness in a tense and troubled world.
Blain Fowler,
Booster publisher

Great News

April 4, 2023

A great front page story. What great news for Camrose–a new hospital and such an innovative use for St. Mary’s. I particularly liked the part about how the east wall of the “bowl” will absorb gunshots.

From way down east in Leamington, Ontario, we (Joan and I) salute you all for your talent and imagination. Good going.
Joan and Don Gregorwich,
Leamington, Ontario

Senior smoking

April 4, 2023

On September 17, I moved into an apartment building that I was told by the previous landlord was a non-smoking, clean, quiet building with good tenants, however, upon moving in and previously fulfilling a one-year lease agreement with a good reference letter, I realized it was not a non-smoking rental property.

A senior citizen who has lived in the building since roughly 2012, was smoking in the building and lighting cigarettes in the lobby, right in front of the non-smoking sign on the door. After talking to another tenant who told me this had been going on for a long time, I decided to talk to the landlord.

In doing so, not only did the smoking not stop, but the senior citizen started retaliating by complaining to all the other tenants about me saying I was “controlling how everyone lives, which window sill the stick that holds the door open was in and how many newspapers were in the recycling box.”

I know this because I eavesdropped on her conversation outside the tenant’s doors. The smoking rule was expanded to 10 metres from the building after marijuana became legal, but the senior citizen continued to smoke in the building.

I was then accused of “elder abuse” by her and her friend. This friend helps the senior citizen and she even went as far as threatening me. The senior citizen broke her hip and was required to use a walker and the smoking escalated and continued daily from her apartment.

Finally, after the building was sold in February 2022, the new landlord was sent a letter by me explaining the blatant disrespect of the smoking rule. Even the friend who helps the senior citizen told her “senior citizens have more rights than everyone else and that I’m guilty of elder abuse.”

I had a chat with the fire department, health, building inspectors as well as the landlord tenant act. Every tenant is under the same rules. It doesn’t matter how old you are. The current landlord forced the senior to sign a letter or move out. This behaviour finally stopped roughly around June 2022. Before I moved in the building, my father had just passed away from lung cancer. So, in the end the rules apply equally to everyone and senior citizens do not have more rights than everyone else.
Michael Smith,

Election budget

March 7, 2023

The recent pre-election budget makes no sense in several areas which indicate some ministers do not fully understand their portfolios or their relationship with Ottawa.

According to a recent report released by the Fraser Institute, Alberta ranks near the bottom of all provinces in terms of dollars spent per student on K-12 public education. The “proposed” budget increase will not even raise Alberta to the Canadian average.

More smoke and mirrors from this government?

In addition, how will the educational system be able to accommodate a substantive population increase as predicted by Alberta Finance Minister Toews?

The grant of $125 million for Grant MacEwen University for a new building to expand its business programming makes absolutely no sense. Advanced Education already provides funding to business programs in Edmonton (certificates, diplomas and degrees complete with articulation agreements) at The King’s University, the University of Alberta, Concordia University College, NorQuest College, Grant MacEwan University and NAIT. All these institutions have excess capacity and enrollments are undersubscribed. Private colleges like CDI and Reeves College also offer business programming.

Alberta’s postsecondary system is grossly overbuilt; three times the capacity of Ontario on a per capita basis (at huge cost to taxpayers). Added to the insult is the fact that postsecondary participation rates in Alberta are low compared to other provinces. If Advanced Education minister Nicolaides understood his portfolio, he would realize that business programming needs to be rationalized, not expanded.

Why is Alberta financing an Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee, a sinecure committee that has no official mandate when federal firearms regulations are the responsibility of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee?

The CFAC is a broad cross section of communities…medical, legal, policing, outdoor enthusiasts, shooting sports, educators, and members of the community at large. Public Safety minister Blaney under PM Harper overruled every recommendation by the RCMP to ban selected assault rifles.

Ask your local MLA for answers…you deserve them.

Lynn Clark,

Population growth

February 28, 2023

What is exponential growth? Why does it matter? Anything that doubles in a limited period is exponential and grows to infinity over time.

Proto humans have been around for at least one million years.  Modern humans between 50 and 100,000 years. By about 1804, human populations in the world had grown to about one billion. It took 123 years to grow to 2B (1927), 46 years to double to 4B (1973), 26 years to add another 2B (1999) and 24 years to add another 2B (2022).

Do you think we can add another 2B by 2050? I don’t, but I won’t be around! What will be here is what our business elites were told at the recent DAVOS conference is a worsening of what they called a “polycrises” (multiple crises stacked on each other). Storms, heat waves, rising sea levels and other “natural” disasters will increase. On the positive side, human population may now be in the decline and could possibly fall by half by 2100.That’s in the lifetime of many who are now alive.  No matter what we do, it is likely that we will still be using substantial amounts of fossil fuels in 2050.
Is there any reasonable hope for the survival of life or mankind? Most species that have ever existed have gone extinct. There is always hope as long as we do not rely on the drug “hopium” (expecting someone else to fix it).

Individual humans can be incredibly stupid and ignorant as our history shows us, but as a social species, working together, history shows that we can almost do the impossible. Our species relies on, perhaps, one to five per cent of the population to find solutions to our problems, and the rest of us only need to copy what these geniuses have given us.

