Curriculum fails

November 23, 2021

“Who wrote the Alberta Government’s new curriculum?” asks a recent ad from the ATA.
I have been adamant that teachers did not write the K-6 draft curriculum. It is an inadequate, cobbled-together disaster. If teachers had been collaboratively involved, there would be clearly communicated outcomes and engaging sequences of learning, where each new skill builds on the ones before. There would be recognition that young children move from concrete to abstract thinking and learn new things by connecting to their own experiences and prior knowledge. There would be recognition of how much can be “covered” in the instructional minutes for each subject. The draft curriculum fails on all these counts.
I have a theory that some of the curriculum was written by a cut-rate curriculum company in the States. That would explain the references to “reservations” instead of “reserves,” the reference to “Canadian units of measurement” and the Social Studies task where students originally were told to take out a map of Alberta and calculate the distance from Regina to Duck Lake (both in Saskatchewan).
When the UCP came to power, they tore up the memorandum of understanding with the ATA that had teachers working collaboratively with Alberta Education to create curriculum. Yet the UCP continues to maintain that teachers were involved in the “development” of the curriculum during the seven months (Source: Alberta Education) that it took to completely rewrite every subject in Grades K-6. What might that teacher involvement have looked like?
During a Have Your Say session, when I asked about teacher input, the presenter referenced 102 selected teachers, labelled a “working group”, who got two days (minus time lost to technical difficulties) on Zoom to give (easily ignored) feedback after the draft was completed. When I asked who wrote the curriculum, I was referred to a webpage that said nothing except that the much-publicized, seriously under-qualified “advisors” did not write the curriculum.
Perhaps some of the draft curriculum was written by teachers seconded to Alberta Education? An anonymous post in the Facebook group Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft described a seconded teacher working in isolation from home and being told, “Write this. Like this.” Little input. No collaboration. That teacher was stressing about returning to school in the fall and having to explain his/her part in the failed curriculum.
Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Mutations

November 23, 2021

I do believe in researching everything instead of accepting anything and everything which is broadcast on our media.
The Delta variable of COVID-19 is 133 per cent more deadly than the original COVID-19 strain.  There is another offshoot from the original Delta variant, which contains two mutations in it’s spike protein, which allows the virus to penetrate human blood cells. These mutations are known as Y145H and A 222V, which have been found in other variants dating back to the earliest stages of the pandemic.  Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London’s genetics institute, has estimated AY.4.2 could be up to 10 per cent more transmissible than the original Delta variant.
Now, the average Camrose person may not have understood all of this, just as long as they know that a mutation happens when there are changes to the original virus code. Spike proteins are what keep the virus alive. The vaccine can better defend and stop people from dying. This is not a 100 per cent guarantee that you will not get this virus. It just makes your chances of survival a lot better than if you do nothing.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Higher fees

November 23, 2021

I attended the Camrose City council committee of the whole meeting on Monday, just to get a feel for the new mayor and council in action. I was more than surprised that on the agenda was a missive from City administration that there needs to be a five per cent across the board increase in all fees. There was little information as to why this increase was so urgently needed other than it was to provide for “potential inflationary increases” in 2022. Yes, taxpayers, council has been charged by City administration to cause inflation of five per cent to all its ratepayers by increasing user fees to provide money to pay for inflation?
This five per cent increase is in all user fees, utility rates, permits and nearly all of the other fees that the taxpayer has levied upon them by the City of Camrose. Yes, families, more for swimming, hockey, golf, etc. Seniors–your walking passes are going up. Homeowners and businesses–beware of increases in water and sewer as well as some additional franchise fees that will mean higher gas and electrical bills.
I followed up with administration as to how much more revenue the five per cent in fees would provide and what costs it was intended to cover. I did receive a very timely response, but was not provided that information.
Let me put this in perspective. Last year, the previous council put in place a budget for year 2022, largely to provide the opportunity for the new council to get on its feet and get some understanding on municipal operations and financing prior to having to deal with a budget. Now the first item brought to the agenda by City administration, to a new and very inexperienced Council, is to increase the costs to all its residents by five per cent.
Let me also convey that the operating surplus for the year 2020 was $6,792,366. There is no urgency or emergency for funding. So why is a new council being charged with making decisions on items it has little knowledge or exposure to when there is no need?
Did I mention that the five per cent increase will affect all residents and businesses?
The bylaw is scheduled to come to council for approval on December 6. I would hope that council, and all us taxpayers, would put a total hold on this silliness until the next full budget wherein all factors could be considered other than “inflationary increases”.
 David W. Kotyk,
Camrose

Other systems

November 16, 2021

Arnold Malone’s piece on Proportional Representation (PR) raises some interesting dilemmas (mostly in countries that have a very large number of political parties); the limitations of the First Past the Post (FPP) system coupled with divisive partisan politicos has created a deeply divided, disillusioned and disenfranchised (DDDD) electorate.
The good news is that there are other options; it is unfortunate that Justin Trudeau’s unfulfilled electoral promise of voting reform ignored the New Zealand system which is Mixed-Member Proportional representation (MMP). In NZ, every person gets two votes; one for a representative of their electoral district and one vote for a party. This has the effect of producing progressive bipartisan and tripartisan sponsored legislation developed cooperatively by committee. Power in the Prime Minister’s office and in the hands of party whips is substantially reduced. Of additional benefit, NZ has no Senate.
Many independent candidates are elected in the districts while the party elected candidates are chosen from a prioritized list of candidates chosen for their “real world” expertise and educational background. Several seats are reserved for Maori and only Maori voters can vote for these candidates. The resulting parliament is characterized by exemplary representatives, who have a consensus to work together, who are very highly qualified in terms of education and experience, and who are less influenced by partisanship.
My travels over the past 40 years in more than 75 countries have observed the complete spectrum of governments from dictatorships to democracies. Canada lags very far behind other developed nations in Europe and Asia in terms of good legislation, policies, technology and best practices. In addition, COVID-19 has exposed Canada’s vulnerability in terms of supply chain issues, self sufficiency in many economic sectors (energy, pharmaceutics, manufacturing, steel production, rare earth metals and others) plus our dependence upon foreign imports.
It is unrealistic to believe that a single party can solve our long-standing problems; a collaborative, non-ideological approach is required with a collective vision to add value to our raw exports and develop Canadian self sufficiency. This post COVID-19 era requires highly qualified politicos willing to put aside their regional differences, their hunger for power, and promote more private members bills and more free votes.
Our recovery is contingent upon independent thinking representatives, who are immune to the power centralised in the Prime Minister’s office and the dictates of party whips.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Need help

November 16, 2021

This is a scream for help from an old man who has lived a wonderful and easy life and can now see that humanity is rushing to a precipice. I feel desperate for humanity and life now, and I would like to help, but I am 88 years old and have discovered in the last few weeks that I have cancer that could result in my living only a short time longer. Why might this old guy in the twilight of his life be so worried about humanity, when he should relax and enjoy his remaining years?
I grew up on my parents’ quarter-section farm during the Great Depression. We had no money, but grew plenty of our own food in our garden. As soon as the war started, my dad had lots of money. My younger brother and I wandered the fields and bushes, the creeks ran clear and the ponds were filled with interesting life. Now if I go back to look at the countryside, I am saddened by the destruction caused in only a few decades by the huge industrial farms. The creeks are dry, the ponds are drained and the bushes are bulldozed to allow the huge fields needed for the million-dollar machines that are considered necessary for so-called efficient farming. In my childhood, the social connection of the people on the small farms was great. There were the churches, the dance hall, and everyone went to the local town on Saturday afternoon. Then the irrefutable power of money drove most of the people to the city, where everyone is a stranger.
The power of money and property and our present economic system are causing the destruction of life. Even if we can convert all energy use to renewable electric, will it happen soon enough to save us? Even if we have an energy system that does not create CO2, will that stop the cancerous growth of our disastrous economic system?
We must immediately stop this foolish concern only for ourselves. We are obsessed by our own greed, but far more important is the mass extinction of species, destruction of nature and accelerating climate change. How can we sit by while most of humanity struggles in despair and a small number are ridiculously wealthy? This cannot continue. Surely most of us do not wish to see life, including humanity, fail and go out of existence.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

