Parks delisting

June 30, 2020

It was with some concern I read Jackie Lovely’s column titled, “Parks are not for sale”. For several weeks, I have tried contacting the MLA about my concerns about the closure of 20 Alberta parks and the de-listing of 164 parks across the province. I have yet to hear back from the MLA about my concerns.
The de-listing of parks means the parks will have their protected status removed. No longer will these gems, which belong to all Albertans, be protected from logging, mining, oil and gas development, or cultivation.
A recent study showed 70 per cent of Albertans, across all the province and political affiliation, were opposed to the government closing and de-listing these parks. Many families have precious memories of camping together with friends and families at these parks. Each year, thousands of visitors come to Alberta to experience the wilderness accessible from these parks.
The parks earmarked for closure seem to be chosen by throwing a dart at a map. There was no public consultation on the closure of these parks and no data is available on how the decisions were made to de-list these parks. I have asked for the consultation documents and none are available.
Albertans want to spend more time in the parks that belong to all Albertans. Closing provincial parks puts pressure on the national parks in the province and the nearby parks in British Columbia.
The closure of these parks is contrary to Travel Alberta’s long-term strategy of having a diversity of parks. Eliminating 40 per cent of the parks is not a good strategy to attract visitors and their dollars to our province. The outdoors is one of Alberta’s biggest draws.
It is not too late to phone the MLA, the minister of environment, or the premier to voice your opposition to the de-listing of parks and ensuring they retain their important park status.

Mary MacArthur,
Camrose

Curbside delivery

June 30, 2020

Thank you to the Camrose Public Library for being available Monday and Tuesday, 4 to 6 p.m., and Wednesday to Friday, 1 to 6 p.m., for someone to phone in for book titles wanted by “curbside” delivery.

Elizabeth Bagdan,
Camrose

Red tape

June 30, 2020

I was interested to read the article in the June 16 Booster “Cutting red tape ...economy.” The article presented the government side of the issue. It sounds good to cut red tape, and everyone wants more efficiency, but there are two sides to this issue. I’ll try to present another side. Cutting red tape simply means to remove or reduce government regulations. People should pay attention to this. Australia has strict government regulations that are strictly enforced for seniors’ nursing homes and, during this pandemic, 29 seniors have died in Australian nursing homes.  In Canada, we have weak regulations for nursing homes that are rarely enforced and we have had over 6,000 dead.
We don’t like the fact that around the world Alberta has a reputation for producing “dirty oil.” Mr. Kenney claims we have the highest environmental standards, but the truth is that our oil industry has weak government regulations that are weakly enforced. As a result in Norway, extracting a barrel of oil produces nine kg of CO2, but according to the global business information organization IHS Markit, in our oil sands,, getting a barrel of oil produces between 39 and 127 kg of CO2. The rest of the world knows this and knows that the Alberta government has recently further reduced the requirements for oil companies to do environmental monitoring. Our weak government regulations are bad for Alberta’s worldwide reputation and our economy has suffered as global investment firms have been abandoning our oil sector.
The stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent depression and the great recession of 2008, both happened after the US government reduced regulations on the financial sector, allowing unscrupulous individuals to play fast and loose with the system.
It should be worrying that at a press conference, the associate minister for red tape reduction Grant Hunter didn’t seem to know how the government’s cutting red tape would affect the oil sands, the environment or energy efficiency. We should be concerned about reducing government regulations. The truth is that our already weak government regulations have put our seniors’ lives at risk, harmed Alberta’s reputation and damaged our economy. We should all be asking for the real reason the government wants to reduce regulations even more.

Rob Hill,
Camrose

No parks

June 30, 2020

Is it just me, or are other readers infuriated by Jackie Lovely’s column in the June 16 Booster. I don’t know where to begin.
“The NDP anger machine.”  Aw, c’mon.  What’s that? “Misinformation?” Ms. Lovely may be forgetting that it was Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon’s own press release that ignited Albertans’ anger when he said, “Sites removed from the parks system allow a greater range of uses… Successful sale or transfer to a third party will enable these sites to continue to be part of the community …”  https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/corbella-alberta-parks-are-not-for-sale-not-one-centimeter/, but the Alberta Parks website appears to have been revised after the Calgary Herald article was published.
So let me get this straight (even though Ms. Lovely said it–annoyingly–three times): Alberta Parks are not for sale.  “Technically,” right. But they could be transferred out of the parks system and then eventually sold.  Right?
The egregious (and, I suspect, unique) examples of misspending (helicoptering firewood, six-hour staff drives) can certainly be dealt with without closing the parks. Ms Lovely cites these as actions “done by the previous government”–does she really believe that, literally–and that were “a huge mismanagement of public money”–reminds me of the old adage about the pot and the kettle (please read my next paragraph).
What really bugs me in all this is that supposedly the parks are being closed in order for the government to save money: The amount of $5 million has been bandied about. I don’t want to trivialize $5 million, but it’s a pittance compared to the $4.7 billion that the UCP government has given to big corporations. (Do the math: this is like giving away one dollar and then finding a way to save one-tenth of a cent).
I need to stop. I fear my blood pressure is reaching dangerous levels. If I were fortunate enough to live in rural Alberta, perhaps I could video-conference my doctor to find out for sure.

John Olson,
Camrose

Southern riots

June 23, 2020

The riots down in the United States over the past few weeks seem to be very disturbing to many people here in our province, as well as here in this city. This seems to be similar to the riots which happened in the 1960s when black people were killed by a white police officer(s).
As I study the past when it came to black people being killed in an unjust manner, the stories seem to be repeated.  I sure hope and pray that this time, governments from all over the globe will finally get this right.
If this behaviour of many kinds of people regardless of colour does not change and become more acceptable and tolerant of every colour and race, these riots will, in years to come, continue on and on until someday the lessons, which should have been learned, will finally be put into practice by everyone here in this world.
I do see racism in our community, and when I do, I always politely put a stop to the person’s comments by asking them why they feel this type of behaviour is acceptable. We all have a part to play in making our communities safe for all to live and work in.

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Questioning Attitude

June 23, 2020

The past 11 weeks of “Sometimes Laughter is the Only Medicine” has obviously been a much-welcomed emotional lift to many of us, and for that I sincerely thank The Booster team for their efforts, ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Changing downs to ups and inspiring life. How precious is that?
The June 2 issue offered me another welcomed “lift”…relief to discover the Battle River-Crowfoot Member of Parliament’s column was absent. It is a column I usually choose not to read because of the ensuing frustration it causes by excessive negativity and criticism expressed within. It contains only minor differences of words, phrases and tactics presented by the former MP and minister of state. Sheer (no pun intended) monotony swathed in a tangible degree of boastfulness.
The expressed dissatisfaction so many Canadians have had, are having, and always will have for the CPC and the Liberal parties is puzzling idiocy. Canadian political history is wrought with these parties and their continuing power trade-offs. Hence, little if any effective progress...when defined as democracy. Aside from dictionaries, democracy continues its descent. Canadians, and especially Albertans, enduring the present delusional and psychologically predisposed provincial government, surely have the mental wherewithal to recognize that! Ask yourself.
I implore you to shed your “herd fear” of change, delve beneath headlines, obliterate FB, recognize what Canadian democracy entails, what it should mean to you, awake your slumbering grey matter, bolster your courage and risk it.
You and only you can change that which is cause for your concerns, complaints and disappointment. There are choices, so take a serious look and decide on changes which will alleviate your disgruntled minds. We are citizens of Canada and we count. Only citizens of this nation can determine necessary change.
Canadians “got what they got” because few cared enough to search beyond the talk. Politicians, for the most part, are chameleons…lizards that change colour according to circumstances. Wake up! The human brain is an amazingly complex mass of nervous tissue meant for creative thinking, not the complacent stagnating sludge of numbness, which is evidently fast-forwarding into another evil to society. While we endure this present and very different style of living, it presents an opportunity for engagement of in depth thought, communication, positive expression, and a good measure of firm diplomacy. Cut the complaints and make a statement for life. It is your life. Just do it.

Lennie McKim,
Beaver County

More Votes

June 23, 2020

Further to Rob Hill’s thought-provoking letter, isn’t it timely for the politicians who posture to garner votes by blind support for the gun lobby to take a deep breath, understand their job and reconsider their rhetoric?
The Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee consists of 10 members whose membership includes law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women’s groups, civilian firearms users, gun control advocates and members of the legal community. They, along with the RCMP, make recommendations to the government regarding classification of firearms. Interestingly, in 2015, Public Safety Minister Blaney in the Harper government, overruled all RCMP recommendations about prohibiting select Czech, Swiss and other assault rifles. A responsible government acts upon the advice provided by non-partisan committee recommendations.
In spite of the gun lobby’s assertions, assault rifles are not hunting rifles, folks! I have hunted big game for more than 60 years, I do not know of any “sportsman” who would hunt big game with an assault-style rifle of 5.56x45 mm caliber; these rifles are not legal for big game in most provinces; whereas, a standard hunting rifle designed for big game hunting is far more accurate at long range and is more humane.
Imagine if, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the mentally ill shooter on Parliament Hill, had been armed with one of these assault rifles rather than an antique 30:30 deer rifle he carried, what carnage might have ensued?
Of equal importance, consider the warnings of the RCMP whose members face the likelihood of encountering a potentially mentally ill/criminal/gang member armed with an assault-style rifle. Also, let us not forget that, due to budget cuts in 2012, RCMP members did not get the carbines/body armour and training as recommended by the Mayerthorpe tragedy. The result was that the three Mounties killed in Moncton were not able to adequately defend themselves. Gun enthusiasts, quite correctly, will argue that legally, the magazines of these rapid-fire semi-automatic assault-style rifles are limited to five rounds but…anyone can go online and buy a 30/5 “pinned,” legal clip that is easily converted to an illegal 30-round clip.
Prohibition of these assault style rifles in other countries has proven successful to reduce shootings when augmented with stiff penalties for gun crimes (long jail sentences and deportations). Simple possession of a prohibited firearm would be a major crime with severe consequences and a huge deterrent.