There are over 8B of us now. About 95 per cent of all scientists who have ever lived are living and working now. There are vastly more educated humans than ever in history. We still have the resources we need to fix our problems. The big problem we face, I suggest, is the anti-intellectualism and distrust of educated elites, some of it well deserved, especially among our political and religious elites.Being governed by leaders who seem to be psychopaths or sociopaths elected by too many people who believe in magic solutions has not helped.

Harry Gaede,

Casino funds

February 28, 2023

Does your organization depend on the Camrose Resort Casino for fundraising? Does your organization get a donation from one of these organizations? If you answered yes to either of these questions, it is time to write letters to Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and politicians again.

The casino ownership group recognizes that the casino tables are not financially sustainable in Camrose. This is something charitable groups understand–less than $1,000 of their $20,000 event proceeds are based on table play, the balance is slot play aided by pooling with St. Albert. The casino operator receives the same dollars to provide staff, space,  utilities, etc.

They submitted a Relocation Plan to AGLC wherein they would build a new casino in South Edmonton to accommodate the 650 charities they host in a bigger, more productive venue. Rezoning and a development permit were approved with no appeals. They have a plan to reuse the existing casino space as a viable asset in Camrose.

However, as soon as the Edmonton mayor, councillors and community leagues trotted out the ‘they will take money out of our pocket’ argument, AGLC denied the relocation. AGLC says they did not hear community support for the application. So, if this matters to you, let AGLC know. An appeal will be heard by AGLC on March 13th. It needs to be successful.

If the appeal is denied, it is likely the Camrose Resort Casino will close. Where do the 650 rural community groups go then–they are barred by regulation from Edmonton casinos, so is it St. Albert and the two casinos in Red Deer? The wait time between events there is already about three years, adding another 200 plus groups to each push it over four years.

Let AGLC know at before March 13 that you support the relocation of the Camrose Resort Casino to South Edmonton. Learn more at
Lou and Morris Henderson,


February 21, 2023

What is happening to our Universities in Alberta and across Canada?

In recent weeks, we have witnessed political interference at the Athabasca University, coupled with the firing of professor Widdowson Mount Royal University following the publication of a book. Next, the University of Lethbridge administrators abdicated their long-standing role as the champion of free speech.

The U of L yielded to a mob of protestors, fueled by social media, who resorted to disruption, bullying, intimidation and name calling, to deny a venue for the presentation of open dialogue. How can protesters label hate speech and racism in advance of the event taking place?

 These actions coupled with objective articles in the National Post lead us to pose a very serious question…what is happening to free speech in our universities across Canada?

Universities have always been viewed as the inner bastion of free speech, healthy and respectful dialogue, exposure to diverse ideas and the champion of critical thinking; It is a sad day when university administrators “yield” to a vocal minority who censor free speech under the guise that it doesn’t “fit their current narrative.” Dialogue promotes critical thinking whereas suppressing free speech undermines critical thinking and is the by product or social media bots and trolls spreading mis/dys information.

A serious consequence associated with continual haranguing by vested interest groups is the potential backlash that will prove to be further divisive.

A 2019 paper published in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, examined diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies at all our major universities. DEI pledges are often mandatory/prescribed for recruiting future professors, scientists, aspiring department chairs, and the like.

I would argue that the vast majority of our population does not care about one’s phenotype, genotype, race, religion, creed, ethnicity, sexual identity or sexual persuasion. So why is it such an issue in Canada at all levels of our educational system? And why does it occupy so much time in our media?

Universities are funded by the public to educate the next generation through the pursuit of excellence, critical thinking and exposure to diverse ideas. Ideological screening as part of the hiring process coupled with weak administrators will subvert universities’ goals.

Cancel culture, wokeism, political correctness or whatever label one wishes to use have us perched precariously at the top of a very slippery slope.

Lynn Clark,

Good idea

February 21, 2023

I see in the January 31st Camrose Booster that the Camrose Wild Rose Dance Club closed and donated the leftover funds to the Food Bank. What a great idea for other clubs that are folding up to do the same.

Rose Cottingham,

Heavy fog

January 24, 2023

Over the past week, most of our area has been hit by heavy fog that made driving at times very dangerous.

I live outside of town and have had more than one white knuckle ride coming into town. I am constantly amazed at the number of people who seem to either be not aware or do not care that when they drive with just their daytime driving lights on, their tail lights do not come on.

Anyone approaching them from behind cannot see their vehicle in the fog. You must physically turn your headlights on in order for your tail lights to be working during the day. You cannot rely on your car to automatically turn them on for you. We have become lazy and out of touch as our vehicles do more and more for us. For the sake of your life and mine, turn your headlights on during a heavy fog.

Thank you.

 Darlene Anderson, Rosalind

Doctor shortage

January 17, 2023

I listened with great interest to Premier Danielle Smith’s comments on radio during a call in show Saturday, January 7, regarding the issues around a shortage of family doctors in our province.

She indicated one of her next big goals is making sure everyone has a family doctor, it’s something you keep hearing over and over again and it’s a one of her big priorities to address that. Well, Premier Smith, the solution is right before our very eyes–nurse practitioners.

During my run for the UCP Camrose nomination last summer, I heard over and over and over again concerns from Camrose constituents about our healthcare system. I led the way in pushing to enhance the role of nurse practitioners in Alberta, releasing it as a key part of my platform on July 17th:  “While many residents aren’t able to find a family doctor around Alberta, nurse practitioners may be one avenue to supplement the care Albertans receive.” I believe the Alberta Government needs to fund independent practices for NPs to allow the profession greater autonomy. I was glad to see that shortly after my announcement, MLA Jackie Lovely followed my lead by sending a letter to the minister of health seeking to increase the role of nurse practitioners.