No answers

November 16, 2021

I would like to respond to Mr. Kurek’s article in the November 9 edition of The Booster.
Judging by the tone of this article, it appears Mr. Kurek has had a bad day or has been exposed to some conspiracy stories. The entire article is about how those evil Liberals are trying to destroy Alberta’s economy. I note that there is not a single example of how Conservatives would do things differently and a question of differing opinions is not considered at all.
The change of energy from hydrocarbons to something else is going to be long and will incur some false starts and errors. The 3300 acres of the latest-technology solar panel farm in Vulcan County along with 83 new windmills is expected to supply fewer than 200,000 houses with energy; basically a drop in the bucket as far as energy required to serve the Province.
By comparison, the switch from whale oil to petroleum was simple and easy. The switch to another source of energy from hydrocarbons is going to take a while and oil and gas will be needed for the transition.
Since Mr. Kurek does not supply any alternative to the Liberal proposal, I suspect the Conservative plan is to wait until the last barrel of oil is extracted and then look for alternatives. The side issue of climate change is obviously a non issue for Mr. Kurek and the Conservatives.
Horst Schreiber,
Ohaton

Anti-Albertan

November 9, 2021

So the Steve Allan public inquiry is out and energy minister Sonya Savage says it shows that some Alberta charities are engaging in anti-Albertan activities.
But according to Steve Allan himself: “To be very clear, I have not found any suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of any individual or organization. No individual or organization, in my view, has done anything illegal. Indeed, they have exercised their rights of free speech.”
So what did we learn for the $3.5 million tax money we spent on the public inquiry that never held any public hearings? We learned that some environmental groups who are concerned about climate change and our health have spent time and money legally exercising their right of free speech to campaign against the oilsands and pipelines.
According to the Pembina Institute, one of the charities targeted by the Allan Inquiry: “Since oilsands mining operations started in 1967, 1.3 trillion litres of fluid tailings has accumulated in these open ponds on the Northern Alberta landscape. This is enough toxic waste to fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.” Why is caring about our health and the health of our environment considered anti-Albertan?
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Small towns

November 9, 2021

It’s no news that, sadly, many small towns are dying. But perhaps it should be news to them that the majority of Alberta’s population lives in the two big urban centres and those municipalities have just rejected dysfunctional conservative politicians in favor of those with more progressive collaborative attitudes.
If you are born in a stubbornly conservative-voting rural area, you are probably accustomed to backwards belligerent small-minded politics.  That is why so many move away from small centres, and few are drawn to deliberately move to a backwards-thinking place if they don’t have to.
In other words, it is conservative politics that are killing rural areas, and I am suggesting that, before rural folks whine about their dwindling populations, whether they like it or not, they need to address the reality of how dysfunctional and unproductive conservative politics are in this modern world. And perhaps open their minds to the possibility that there are better ways to be governed.
Evone Monteith,
Camrose

Different stories

November 9, 2021

Sometimes you hear two different stories that seem to have nothing in common, but then something clicks and you get that “ah” moment.
This happened to me recently while listening to an interview with a woman celebrating her 80th birthday. She was asked a series of questions, one of which was, “Name something you still have from your childhood.” Without missing a beat, she answered, “My memories.” I loved that.
Then the news came on with yet another story about supply chain challenges, and warnings to get our Christmas shopping done early to avoid disappointment. That’s when the click came. This year, I am not going to worry about empty shelves and delayed shipments. This year, I am going to give the gift of experiences and I encourage others to do the same.
We are so fortunate here in Camrose to have the Bailey Theatre and the Lougheed Theatre, both with excellent live events. There are also wonderful local restaurants, salons and other service providers. The hospitality and service sectors have been hit so hard by the pandemic and they really need the support, especially if we want them to survive. Picking up tickets to a show, a gift of dinner out or a spa day is so easy and can be one of the most thoughtful gifts, especially when shared with a loved one. And the best part? It is a gift that creates memories that can be kept forever without ever having to dust it, move it or replace the batteries.
Celia M. Leathwood,
Camrose

Time change

November 9, 2021

I was disappointed in the question asked in the referendum about the time change. We were given only one choice: daylight time year-round or continue changing our clocks. If the provincial government wanted to know what we thought about the matter, there should have been three choices: keep the time change, stay on standard time, or stay on daylight time. I voted no to the question of staying on daylight time, not because I want to change my clocks twice a year, but because I think we should stay on standard time. I suspect others voted like I did.
The argument was made that BC has already decided to stay on daylight time. Why should that determine what we do? Saskatchewan is on permanent standard time. If we stay on standard time and BC moves to permanent daylight time, that just means we wouldn’t have to change our clocks when traveling to BC –the mountain time zone would extend to the coast, just like the central time zone extends to BC in the summer when we are on daylight time. Some have said there would be a two-hour time change to BC if we stayed on standard time.  The only way that could happen is if we stayed on daylight time and BC stayed on standard time.  Western Canadian time zones are already skewed in a westerly direction.  Mountain time begins in mid-Saskatchewan, but the province has decided to move it to the Alberta border, so the folks in western Saskatchewan are already de facto on central daylight time.  Mountain time extends in Alberta to the BC border, so our western communities are also in virtual daylight time when we are on standard time.  Why would we choose to send our kids to school in the dark in December and January with a 9:30 a.m. sunrise when we don’t have to? At our latitude, our summer nights are bright even in standard time, and standard time keeps us closer to our body clocks in the winter. I would like to see another referendum with that choice made available.
Stephen P. Kristenson,
Camrose

Our trust

November 2, 2021

I would like to thank Tim Parker for taking the time to read my letter in The Camrose Booster. I really appreciate your willingness to comment on my opinions on COVID-19 being a biological weapon. I got my information from a YouTube video of an interview between a doctor who spoke with Francis Boyle on this topic. Now, whether this virus is a biological weapon or some virus, which scientists both in China and the United States developed in special labs used for research, this virus is not natural. This was my main point. This virus was made to do one thing. Control. Look at what China has achieved without firing one shot. This pandemic is better than a war or a market crash. When mankind tries to play God and to fiddle with nature, in the end, it always does not end well.
Mr. Parker, you are a very intelligent person. I am not as knowledgeable as you are. I try to research to the best of my ability. However, this is what I do know for sure. You can never trust China. They have been lying to us for years, so why should they start telling us the truth now? Chinese propaganda is not a new thing. What the United States did wrong was that they tried to trust China by sharing scientific knowledge on gain of function. Look what China has done with that information. Mr. Parker, I do agree with you that we do have to be careful that we find the real truth about this virus. According to Chinese propaganda, COVID-19 came from bats. They are partly right. In a lab, they took the virus from the bat and used gain of function, which means they changed the virus from being in animals to being transferred to humans with a touch of the HIV virus. This was meant to make it more lethal.
Now, Mr. Parker, in my opinion, this makes more sense than to say the virus magically jumped from bats to humans. I do believe that it took man to intervene to make one virus so very easily transferable from human to human without showing any symptoms for 14 days.
Now, I do thank you for keeping me accountable.  You and I do agree that vaccines will be the only defense against this man-made virus. The virus is real. It is so very deadly. However, what scares me is that this is just a test of what will soon show up, which will be more deadlier than COVID-19. We will not be hearing the end of this for a very long time.