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Health care

June 9, 2020

As you see from the news, long-term care is suffering. Therefore, I am donating the $300 senior cheque I am getting from the government toward local long-term care, in my case to The Bethany Group, as I feel they need it more than I (I think they have had an increasing shortfall). And I encourage you to do likewise, especially if you know a resident there, are a resident yourself, think you may become a resident in the future or work for Bethany. You’ll even be able to get a charitable donation receipt.
Elizabeth Bagdan,
Camrose

Your government

June 9, 2020

This is a letter to those who voted for the UCP. I must ask, “Did you know what you were doing?”
I assume you didn’t, because none of us knew what they were going to do. They didn’t tell us.
We have learned that there will be more crazy cuts to the services we expected to receive from our government. We came to expect that our taxes would support services that we, as a caring society needed. Yes, oil prices declined, and we had no control over that, but as the least taxed and least indebted province in Canada, surely if more money was needed to replace our lost oil revenues, which, by the way were the lowest royalties in the industrialized world, we could have imposed a low sales tax. But we didn’t.
Without asking Albertans, the UCP went crazy gutting education, healthcare, and support for those most needy. The latest cuts, made somewhere in the inner circle of the UCP, and without notice to even their own MLAs, for I am told our own MLA claims she wasn’t aware of them, include cutting laundry costs for extended care residents, cutting off Blue Cross for underage spouses; personal response systems cut down to $20 a month, with no installation costs covered and it goes on.
Why are we cutting aid to those least able to look after themselves? In budgetary terms, it is a pittance, while we fund great increases in expenses and wages for political employees? This is “institutional elder abuse”.
Healthcare and educational cuts are far more than anything the UCP said they were going to do.  Is this what you want your seniors and youth to suffer through?
Of course, we are going through difficult times, and it will probably get worse. But a civilized society should be looking after it’s least able citizens. We have three years more of this government. In that time, they can do incredible damage. Let them know you do not support this course of action.
Now is the time to look after each other. Think about what we have unleashed and stop it. You might remind your MLA that she is here to represent and support her constituents. I see little evidence of that.
    Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Our debt

June 9, 2020

Recently The Booster published a letter to the editor where I mentioned Modern Monetary Theory, and, in the same edition, Ron Pilger wrote about government spending. Views are changing about government debt, so I’d like to offer a few thoughts.
Many of us, particularly the older you are, still believe in the Protestant work ethic of work, discipline and frugality. These people believe that we have to pay for what we have, but these are not the values of our current governments. Governments give away money they don’t have in order to stay in power. So the work-ethic belief that there will be some future reckoning and that all this money will have to be paid back will not happen. Japan has been running endless deficits since the 1970s. Today’s government debts will never be paid back.  COVID has added another wrinkle in that deficits are now orders of magnitude greater than before. If we couldn’t pay the debts we already have, we certainly won’t pay the COVID costs going forward. Forget it.
With debts, the problems for the borrower start when the lender says, “I want my money back.” If the lender never says that, then there never is a problem. So the central banks buy bonds issued by the governments and they consider those bonds as assets and all is well. There is no limit to the number of bonds a central bank can “buy” by printing money.  Some central banks are now even buying corporate stocks and bonds with printed money.
So as long as central banks never ask for their money back and we print the money without creating runaway inflation, things can go on for a very long time. However, there is a new concern that the shear magnitude of the increase in spending and the shutting down of economies as a result of COVID might produce a tipping point.  We may have unleashed a financial pandemic of dying jobs that will dwarf the social impact of COVID. But for now, we will put aside the needed sacrifices of a work ethic and we will demand, with our voices and our votes, that governments simply give us what we want and we don’t care in the slightest how it’s paid for. Work, discipline and frugality…who needs that?
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

No fly-in

June 2, 2020

We are now more open in the community for socializing. I agree with one exception.
To the four young men who came down our street this morning (Sunday at 1 a.m. followed by two women, thanks for leaving an empty beer box in the middle of the street and throwing an egg at our house before running away. You also left a broken egg on the street.
You were not social distancing either. Especially in this pandemic, we are to be kind and considerate to others–help them instead of bringing them stress.
You are better than this. Man up. When you sober up, please return and apologize. We’ll be expecting you.
M. R. Broen,
 Camrose

Mean machines

June 2, 2020

Accidents can happen in a split second. When I was two years old, I ran into the path of a riding lawn mower and lost my right leg below the knee.
I grew up in the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP) and I help pass on the association’s Playsafe message. With lawn cutting season here, I want everyone to know that kids should not ride, operate or play near lawn mowers.
I accept who I am today, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I hope that by sharing my story, it will prevent even just one child from being injured. Lawn mowers are tools, not toys.
The War Amps video, Lawn Mowers Are Mean Machines, focuses on the dangers of lawn mowers and is a valuable resource for families and educators. Take some time to watch the video at waramps.ca/playsafe.
Adam Kingsmill,
Smithers, BC

Booster flyers

June 2, 2020

I too am frustrated that some businesses are choosing not to have the printed flyers delivered with The Camrose Booster.
For more than 50 years, I have planned meals using the weekly specials printed in the grocery flyers. Now some stores don’t have any print advertising or have reduced it substantially. Thus their places of business will not get any of my patronage.
Bev Maertens-Poole,
Camrose

No flyers

May 26, 2020

I am reaching out to you as per your notice on Page 2 of the May 19th Camrose Booster pertaining to pre-printed flyers. I agree with Reta LeGear from Forestburg that businesses that have discontinued printed weekly flyers will lose a lot of their customers. A lot of people I talk to do their weekly shopping from the flyers, me being one of them. I will now be exclusively doing my grocery shopping at stores which are willing to deliver printed flyers. I know people at Deer Meadows miss the flyers.
Rose Cottingham,
Camrose

Gun ban

Gun ban
May 26, 2020

I take issue with The Booster’s coverage of the recent federal government gun ban. In the May 12 issue, three articles dealt with the gun ban and not one even mentioned the most important issue. That is that the guns that have been banned are not designed for hunting or for a farmer to protect his/her stock. These guns are designed specifically for one purpose–to kill people. As such, most Canadians feel they should not be owned by civilians.  That is why 80 per cent of Canadians support this ban. That should be the end of the discussion. Yes, we have to find a way to stop these guns coming in from the United States. Let’s have that discussion, but keep in mind, it makes no sense to stop these guns coming from the United States if they can be bought and sold freely in Canada, so they must be banned here first. Yes, we have to do a better job of keeping mentally unstable people and criminals from getting guns. Let’s also have that discussion.
In a letter to the editor, the writer says he follows the law. That’s good. And then he says he is being punished. No one is punished for following the law. When I stop at a red light, I’m following the law. I’m not being punished. In the article, Prime Minister Trudeau…ammunition, Vaughn Stroud is quoted as saying that, “Canada has the strictest gun laws already.” Clearly Mr. Stroud knows very little about gun laws around the world. Our MP Damien Kurek sends his thoughts and prayers out to the victims in Nova Scotia. Fine, but his thoughts and prayers are not bringing anyone back to life or preventing such a tragedy from happening again. And Mr. Kurek expresses his outrage with the Trudeau government as if he thinks that will accomplish anything. No, as our MP, Mr. Kurek has a responsibility to show some leadership. Rather than expressing outrage, he should tell us what he would do to stop gun violence in Canada. All the articles feel Trudeau is being political. What a surprise, a politician being political, as Mr. Kurek is. Before the recent election, Trudeau promised to tighten gun laws. When a politician does what he pledged to do before the election and 80 per cent of Canadians agree with him, I’d say we are in pretty good shape.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Provincial parks

May 26, 2020

On March 3, the Alberta Government announced the permanent closure of 11 provincial parks, the removal of services from another nine parks, and a further 164 will be removed from the park system altogether, offered up in partnership to municipal, non-profit or private interests. Parks sites without a partnership arrangement will, in effect, be ‘orphaned’, very likely sold off and lost to the protection of our public parks system. That is 184 sites in total, approximately 40,000 acres of wilderness and native habitat will be impacted (Optimizing Alberta’s Parks).
The government projects a savings of $5 million with these actions. Show me the data that supports this. The costs alone of monitoring the adherence to regulations, particularly concerning the environment, of a smorgasbord of partnered sites surely cannot be done cheaper than through the existing public parks system?
Apparently Albertans have expressed their disapproval of this decision by the thousands, but to no avail. The government’s justification is that the parks in question are underutilized and basically not pulling their weight. They need to be ‘optimized’. Does this mean heavier recreational use, opening up to for-profit enterprises or possible resource extraction? How can this end well for the land itself, the native and rare plant species and the wildlife, already in many areas having been relegated to the margins of Alberta’s prairie landscape.
We can look to grassland songbirds as an example of this, for their numbers are down by 87 per cent since first recorded in 1970 (Birds Canada Study 2019). Loss of safe habitat is named as a major reason. The Canadian prairies, the only biome in this country to have been declared endangered (Hohhot Declaration 2008), is home to 60 per cent of our country’s endangered species. The loss of publicly owned parks is a further threat to Alberta’s wild areas, biodiversity and wildlife habitat.
This decision has been devastating to many Albertans, including myself. And as we live with the daily impact of COVID-19, we know more than ever, that time spent in nature is absolutely essential for us, body and soul. It is a gift of great price given freely. In appreciation of that and also for the work of the people who created and cared for these special areas over generations, I hope you will join me in asking our government to keep these parks opened, serviced and within the public system.
June A. Osborne,
 Camrose

No flyers
May 26, 2020

I am reaching out to you as per your notice on Page 2 of the May 19th Camrose Booster pertaining to pre-printed flyers. I agree with Reta LeGear from Forestburg that businesses that have discontinued printed weekly flyers will lose a lot of their customers. A lot of people I talk to do their weekly shopping from the flyers, me being one of them. I will now be exclusively doing my grocery shopping at stores which are willing to deliver printed flyers. I know people at Deer Meadows miss the flyers.
Rose Cottingham,
Camrose

Troubled times
May 26, 2020

These past few months have not been easy for all of us here in this city. The COVID-19 scare has crippled every business. It is good to see that some of these businesses are slowly getting back to normal. There will be soon a vaccine for this awful disease. There are people here in this country who refuse to get any vaccines, since they feel that these are not healthy as one would think that they would be. If a vaccine is found for the COVID-19 here in Canada, will this vaccine be mandated to be taken by everybody here in Canada? 
I sure do hope that this scare will soon be over.  This experience is surely driving me up the wall.  However, I am grateful for the lessons which I have learned by going through this experience.  I am more grateful for the people who live around me more than ever. I would be so happy to have my life back to normal.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

 