In my role as Reeve of Beaver County, I was also proud to support a resolution at our RMA Conference in November, to establish a salary-based funding model that will fairly and equitably compensate nurse practitioners for work in local care facilities and independent clinics. That resolution received overwhelming support.

Premier Smith, as you look to resolve the issue around a shortage of family doctors in our province, enhancing the role of nurse practitioners is worth serious consideration.

Kevin Smook,
Beaver County

Doctor shortage

January 10, 2023

In response to the December 27, 2022, Camrose Booster article written by Murray Green regarding Canada not addressing the doctor shortage, I am pleased to provide the following information with respect to the College of Physician of Surgeons of Alberta’s (CPSA) announcement to accelerate registration of internationally trained physicians.

In the fall of 2022, CPSA council approved a five-year pilot project to implement an additional route to registration for international medical graduates (IMGs) trained in certain jurisdictions. The goal of the pilot is to evaluate whether certain IMGs may begin independently practicing in their identified communities faster, while still ensuring patient safety is the top priority.

The new pilot will waive the first three months of the CPSA practice readiness assessment requirement for IMGs that have comparable training to that obtained in Canadian universities. Other requirements, such as clinical review exams, will also be waived for those eligible for the pilot program.

The second part of the practice readiness assessment–that being a three-month supervised practice assessment–where the individual is working independently in the community and providing medical services to Albertans remains. Enhanced assessments and practice reviews will take place once the physician has successfully completed the supervised practice assessment to ensure patients are receiving safe, high-quality care.

At present, Alberta remains a leader across Canada with respect to the highest number of practice readiness assessments completed per year. However, Council recognizes the important role CPSA plays in building and retaining an overall healthy, healthcare workforce and have requested that the organization continue to explore opportunities with key stakeholders and community partners that help attract and retain physicians to the province, while remaining aligned with CPSA’s mandate to protect the public.

While I appreciate this change in and of itself cannot fix the shortage of physicians in Alberta, I believe this is a step in the right direction. Two significant barriers to recruitment that we encountered during my time as Camrose PCN executive director were related to part one of the practice readiness assessment.
Specifically, IMGs were required to complete part one of the assessment in a medical practice outside of their sponsored community and IMGs were unable to be remunerated for the provision of medical services to Albertans during this time.
In closing, I wish to acknowledge and thank the physicians currently practicing in Camrose and surrounding area.

It is a privilege to serve.

Stacey L. Strilchuk, chair, CPSA Council


Health care

January 3, 2023

Our news media strives to make us believe that our healthcare system is in utter chaos; not so, based upon my recent personal experiences with Alberta Health Services (AHS).

If only our politicians could leave the medical community to manage its own affairs without interference and openly advocate for science based best practices we would move forward; I cannot understand why Premier Danielle Smith’s priority to protect the rights of a minority of anti-vaxxers/maskers takes precedence over the majority of conscientious citizenry who embrace medical science, who comply with best practices of getting vaccinated, wear masks and comply with standard protocols to reduce the threat of respiratory viruses (flu, Covid, CSV). Doesn’t she realize that her stance has been the direct cause of overloading our emergency departments and backing up elective surgeries?

A recent article in the Edmonton Journal cites multiple instances of how our health care system has been subject to extraordinary political interference over the past 15 years. Health boards reorganized, decentralized, consolidated, downsized, mass resignations, mass firings, political appointments but to name a few. All with the thinly disguised intent of developing a private and publicly funded system.

Let’s take an objective look at Canada’s and Alberta’s health care. Canada ranks 23rd (USA 30th) in the world ranking of health care systems, far behind most European and Asian nations. Instead of continuing the war on our health care providers, firing the well-respected chief medical officer and CEO of Alberta Health Services; might it be more reasonable to send a nonpartisan team of health care professionals (no politicians/ideologues) on a fact-finding mission to the top 20 nations on the international list? Surely, progressive short and long term recommendations regarding best practices to “cure” our present malaise would be the result.

I feel so fortunate to be treated by and recuperating under Alberta Health Services; recently, during a space of 20 days, I was diagnosed, underwent extensive surgery and discharged home supported by Home Care Camrose and the Edmonton Zone Virtual Nurses who monitor my vital stats daily via WIFI and phone.

Albertans should be proud of its highest rating for diagnostics, treatments, innovation, and dedicated professionals in Canada…you get what you pay for.

Premier Smith, Minister Copping and advisor Preston Manning…health care is too important to be subject to decisions made by politicians lacking in scientific and medical knowledge who cannot resist the temptation to interfere.

Lynn Clark,

Urban chickens

December 27, 2022

I read with amazement commentary from councillors on the Camrose City council about their decision to forbid hens being raised by Camrose residents.

The only thing that was missing was murder mystery music in the background. I feel so sorry and embarrassed for folk who have so lost touch with their sense of biology. I could just picture all of the councillors sitting around their big sterile table putting on their rubber gloves, while discussing the issue of hens. I have been a farmer for 45 years and I am happy to say that the raising of chickens, cattle and pigs has all been part of my repertoire.