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

No mask

November 2, 2021

Last month, my elderly mother, who uses a walker and is no longer able to drive, visited the Smith Clinic for her scheduled doctor’s appointment. On the way to Camrose, she realized she had forgotten to take a mask from home. She found a mask in the vehicle and tried the mask on.
It was uncomfortable and very tight on her face. My mom was dropped off at the clinic and left her purse in the vehicle. She wore the uncomfortable mask into the clinic, adhering to the current guidelines.
When she approached the reception desk, she asked if she was able to get a new mask. The individual at the desk replied that a new mask would cost a dollar. My mom advised she did not have her purse with her, and was unable to pay the one dollar. She was told if she did not pay, she did not get a new mask.
Just then the young women standing behind my mom tapped her on the shoulder and handed her a loonie. I thank this women from the bottom of my heart. What amazes me is there are businesses in Camrose that provide masks for free upon entering their building.

Heather Tansowny,
Hay Lakes

Culture conflict

November 2, 2021

Well said, Tony. This culture of conflict makes one wonder: What has happened to our democracy? What has happened to the heart and soul of our country, which for years inspired us to work together to build a nation where we all shouldered our responsibilities and we all shared in the benefits of our joint efforts? Are we now reduced to gangs of rivals bickering for the fruits of our labours?  Even our putative leaders have abdicated their roles and instead of accepting blame for their failure to govern equitably and with vision, they have tried to distract us by blaming others.
Their mantra now is: We only want our “fair share”, as if someone else is preventing us from obtaining what is rightly ours. What a poor excuse for government policy. They have chosen the role of a “poor us” province to justify their inability to find solutions to the unquestioned challenges we face. Let’s not allow them to get away with it. Above all, let’s not facilitate their strategy of divisiveness by putting ourselves into camps of pro-this or anti-that. We are all Albertans trying to create the best life possible in this incredible corner of creation. We can’t do it by fighting one another.

Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

Chinada

October 19, 2021

Is it about health or is it about control?
In a  40-minute rant, an Alberta judge Justice Adam Germain ordered that for the next 18 months, whenever a certain Calgary pastor talks about lockdowns, the pandemic or vaccines–in tweets, in speeches, in media interviews–he must immediately repudiate himself, and give the “official” government view condemning himself.  He must argue against himself and condemn himself or go back to jail.
It is called “compelled speech”, something used in Communist China. You must say what the government tells you to say.
The whole point of it: this judge wants the pastor to submit, to acknowledge the government as his master. And if he can’t convince the pastor of that voluntarily, he’ll force him to say it.
The judge repeatedly criticized the pastor for talking about civil liberties to the media. He specifically mentioned the pastor’s appearance on Fox News and for going on a speaking tour, warning other churches around North America about the threat to civil liberties. So to stop that, the judge also banned the pastor from leaving the province of Alberta for 18 months.
It’s simply a power-mad judge’s revenge on the pastor–a blatant attempt to stop him from speaking freely. Justice Germain has brought back that illegal law which was struck down in 1938. The law was called the Alberta Press Act, which forced newspapers to print the government’s rebuttal to their own editorials. Is “The Judge” coming for us next?
George Shostak,
New Norway

Bad opinion

October 19, 2021

A bad opinion is not the only opinion that I want to read in The Booster letters, as is often the case; many people love the truth and do not call truth “misinformation”. The JCCF.ca, a group of civil rights lawyers, say the experimental (emergency mandated) vaccine is illegal; furthermore, it is being imposed on us by nonelected health bureaucrats who take their orders from WHO or China.
I think it would be helpful to point out the political bias of socialism/communism (a form of atheism or a false-positive COVID-19) that has infiltrated the free enterprise of capitalism in North America; I found it described in a ‘letter to the editor’ in the summer edition of The Taxpayer magazine.
To briefly paraphrase Gene Balfour of Ontario, he wrote: “crony-privilege [is] at the expense of everyone else” and extends not to capitalism but “crony-capitalism”, where big government and big business extract advantage through collaboration, leading to “crony-socialism”, where special interest groups like ‘climate change’ as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are funded by big government; then comes “crony-statism” which has been going on for decades and confers government workers with higher pensions and privileges than what is common to the private sector employee, which amounts to the “crony-privilege”.
My conclusion of Gene’s letter: today, because two-thirds of government employees protest or disagree with their union/government plans of mandating the experimental 666-Jab vaccine passport, they, along with the other one-third, need to be taught the principles of freedom, not socialism or cronyism; socialism in health care becomes unhealthy for everyone when, through NGOs, we can be vaccine experimented on using our own money. Therefore, only the unaware do not see that the majority of health care should be privatized in order for the NGO drug abuse between big-pharma and big-government to end.
In conclusion, let everyone’s opinion be put out there–only “thugs” suppress others from speaking, and in truth’s humble opinion, “thugs” are the bad guys.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Biological weapons

October 19, 2021

I’m writing in response to the claims made in the recent letter by Mr. Vanderwoude. It’s unfortunate that he has not provided his readers with the source of his information, given the importance of the claim, but I suspect it is from an article published by a very dubious publishing house known as Herald Scholarly Open Access. This is regarded by many scholars as a “predatory” journal. You can judge for yourself. Here is the mission statement from this journal’s website:
“Herald Scholarly Open Access is a leading, internationally publishing house in the fields of Sciences. Our mission is to provide an access to knowledge globally. We provide high-quality articles to the scientific community and we strive for your research improvement and distinguishment throughout the world.”
English is the international language of science, so one would expect that the mission statement would not contain English language mistakes. The journal is either an internationally-known publishing house, or an international publishing house. In either case, these are mistakes. Also, I’m not sure distinguishment is a word.
The point is that the probable source is suspect. In addition, I invite any readers to learn more about Dr. Boyle, who incidentally has no credentials as a virologist. Here is an important website to check out to get some further perspective on the nature of this conspiracy theory: www.businesstoday.in/latest/world/story/francis-boyle-ali-khamenei-meet-the-superspreaders-behind-top-covid-19-conspiracy-theories-287648-2021-02-15.
I’ll take one excerpt from it, but you really should read the whole thing.
“Legitimate questions about the virus created perfect conditions for conspiracy theories. In the absence of knowledge, guesswork and propaganda flourished.
“College professors with no evidence or training in virology were touted as experts. Anonymous social media users posed as high-level intelligence officials. And from China to Iran to Russia to the United States, governments amplified claims for their own motives.”
Who is Francis Boyle? A Harvard-trained law professor at the University of Illinois, Boyle drafted a 1989 law banning biological weapons and has advised the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Palestinian Authority.
Boyle has no academic degree in virology or biology, but is a long-standing critic of research on pathogens.
Evidence? Boyle bases his argument on circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, space prevents me from including more, so I do urge you to read it.
On the other hand, Mr. Vanderwoude is spot on when he concludes that the vaccines are the way to deal with COVID-19.
Tim W. Parker,
Camrose

Today’s problems

October 12, 2021

Like many old people, I have difficulty understanding the world today. We seem to have developed a “me” culture: “I want”, “It’s my right”, “I’m special”…Maybe it’s social media, the selfie, which has exacerbated this. Remember, a selfie is not a picture of someone else, it’s a picture of you with someone else.
One thing I have difficulty with is how our society works today. We agree we live in a democracy, but that’s not what I observe. To me, a democracy is the will of the majority enabled by a representative government. Minorities have the right of equitable, but not necessarily special, treatment and freedom from persecution. But minorities have the responsibility, and it is a responsibility, to “go along” and make sacrifices for the benefit of all and for tranquillity. To me, we’ve lost sight of those obligations and our society is filled with shrill “me” demands from all sides. This makes for chaos and conflict.
So how does the me culture deal with Covid? Well, since everyone has their own opinion, there is a spectrum of groups with beliefs ranging from Covid is a heinous plot of an evil government, all the way to vaccines are miracles of modern medicine.  Social media, the internet, and other media take pieces of this spectrum and bombard us with a flood of sound/word bites that just confuse everyone. This breaks down the consensus to go along.  Also, since people are focused on “me”, there is often little concern for the plight of others.
So are there hard facts here? Well, yes and no. We have to deal with probabilities and unknowns, and the me culture has great problems with that. In real life, nothing is certain. So the vaccines are very effective, but some people still have reactions and some die. The me culture has a tendency to take one individual and focus only on them (going viral). Yes, the suffering of one person is heart-wrenching, but we lose sight of the big picture.    
So the “me” culture is working as it should, vaccinated people get protection at perhaps an unknown cost and the unvaccinated get to risk the full force of the virus.  The problem is that during a medical crisis, the healthcare system gets overloaded, as it will. Does the government, the majority, want to do anything about that?
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