New path

May 19, 2020

Going forward we need to be happy with what we have.  COVID-19 may be the tipping point, but with the current culture of consultation and consensus, we had already started down the path of not building new things, except wildly expensive houses in Toronto and Vancouver. What that means is there will be no new pipelines or oil sands plants, but there will also be no new wind generators, electric cars and wildly expensive houses. I don’t have the numbers, but I’d guess that our economy today meets our Paris climate targets, so environmentalists should be happy with this. The threat of COVID-like epidemics in the future will foreshadow more shutdowns and will demand an economy that focuses on immediate healthcare and welfare and not future growth.
That’s not necessarily bad because we will largely be giving up discretionary things like frequent dining out, RVs, second homes and travel. If we accept that, how much are we really going to suffer? Now this recession/depression has mainly hurt low-income service workers and that is unfortunate. It may take years for those jobs to return, if they ever do.  What will probably happen is that some form of guaranteed annual wage will help those people to get by.
So how are we going to pay for all this? There is an economic view called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that says government deficits don’t matter. Simply stated, central banks print money, which they use to buy government bonds. The governments get to spend the money and the central banks are happy because they consider the government bonds as assets that match their money printing. Again to keep it simple, governments can run deficits (and they’re huge now) and carry on. So there’s the money for health care and welfare.
So there it is–the wealthy have to be content with what they have and the poor will get living wages and that’s all sustainable. There’s an investment market saying about the “have nots and have yachts” and we will need to modify that to the “have-enoughs and who needs a yacht?” Put another way, there’s a Swedish word “lagom” and it translates to “enough is best”. If we all bear that in mind, then this will work.
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

Another scam

May 19, 2020

Please let your readers know of the following Facebook scam as I’ve just experienced an attempted connection.
Someone from your Facebook friend list will  reply to a post, then ask if you’re aware of a new government program (DHHS) then ask you to connect to an agent (Andrea Bourn in my case). They will then “check their data banks” to see if you qualify and rapidly “congratulate you on your win”.
Many people are presently desperate and may be caught in this scam.   Please spread the word.
Sandra Popowich,
Camrose

Enjoyable paper

May 19, 2020

After reading your enjoyable paper, I was most disappointed to read “not seeing your favourite flyers” as I’ve been wondering what happened.
I also looked forward to all the inserts and flyers. Do the companies not understand that all customers are not digital, especially seniors. However, if they plan to resume after the pandemic, that is understandable.
If not, they will lose a lot of their customers.
Please forward this on to whom it may concern as per your notice in the paper.
I have really enjoyed your laughter page re: COVID-19.
A disappointed senior.
Reta LeGear,
Forestburg

What money

May 19, 2020

At the risk of sounding unappreciative towards their COVID-19  initiatives and the relative ability to keep people in cash and, of course,  businesses, groups and organizations afloat during this pandemic, I’ve become a bit cynical towards our current federal government’s daily briefings from Rideau Cottage.
How much longer can the Prime Minister dole out millions, or billions, per day? Did, at a certain (recent) point, this previously financially destitute government slightly switch over from a strategy of playing and working safe in a pandemic to extreme generosity in hopes you remember me when the next election is called?
Did the strategy of his campaign crew come to the conclusion that the opportunity to attract this level of media coverage daily could never be booked and paid for in normal election campaigning fashion? Does anyone smell that election announcement not too far down the road?  Is it too soon to predict a whopping Liberal majority based on his three months of looking after voters financially? Post-election, what will taxation look like?  Eight per cent GST (on top of our inevitable looming provincial sales tax)?  Stratospheric inheritance taxes? Doubling of estate taxes? What will a tax look like for those people who were astute enough, responsible enough, or able to save via RRSPs or TFSAs? What federal taxes will be dreamt up that have not yet even been imagined outside of government circles or think tanks?
How much higher will the taxes be levied on a litre of fuel, a barrel of oil, your preferred liquor or preferred tobacco? Will we need more cannabis stores in order to keep up with market demand or to simply help with government revenue? You decide.
Is there enough talk, at present, on the current political payoffs being played out before our eyes or we are all conveniently and comfortably oblivious to what’s next post-pandemic, if that day is indeed meant to be?
Ron Pilger,
Camrose

What money

May 12, 2020

Money is a complex idea. Our governments have given themselves the monopoly of creating money out of nothing. The money created only has value if most of us believe it has value. To encourage us to believe that the money has value, we are required to pay our taxes using their created money. In addition, we are told that money gets its value from the goods and services created by the work and capital of the society.
In theory then, the money supply M should equal the value of goods and services of that society (M=G&S/no. of units of money created). Therefore, if the production of a society goes up or down, the value of the unit of money should vary in proportion to the changed circumstances.
However, governments do not play by any rules.  There is very little constraint on how much money they create so long as they can convince their people that it has value. When times are good, the people accept that their money loses value (inflation), and governments generally acknowledge a certain amount of inflation, although they under report it. Inflation is a hidden tax.
When governments want money, they simply create it, using banks and smoke and mirrors and use it as they wish. In most countries, there are limits on how much can be created before hyperinflation destroys the currency. The US seems, so far, to have avoided hyperinflation, but many believe it is in their near future with the actions taken relating to the coronavirus. The simple answer as to why they seem able to rack up so much debt without incurring more rampant inflation is that they have the world’s reserve currency, but that may simply postpone the day of reckoning.
The financial shenanigans of our various governments show us they can get as much money for wars and pork barrel projects as they want, but not for programs that benefit their citizens, like better health care, education or safety nets, until the fear of revolution forces them to spread a few crumbs.
When the creation of money is filtered through the rich and powerful, it amounts to a huge tax on the poorest in society. This, at a time when the rich and powerful are far from paying their fair share of taxes. They try to avoid what little they are legally required to pay.
I encourage you to support BAI attempts by our governments.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Good work

May 12, 2020

I just wanted to say thank you for all your help in setting up our website on such short notice. We have already had some orders come in off of it.
Also a thank you for your page of humour in The Booster. It is nice to have a chuckle these days.
Margaret Lyseng,
Maplewood Acres Greenhouse, Armena

Gun laws

May 12, 2020

I would love to know why the Liberals think this new ban on 1,500 rifles is going to stop shootings. I feel, as a law abiding citizen, I follow the gun laws set forth by the Government of Canada, which are extremely strict just to acquire these weapons. They are used for hunting and sport.
I’ve researched mass shootings in Canada and, from 1985 to 2020, there have been six and in between that time, there’s been two terrorists attacks on Canadian citizens with no actions from your party to make stricter measures to monitor who comes into Canada. Maybe we should look into that. I feel with this new ban, it does nothing to stop criminals from continuing to acquire these weapons.
I feel that as someone who follows the law, I’m being punished for acquiring these guns legally. Why does your party use fear mongering to push new gun laws? I think all parties need to focus on the real issue like mental health. I feel that whatever party, whether you’re Liberal, Conservative, Green or Quebecois, needs to focus more on mental health issues and stronger border control. The recent mass shooting in Canada was done with illegal guns brought over the border from the USA. I’m ashamed to call Justin Trudeau my Prime Minister. Time after time, he’s embarrassed Canada.
Kyle Williams,
Camrose

Too close

May 12, 2020

Ladies, my sincere apology. To the two older women walkers whom I so rudely went between on Wednesday, April 29 on the walking trail north of the old ski jump hill, I’m sincerely sorry for not being more careful. I broke the new walkway rule of maintaining a two-metre separation. I think back and should have predicted you and the other walkers’ (there were two other groups of walkers) movements at the time, so as to move to where I would not have had to pass between you two. You did not deserve to have me break the rule.
I am 60 years old and have an underlining medical condition that might make me more susceptible to complications due to the virus. I am old enough to know better. I will do better. It is not fear that leads me and it is likely not fear that leads you, it is considered thought. That is what we need more of, considered thought. Please enjoy your walks and know that I will do better. Peace, love and respect.
Kevin L. McManus,
Camrose

Too close

May 12, 2020

These past weeks have been very stressful for me as an individual. There have been a lot of changes, some of them have been good and others have not been as good. I hear that by May 14, some of the businesses might be reopened. I am looking forward to being able to sit in a restaurant.
I do not mind the fact that every other table will be blocked off in order to encourage social distancing. I received a $25 gift card for my birthday, so I went online and spent that card on a takeout meal.  This was good and I really enjoyed eating with my best friend, which many people call my wife. I can hardly wait to have this COVID-19 stuff over with, because it is driving me up the wall. I now work at my workplace and, in a way, that is very good. Our self employment is going so well due to the COVID-19 scare. This, in a way, is adding extra money to our budget. However, as a OCD person, which is the initials of a very common disorder, this situation is driving me up the wall. I can hardly wait until our lives can go back to normal.  
Lorne Vanderwoude,
 Camrose

Bad government

May 5, 2020

It is very hard to believe that the 1,040,000 Albertans who voted for the UCP wanted the kind of Alberta that is coming with the cuts to education, social programs, support for alternate energy, support for vulnerable Albertans, healthcare, parks and other important services for us.
The cuts to spending are justified by a promise not to increase taxes. Yet, our provincial government is accepting $1.7 billion of federal tax dollars earmarked for abandoned well cleanup and our provincial government is asking for more. Are these not our tax dollars?
Perhaps this is the Alberta the clear majority of Albertans wanted. If that is true, so be it. If that is not true for some of those voters, then they need to let their elected MLA know that while they voted for the UCP, they did not vote for this kind of Alberta.
Marvin A. Miniely,
Camrose

Time to reflect

May 5, 2020

The covid pandemic has shaken our collective complacency to the core. Many acts of goodwill and kindness within our communities help through these troubling times.  Self imposed isolation from friends and family has given us time to reflect on our past experiences and re-think our future activities, values, and expectations and the emerging, yet to be determined, “new normal.”
In times of uncertainty, enterprises formulate strategic plans; the first step is to conduct a SWOT analysis…(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). SW are internal, brutally honest, self assessments while OT represents an external assessment of opportunities and threats. This strategic model is a global, standard procedure. Non-partisan visionaries with a global perspective could provide guidance in all sectors of our economy; namely, the service economy representing health, education, marketing, military, banking, telcos, transportation, and the wealth generating sectors, agri/aquaculture, oil and gas, mining, forestry, manufacturing, etc.
Politicians would be invited to plenary discussion workshops to listen, take notes and ask questions. Cumulative recommendations could be revolutionary and determine political policy and set Canada on a road to recovery and autonomy; we have the bounty of natural resources and educated workforce to accomplish it. Some possibilities…
In the past 60 years, Canadian leaders have reduced the role of science and technology as a foundation of our economy… potential recommendations could contribute value added products, offer high tech employment opportunities for youth and improve our trade balance.
Canada’s ethical pharmaceutical industry was wiped out by NAFTA; is it timely to resurrect it to consolidate our supply chain of drugs?
Is it timely to empower Investment Canada (formerly FIRA, neutralized by PM Mulroney in 1985) and buy back Canada? Regrettably, Canada has become a branch plant operation of businesses in Europe, US and Asia, and corporate decisions made in those board rooms have major impacts on the health of the Canadian economy.
Is there value in investigating strategies proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete to break up the oligopolies that dominate our economy and reduce competition to the detriment of small business?
Is there value in supporting the newly-proposed Canada Prosperity Pipeline Project (CP3) instead of Keystone which is still awaiting US approval? It would support the notion of energy self sufficiency first proposed by Joe Clark in 1978.
Lots of positive opportunities await if we think both locally and globally.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