God was having a great day when he created the chicken. The chicken was the most reliable source of nutrients for settlers because of their friendly nature, their ease of keeping and their incredible contribution of eggs and meat to the dinner table. To this day, chickens are tasked with helping feed billions of people worldwide.

My daughter raises four beautiful hens in her back yard in Edmonton. She collects 3.5 eggs per day. Her daughters love the chickens and any friends who visit love the chickens. We need to encourage the raising of chickens in the city to provide city residents with the opportunity to have an alternative biological interaction. Somehow we have rationalized the keeping of millions of dogs and we put up with millions of feral cats that wreak havoc on the songbird population, but the keeping of four chickens in the back yard is a crime against humanity.

Ken Eshpeter,

Not trusted

December 13, 2022

I would suggest that the reason politicians are not trusted is because many Canadians do not believe politicians to be honest. I read Mr. Damien Kurek’s column in the November 22 Camrose Booster and shook my head.

There is no doubt that the global economy faces uncertainty. Mr. Kurek blames the federal government for our current inflation even though he knows it is due to the effects of the pandemic on supply chains, climate change disrupting crops and the Ukraine war driving up fuel costs. Almost nothing to do with our government. Mr. Kurek blames the Liberal carbon tax even though he knows almost all of the money is returned to Canadians through rebates.

And during the last election campaign, the Conservatives admitted that they knew Canada needs a carbon tax and introduced the planned Conservative carbon tax–one that didn’t involve rebates. Mr. Kurek blames what he called “Liberals’ reckless spending,” most of which happened during the pandemic and which the Conservatives supported. Then when the 2021 election campaign began, the Conservatives announced they would spend $52 billion on economic stimulus, making the Liberals look like misers.
Mr. Kurek must think we have forgotten. A headline in the Toronto Star in April, 2021 made the point  “Conservatives say new program spending risks Canada’s future—unless they’re the ones doing it”.

Mr. Kurek refers to 6.9 per cent as “record inflation” although he knows that our inflation was 15 per cent in 1974 and 13 per cent in 1982. He also knows that Canada’s current inflation is less than in the US, the UK and the EU. This is not to say that inflation is not a problem, it is, but if Mr. Kurek doesn’t think the government should spend money to support people struggling with inflation, he should be speaking with the Alberta government that has just announced that they will spend $2.4 billion to ease inflation pressure. Mr. Kurek said that “Canada is falling into economic despair” even though our unemployment is low, our economy got through the pandemic and economic growth has been steady. The world is definitely facing challenges, but Canada is doing better than most developed countries. We pay Mr. Kurek well to be our MP. The least he could do is be honest with us.

Rob Hill,

Listening government?

December 13, 2022

In my personal view, we finally got a government that is listening to the average Albertan instead of their interest groups. I wish we were like Saskatchewan who, as of November 1, put in a Saskatchewan first bill.  This bill confirms Saskatchewan‘s autonomy and exclusive jurisdiction over its internal national resources.  Alberta is attempting to do this very thing with the Alberta Sovereignty Act.

We have an anti-Alberta party known as the NDP, which desires to destroy the oil and gas industry to please their true alliance with Justin Trudeau. I am tired of the ads on which the NDP is wasting a lot of money on. These ads are useless and very dangerous for the future of our province. I sure hope that their useless attempts at trying to destroy this province will fail in 2023. Time will tell the story of whether we are destroyed or are saved from their destruction.

Lorne Vanderwoude,

Shoe boxes

December 13, 2022

Operation Christmas Child was a huge success in Camrose and area again this year, with 1,516 shoe boxes sent to the warehouse (compared to 1,243 shoe boxes in 2021). Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. It’s not too late to give online at

Glenda Strauss,

Dire Straits

Me thinks Albertans are sailing towards very dire straits in the short term, headed for the rocks; our Premier’s opinions and her “finger on the pulse” of Albertans seems to be gleaned from callers to her as host of a radio talk show.

Not much chance of reasonable moderation/advice when her major advisor is the former head of the Reform party, Preston Manning, who made a career of wandering about in a political wasteland with few listeners (until Premier Jason Kenney and Danielle Smith came along).

Surely there is someone “out there” with the skills and knowledge to read a nautical chart, determine wind direction and adjust the sails.

Will those people please step up?

Lynn Clark,


December 6, 2022

The Premier realizes she may make mistakes and does not seem to be in hiding, is what I read in a paper.  I seem to remember our representative going into hiding after not reading an essay.

The Premier would like to know what her mistakes might be. Dragging out the senior cheques for six months is a mistake. Some of us have figured out that the last cheque will probably come just before an election. I will admit, I forget more than I should,  but a cheque from her will not be what helps me make a decision. And how much more does it cost to make out six rather than just one cheque?

An election is a few months away and things probably will not be getting better. As long as the grocery companies and the gas companies continue to make record profits. I know, I know, if only I had remembered to buy shares in them. It would not surprise me to find out they are big supporters of her party, despite limits.
Disillusioned in Camrose.

 Pat Barott,

Time change

November 22, 2022

We have survived another time change, and I, for one, am very happy to be back on standard time. The earlier light in the morning, and the more balanced daylight hours between morning and evening just feels better.

While I don’t like the fall and spring time change, I voted to keep it because I don’t want year round daylight time. At our latitude, it is just silly.