Huge mistake

October 12, 2021

My senior friends and I, including our retired doctor and nurse friends, think Albertans have made a huge mistake. For years, we have listened to retired doctors and nurses over coffee tell us their stories of how Canadian-trained doctors and nurses are some of most highly respected in the world, and can work wherever they please. In other words, we need them a lot more than they need us. They have also pointed out that their worst enemies have been these reformers pretending to be conservatives, starting with Ralph Klein.
So why did Albertans try to elect Reformer Erin O’Toole, who has been promising to gut our public healthcare system and has had nothing but praise for how his Reform Party pal Jason Kenney has handled this pandemic? Neither Kenney or O’Toole have shown any concern for how our doctors and nurses have been treated, or who has lost their lives because of how this pandemic has been handled.
One of the nine doctors I helped relocate out of this province when Klein was kicking them around said it best: “Why should I stay in Alberta and support my patients, when my patients refuse to support me against this tyrant Ralph Klein?”
A good question. Why should any of these doctors and nurses stay in Alberta, when Albertans have sided with their enemy reformers pretending they are conservatives. Let’s hope we are wrong.
Alan Spiller,
Formerly of Camrose

Support local

October 5, 2021

This is a call to all my fellow vaccinated, who have done the right thing to protect themselves and those around them; it is time to do the right thing again.
Our restaurants and recreational outlets have taken a real beating during the pandemic, and the ones who have chosen the responsible approach now to stay open need our help. If you were like me, I was nervous even thinking about dining in at a restaurant during those times we were allowed during the past 19 months. I only did it once, constantly fretting–wasn’t an enjoyable time, wondering if anyone around my table had COVID-19. Now it’s our turn to enjoy this privilege.
There are several restaurants within Camrose requiring proof of vaccination (sadly, there are some flaunting public health restrictions regarding dine-in guests) and it has been reported some are receiving harassment, protests, and even threats. Seriously, what is wrong with people? These places need our support now, moving forward.
Now is the time for those of us who are fully vaccinated to exercise our rights and freedoms. Let’s dine out, shall we?
Lori L. Blades,
Camrose

Free exchange

October 5, 2021

Most of us would agree that The Booster makes a valuable contribution to our community. A free exchange of ideas is important in a democracy, so I am grateful for the Letters page. But “The Fine Print” exists for a reason. Just because it is someone’s opinion doesn’t make a letter fit to print.
These days, we are inundated with false information and it is not in the public interest for the Letters page to spread misinformation.
In the September 21 edition, a letter referred to our COVID-19 vaccines as “experimental”. That is false. The vaccines we use in Canada ceased to be experimental when Health Canada analyzed the scientific data and approved them for use. The letter states that “more people have died or have had adverse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than all other vaccines in the last 30 years”.
That is a shocking statement that I have not seen from any credible source. The letter goes on to state that vaccine passports are a “clear violation of human and civil rights, according to Section 7 under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.  That is the opposite of what I have heard constitutional lawyers say, so I asked a lawyer to read the sentence and he said it was unequivocally false. Stating that a vaccine passport gives a business access to our private health records is also false.
The letter writer is entitled to her opinion and many people will consider that opinion to be selfish, inconsiderate and uninformed. But she should not have the right to use The Booster to spread false information.
Our public health experts continuously tell us that vaccines are the best tool we have for keeping us healthy, keeping our healthcare system from being overwhelmed and getting our economy back on its feet. False information spreads doubts, divides society and is prolonging the pandemic. False information is causing people to die. The Booster states that letters must be in the public interest. Surely it is not in the public’s interest to be misinformed. The Booster usually does a good job, but needs to ensure that the information on its pages is accurate.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

New experts

October 5, 2021

It’s truly amazing how many parents went from “I don’t understand my kid’s sixth grade math homework” to an infectious disease control expert in six months due to Dr. Google…and in the words of Forrest Gump…“That’s all I have to say about that.”
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Biological weapons

September 28, 2021

Dr. Francis Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Dr. Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act, has given a detailed statement admitting that the 2019 Wuhan coronavirus is an offensive biological warfare weapon and that the World Health Organization already knew about it.
Boyle drafted the United States domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Anti-terrorism Act of 1989 that was approved unanimously by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by the President George H. W. Bush. This legislation was passed by the house and by the Senate. If this virus was just a natural virus, then why did the Americans come up with this legislation if biological weapons are just a conspiracy theory?
About 17 countries do have these weapons and these weapons are more effective than any other form of warfare. This virus is real. There is no fake news on this, so in my opinion, the vaccines are the only defense against this weapon.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Not inclusive

September 28, 2021

We hear so much about being inclusive, because everyone wants to be valued and appreciated. The definition of inclusive says, aiming to include and integrate all people and groups in activities, organizations and political processes, especially those who are disadvantaged, have suffered discrimination or are living with disabilities.
Those who are developmentally challenged have no voice, but for the people who love and protect them. Two years ago, two twin brothers were not included in their Grade 12 graduation ceremony. Their pictures were included in the ones who graduated, but they were not included. Now they may not know the significance, but their mom and grandparents did. Arrangements could have been made that would cause less distraction. They were hurt because the boys were treated less than what was acceptable and they were excluded. They would have been quite fine on Mom’s arm to receive their certificates. She was crushed, and spoke to various people in charge. Well, now her third boy, who is also developmentally challenged, graduated in August and his picture was on the program, but he had been left out of the ceremony. Mom didn’t find out until a friend whose daughter graduated asked why she and her son were not there. Now he had not been in school all year because of the virus, and the inability to wear a mask, but books were brought to the house for the aides to teach him. No one checked in throughout the year. Mom had talked with the teacher, and specifically asked that he be included and that she would call her if there was something in which he could participate. This parent has very few important milestones to celebrate with three challenged children.
She has been so faithful in her care for these boys, when many would have given up. I feel these children can teach us a lot about ourselves, and our own hearts. Can we include them and their parents? If there would be a bit of distraction because of their disability, is that okay? We are teaching the next generation, and some important lessons can be learned when we recognize that this world is not perfect, but it can be better when we learn to value one another and the people who sacrifice for those who are unable to speak for themselves. Graduation came for three young men and they were not included.
Harvey Benke,
Camrose

Okay enough

Okay enough
September 21, 2021

Okay enough…to all the anti-maskers and anti-vaxers out there, that’s enough. Since the pandemic started, I and other people I know have been patient and accommodating to your point of view.
At the start of this novel virus, we knew very little about its behaviour or how to mitigate it, so we cut you some slack. Since that time, we have been given the tools we need to stop this pandemic– rules and isolation and a miraculous vaccine that is proven effective and safe, despite what the noted self-appointed epidemiological expert Joe Rogan says.
Libertarians, including our hapless premier, are so intent to selfishly flaunt the public weal over a perceived personal affront to freedom, they forget that their personal freedoms are provided by society at large. No man is an island, in fact, our species cannot thrive without each other. It is one thing to demand liberty (in this case, from common sense), but to actively impair healthcare workers, who, given your trajectory, will be there to help you regardless of your views when you get sick; but to obstruct the care of others is beyond the pale and the extent of my tolerance of your willful ignorance.
My wife and many others have had procedures cancelled or postponed and that’s on you. People are suffering needlessly and that’s on you. Your own cohort is plugging up the ICUs, when a simple act of selflessness could have avoided that, and that’s on you. People will die, and that’s on you. The economy will continue to suffer, and that’s on you. Our unvaccinated children will continue to be at risk, and that’s on you.
Listen to the experts, talk to your doctors, consult the huge volume of verified information available from sources like AHS. If that doesn’t convince you, or if you are too blinded by your ignorance, then grab your ivermectin and hole up in a cave somewhere.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Sad day