World struggles

May 5, 2020

As the world struggles to combat and overcome the invisible enemy, COVID-19, we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the allied forces’ victory over their formidable enemy of that era, the German Nazi regime. As one who witnessed that day, I recall the way we celebrated. Our families and neighbours had just survived the devastating depression of the 1930s, when young men from our communities enlisted and went to fight the war, while adults and children at home did their best to keep the home fires burning. They fervidly prayed to God that He would help the allied forces prevail and achieve victory, in spite of great odds and tremendous casualties.
On May 7, 1945, the early morning radio news broadcast made the welcome announcement … a national holiday was proclaimed, schools were closed, friends and neighbours gathered to celebrate with great joy and a thankful prayer.
Throughout the Great Depression and the war years, prayer had become a common source of hope in the face of adversity.
Nations began to heal and rebuild and nations began to prosper, while enjoying relative peace for 55 years. However, the more we prospered, we seemed to become less prayerful, less neighbourly and more “self-focused”. Over time, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was, for many, interpreted as a Charter of Rights without accepting responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Many of today’s members of society have little concept of the hardships endured during the depression years.
We may feel entitled to enjoy an indulgent lifestyle, offering all of our desires, and may determine that God’s commandments are too restrictive, or just “not cool”. Over time, the courts have agreed that actions considered to be immoral are now deemed to be a “right”.
I guess it all boils down to who we believe created the great universe where our planet earth abides. If we believe it was God, He has the right to set the rules for us to obey.
The horrific events of 9-11 initiated the end of the peace era as we had known it. Evil minds conspired to attain world domination power and one approach is to undermine our economies as they have, by targeting western Canada’s energy sector, and now COVID-19 is here to finish the job.
I haven’t yet heard them suggest we should pray to God for His guidance, but as a nation, it may be our best option.
Bill Mattinson,
Camrose

Tough times

April 28, 2020

Most of us are going through difficult times now, but some are suffering more than others.
One thing history has taught us is that humans have had existential crises before and we can learn from how our ancestors dealt with those problems.  I think most would agree that we survived because we helped each other. Certainly, the stories I heard from my grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and Second World War bears this out.
The immediate future looks bleak with the economy crashing and many being without an income.  Jobs lost may never be replaced. This has the potential to lead to revolution and disaster, but it need not.
The governments of many countries have recognized that they must step in to help.  Canada, I believe, is a leader in this.
What is happening is that we are in an experiment with UBI (Universal Basic Income), albeit on a short-term basis. I suggest that it must be made permanent. If we are to live in a society where significant numbers will be permanently unemployed, whether because of robotics or AI, or any other reason, then we must take care of those who need help. Not by welfare programs, but as of right.
Of course, taxes will go up, but mostly on those, like myself, who have benefited most from the current system. The very rich, who have benefited most from the corporate welfare state and laws written to allow them to unfairly grab the bulk of the wealth of the state created by everyone, now must give back.
Just like the adage that “the poor will always be with us,” so will the rich. I am not suggesting that extreme wealth be banned, only that the wealth of a society be more equally distributed. Most of the distortions on the wealth distribution started in the ’70s and got worse as the greed of a few brought us to this very dangerous time.
Don’t let the wealthy and their minions continue to frighten you into believing that asking for a more reasonable distribution of the nation’s wealth is socialism or communism. It was the society that largely existed in Canada when I came to Camrose as a young lawyer. It exists, successfully, in the Scandinavian countries and a few others.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Ships poem

April 28, 2020

“Western Flowers of the Sea”
Five and twenty warriors
From Dominion’s western side
Fiesty little fighting ships
Full of hometown pride
The wild roses of Alberta
The Yukon and BC
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Western flowers of the sea
Vancouver and Regina
Lethbridge and Quesnel
Calgary and Rosthern
Weyburn fighting hell
Brandon and Nanaimo
Here comes Chilliwack
Moose Jaw ramming U-boats
Kamloops striking back
Saskatoon and Dawson
Agassiz and Trail
Battleford and Dauphin
Mighty Morden setting sail
Kamsack and Drumheller
New Westminster on the guard
Alberni and Wetaskiwin
With Camrose charging hard
Royal Canadian Navy
Western Canada Corvettes
On the water fighting bravely
Lest we all forget
The wild roses of Alberta
The Yukon and BC
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Western flowers of the sea.
Garth Paul Ukrainetz, formerly of Camrose

Enjoy laughter

April 21, 2020

This is an open letter to the community for your absolutely amazing support by contributing to our recent Online Food Drive.  Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your front page exposure and a compelling news story, which explained the initiative.  Our goal was to assist in replenishing the shelves at the Camrose Food Bank, which is operated by Neighbor Aid.
Frankly, for me as one of the organizers, it was an amazing and very emotional experience. We all know there are many people truly and honestly suffering at the moment in this wonderful community. It became evident during our campaign, however, that there are even more local people with big hearts.
These are the folks who we talked to who readily stepped up to share both their money and extra food items in order to help people they do not know and may never cross paths with.   Our very first “porch pick-up” on Saturday, April 11th found us gathering up four bags of groceries.  This was indicative of many stops along our route.  I watched those assisting in our drive often tear up as food and cash kept coming in at our hundreds of stops.
By the end of a busy and fulfilling day, we had loaded our trailer with 2,000 pounds of food and over $5,000 in cash. One hundred per cent of this Camrose windfall was turned over to our precious food bank on April 14th.  Thank you, Camrosians.
Our productive little group felt so fulfilled following this food drive, we have discussed the possibility of another campaign in about six weeks, if the need continues. Stay tuned.
Matthew Graham,
Camrose
On behalf of all involved

Food drive

April 21, 2020

This is an open letter to the community for your absolutely amazing support by contributing to our recent Online Food Drive.  Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your front page exposure and a compelling news story, which explained the initiative.  Our goal was to assist in replenishing the shelves at the Camrose Food Bank, which is operated by Neighbor Aid.
Frankly, for me as one of the organizers, it was an amazing and very emotional experience. We all know there are many people truly and honestly suffering at the moment in this wonderful community. It became evident during our campaign, however, that there are even more local people with big hearts.
These are the folks who we talked to who readily stepped up to share both their money and extra food items in order to help people they do not know and may never cross paths with.   Our very first “porch pick-up” on Saturday, April 11th found us gathering up four bags of groceries.  This was indicative of many stops along our route.  I watched those assisting in our drive often tear up as food and cash kept coming in at our hundreds of stops.
By the end of a busy and fulfilling day, we had loaded our trailer with 2,000 pounds of food and over $5,000 in cash. One hundred per cent of this Camrose windfall was turned over to our precious food bank on April 14th.  Thank you, Camrosians.
Our productive little group felt so fulfilled following this food drive, we have discussed the possibility of another campaign in about six weeks, if the need continues. Stay tuned.
Matthew Graham,
Camrose
On behalf of all involved

Camrose angels

April 21, 2020

It’s more than a month ago when ice was everywhere that I found myself on the edge of a very nasty patch of ice before I could get to a sidewalk. As I stood contemplating what the best route to the other side would be, a gentleman came up beside me and said, “I’ll help you get across.” I said, “Thank you so much”, and then he was gone.
About an hour later, I found myself in a similar state. From behind me, a young man said, “Take my arm”, which I did and again, he was gone with only my thanks.
If you are one of those “angels”, I want you to know what that did for an 88-year-old senior.
It cheered my heart and possibly saved me  from a fall.
Thank you and God bless you!
B. Sogge,
Camrose

Too close

April 21, 2020

A heartfelt thank you to people creating inspirational messages on sidewalks, fences and windows.Thank you to whoever created the little journal I found in the free library box by the Pocket Park. I have always loved Camrose. I love it even more during this time. I wish everyone patience and good health.
Renate Burns,
Camrose

COVID updates

April 21, 2020

I have been meaning to message you about Camrose Now! and the alerts and COVID information provided. I admit that I look at every alert and read or listen to Deena every day...your online numbers must be fantastic.
Great job to the Camrose Now! team. Good reporting and nicely presented.
 Ross Shuman,
Camrose

Post-secondary

April 14

While the Canada Emergency Response Benefit reaches a lot of people, it misses the mark when it comes to post-secondary students.  Specifically, the eligibility criteria stipulates that “The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer, you do not qualify for the benefit.”
Hats off to the BC Government for stepping up to provide $3.5 million emergency funding supports for post-secondary students.  The non-repayable emergency assistance can be used for living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely.
What’s the solution? The Government of Alberta needs to respond with something similar, and needs to lobby the federal government to include students in the CERB. Post-secondary students need work/income to survive and, in many cases, save up for their next term.  Postponing repayment of student loans is great, but only applicable to graduating students.  Those who continue won’t have to repay their loans until they graduate.
We can’t let post-secondary students fall through the cracks. Along with our young people currently in the workforce, they are the future of our province. Here’s hoping the Alberta Government and/or the federal government step up to provide the assistance they need.
Kevin Smook,
Tofield