In the summer it is light all the time anyway, and in the winter it is nice to have a balance, which is why the time zones are where they are in the first place. In the referendum on the time change, I wish there had been two questions: First: Do you want to keep changing the clocks in spring and fall?  Yes or No.  Second:  If you indicated no on Question One, would you prefer Standard Time or Daylight time?  With only one choice, change or daylight time, those of us who want standard time could only vote to keep the change.

Saskatchewan has standard time year-round, and it doesn’t matter what BC decides to do. If they choose daylight time, they would just be the same time as we are. Our western-most residents are already on de facto daylight time as Alberta’s border extends into the Pacific Time Zone.

Will our government give us a chance to fully express our opinion on this matter, including staying on standard time?

Stephen Kristenson,

Not mandatory

I am not sure if people in Camrose realize that effective of July 18 Alberta Health Services rescinded it’s immunization of workers for COVID-19 meaning AHS health care workers will no longer be required to be immunized for COVID-19 as a condition of employment. In addition, new hires and students will no longer be required to be immunized for COVID-19 upon hire or replacement.

AHS has explained that while vaccines continue strong protection against serious illness, the decision to rescind the policy is the result of emerging evidence that the immunization required by the policy, which is one dose of an approved one dose or two doses of an approved two dose vaccine, has become less protective against the infection.

I personally do not have any issues with any vaccine since I have two doses and a booster from the same type. However, if this policy, which was very effective at the time has stopped being effective, then rescinding this policy is in my view the right thing to do.

So I agree with AHS and Danielle Smith when it comes to stopping policies which have outlived their purpose. I am impressed with our new premier for her overhaul of the AHS, which is due.

This is my opinion and you can take it or leave it.

Lorne Vanderwoude,

No fools

October 18, 2022

So let’s get this straight, our new Premier Danielle Smith thinks rural Albertans are a lot easier to fool than city folk, so she is running in the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding instead of the vacant Calgary riding.

I consider it to be an insult to the intelligence of all rural Albertans and is not what I found as a member of the Royal Bank for 32 years. I worked in 16 different branches, mostly in rural Alberta, and managed seven of them and I don’t agree. Rural Albertans aren’t the morons she wants them to be. The fact that it took six rounds to get her elected proved she wasn’t as popular as she thinks she is and will do anything to save her hide.

After being fired as a Calgary School Board trustee by a conservative government in 1999, and lost two provincial conservative elections to Allison Redford, and Rachel Notley, along with being defeated in her own riding of High River-Okotoks in 2015 as candidate for the conservatives she is running scared and has no where to hide. Her lame -brain comments bashing Trudeau while he provided Albertans with an extra $30 billion to save our oil industry and young Albertans during this pandemic is plain stupid.

She finds it smart to praise the truckers for the mess they created and bashes doctors for daring to suggest vaccines will save our lives, then bashes oil executives for wanting a carbon tax implemented because they know it works. In other words she proves how out of touch with Albertans she really is. None of the true conservatives in my world are dumb enough to support her and retired lawyer friends are warning us not to. She is just another Reform Party financial disaster waiting to happen for seniors.

Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

Land use

October 4, 2022

How many Camrose residents care about the appearance of properties near them? How many Camrosians are aware that the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) contains the rules and regulations regarding (a) zoning/districting (what can be built [including location on a lot, size of footprint, height] and where, and to what uses the land and building can be put (e.g., urban hens) and (b) parking, and (c) signs, and (d) sight triangles−in fact, everything about land use? How many Camrosians are aware that the City’s LUB has recently undergone a review and revision?

The LUB review occurred largely during the summer when people had other things (like a vacation, especially after two years of COVID restrictions) on their minds and calendars. There was opportunity for public input (20 people attended an open house at which were featured only five issues of the 15 that were under consideration; 26 people completed a survey; opinions could also be submitted via, but few provided input. To say, for example, that 73 per cent of survey respondents were in favour of detached secondary suites on any corner lot and any lot with a back alley, while literally true, is quite meaningless since 19 self-selected people cannot represent Camrose’s 19,000 residents (a random sample of 1,000 or so individuals would be required).

One of the four “focus areas” of the City’s 2022-26 Strategic Plan is to increase citizen engagement. It seems to me that something as important as the revision of the LUB, which deals with “almost every type of development that could occur in Camrose” (consultant’s words)−should have been timed and planned in such as way as to get the opinions of more Camrosians.

John Olson,


September 20, 2022

Bravo to Bonnie Hutchinson for her column September 6, which put Dr. Hinshaw’s salary and bonus into context. Dr. Hinshaw has helped lead our province through the deadliest pandemic in more than a hundred years. She has done so with knowledge, skill, calm and empathy despite the enormous pressure, personal attacks and threats to which she has been subject. I have no objection to anyone, including hedge fund managers and professional athletes, earning (legally) all they can with little discernible public benefit, as long as they pay their fair share of taxes. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Hinshaw as our chief medical officer of health.

Alan Fielding,

Canine support

September 20, 2022

I am humbled to be writing this to you all.  About 10 months ago I had a vision to bring the 2022 Canadian Police Canine Championships to Camrose. After receiving formal approval, the work began to ensure this event was a five-star experience for everyone involved. You all provided a piece to the overall puzzle and each had imperative roles to play in bringing this vision to a reality.

After a week of competition, guest speakers, and community engagement–I can objectively say that the event was nothing short of a resounding success. From the competitors who attend from across the country to the child who attended public day to watch the police dogs–everyone had nothing but accolades for the event as a whole.