September 21, 2021

It truly is a sad day when government, businesses, sport and recreation facilities or ordinary citizens dictate what health measures are best for their citizens, paying customers, friends or extended family. Though I do not agree with mask policies, I understand wanting to enforce such measures to conduct your business and keep your doors open.
However, forcing an experimental and highly controversial “vaccine” upon your patrons is absolutely atrocious. Moreover, the personal health records of anyone other than yourselves is none of your business. If you feel the vaccine and masking are right for you then great–do those things. But you have no place or right to decide what is best for me, my family or anyone else.
Maybe you actually believe that you are doing a good thing, enforcing this ridiculous vaccine passport, but you are in fact doing the opposite. Besides this system being a complete violation of human and civil rights, according the Section 7 under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (The right to life, liberty and security–autonomy over one’s body), you may recall and compare it’s parallels to certain events from 1939-45. Aside from that, from December 14, 2020 to July 30, 2021, more people have died or had adverse effects and injuries from the covid vaccine than all other vaccines combined in the last 30 years.
By agreeing to enforce an agenda created by a power hungry, self-serving and untrustable government, you have proven that money means more to you than human life and freedom. I cannot in good conscience support a business like that, and my family will not be returning nor would I ever recommend your company to anyone I care about. You should also be aware that the number of people on the same page as me are growing by the day. As such, I hope you are prepared to live with the consequences of your decisions and actions.
Please do yourself a favour and use an uncensored web browser like duckduckgo to fact check my claims for yourself. There are many like-minded groups on Facebook and other platforms that can help you look beyond the propaganda and fear mongering of the mainstream media to determine what is right for yourself.
God bless.
Tamara Morris,
Hay Lakes

Wind turbines

September 21, 2021

Rebuttal to Tina Kawalilak: I would like to question some of the facts in your letter to the editor. You say that wind turbines kill so many birds, but according to Nature Canada, approximately 54,000 birds are killed by turbines, but between 100 and 300 million birds are killed by domestic cats in Canada. And who is trying to control the cat population?
I am not sure what you mean by solar not being reliable. Based on annual production over the last five years I have been using solar, I cannot see a significant difference in production from year to year. Now I do see differences from day to day, but that is why I am still hooked to the grid. It seems to me that the most significant change in production is caused by smoke in the air.
You say that solar panels are creating massive amounts of waste, but almost 95 per cent of the panels are recyclable, not like common batteries, of which only about eight per cent are recyclable.
I am speaking as a solar producer and would like to know where you get the information that solar panels need to be replaced every 10 years; mine are guaranteed by the manufacturer for 25 years, and many studies show that they can be in use for more than 30 years. With 21 panels on my roof, I produce more power in a year than I use, so I don’t even care if from November until March, they are snow covered. It is not worth the effort when the daily sunshine is so short.
I consider myself a person who is just trying to do my part; I do believe the science behind humans contributing to climate change, and I would like to leave something for my kids and grandkids. I know that, especially in this climate, we are going to need fossil fuels for a long time to come, but if we can cut back, that would be great.
Mike Dunnigan,
Camrose

Great event

September 14, 2021

Thank you for Kick it to the Curb.
A belated thank you for putting on Kick it to the Curb–such a good way to make sure things get used instead of being thrown away. Please continue twice a year as you have been doing, as it gives a chance to put out things you forgot to put out the first time.
Margaret Elizabeth Bagdan, Camrose

Second class

September 14, 2021

This federal election, some men are telling women how to contribute by doing paid work. That still devalues the role at home.
Women’s liberation is not supposed to do that.  To liberate slaves, we took them from the position of unpaid abused servant. However, farm work itself was not the enemy and can be a noble career. Ending discrimination based on colour, nationality or sexual orientation does not require people stop being that color, nationality or sexual orientation. They are not liberated from it, but from our bias against it. When we treat taking care of children as lesser, we are not really liberating women. The role has dignity whoever does it. It is important in the economy. Any plan for women to all leave home and put children in daycare is no liberation—the care role was  never the enemy. A national childcare plan should value care of a child period, even when done at home.
Beverley Smith,
Calgary

Remember Lougheed

September 14, 2021

Tim Belec’s letter of August 24, “Remembering Lougheed” also brought back memories for me. My late parents and two sisters spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments.  A brother-in-law, in his spare time, voluntarily flew the government plane for them and Tim may have been on some of his flights. Lougheed’s energy minister, Bill Dickie, was a brother-in-law of one of my uncles. Our family and friends proudly supported them for collecting proper royalties, taxes, and healthcare premiums and running this province properly. Looking after the well-being of all Albertans was their mandate.
Then along came Ralph Klein, whose family our family had known since the early 1960s, bringing with him Reform Party polices  of privatization, slashing taxes and royalties, while looking after their rich friends, and it’s been one disaster after another. The MLAs whom I had gotten to know were furious with Klein for destroying what they stood for. Even his father Phil and daughter Angie tried to help us vote him out. Ignorant Albertans wouldn’t let us.
Former premier Don Getty told me in 2003, that inviting Liberal Ralph Klein into the conservative party was the dumbest thing he had ever done, and I certainly agreed.
Like Klein, Jason Kenney, another Liberal turned Reformer, was never a true conservative and Albertan have seen what a disaster he is. Albertans want him gone and Rachel Notley reinstated, and those of us from the world of finance agree knowing that we have got to get back to the Lougheed levels of collecting proper corporate taxes and royalties, and that’s exactly what Notley was trying to do.
Let’s hope Albertans have seen enough of these phony conservatives, Reformers and won’t elect Jason Kenney’s buddy Erin O’Toole, who in true Reform Party fashion, has promised to gut our public healthcare system to force Canadians into an American-style healthcare system. One of my American cousins says it best: “For God’s sake, don’t let anyone destroy your public healthcare system. Trust me, you don’t want ours.”
Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose  

Climate change

August 31, 2021

Whether we want it or not, we are in the midst of an election campaign.
Canada, the whole world really, faces many challenges. The biggest are the social and economic challenges being brought about by the growing climate crisis. These challenges cannot be avoided. We must act and Canada can no longer afford to be held back by the deflect, delay and deny crowd.
No, its not someone else’s responsibility. No we cannot wait and do it later. And no, it is not a hoax.  The human caused climate crisis is a real threat to our children’s future that won’t just disappear if we ignore it. Doing nothing is not an option.
If we had heeded the scientists’ warnings and acted 30 years ago, we would be fine now, but we didn’t. So there will be economic costs, but there are also economic opportunities if we are willing to take them. Other countries are far ahead of us.
The longer we wait, the greater the costs to us and the more the opportunities are taken by other countries.
So when we go to vote, we have to choose a political party that is serious about climate change. Our politicians are letting us down. Our federal Liberal government gave the oil industry $18 billion in subsidies last year, even though that sector amounted to only 0.4 per cent of jobs in Canada. It makes no sense.
Solar and wind are now the cheapest forms of energy and transitioning to green energy would stimulate our economy and create many jobs.
We should all ask our MP why his Conservative party, after years of saying that a carbon tax is bad, is now proposing a carbon tax that will cost us a lot of money, but accomplish nothing, and why their greenhouse gas commitments are so low that they are effectively useless.
For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we have to vote like climate change is the most important issue—because it is. Our children and grandchildren can have a healthy and prosperous future if Canada transitions to renewable energy and takes advantage of emerging opportunities.
Otherwise we’d better step aside or we’ll get run over as the world passes us by.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Costly election