Slow learners

April 14

The March 17 edition of The Booster contains three related articles; starting with page 12, a message from the MLA who draws a salary from this constituency.  I would prefer that the “MLA serve this constituency,” but that is definitely not the case.  This MLA prefers to “dispel concerns” and correct our “misconceptions.” Okay, Ms. Lovely, the constituents are all incorrectly concerned and misconceived.  During your campaign last April, you pledged to represent the concerns of the citizens of Camrose and area in the legislature. We get it.  That was then, this is now.
The next article on the same page reports the concerns of doctors who are concerned with the likely effect of changes being made to the way health care is funded. These are doctors who work within a system that, over the course of decades, has had every efficiency squeezed out of it. And the only thing cabinet can think of is to squeeze it some more.  This is a message from those in the system that there is nothing left to squeeze. And our MLA, in spite of promising to hear concerns from the citizens, does not even bother to attend the meeting, and sends a message of you’re all wrong and I’m not hearing you via a spokesperson.
The third related article is on page 18, “Looking Back”, 25 years ago, March 21, 1995. The doctors and practitioners within the Battle River Medical Association were expressing concern over the effect of implementing the “Alberta Advantage” would have on the provision of quality care.
If nothing else, these three articles illustrate that we, the electorate, are slow-learners.
 Mathew Banack,
Round Hill
(not Matt Banack, Central Agencies Realtor)

Homebound

April 14

The March 17 edition of The Booster contains three related articles; starting with page 12, a message from the MLA who draws a salary from this constituency.  I would prefer that the “MLA serve this constituency,” but that is definitely not the case.  This MLA prefers to “dispel concerns” and correct our “misconceptions.” Okay, Ms. Lovely, the constituents are all incorrectly concerned and misconceived.  During your campaign last April, you pledged to represent the concerns of the citizens of Camrose and area in the legislature. We get it.  That was then, this is now.
The next article on the same page reports the concerns of doctors who are concerned with the likely effect of changes being made to the way health care is funded. These are doctors who work within a system that, over the course of decades, has had every efficiency squeezed out of it. And the only thing cabinet can think of is to squeeze it some more.  This is a message from those in the system that there is nothing left to squeeze. And our MLA, in spite of promising to hear concerns from the citizens, does not even bother to attend the meeting, and sends a message of you’re all wrong and I’m not hearing you via a spokesperson.
The third related article is on page 18, “Looking Back”, 25 years ago, March 21, 1995. The doctors and practitioners within the Battle River Medical Association were expressing concern over the effect of implementing the “Alberta Advantage” would have on the provision of quality care.
If nothing else, these three articles illustrate that we, the electorate, are slow-learners.
 Mathew Banack,
Round Hill
(not Matt Banack,
Central Agencies Realtor)

Laughter and smiles

April 7, 2020

Thank you for the uplifting April 1st edition of The Booster. I read your paper faithfully every week and have done so since 1983. Doing the math, it points to 37 years or 1,924 editions, and this week was one of the best editions ever. It was uplifting, funny (the April Fool’s cover and joke page were priceless) and inspiring. The family stories were especially good! Kudos, Team Fowler and your Camrose Boosters. I am grateful for your online option. Stay well.
Sheilagh Ross,
Camrose

Thank you

April 7, 2020

Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your most creative April Fool’s prank to date!
Booster staff, I commend you on using your avenue of influence, this being your weekly printed matter, for local good. It’s clear to see and read how distinct your publication and your approach differs from any other media opportunities and operations.
Brian Krushel,
Camrose

Fooled again

April 7, 2020

I was extremely disappointed in The Booster for it’s cruel April Fool’s joke.              
My first reaction was, “My neighbors aren’t going to like that.”  In our neighborhood, we prefer a green lawn. And then, reading further, I thought, what the heck.
At this point, I started to embrace the idea and enlisted Mrs. Google’s help to find culinary uses for the dandelion. And most important, how I would go about solving my wine problems for the year? She gave me a number of tasty options.                   
I returned to the article. Imagine my horror when I discovered the cruelty of it all. No dandelion salads, no dandelion tea, no sautéed dandelions, no dandelion omelets and, most disappointing of all, no dandelion wine. I am crushed! I will recover eventually. However, in the meantime, I am off to the liquor store to see if they sell dandelion wine.             
LOL. Good job guys. I will be prepared next year...if I don’t forget.
Anne Lilke,
Camrose

Health care

April 7, 2020

Help me understand why our politicos are still mired in a nonproductive, confrontational malaise with respect to health care. It is especially timely given the current urgency requiered to overcome the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
Studies in the first decade of this millennium evaluated both public and private heath care systems. Private health care advocates were deeply entrenched in support of the Kirby Report, while advocates of public health care supported the findings of the Romanow Commission and the Romanow Report.
In truth, there were many common elements from both reports that reasonable persons could have adopted and provided an optimal compromise in a hybrid model for the benefit of all Canadians. It hasn’t happened (and probably won’t).
Tribalism and partisan politics continues to be the bane of good, progressive legislation on many fronts. In my opinion, the current headlong rush to privatize in Alberta is wrong headed while a review of European and other health care systems and their health care providers would provide an opportunity “to get it right”.
As a pharmacologist, one anecdotal finding of the Romanow Report struck me as critical. The conclusion was…errors in prescribing and administering medications cost Canadians in excess of several billions per year.
A damning conclusion …this is either a quality assurance/quality control and/or training issue. Imagine that amount of “free money” annually being returned to provincial health care budgets simply by tackling a solvable problem. Perhaps, the recent axe-like bludgeoning of health care budgets might be better performed with a scalpel.
I urge politicos of all stripes to put aside their tribal partisanship, recuse yourselves from obvious conflict of interest concerns, engage your colleagues reasonably and respectfully. Respect and seek out medical and scientific opinion and best practices outside our borders. Canadians and Albertans expect that from you.
What I have learned in my last 50 years of work and travel in more than 70 countries is…the private sector cannot “do things” faster, better, cheaper, more efficiently, in ways that are more socially responsible and more environmentally friendly than the public sector…a hybrid model works best.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Good laugh

March 31, 2020

Good morning. Thank you for the page of quips that gave me a laugh out loud moment when I read it this morning. Just what we all needed. Keep up the good work publishing every week.
Heather McCarroll,
Daysland

Best medicine

March 31, 2020

Thank you to The Camrose Booster for publishing the Sometimes Laughter is the Only Medicine material on page 27 in the March 24th issue.
I laughed hysterically at some of the jokes. The day that I read it I celebrated my 79th birthday (March 23, 1941 born).
A chance to laugh on my birthday was an amazing gift in troubling times.
Gayle Hicox,
Camrose

Some laughter

March 31, 2020

Thanks for the page “Sometimes laughter is the only medicine” in the March 24 issue.
Of course we are all deeply aware that this pandemic is no laughing matter. It has brought grief and hardship to millions of people all over the planet. But this medicine that you offered brightened my day and helped me get my balance in the midst of it all.
 David Edwards,
Camrose

Great again

March 24, 2020

Make Alberta Great Again!
This borrowed slogan captures our attention especially in tough economic times, at least until COVID-19 shifts our focus.
I wonder if the sentiment: “make Alberta great again” is better expressed as “make Alberta extraordinarily rich, again!”
The stock market and feuding oil producers, along with other external financial forces, have taken away much of our once incredible provincial wealth. However, the only way that genuine “greatness” is really lost, is when we, as individuals, or as a society, choose to surrender or trade it in.
Alberta greatness is very much evident when a local farm producer (who himself is fighting off the current agricultural monetary crises) makes a discreet offer to give food, free of charge, to those suffering hunger because of COVID-19.
The negative converse of this positive equation is sadly visible in the choices of those carpetbaggers who viciously exploit health fears and supply shortages, in order to make a gouging profit from their panicked neighbours.
The farm family members, mentioned in this piece, distance themselves from all narcissistic photo ops and self-glorifying sound bytes. Their motivation, for making this generous offer, is firmly moored to their hope-filled Christian realism: a vibrant spiritual faith yoked to real time action. They are fine citizens of a strong Alberta.
Psalm 91.
Father Jacques
Vaillancourt, Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, Camrose

Tax season

March 24, 2020

The 2019 tax season is now upon us and the issue of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax rebate is now front and centre of every tax return. I have found out that in July my wife and I will be getting a rebate one time only from the federal government.
Now, we all do agree that something has to be done in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Why does it always have to be the poor who have to take the cuts to what little we do get?
Why not the huge companies who produce a larger carbon print than the poor worker who is hardly making ends meet?  I do believe the government is going after the wrong people.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Bad decisions

March 17, 2020

Well, fellow Albertans, see what you have wrought by electing the UCP. Politicians who promise what they can’t deliver end up destroying the system they claim they want to fix.  All they can do is destroy and line the pockets of a few of their “so called” friends.
Albertans used to be proud of their relatively good education system and health care system. Will the remnants hold together until these fools can be thrown out?
Yes, we have spent too much and not saved when we could. Where is our multi-billion dollar heritage fund? We let our politicians off the hook of financial responsibility so we could spend now. How many of you have forgotten that the taxes we pay are our admission ticket to a civilized, prosperous province. Alberta has among the lowest tax rates in North America and the lowest debt of any province. We don’t have a sales tax. If we had higher taxes, we would not have to slash education and health care.
Why do we cut help for the neediest in our society, like the cuts to AISH? Human beings have developed a pretty nice world for most of us, thanks to the advances in science and technology and the fact that some people believed that we should share our good fortune.
In the last 50 years, our politicians have been bought off by large corporations who managed to have laws changed to shift the distribution of wealth in their favour. It happened incrementally until now.  The term Corporate Welfare Bums is a truism.
Corporations were created so that their owners could escape liability for their wrong actions.  It also vastly increased their political and financial power.  A CEO effectively speaks for all the corporations’ employees and controls its financial resources so that large corporations can, effectively, buy governments. In the USA the Supreme Court has held that corporations have rights to interfere in elections, which they have done to the extent that the majority of Americans don’t vote as they don’t see any point when there is no real difference between the parties.
Is it too late to take back some aspects of Democracy? I don’t know, but I hope not. They still let us vote, probably because large numbers will vote for empty promises.
Wake up.  Please wake up.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Vikings hockey