This event has provided lasting memories for the attendees, the thousands of people who attended the public day and for the City of Camrose. Words cannot express the amount of gratitude I personally have towards all of you. Your contributions to this event have touched so many different people on so many levels. The legacy of this national event in Camrose will last for years to come and many bonds were created that will continue to grow, that will directly and positively impact the K9 community and everyone who was involved.

Words cannot do justice for the thanks that myself, competitors, judges, quarries, volunteers,  the Camrose Police Service and the City of Camrose have for all of you.

Please share this with anyone within your organization that had a hand in making this event an incredible success.

Matt Rolfe,

Nomination election

August 16, 2022

The nomination election didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, but I’m proud of the efforts of our campaign team, and appreciative of the support we received in my bid for the UCP Camrose candidacy.

We put forth some good platform ideas, some which were new and others which built off of UCP programs already in place.
I met some great people throughout the riding on this journey and we attracted many new members to the party during the campaign. I congratulated Jackie Lovely in person on Saturday night. Going forward, we need to work together as a constituency to unite conservatives in order to be in a position to win the 2023 election.

Thank you to our campaign team, donors and supporters, and thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and vote and be part of the democratic process.

Kevin Smook,

Disappointing leader

August 16, 2022

Mr. Hill states, “Now that it is obvious that Poilievre will be the next CPC leader, it may be advantageous personally for Mr. Kurek to jump on the Poilievre bandwagon, but where are Mr. Kurek’s principles? Mr. Kurek states that ‘it is key that Conservatives stay united and put egos and petty personal ambitions aside.’” I would argue that supporting the future leader would support Conservative party unity. The third debate was added on because the first two required debates didn’t dent Mr. Poilievre’s substantial lead. Looking at numbers, it appears it is Mr. Charest who is the divisive force, and that’s why we have leadership races, and not simple appointments.

As for climate change, the models which drive the claims of the proponents aren’t supported by the observable data, which is why climate agencies such as NASA, NOAA, East Anglia University, and Environment Canada don’t keep data records, only using models to support their claims. Witnessing the results of policies as they unfold in real time, I would say that Mr. Kurek, and Mr. Poilievre, both of whom have young families, have a firmer grasp of the issues than their opponents.

Michael Andresen, Camrose

Poilievre politics

August 16, 2022

Those of us whose families were longtime Alberta Conservative supporters and spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments find it hard to believe what a farce these phony conservatives have become. None of our family and friends have any intention of supporting any of these UCP candidates and are disappointed to see that many of our fellow seniors are willing to believe their lies.

Brian Jean wants us to give up collecting any oil royalties to help his rich oilmen friends become richer, but can’t explain how he would replace the lost revenues it would create.

Danielle Smith wants to bring back the Alberta Sovereignty Act that lawyers warn will cost Alberta seniors their Old Age Security Payments, Canada Pension Plan Payments and their Public Health Care Benefits. Why wouldn’t it?

Travis Toews as our finance minister hasn’t been able to prove to our Auditor General where he spent $4 billion of taxpayers’ money that was intended to be used to help us fight the Covid pandemic. Does he need the RCMP to help him find it?

While Jason Kenney wants to kick out the RCMP, at a huge cost to taxpayers, for daring to investigate his party, his pal Pierre Poilievre promises to destroy the careers of about 7,500 young Canadians, if elected, by scrapping the CBC for daring to criticize his brand of stupid politics. In other words, if you don’t agree with these Reformers, you don’t belong in their world.

It’s obvious that Poilievre wants to bring the American Republican style brand of stupid politics to Canada. Why else would he praise Kenney for his mismanaged handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and these truckers for the horrific mess they created in Ottawa and Coutts, and bashes Trudeau for wanting to protect all Canadians from the stupid gun violence we are seeing in the U.S. by banning assault rifles and handguns. Those of us who hunt know they can’t be used for hunting and should not be made available for just anyone to buy. My friends and I aren’t fans of Trudeau, but know he has saved this province during this Covid pandemic and latest oil industry crash by providing Albertans with an extra $30 billion, and we know these Reformers wouldn’t have done it.

Allen Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

No simple solutions

We live in a complex, dynamic world. That means our problems, which are many, are usually complex and have no simple solutions.

We also claim to live in a democracy where most of the voters want simple and usually impossible solutions, and so elect representatives who promise that they have those simple solutions. This has been the case throughout history, leading historians to say that “…we humans learn only that we learn nothing from history!”

If we look at the technology available to us today, we might try to dispute that claim. I would suggest that the lack of learning from our history applies largely to most people when they are fearful, like now. All of us are facing multiple societal problems including global warming, running out of resources, political incompetence, potential for nuclear war and other existential dangers, (at least from our point of view).

History tells us that when this happens most of us panic and our brain shuts down and we become the victims of anyone who claims they have the answer, no matter how improbable. You have the evidence of the past 50 years. Our political masters have made the most outrageous claims. The more things got worse, almost always by following the improbable solutions recommended by our politicians, the more they tried to blame “the other,” those who had a different skin color or religion or immigrants, until even scientists and experts in various fields were blamed for everything perceived as wrong.

How has that worked out? Imperfect as it was, I grew up in a period of relative sanity. I grew up in a period where a child from a poor family could get a good education and where my ill father could get medical care without going bankrupt. I grew up in a society where even when the politicians ruled in favour of the wealthy, enough wealth was shared with the general population that we believed the future would be even better.  Now the US politicians don’t even pretend to care what their citizen’s want and are moving toward fascism and half the population seems to be supporting them.