August 31, 2021

This federal election, which will cost our Canadian economy over $65 million, is a total waste of time and money.  This was called during a pandemic which is so very thoughtless. I am so tired of how the Liberals have wasted money and made many useless promises that they do not think they can achieve or even tackle. I am so sick of these Liberals, so I believe it is time to have another Conservative government.
They can not mess up any more than how the Liberals have messed up for the past eight years. I would vote for the Social Credit Party of Canada, however, this party no longer exists. So, I will vote for the next best, which is the Conservatives. This is my opinion.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Remembering Lougheed

August 24, 2021

Some of us could do well to remember the thoughtful and considerable legacy of the leadership of Peter Lougheed.
In 1980, I started working for the Public Affairs Bureau as a photographer, and as such, was constantly in the company of ministers and MLAs and the Premier, providing documentary photographs of many of the operations of the government of the time. Many a time, I would sit in the tail seat of a King Air airplane,, listening to the conversations of cabinet members and high-level bureaucrats. There was an optimism in the air that is lacking in our discourse now. There was never a hint of arrogance in the tone of things that I can recall, but a real effort to make Alberta a place for everyone. This tone would later change when then Premier Ralph Klein and his executive assistant Rod Love changed the Public Affairs Bureau from a disseminator of information on the workings of government to the public, to the propaganda wing of the government that sought to control the messages the public would receive.
In my time in the back of boardrooms, lurking on the sidelines of public events, following the Premier and government officials around and documenting and supporting them and government ministries, it would have been easy for Mr. Lougheed to ignore me as just another underling. But, eventually, he would call me by name when he saw me in he corridors of the Legislature, and acknowledge me with a hello. The man I saw lacked pretention and expressed warmth, unlike what we currently see in leadership. He wanted an Alberta that was not totally reliant on fossil fuels, that had a diverse economy. He brought labour and social reforms, including AISH for the disabled. He believed in the good of the commons, in making Albertans the owners of their resources, and gave us, as a gift to the people, Kananskis Country, for which we now have to pay. He brought forward coal policy that stopped strip mining on the Eastern slopes. He increased royalties on oil and gas, and started the Heritage Fund for the future. He limited the expansion of the tar sands so that they would be manageable, unlike the laissez-faire approach of Klein. If anyone is pining for the good old days, don’t think of the Social Credit, but consider when we had a progressive conservative party.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Social credit

August 17, 2021

The good old days of Alberta having the Social Credit Party of Alberta to me, personally, seem to be a distant memory. I was a member of the Social Credit Party in the 1990s, when this party attempted to make a comeback. King Ralph Klein was running the province at the time and, in my opinion, we did not have the right leader to lead us to victory. So we lost once again, which was the result of not being able to get the Social Credit message out to Albertans. When we suffered this defeat, I then joined the Alberta Alliance Party simply because they had one seat, which was way more than what the Social Credit Party had. Then we merged with the Wildrose Conservatives, which made us the Wildrose Alliance Party. Then 17 members crossed the floor, which was a huge betrayal of those whom we trusted. When it came to merging with the Progressive Conservatives, I personally voted for Brian Jean, however, Jason Kenny won the leadership race. We need a true blue leader like we had when we had Ernest C. Manning. Ever since he retired in 1968, we have not found another leader who had the influence which he had on the radio. Jason Kenny was never my first choice, however, all the right leaders for the job are either dead or retired. Now, I am aware that the Social Credit Party is dead in the water. However, I refuse to vote for the NDP Party or the  Liberals, because these parties will destroy this great province. This is my opinion and all of you can take it or leave it. It is too bad that we cannot find another Manning type to run a similar party to the Social Credit Party of Alberta. We need another repeat of 1935. The stage is similar, but instead of a market crash, we have a pandemic which never seems to have an ending. This is just something for all of you to think about.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Share stories

August 17, 2021

I would like to hear from the people who had COVID-19 and were hospitalized the same time I had COVID and was in the hospital from April 19 to May 13. Phone me at 780-855-2286.
Robert Snider,
New Norway

Health care

August 17, 2021

The last year-and-a-half of pandemic has really highlighted some of the weaknesses and strengths of our healthcare system.  In the thick of the battle on the front line are the many unsung heroes who deliver home care services as part of AHS. These compassionate and kind individuals take on the personal care of our elderly, disabled and handicapped. Most are women and many are immigrants, but all are beautiful and warm people doing a tough job in rough times. At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, my mother, 93 and suffering from dementia, came to live with me and my wife, herself a woman with severe disabilities. I could not have made it through this time on my own and I owe a debt of gratitude, heartfelt and sincere, to those wonderful people from Camrose Home Care who brought a smile to my door every day. Now that my mother is moving on to long-term care, I want to say thank you to the people who gave of themselves so I could endure. Thanks to Tammy, mom’s care coordinator, thanks to the physios and dieticians and occupational therapists who gave my family the best of their considerable knowledge. And an especially big thanks to the care givers. Here are some of the names, but they number about 70, so I cannot name them all, but they are all in my thoughts. Thank you Angela, Bernice, Joy (she’s like her name), Cen, Karl, Judy, Leah, Lorraine (best laugh, hands down), Serena, Olga, Daniel, Karren, Jessica, Josie, Carol-Anne, Tracy, Eli, Keri, Shauna, Shelly, Pam, Jaycell and the scores of others whose names I can’t remember.
This is what public health care looks like, it’s in all those faces I saw everyday in the pandemic. We all need to support them, to keep them employed and to keep them doing their very important good work. God bless you all.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Forest fires

August 10, 2021

I lived in 100 Mile House, BC from 1980 to 2000 and never experienced any wild fires.
We were always worried about a cigarette off Highway 97, because we were always dry in the summer.
Now, in five years, they have had two major fires–that’s what happens when you have no logging–forestry.
You have to manage the forests so you don’t have runaway fires; you have to cut lines to stop it.
All you hear about is climate change. It has gone from global warming that didn’t say enough. Climate change still doesn’t say enough. Now, this year, it is climate crisis. That is all they have to say. Say it louder. Say it all the time.
Where are the forestry companies, why don’t they speak up?
Do the right management and at least people and animals have a chance.
Also, why is our military not trained and deployed at the first sign of fires, not a month into the season?
Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda,

Sunshine list

August 10, 2021

Education, the 14th on Sievers Jan. 14 top expense-claimers, claimed $74,188.62 (a relatively low claim). But Alberta Education also has 148 on Alberta’s Sunshine List, costing Alberta taxpayers roughly $16 million. But those salaries of over $109,000 often come with additional non-cash and cash benefits.
For example, deputy Clarke’s $286,900 salary comes with $8,000 cash and $63,600 non-cash benefits (plus his roughly $9,000 in expense claims), leaving Alberta taxpayers with a tab of just under $400,000 for this one deputy minister. (See “Alberta paid out $2.3 million in expenses…”, Sievers, Jan. 14). And, that’s just under $12 million/year for Alberta’s current 28 deputy/assistant deputy ministers.
That makes it totally unjustifiable to cut to education or nurses’ salaries, which would only save this government a couple of million dollars.  
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf

Driverless taxis

August 10, 2021

I have been a taxi driver for 27 years. I do remember the long hours and the abysmal pay which most taxi drivers all receive. Most taxi companies are short drivers which brings to my mind this one question. What about driverless taxis?
China is planning on putting one thousand driverless taxis on the road. There will be one significant change in how people interact with their taxi drivers.
What happens if your address is not on the GPS? What happens if you were a customer who did not bring any money? What happens if you try to run instead of paying for your taxi fare?
Well, you might have to prepay your ride, so this might not be too much of a problem. Would the driverless taxi take cash, or will it all be collected from your credit card?
This could solve the problem of a lack of drivers and stop people from ripping off this poor underpaid taxi driver. This is just something for all of you to ponder as you all try to survive the extreme heat.
Lorne Vanderwoude, Camrose