March 17, 2020

I wish to comment on the letter by Edmontonian, Brian Stein to the Booster of last week.
I know of no one who is more in tune with the college and university sports scene than Brian Stein. He is an avid statistician and writer. He knows of which he speaks and writes.
We in this community benefitted greatly from Brian’s reporting and promoting of the Viking Cup in Camrose. He produced many of the Viking Cup magazines which were widely distributed.
In his letter Brian states; “no college hockey team in the nation has had a greater impact on its community than the Vikings.” He then goes on to explain why he makes this statement…first Canadian College Championship, the Viking Cup from which over 400 players were drafted by the NHL,  breaking down political barriers, cultural exchange, origin of the Kodiaks, etc.
In a feature article in USA Hockey News after Viking Cup 2004, Joan Petruk, a Camrose billet for the American teams, is quoted as follows: “It’s a time when the community really pulls together…the really rewarding part is listening to people who are new to the community describe it back to you. They’re so excited about it, and that reminds you how special this is.”
Joan was right. Sometimes we have to hear it from others…like Brian Stein.
The real point that Brian makes in his letter is hidden in the last paragraph: “The team has given so much to the community over the years (50). Now is the time for the community to return the favour.”
The “favour” refers to the need for financial help for the team as Augustana faces severe budget cut backs, a serious matter indeed.
 The Vikings hockey program has been like a magnet to draw many hundreds of sports minded students to Camrose. Now, these alumni are working hard to keep the hockey program alive. Brian Stein knows that the local community must help as well.
Thanks for your letter, Brian!
Note:  The decision on the future of the Vikings Hockey team is scheduled to be made on March 20. If you wish to help to save the team, contact alumni president David Ritz at dritz@ualberta.ca or myself 780-281-2002.
LeRoy Johnson,
Camrose

School closure

March 17, 2020
  
As a former teacher, I read the article about Round Hill fighting to save their school with interest. Members of the community are completely correct about the cultural, historic and emotional value of their school. But they are up against the devastating reality that BRSD has had their budget cut by $4 million.  Something has to give.
When the UCP were elected they kept their promise to give a sizeable tax cut to large corporations (small local businesses aren’t eligible). More money for large corporations means less for citizens’ services.
So the BRSD trustees have a very difficult choice.  Sadly, it seems to me that the ethical thing to do is for trustees to vote to close small rural schools because the only other option is to spread the $4 million of cuts throughout the district, resulting in a significant reduction in quality of education for all students.
Keep in mind that the same difficult decision making is going on for health care and municipal services. The hurt will be widespread. Also keep in mind that Premier Jason Kenney has made it clear that large corporations will get another big tax cut this year, so we can expect to be having this same difficult discussion this time next year.  My heart goes out to the communities that risk losing their schools and I suggest they contact their MLA and make their feelings clear.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

No training

March 10, 2020

I have served as a volunteer firefighter since 2004 and I also work as an associate instructor delivering training to rural firefighters from our Camrose station.
We host several classes each year for firefighters in our hall and from smaller outlying communities. These volunteers drive in on weekends to complete their training in courses that include search and rescue, medical training and dealing with all kinds of other emergencies that happen in our communities and they usually receive nothing for their time and money spent to be in class or attending calls. Some even take time off work from their day jobs to attend these classes. At least the course itself had been paid for up until this latest budget.
The latest cut from the Alberta budget directly impacts training for rural firefighters and this is extremely worrisome and dangerous.
Did you know that the majority of firefighters in Alberta are volunteers? Did you also know that many of them receive zero compensation for any of the work or training they do?
So the next time a train derails or a truck overturns and spills dangerous goods on the road or rail line, the next time someone needs to be cut out of their mangled vehicle or rescued from a burning building, please remember that the very people tasked with helping may not have been certified or recertified to provide these services since Premier Jason Kenney decided $500,000 is more important than the lives of Albertans and the people who volunteer to help them. How can we justify cutting training dollars for people who are already working for nothing? Will these volunteers be asked to purchase their own equipment and respond in their own vehicles next?
Bob Jonson,
Camrose

Hockey program

March 10, 2020

I was directly involved with Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) hockey teams filling numerous roles for 35 seasons and was involved with the Viking Cup Magazine from 1991 onward. I also authored the chapter on college hockey in Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL (Second Edition).
No college hockey team in the nation has had a greater impact on its community than the Vikings. In 1975, the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings were the first team from Camrose to win a national championship and the first team in any sport to win a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship. For a quarter of a century, the team hosted the Viking Cup, which brought over 100 Olympians, over 200 NHL players and over 400 NHL draft selections to the Rose City. The Camrose Kodiaks and the Recreation Centre exist in large part due to the Vikings. In addition to the on ice endeavors, the Vikings hockey program broke down barriers by facilitating an exchange of cultures when the Iron Curtain separated east from west.
The 2020-21 season would be the 50th in the ACAC for the team. The team has given so much to the community over the years. Now is time for the community to return the favour.
Brian Stein,
Edmonton

Waste report

March 10, 2020

In 2015, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals promised they would make life more affordable for families. They promised they’d run small deficits before bringing Canada’s budget back to balance. They promised a lot of things.
And yet, here we are. The Liberals have added $72 billion to the national debt and folks here in Battle River-Crowfoot can’t get ahead. So, what did they do with your tax dollars?
They gave $50 million to Mastercard, a company that made $16 billion in 2019. They gave $12 million to Loblaws–the company that owns Superstore–to buy fridges that they didn’t need. They spent $1.6 million on his disastrous trip to India. And this is just the beginning.
There are billions of dollars more in waste to uncover. Canadians deserve to know what they’ve gotten as a result of the biggest government spending spree in Canadian history.
That’s why Canada’s Conservatives have launched The Waste Report. I encourage all Canadians to learn more at  https://The WasteReport.ca. Conservatives are committed to lifting the veil on the Liberals wasteful spending.
Damien C. Kurek, Member of Parliament for Battle River-Crowfoot

Thank government

March 10, 2020

I want to thank Premier Jason Kenney for taking a 10 per cent cut in his salary and a thank you to the MLAs for taking a five per cent cut. I know Premier Kenney has been putting in many long hours trying to find ways to get Alberta’s economy back on track.
With many oil patch workers out of work and farmers not being able to sell their grain because of the rail blockades, I wonder where the tax dollars will come from to pay the wage increase that teachers and nurses think they deserve. The tax dollars will not be coming from transfer payments.
Robert Snider,
Camrose

Huge problem

March 10, 2020

There is a concern for global warming here in this world.  I am sure that there is no intelligible person on this planet who would disagree with this statement. The question is how do we, as a nation, deal with this huge problem? The federal government wants everybody to think that the way to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint is to create a carbon tax.  It is very interesting to note that Alberta’s Court of Appeal ruled four to one that this federal carbon tax is unconstitutional. Now, I am not totally versed on our carbon footprint; however, there is one thing which I do know. Our recycling program here in Camrose does need to be fixed. There have been new changes of what is allowed to be recycled. Cardboard which has a wax coating is not allowed. Now, this is so unwise since this is sending so much more cardboard to our landfill. Another issue is the amount of vehicles which are on the road here in Camrose. There has to be some sort of solution to our carbon footprint without bankrupting people. I make sure that the prices which I charge are affordable at the same time being able to pay all of my bills. This will be a group effort, which will be easier if everybody will do their part.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Love Canada

March 3, 2020

I love Canada and I am a staunch Canadian. Even if I lost it all, I’d still slap the Maple Leaf on my chest, and be damned grateful I get the chance to pick up the pieces and make it all over again in a new way.
I’ve faced adversity myself and maintained an attitude that allowed for me to reinvent life in a positive way. I could have given up, blamed everyone else, turned my back on the values in place to ensure I got another chance. But I didn’t. I stayed relatively positive so I could get to where I was meant to be. Nobody in my life stoked my fears and anger and said, ‘there, there, somebody else is to blame’ and they had no interest in letting me go there in my most vulnerable moments.
No. They told me things happen for a reason and to just believe. Better things came. I’ll fight till the bitter end those who try and strip my dignity as a compassionate Canadian away for a weak and shortsighted political agenda after everything this country has provided for me. I’m loyal to this land, east to west. Perhaps I’ll put more focus on a few projects I have dreamed long and hard of bringing to this world so my contribution to this society may be measured and legitimate. Grateful and blessed this country allows for that chance. It’s time to take it.
Bobby Wells,
Camrose

Fossil fuels

March 3, 2020

The world uses a lot of fossil fuel. We consume an ever rising 100 million barrels of oil a day. About two-thirds of global electricity is produced from fossil fuels. So the world runs on fossil fuels. There are about eight million electric cars in the world out of a global fleet of one billion vehicles, so they’re a long way away from having any impact. Changes may happen in time, but not yet.
Canada produces about five per cent of the world’s oil and if we stop all our production the world will quickly make up the difference from other sources.  Meanwhile, people in Canada will still be driving cars and we will have to import oil. Oil is currently our biggest export, about $100 billion annually, so if we turn that into imports this will affect our balance of trade. This means our food, clothing, just about everything in stores, imported cars, those winter vacations and many other things will become more expensive. We will do all that economic damage to ourselves to produce a totally negligible affect on global carbon emissions.
Now let’s look at who we would be importing that oil from. As long as we turn a blind eye to the unsavoury places oil comes from, as Quebec does when it buys from Saudi Arabia, we can pretend to be as righteous as we want. If we stop our production we will be buying our oil from Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern Arab countries with huge human rights issues, and African and Latin American countries with corrupt and repressive governments. I don’t look forward to that.
Canada is blessed with natural resources and that is what created our standard of living. People in Toronto and Vancouver have lost sight of that. When the US recently signed a trade pact with China, they didn’t negotiate for 5G access or intellectual property rights. What the US wanted, and got, was access to the Chinese market for US agricultural products. Meanwhile our government has destroyed our relations with China. We are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” but that’s what has made us very rich.
It’s so easy and fashionable to say “stop everything,” but only if we naively ignore the consequences and people usually say that from a place of great comfort and excess. That said, we could show more decency and restraint in our consumption.
Anthony Hladun,
Camrose

History search

February 25, 2020

I am part of a group of 150 Canadians participating in the 75th anniversary of The Netherlands this coming May. Most of us are descendants of soldiers who fought in that action, my father included. The group is called In Our Fathers Footsteps. Some of us are assisting The Faces of Groesbeek, an effort to put faces and stories to the soldiers buried at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetary, NL. My task is to find information and a photo of Peter Jacob Schneider, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Rifleman, M1662. He died on Feb.16, 1945, age 19. He is the son of Theresa and John Schneider, Camrose.
The file notes that his brother, Nicholas Peter, also fell. But he mustn’t be buried at Groesbeek, perhaps Holten. Would anyone have any information about Jacob’s present day family, that you would be willing to share with me?
Kelly Gray,
Wetaskiwin