If the US fails we will not be far behind.

We are still a nominal democracy. We still can vote. But for how long? If we keep voting for the same people who brought us to this impasse, then we deserve the coming collapse.  Perhaps there is still time to make your vote count.  In my opinion we need to change our whole system, but that can’t happen in this political climate. However we can change the players and that is not a bad first step.

Harry Gaede,

Disappointing leader

Many times I have been disappointed in our MP Damien Kurek. Never more than now that he has expressed his support for Pierre Poilievre to be the next leader of the Conservatives. Now that it is obvious that Poilievre will be the next CPC leader, it may be advantageous personally for Mr. Kurek to jump on the Poilievre bandwagon, but where are Mr. Kurek’s principles? Mr. Kurek states that “it is key that Conservatives stay united and put egos and petty personal ambitions aside.” Then why support Poilievre, who refused to take part in the August 3 debate and took the opportunity to trash his own party and the other leadership candidates in the process.

Poilievre’s main policy seems to be that if you don’t agree with me I will fight with you, even if you are part of my own party. It would appear that for Mr. Poilievre, it is all about his ego. His petty personal ambitions always come first. If Mr. Kurek really cared about unity, Poilievre is the last person he would support.
Mr Kurek says that Poilievre is “pragmatic and reasonable.” What? Like when Poilievre says that to combat inflation he would fire the governor of the Bank of Canada and that people should buy cryptocurrency. Anyone who followed that advice would have lost their shirts by now.

But this is what I really don’t understand. Poilievre has no plan for dealing with the growing threat of climate change. Scientists and economists have made it very clear that to have a healthy and prosperous future, we must have a plan to deal with the transition that climate change is forcing on us. But from Mr. Poilievre, there is zero leadership. Nothing. Mr. Kurek understands this. So, why is Mr. Kurek willing to put his own short-term political ambitions ahead of his children’s future?

Rob Hill,

Root Causes

July 4

Mr. Vanderwoude poses some interesting questions about the root causes of inflation and seeks solutions. While it would be convenient to choose our most disliked politician as the cause… answers are complex and several major points emerge as contributing factors.

Rupert Russell, in his recent book Price War$, demonstrates the role of commodity speculators and hedge fund managers as major contributors to inflation while simultaneously leading to starvation and refugee crises in developing countries. Foodstuff commodities affected by speculation for most global agricultural trade are determined in Chicago, New York, and London and by OPEC for oil and gas.

Our world is governed by 24-hour electronic trading, triggered by computer algorithms of composite price indices, fits of investor “lack of confidence,” and of unregulated pools of money (more than US $7 trillion annual speculative trades in foodstuffs like corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, plus oil and gas and minerals like copper). Speculators seek out geopolitical chaos in the world and natural disasters like crop failures that impact food production. For details, I refer you to IATP (The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) iatp_commodities_market_speculations_nov_2008.pdf.

Typically, prices for gasoline rise immediately after a geopolitical chaos like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine even though the time from oil at the wellhead to gasoline at the pump is on the order of months. Similarly, the announcement of a frost or drought or flood triggers an immediate increase in the cost of oranges or coffee or wheat.

The past 50 years in Canada has seen oligopolies flourish and our Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs has done virtually nothing to ensure competition and promote the role of small business entrepreneurs in our economy. Major sectors of our economy are controlled by a very small number of corporations that results in price gouging.

Other contributors to our inflation include (i) supply management in Canada which regulates agricultural products like dairy and poultry, (ii) the mad rush to globalization which has exposed vulnerability in supply chains, all the while ignoring issues like child and slave labor in the “free zone” manufacturing areas in developing countries. Thank goodness for the emergence of “buy local.”

According to UNCTAD (the UN Conference on Trade and Development), governments around the world do not seem to have the capability nor the will to limit the commodity speculation.
And why would they...taxes and royalties help governments balance budgets with little regard to the impact upon their constituents or “unfortunates” in the developing world.

Lynn Clark,


Going outside

June 28, 2022

The Camrose Pickleball Club has been fortunate to have the Max McLean Arena to play in this year and in past years. We are especially thankful when we can’t play outside due to inclement weather.

During the summer months, much of the time the Max sits empty, so it’s a win– a win for us and the City. The City charges the club $6 a person and we are thankful to have it…but.

On June 26th, our club is hosting a fundraiser for one of our players and a citizen of Camrose, who is riding her bike from Saskatchewan to Quebec to raise money for mental health.

We inquired with the City to get a discount or even a free morning at the Max to no avail, especially when the Max most likely will be sitting empty that day. Not even a small discount was offered, so we have moved our fundraiser outside and are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather.

Now the $6 fee the City charges for the Max can go directly to support our player.  I do love Camrose, everything about it…but shame on the City of Camrose for this decision.

If anyone is interested in following Lynne’s cross-country ride or helping her reach her goal of $100,000 for mental health, check out her website at

Donna Duff, Camrose

High costs

June 28, 2022

The cost of living is going through the roof. There was a time when driving taxi was actually profitable. Now paying for gas at over $1.50 per litre is eating any sort of profits, which could come out of doing this service. The cost of food is also going up along with everything else one has to buy. This does not even count the cost of camping and other things which make our lives full of memories.