Not educated

August 3, 2021

How about Premier Jason Kenney’s idea to disenfranchise some taxpayers and just let the constituents who are currently policed by the RCMP vote on whether to keep the RCMP? By that logic, only parents would have a say on whether to proceed with the 2021 Draft Curriculum. Instead, minister LaGrange is trying to silence and disenfranchise the parents.
Education minister LaGrange has announced that she is accepting applications for a new Parent Advisory Council. The definition, from the government’s web page, is: “The Minister’s Parent Advisory Council is the voice of parents in Alberta.” The voice of parents in Alberta.  Alarm bells are ringing in all the other groups who thought they were the voice of at least some of the parents in Alberta.
The Alberta School Councils Association (ASCA) has democratically elected leadership representing over 1,300 school councils in Alberta. Their policy positions have been communicated to the minister, but there has been no response.
 It appears the minister is replacing a democratically elected body with one of 40 hand-picked, well-vetted members, whose input will be limited to responding as individuals three or four times a year during Zoom meetings…and whose input may then quite possibly be ignored.
Certainly ASCA and other groups and individuals are feeling ignored. Parents concerned about the draft curriculum swamped the minister’s office with so many phone calls and emails that they brought in staff from other departments. For example, the government is still insisting that the draft curriculum, is age appropriate. At a recent “Have Your Say” information session, parents were told that age-appropriateness was, in fact, “top of mind” during curriculum development.
Let’s look at the Social Studies curriculum for Grade 2 (think seven-year-olds, and about 120 instructional minutes per week for SS): Explain belief systems associated with Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Create a timeline for the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Distinguish between Roman and Greek contributions to modern life. Explain the significance of Charlemagne’s rule in the medieval era. Explain the changes in the law in medieval England. Ask questions: Was the Magna Carta the beginning of English democracy?
This is just a fraction of what appears in the skills section for SS in Grade 2 and it all sounds like essay questions for university courses. The minister insists this curriculum is age appropriate. It is not. It is dangerously inappropriate and will lead to stress and failure.
Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Top heavy

August 3, 2021

In addition to Lindberg’s notation re: Kenney’s cavalier waste of roughly $1.3 plus billion on the Keystone X Pipeline, and his $4.5 billion oil company tax cut, your readers need to know that Alberta’s UCP’s ministers and staffers got $2.3 million of our hard-earned tax dollars last year, via just their Expense Claims (Siever; Jan. 14; “Expenses paid out to ministers and staffers...).
Kenney also forgave oil and gas companies roughly $245 million that counties/rural Albertans have to make up. Plus, Albertans are also burdened with the estimated $269 billion needed to clean-up Alberta’s 91,000 inactive wells and 2,992 orphaned wells.(Oct. 16, 2020; The Canadian Press).
What about dealing with and recouping these billions first, and cutting MLAs’, ministers’ and staffers’ salaries till they are equivalent to the lower standards in other provinces...before badgering the nurses for that three to five per cent cut to their salaries?
As Lindberg previously noted this UCP crew is a “baffling group.” A baffling and unscrupulously greedy cadre.
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf

Medical services

July 27, 2021

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter required the services of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the emergency department at St. Mary’s Hospital. The people of Camrose and surrounding area are extremely fortunate to have the services of such dedicated individuals.
The ambulance attendants were the most knowledgeable, caring young women. Not only to my granddaughter, but to me as I waited for updates to her condition.   The doctors and nurses in the emergency department were also the most caring people.
They kept us informed at every step of medical procedures. When the decision was made that there needed to be a transfer to intensive care at the U of A hospital, again the ambulance attendants, doctors and nurses were wonderful. They made sure the family knew exactly where to go at the U of A Hospital.  The medical staff at the U of A Hospital were provided with the phone number of my daughter and son-in-law to keep them informed until they arrived at the hospital.
Many many thanks to EMS and St. Mary’s Hospital emergency doctors and nurses. You are sincerely appreciated.
A big thanks to the off-duty Camrose Police officer who saw my granddaughter fall. He quickly went over to her and called 911. A big thanks to my granddaughter’s co-worker Garth who came looking for her when she didn’t arrive at work like she normally did. He saw what had happened and quickly called her dad.  Camrose is full of great people.
Thankfully, my granddaughter is now home recuperating.
Penny D. Fox,
Camrose

Give them knowledge

July 27, 2021

I would like to say that I agree with the education insight of David Livingstone, PhD, writer of an Epoch Times article where he concludes NDP critic Sarah “Hoffman is wrong…it [our soon new K-6 curriculum] brings knowledge back into the curriculum.” The theory of Discovery Learning (DL) that Hoffman and now Karen Green of Sherwood Park support has been a failure in the classroom over the past few decades. I found DL actually means to dumb-down our children (teachers know that what they were teaching to a Grade 3 class in the ’70s was being taught to a Grade 5 class in the ’90s) plus all advanced classes for the early grades were removed; today, they are removing advanced programs from high schools in the name of “inclusion”. I withdrew my children from the public school system in the ’90s because of this mediocrity in education with no celebration of diversity or interests and abilities of the students.
Shame on the mindless adults who pick and choose at: diversity, inclusion, equity (DIE) and do so on the backs and minds of our children and their future.
Our children need the opportunity to think from a mindset of knowledge that they have been able to accumulate year upon year–this is what the new curriculum is designed to do, without controlling the method teachers choose to implement it. I’m quite tired of hearing about the lies that the UN Agenda, some politicians and others want taught in our classrooms: e.g. that socialism is good when all socialist countries fail (even Sweden is changing its socialist policies); the latest lie of DIE education is: white settlers were evil and Aboriginals honourable.
Why are the governments pushing to give all land to Aboriginals? (It doesn’t make sense, considering that the tribes of Aboriginals were actually killing each other off to the point of maybe 8,000 living in North America at the time the white man arrived.) Is it because the UN globalists want the land and it would be easier to confiscate it from five per cent of the population–the Aboriginals–than to confiscate it from the white and black population that own it today?
Be awake to the lies that the UN (globalists) pass down to our governments, similar to how WHO (globalists) has passed lies to our medical people about the China-covid-19 virus, who in turn have passed it on to us.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Top heavy

July 27, 2021

I would like to comment on the letter which Mark Lindberg wrote in the July 20 Camrose Booster.  I agree with him that these oil companies should not spend so much money on the top management of their company.  Now, this is my opinion only and all of you can take this or leave this.
I work for a private company and I am proud to stand behind what our company has done in the health care field. Our company is a non profit organization which is the model which all health organizations should follow. Our company cut from the top and added to the bottom.  From what I see is that these places are cutting from the bottom in order to protect the wages of those in the top of the company. I believe that, in my opinion, every health care company should be a non profit.
This means that the boards are volunteering their time. Government money should all go to the bottom to fund where the help is needed the most. Now, cutting the wages of nurses and doctors is the wrong way to go. Why not cut the unnecessary positions in the top management while adding to the bottom so that Albertans will be looked after? This is just something for all of you to ponder. This is my opinion only and like I have stated, take it or leave it.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Residential schools

July 13, 2021

When it comes to residential schools here in Canada, I do not remember hearing about such an event when I was going to school in my little town of Sedgewick. I went to school from 1974-87. As I think about these special schools, what happened when the federal and provincial government taught them to be Europeans and stop being savages? This was an attitude of the time here in our history. As I read books from this time period, I remember how these wild savages needed to be taught to be proper citizens of this new country called Canada. Now, people are waking up to realize that when these poor people complained about the treatment which they were receiving were really making a good point of the mistreatment their people were receiving. It is too bad that it took this long to understand that over one hundred years ago, our ancestors took away many different culture groups–their language and culture–without even making waves in the European immigrants who came to this new country, unless this was the main attitude of the majority of those who travelled here to this new country which was owned by a group of people who did not believe that they truly owned the land on which they roamed. Is it really too late to make these wrongs right?  It is too bad that it has taken this long to understand which wrongs were done against these people. However, the past cannot be reversed; returning these people their rights to have their language and culture is a good start in this healing process.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