No compensation

February 25, 2020

The recent announcement by the Kenney government to phase out physician compensation for longer 30-minute medical appointments is going to directly impact the oldest, sickest and most infirm.  But the weak don’t fight back. Patients with complex, multiple and severe or chronic conditions require special consideration to ensure that one medical intervention does not impact or interfere with other conditions.  These patients rely on the skill of a thoughtful and carefully constructed diagnosis and treatment by an engaged and compassionate physician. These physicians deserve to be compensated properly for the extra time they take with complicated clients. If the budget is so tight that we have to put that burden only our most frail, then perhaps those savings could be found by tapping into the $30 million budget of the hapless and incompetent “war room”. Perhaps Kenney’s oil patch friends could fork over a portion of the $173 million they owe in property taxes to rural municipalities. Maybe claw back some of the $500 million in tax breaks to large corporations that ended up in the pockets of shareholders.  But what else can you expect from Kenney.  Ethics are not his strong point, whether cheating on the UCP leadership, or eliminating election officials who are investigating the election irregularities or the stacking of boards, committees and commissions with cronies regardless of their competencies.  I fear there is more to come. Rachel isn’t looking that bad any more.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Future outlook

February 25, 2020

What is the outlook for farming and oil in Alberta? Bleak, I’m afraid to say, unless we look to other sources for jobs. Those of you who read my letters know that I believe the future we want will only come from investing in our citizens.  Broadly speaking, that means investing in education and healthcare, not cutting resources to them.
Most of you know that the oil and gas industry is a dying one, but for Alberta it is largely dead. That is because our oil sands production is too expensive and cannot compete with oil and gas production in the US. We missed the “window of opportunity.”  Energy intensive farming is, I am afraid, going to follow, as the energy inputs will become more and more expensive while newer farming methods take over.  It may take a while, but I suggest that the trend will be unstoppable.
For the past 100 years or more, people have been flocking to the cities, and this trend is not going to stop until most humans will live in large cities.  It is not only people who will move, so will farms.
Urban farms, like huge hydroponic operations are popping up everywhere there is a large city.  The other factor is the development of manufactured food, like artificial beef and chicken, or any food you can imagine.  It’s happening right now and within a few years will be commonplace.  A simple chemistry lesson metaphor will explain how.
As a species, we have learned that the universe is, essentially, made up of lego like blocks of hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms were combined into larger lego blocks that make up all the elements that we know today. These small and large lego blocks combined in an almost infinite way, over time, to form everything material we know today, including the trillions of cells that make up each human being.  These humans are learning how to build almost anything out of the most elementary of these lego blocks, including any variety of food you can think of.
Those of you reading this know that the speed of change is increasing and will continue to increase.  The only resources we have to help us adapt, is human ingenuity, which will only work if we have a healthy, educated population, the opposite of what our government is proposing. Act accordingly.
    Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2020

We, as Canadians, often look, with a certain smugness, at those living south-of-the-49th-parallel. They (we say) have so much anger: road rage, school shootings, as well as armed security guards in places of worship, and this is just the top of a list of violence. On Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.), Andrew’s (Anglican) Church, in the company of other churches, will look north of the 49th Parallel to ourselves: First Nations’ and Settlers’ animosity, partner and elder abuse, violence and murder of women and our distance from all that is sacred, even from God. These Christian churches will meet without some of our evangelical sisters and brothers...a rift that remains unhealed.  You are invited to look in the mirror of faith and in Jesus: repent  by turning away from sin and believe in Christ’s Gospel. As a veteran, I am saddened by the divisions that all too often exist between us and our American allies. As a Christian, our inter-church rivalries are a scandal. I, as a repentant sinner, pray and hope for redemption before these words are spoken over me: “remember Jacques that you are ashes and unto ashes you will return.”  I want to do some good and by grace make a difference for the better.
Jacques Vaillancourt,
Camrose

Oil crisis

February 18, 2020

Climate change is in the news almost daily now.  Scientists and economists are pretty much agreed that climate change is the greatest political, social and economic threat humanity faces.  And yet, despite the mountains of evidence, there are still those who refuse to accept the scientific data.
However, at some point it doesn’t matter if some people choose to ignore the scientific reality.  The business world has made its decision and is moving quickly.  Former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer speaking on CNBC recently said, oil stocks are “in the death knell phase” and added; “We’re starting to see divestment all over the world. We’re starting to see big pension funds say, ‘Listen, we’re not going to own them anymore.…’ The world has turned on [oil stocks]. It’s actually happening kind of quickly.”  The world’s largest money management firm, BlackRock, said in January that “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” and that they will exit investments in fossil fuels including thermal coal. The European Investment Bank, the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, stated that, “Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” and added “We will stop financing fossil fuels [after 2021] and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”
The message for Alberta is that our oil industry is the past, not our future. Investors have been leaving the Alberta oil industry and there is nothing any government can do to change that. It’s an economic reality we can’t ignore. This must be a wake up call for Alberta but it doesn’t have to be a message of doom. There is money to be made in the coming economy if we are willing to take the opportunities on offer. Alberta has the people and skills to adapt.  The former NDP government was investing in innovation and diversification of our economy to the extent that hasn’t been seen since the days of Peter Lougheed. That was good. Sadly the Kenney government has pretty much swept diversification aside and is all in for oil and gas. Somebody has to tell Mr. Kenney to pull his head out of the sand and read the writing on the wall.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Paying debt

February 18, 2020

 I am responding to the article which Murray Green wrote about the issue of Albertans being in debt. I was in that situation around 2015 when I found myself to be in debt over $24,000 to over 12 creditors. I was soon borrowing from more creditors just to cover the payments, which totalled over $2,000 per month, I was sinking very fast deeper into debt.
 The suggestions which Murray gave in his article are very good, however, there are some more different solutions to tackling people’s debt.
 There is a not-for-profit company known as Money Mentors. This company used to be called The Credit counselors of Alberta, which was a crown corporation. Then the government privatized the whole industry here in Alberta.
Money mentors offers to anyone free financial courses, which can help the average person get out of debt or avoid getting into debt.  
This company also offers a program called The Orderly Payment of Debt, which is a court arrangement which places all the person’s debt into one payment with only a five per cent interest added to the debt. The person can pay off the debt over a period of time.
I paid my OPOD off in 42 months instead of 52 months. It is good to be debt free.  Mr. Green’s article was very good, however, this is my advice, which I have taken from personal experience.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Royal family

February 11, 2020

The recent events within the royal family shows that the choice of a marriage is critical. Prince Harry chose the wrong bride. At the time of the wedding, Meghan seemed like an ideal person to lead the way into the future. She was an American from an ordinary middle class background and she was of mixed race. She was seen as opening the royal family to the life of regular people.
How wrong those expectation were. She has led Prince Harry to forsake his duty as a senior member of the family. She seems to have been unprepared for public interest  shown by the British press.
She was very different from other members of the family and hence was the subject of much interest. A look at the British press during the lead up to the wedding would have done a lot to prepare her for the onslaught of public interest.
Let us hope that her selfish self interest will not damage the reputation of the royal family.
In this country, some individuals have raised the question of paying for security if the couple wish to live in Canada. Regardless of this decision to drop his right to the designation of His Royal Highness, he is by birth a member of our first family. He is the grandson of our head of state.
Is Canada too cheap to provide security to all members of our first family? If so, we must be the only nation in that category of cheapness.
Ronad Williams,
Camrose

History

February 11, 2020

Why do we study history? I suggest one of the reasons must be because it gives us, perhaps, the only view of the future we have.
Historians have told us that while history may not repeat exactly, it certainly rhymes. Why is this so?
We, as human beings, are creatures of evolution. Our brain was designed to keep us alive in the environment that existed 200,000 years ago.  That world is long gone, but the changes to our environment which we have created over the past 500 years is very different from the world we were designed to live in. What has not changed is human nature!
Modern science tells us that our body was designed to survive food scarcity, but in the presence of food abundance our current problem is widespread obesity. Similarly, our brain was designed to keep us alive on the savannah, not to be too concerned about the nature of reality.
Therefore, without education and training, we, as a species, are very poor at discerning truth and are easy prey for liars. Our political history has repeatedly showed us that politicians who promised us the sun and the moon will be supported even though those promises cannot be fulfilled.
The websites and the recent American political scene show us that, with the unlimited data we have allowed them to accumulate, they can know us better than we know ourselves. We now know that we can be manipulated to buy things we don’t need and to vote to support economic systems and politicians who do not have our interests at heart. Not only that, but we cheer when they give our joint resources to the rich and take away resources we have allocated to the poor in our society.
Our world is in a crisis and everyone is concerned, but a significant portion of our citizens have no trust in scientific truth.  The world we have created, which, for the first time in history, offers a world of abundance, a world that can provide almost all human needs to everyone, was created by scientists, learning that the universe is not as it seems, that the truth of our reality cannot be determined using, so called common sense.
Saying something is true cannot be trusted. It takes work to determine truth and not all of us can determine truth.  To choose to believe a self-serving politician over the scientist seems to me to be folly.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Tax breaks

February 11, 2020

In view of the current cuts by the Kenney government, the corporate tax breaks that benefit mostly larger more profitable companies, the labour strife that has not yet peaked,  and looking at the carnage that may follow with the start of the next Legislative session to public services, I find the following excerpt from the book, Good Economics for Hard Time, written by the 2019 Nobel prize in Economics Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo both interesting and timely.
The need to be “business friendly” to preserve growth may be interpreted, as it was in the U.S. and U.K. in the Regan-Thatcher era, as open season for all kinds of anti-poor, pro-rich policies (such as bailouts for overindebted corporations and wealthy individuals) that enrich the top earners at the cost of everyone else, and has nothing to do with growth.
“If the U.S. and U.K. experience is any guide, asking the poor to tighten their belts, in the hope that giveaways to the rich will eventually trickle down, does nothing for growth and even less for the poor.  If anything, the explosion of inequality in an economy no longer growing has the risk of being very bad news for growth, because the political backlash leads to the election of populist leaders touting miracle solutions that rarely work and often lead to Venezuelan-style disasters.”
They also write, “The key ultimately is to not lose sight of the fact that GDP is a means not an end. A useful means, no doubt, especially when it creates jobs or raises wages or plumps the government’s budget so it can redistribute more. But the ultimate goal remains one of raising the quality of life of the average person, especially the worst-off person.”
No economist will or can predict when growth will occur. A good and thoughtful government is one that will ensure that when the growth engine starts again that the population they serve will be healthy, and able to read and write and supported in ways that will maintain the resiliency of the individual to look beyond the current conditions and their own personal circumstances so they will be able to take advantage of better times to come without having to personally bear the burden alone. I’m not sure Kenney’s ideology is capable of providing such thoughtfulness.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Need newspapers