With the costs going through the roof, this is causing the price of a taxi to go beyond what a person who is on a low income could afford. It is getting harder to save for a rainy day and to keep out of debt. The wages of those who are working are not keeping up with the increases in the cost of living. I cannot afford to drive taxi, so I work for a delivery company which pays a lot more than what the taxi industry can afford to pay.

There has to be an end in sight or who knows how much longer we as a society can survive these huge increases in the cost of living? Any ideas of any solutions to this problem?

Lorne Vanderwoude, Camrose

Health care

June 14, 2022

To add to what Lynn Clark had to say recently about our health care system: Over the years, I have had two retired doctor friends who had worked under a two-tiered healthcare system in the U.K. and both agreed that it would never work in Alberta, or Canada for that matter, and we should stop trying to compare our system to Europe. First off, we don’t have nearly enough doctors and nurses to make it work. Secondly, our populations aren’t concentrated like they are in Europe where it does work. Thirdly, and this is the one they were most concerned about because it would cost some people their lives, there is no way doctors and nurses will continue to work in rural Alberta if they can make a lot more money working in these private for profit clinics and hospitals in the cities that this scheme would create. Why should they?
It was obvious that former health minister Tyler Shandro was deliberately trying to force the doctors to leave rural Alberta so they could shut their healthcare services down, blaming them for the high cost of health care so they could force us into a lot more privatization. So if our healthcare costs are already too high, how is privatization going to make it cheaper and fix the problem? Albertans weren’t nearly as dumb as the UCP wanted us to be.
Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

The rich

June 14, 2022

In my last letters, I showed why wealthy people like “The Rule of Law”, especially when they get to make the rules. In a democratic society, the rules are supposed to benefit all.
The vehicle used to gain control of our economic system is the corporation. The corporation is an artificial entity designed to have legal rights like that of a real person. They have other special powers that make the corporation a super power. We call this capitalism because the corporation’s power is in concentrating capital and controlling the price of labour.
Before I go on, I believe a properly regulated system of capitalism can provide us with a wonderful society, but only if its goal is to benefit all of society and not just its shareholders.
Over the years, the powers of corporations have grown enormously, largely by the passage of laws favouring this artificial person, which are too many to enumerate here. A few obvious ones are that corporations get favourable tax treatments. They limit liability for damage they create and they accumulate profits. In the US, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, the law has held that corporations can donate very large amounts of money to election campaigns. Elections cost unimaginable amounts of money, with the intent to see that the laws they want passed are. They even write laws, which are often passed without the politician being aware of the contents of the proposed bills.
Corporations, while being owned by many people directly and indirectly, focus the power of this collective in the hands of a few, such as the CEO, the board of directors, or the management committee. This power is used to enrich these people, not only against the interests of its shareholders but against the interests of its employees and its customers. The interests of the society at large are usually given “short shrift”.
The purpose of this letter is to make you aware, if it is not already too late, that our political system has been corrupted, but hopefully, not beyond saving. To save the positive parts of capitalism, the laws must change. To change the law, you must elect representatives who pass laws that benefit everyone.
We still have the right to vote. Vote as if your life and wealth depended on it. It does. Our society does not need to make us all equally wealthy. History has shown that it is enough to make us less unequal.
We, as a society, know how to fix things and can do so. Let us not be like “the forest that voted for the axe because it had a wooden handle” (from cartoon). Vote your own interest, while you still can.
Harry Gaede,

Health care

May 24, 2022

While healthcare funding formulas are a federal responsibility, the management and delivery remains a provincial responsibility and is characterised by wide interprovincial variation across our nation. COVID-19 will continue to stretch the quality and quantity of our health care to the limit for the foreseeable future.
Let’s take a serious and objective look at Alberta’s health care.
Shortages of healthcare workers, staff burnout, delays in elective surgeries, unacceptable wait times for routine visits, difficulty in finding doctors accepting new patients are all signs of the malaise impacting our system.
Let us also be very wary of the UCP headlong rush to privatize health care; privatization, if it occurs, should mean that private healthcare providers have independent infrastructure, hospital facilities, diagnostic labs and services, rehabilitation services paid for by the entirely by the providers, not one penny of public money.
Health care is evaluated using a Health Care Index (HCI) which is a statistical analysis of the overall quality of the healthcare system, including healthcare infrastructure; healthcare professionals (doctors, nursing staff, and other health workers) competencies; cost per capita, quality medicine availability, and government readiness. It also takes into consideration other factors including environmental, access to clean water, sanitation, government readiness on imposing penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity. The HCI ranking looks at 89 countries around the world on five different health variables.
So, where does Canada rank? The top 10, in order, are: South Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Austria, Japan, Australia, France, Spain, Belgium and the UK. By comparison, Canada ranks 23rd and the USA ranks 30th.
Perhaps a change in tack by our UCP government might be in order?  Instead of declaring war on our healthcare providers, tearing up contracts with physicians, demanding rollbacks to nurses, paramedics, respiratory techs and firing the well-respected president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, might it be more reasonable to send a nonpartisan team of healthcare professionals (no politicians/ideologues) on a fact-finding mission to the top 20 nations on the international HCI list?
Surely, they could make short and long term recommendations regarding best practices to “cure” our present malaise.
Let us not forget what happened when “Dr.” Klein did away with the infection control nurses; health care is too important to be subject to decisions made by politicians lacking in scientific and medical knowledge.
Lynn Clark,