New normality

July 13, 2021

Let’s compare Premier Kenney’s claims re: Crushing COVID-19 and its variants’ risks (Returning to a sense of normality, Camrose Booster, July 6) with what Dr. Deena Henshaw stated.
Kenney claims, “We have crushed COVID-19 and with cases plummeting and vaccine uptake climbing, we are Open for Summer.” Misleading, to say the least, when the (July 6) Calgary Zone has 374 active cases, with 69 still in hospital (…and 140 hospitalized province-wide). Plus, Kenney’s attempts to promote the “safety” of the Calgary Stampede, also totally ignore the increasing (Delta) “variant” cases (i.e. 21 new variant cases, July 6).
Dr. Henshaw (in that same article) remarked, “We are entering a new phase in our fight against this virus…I encourage every Albertan to continue to get their vaccines, make safe choices…,” which in plain English, contradicts Kenney’s claim.
Before making his declaration, Kenney should also have checked The Economist (July 3: “Back to the Future”…and below the 66 average of the 50 countries used in this “Normalcy” Index (economist.com/normalcytracker).
The Economist’s Normalcy Index “tracks three types of activity: 1. ravel, split between roads, flights and public transport; 2. eisure time, divided among hours spent outside of homes, cinema revenues and attendance at sporting events; 3. ommercial activity, measured by footfall in shops and offices.” The Index uses data of 50 countries (which account for 76 per cent of the world’s population and 90 per cent of its GDP) and measures the change in each factor from pre-covid levels, averaging the changes in each category; and then averaging the grouped results together.
The Index relative to a pre-covid norm of 100 was calculated…most Western countries ranked near the 66 average (America at 73, the EU 71, Australia 70 and Britain 62). “Both Hong Kong and New Zealand, the leaders at 96 and 88, enjoy nearly full normalcy…”, whereas Canada sits at just under 60, a long ways from Kenney’s declared having “crushed COVID”. And, a long way below Hong Kong’s 96 and New Zealand’s 88.
Of the eight activities used in The Economist’s Index, three were subject to legal orders: cinemas, sporting events, and flights. “All three remain 70 to 85 per cent below the pre-covid baseline today.” That defies Kenney’s claim of “having crushed Covid-19.” And, should clearly indicate the risks the Stampede poses during this pandemic.
Food for thought: What is normalcy/normality right now anyway?
M.R. Leithead,
Bawlf

 

Rude protestors

July 13, 2021

You are not going to find a bigger critic of the UCP than me. For the record, I think Tylor Shandro is doing a terrible job as health minister. In fact, I think he’s the worst health minister this province has ever had.
However, what happened to him and his family on Canada Day was completely unacceptable. Anti-maskers crowded around him and his wife and children, yelling obscenities and threatening all of them. This mob went after his children. To illustrate their complete lack of knowledge, one of these so-called protestors yelled at one of his kids, “Sorry, bud, but your dad is a war criminal.”
What war? What crimes? These people are delusional hooligans just like their internet “heroes”.
Is this what we are devolving into? What is behind it? It seems that thugs are inspiring far too many willfully ignorant people. In turn, these folks feel the rule of law and the pursuit of civil society doesn’t apply to them. If you turn to aggression and threats, where do you think this is going end?
We all need to demand a higher level of accountability and integrity from ourselves and others.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Learn facts

June 22, 2021

Thank you, Ed Rostaing, for your letter in the June 15 edition of The Booster. Finally some light on an issue which, so far, has generated mostly heat.  Your calm, measured voice is a welcome addition to the discussion of a horrible event which has gripped us all. You have reminded us to learn the facts before we draw conclusions and demonize everyone in sight. Let’s not get mired in blame instead of doing something about the inequities which still exist.  Thank you for calling upon our better selves to take over the process of healing our nation.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

Technology challenges

June 22, 2021

Thank you, Arnold Malone, for your guest editorial on June 8 about technology. I recently tried to contact Service Canada regarding the tax withholding from my CCP.
After several phone calls where my wait time of 30 minutes extended to about 45 to 50 minutes (including one made at 8:30 a.m. when the office opened), I decided to go to the Service Canada office in Camrose.
The staff there was very helpful and, after watching them inputting my request for several minutes, I understood why I wasn’t able to do it online.
When the task was completed, I was informed that it would take three months for the changes to be reflected, but I could try calling!
Got to love technology.
Maralyn Shepley,
Camrose

Moving care

June 22, 2021

The moving of Galahad Care Centre residents to other area facilities in early June because of staff shortages came as a big shock to me. This facility has cared for many of our area’s residents, including some of my own family. These seniors have lived full lives and have contributed much to our communities. To move them out of their home with short notice and little explanation was devastating for residents and families.
Why did Alberta Health Services not inform the families and community of these staff shortages, which had apparently been ongoing for months, until the decision had already been made to move residents? Galahad Care Centre is located in a caring rural community. If people in the community had been made aware of the problem, they might have been able to help with finding a solution before it came to the crisis point of having to relocate residents. For example, I saw many of the positions available shared on Facebook after the moving of residents had been announced. Perhaps community organizations would have stepped up to offer recruitment incentives, like housing or transportation assistance.
It appears to me that perhaps the problem in finding staff is that many of the positions offered are part-time and with few benefits. To recruit and maintain a good core of staff, full-time permanent positions with benefits need to be available. Our residents deserve that.
Galahad Care Centre has consistently been one of the best continuing care facilities in the province. The family atmosphere created by caring staff, Auxiliary members and community volunteers is second to none. Alberta Health Services needs to give residents, their families, and the community a firm date as to when residents can move back home to Galahad Care Centre.
If you are concerned about this issue, I urge you to contact Leanne Grant, Alberta Health Services area director (Leanne.Grant@ahs.ca); Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health (healthminister@gov.ab.ca); Ms. Jackie Lovely, MLA Camrose (camrose@assembly.ab.ca).
John Oberg,
Forestburg

Working dinner

June 22, 2021

Shandro in obvious non-compliance with his own COVID-19 precaution rules.
Bravo! Hutchinson’s (June 8) Reflections nailed it when she wrote of minister Shandro’s non-compliance with the COVID-19 precautions, which he helped create…plus, he seems to feel he owes Albertans no apology.
Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt rightfully asks, “Why, if Kenney’s party can ignore restrictions, should restaurant owners not get more leeway as well?” She adds, “Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules.”
Minister Shandro (backed by Kenney) is violating the COVID-19 social-distancing rules and the fines they both helped establish. Surely the health minister should provide a role model for Albertans.
I applaud the teenager who contacted Alberta at Noon asking how much these political officials will be fined. I would add that it must be the maximum fine. Kenney was quick to assure Albertans that the diners had all paid for their own dinners…but, Albertans want to be sure that the tab for this “dinner and beverages” doesn’t show up on the various expense accounts. Taxpayers must not pay for this Sky Palace misadventure.
This dinner is not the real issue. This compliance-breaking dinner is simply a symbol of all that Shandro has done wrong from day one. That list of wrongs is endless, beginning back when minister Shandro publicly yelled at a fellow doctor who dared suggest a “conflict of interest” for a health minister to be co-owner with a wife running a private health care related business (i.e. Vital Partners). It runs the gamut from his February 2020 ripping-up of the seven-year Doctors’ Contract, which caused some doctors to leave Alberta (exact numbers are debatable), right through the inept handling of Covid’s tracing, testing and lame vaccination roll-outs. (i.e. Why were teachers, major frontline workers, not vaccinated right at the beginning?) The repeated closures and re-openings of schools (with no science-based evidence) created a risky environment for students/parents, teachers, school and custodial staff, bus drivers, etc.). And to cap it all off, Shandro is going along with the (insane) promotion of the Calgary Stampede, despite the risks of it being a super-spreader, as numerous variants (e.g. 60 per cent variants) are now responsible for new cases in parts of the UK.
After all these missteps, this Sky Palace dinner is just the “straw that broke the Shandro camel’s back”. Disappointed and appalled.
Marion Leithead, Bawlf