February 4, 2020

While I have never lived in central Alberta, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness at the closure of the Lacombe Globe, a truly great community newspaper.
While technology and computers are excellent, there is truly nothing better than getting your hands on one unthumbed newspaper and they help keep communities together, so it is a shame when they die off.
Let’s hope The Camrose Booster stays strong forever.
Rory J. Koopmans,
Edmonton

Monumental challenge

February 4, 2020

“You can’t wring money from a stone.” That was the response Premier Kenney provided when asked by the Rural Municipalities Association for help with a massive shortfall facing their members. According to the RMA, oil and gas companies owe about $173 million in property taxes to rural municipalities.
This comes after the province sliced property tax assessments for shallow gas producers by 35 per cent last year. That will continue this year.
This comes after the Alberta government trumpeted the addition of 300 RCMP officers in a “partnership” between the province, federal government and rural municipalities.  The problem is that the province isn’t providing any money. Instead they are downloading the cost to municipalities. It is unclear how many new officers will go to each detachment.  More money doesn’t necessarily mean more boots on the ground.
Larger centres won’t feel the pinch of additional policing costs, but they will be heavily impacted by a 48 per cent increase in the amount of fine revenue the province takes (it was 27 per cent, now 40 per cent).  It’s estimated that this will cost the City of Camrose $250,000.  Plus the amount of money the province provides municipalities to assist with infrastructure has been reduced as the MSI program is phased out to be replaced by a long term funding framework.  This change is being made despite the commitments many municipalities have already made to multi-year capital projects. Alberta’s two largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary signed City Charters with the previous government. Those charters have both been cancelled despite the promise by the UCP to keep them in place.
This is not how a province works. Investors don’t see a jurisdiction ripping up agreements as a stable investing environment.
Further, the financial challenges municipalities are facing may force some to throw in the towel and dissolve.
The UCP government vowed to work together with municipalities if they formed government. Unfortunately, Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu has traded barbs in the media on a regular basis with the Mayors of Edmonton and Calgary. There is a better way to make this relationship work. The Alberta Party would build bridges and strengthen relationships to help all Albertans get through the tough times ahead. Alberta needs a fresh approach.
Kevin Smook, Tofield
Alberta Party Critic for Municipal Affairs

School closures

February 4, 2020

In the Jan. 28 edition of the Camrose Booster there ran a story of the threat of closures of a number of small rural schools. For me it’s déjà vu all over again. I was part of a parent group that fought against, and successfully challenged the closure of our small rural school not once, but twice. What were the lessons learned?
Politicians, school trustees, parents and teachers alike; nobody likes the idea of school closures.  So why is this always seen as the only alternative. My heart goes out to the trustees as they are in a no-win situation. They serve two masters, the parents who elect them and the minister of education. In that service they are given a limited toolbox in terms of funding. There are the per capita grants that determine not just the education resource, but also infrastructure and maintenance, and transportation. That tool can be supplemented by their power to raise taxes, but it is a very blunt tool and so untenable politically that it is not used.  They are not allowed to run in deficit. Their only possible resort is to use the hammer of school closures to balance the books. But they do so mostly ignorant of the consequences of their actions on the communities affected.
In 2014, in our closure fight, we wanted to know what was in store for our community if the school closed. Our own research showed in various studies that showed many undesirable social and economic impacts. We also questioned the per-capita funding model and the assumptions that guide the utilization formula. Even the OECD in their work say that losing a rural school impacts the viability of the entire community. In 2004, in the report called Rural Alberta: Land of Opportunity, it was suggested that government move away from the per-capita funding model.  They recommended, “to provide needs-based funding rather than per-capita funding, to ensure quality education within reason and ensure that changes in rural funding formulas are accompanied by a no loss provision and have a growth index equal to real cost increases.”
We commissioned a research prospectus from the Department of Sustainable Rural Communities at Augustana, looking for a retrospective look at the impacts of past school closures. Then Minister Jeff Johnson, to his credit, did commission a study on the impact of rural schools but it failed to look back. Still too many questions.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

World wetlands

January 28, 2020

On Feb. 2, World Wetlands Day forces all of us to come to terms with an environmental crisis happening right in our own backyard. It’s a crisis just as damaging as those being experienced by rainforests, coral reefs and the Australian Outback.
The loss of wetlands in Alberta, in Canada and around the world continues at an incredible rate. Using historical data and mapping, it’s estimated that 70 per cent of wetlands in settled areas of Canada are no longer. And, just as damaging as wetland loss is to people and the planet, so too is the decline of biodiversity that occurs when these valuable ecosystems are lost.
This year’s theme for World Wetlands Day is Wetlands and Biodiversity. Biodiversity is a measure of the variety of plants and animals in an environment. The biodiversity associated with wetlands is among the highest in the world.
High biodiversity is an indicator that the environment is healthy; reduced biodiversity is a warning that the environment and ecosystems are under stress, have been damaged or are being damaged. When species are lost, the impact is perpetual. At home, Canada’s State of the Birds report says that our country has lost 40 to 60 per cent of shorebird, grassland bird and aerial insectivore (birds that feed on insects while flying such as swallows) populations. A North American study reveals that nearly three billion birds have disappeared since 1970 in Canada and the U.S. It’s an alarming statistic that sheds light to an overlooked biodiversity crisis.
Often wetland loss is the result of human activity past and present. While we know the value of wetlands relative to biodiversity and the environment, we continue to lose wetlands outright and damage many of those that remain.
But there is hope. Work by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and its many partners is helping bird populations–especially waterfowl–make a comeback, and in some cases, thrive.  The DUC community which includes landowners, donors, volunteers, staff, government, scientific experts, outdoor enthusiasts and industry stands committed to conserving wetlands and the biodiversity they support through science-based efforts and programs.
The challenge ahead of all of us now, is continuing to respond to the global call to conserve wetlands and associated habitat. Learn how you can help save wetlands and promote biodiversity at www.ducks.ca.
Ron Maher and Kevin Smith of Ducks Unlimited

Support local

January 28, 2020

This is just to say thank you for page 21 of the Jan. 14 Camrose Booster that urged citizens to support local business. It is particularly important in these uncertain economic times that you remind us to support our own economy.
And you have shown another reason why The Booster is valuable for our community.
Keep up the good work.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Misunderstand money

January 28, 2020

According to Mr. Kurek’s column in The Booster, Jan. 14, in which he complains about government deficit spending, the UCP do not seem to understand that money is just the banking records of making and paying back bank loans. The bank records will show that customer accounts are the bank’s liabilities and the promise by the customers to pay back the loans are the bank’s assets which must be kept at a safe margin larger than the account liabilities.
Money is the life blood of our economic system. The UCP policies strangles the money supply, when they object to government deficits. Banking in Canada is highly regulated, so that banks are prevented from loaning so much that it causes a risk to the bank’s ability to pay the customer’s accounts, due to failed loan repayments. So it is incumbent upon individuals, corporations and banks to prevent bankruptcy by keeping assets well above liabilities.
This is good policy for individuals and banks but can be disastrous for governments. This is where the UCP show lack of monetary knowledge. They think governments should behave in the same way as individuals. But when the economy is recessive due to too much borrowing at high interest, the government must step in and borrow to make sure that all important government services, such as health care and education are not interrupted. The government must also make necessary investments, such as in renewable energy when regular investors find the risk too high. Investments that are necessary for society to carry on must be made, even if that causes deficits.
The UCP seem willing to risk the necessities of life to preserve their foolish monetary policies. A prime example of this mistaken policy causing disaster was the great depression of the thirties. The original cause was borrowers expanding the money supply to buy stock that was going up in value. When people realized the mistake, they started selling and the stock and bank loans became worthless. The money supply collapsed and for ten years the conservative government did nothing. They let people starve.
When war threatened the country, a liberal government borrowed all the money needed to fight the war and we have never run out of money since.

Arnold Baker,
Camrose

Fire preparation

January 21, 2020

Why isn’t our “army” trained for disasters?
When dry season is here and you know it’s fire season, they should be sent immediately to help the firemen. Not a month later like Australia.
With the shutting down of the forest industry in B.C., look out. The forests have to be managed so there are breaks: so if a fire starts, it can be stopped.
It’s a repeat every year.
Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda

Hospital parking

January 21, 2020

Last month, I read in The Booster that St. Mary’s Hospital would be charging for parking. Now it has come to pass.
In my opinion…charging for parking at a hospital is just plain wrong. (The argument that other hospitals do it doesn’t make it right.)
People who go to a hospital generally have larger matters on their minds and to ding them a few bucks for parking just seems petty and cruel. St. Mary’s Hospital (according to its website) “serves with hospitality and compassion.”  I’ve seen that inside the walls, but it should be evident outside, too.
Maybe the “parking meter kiosk” could be once again hidden under black plastic bags; it could then serve as a fitting monument to an imprudent decision.
John Olson,
Camrose

 

Precious planet

January 21, 2020

The Booster, Dec. 31, has four interesting letters that deserve comment.
A quote from Bonnie Hutchinson: “The voices of anger, incivility, greed, and divisiveness sound louder than the voices of kindness, courtesy, gratitude, and recognition of our common humanity on a small precious planet.” Nothing can be said that would be more true. I would disagree with one common belief, though. Our precious planet is not small. It is huge. It is our universe. To put it in perspective, consider walking across a continent or sailing across an ocean. It is more than big enough to supply all seven billion humans their needs, as well as the rest of nature, if we didn’t waste resources killing each other and would get rid of a cancerous economy based on growth and greed, which now is in the process of destroying the ability of our planet to support life.
Mr. Nelson’s letter is of interest because he reports how our Conservative government was caught in an act of deception. Mr. Doug Schweitzer implied that the provincial government provided $286,000,000 to assist in rural policing, when in fact the money came mostly from rural municipalities, $200,000,000 and the federal government, $86,000,000. It just goes to show, one cannot trust our provincial government to speak truth.
Mr. Lynn Clark’s letter makes no sense at all. But then does Alberta politics make any sense? Clark seems to think that those who earn the most should have the most political power. Unfortunately, due to lobbying that is too much the case as it is. This is why we have democracy, so that the rich are less able to trample on the rights of the less rich. His numbers, we in Alberta earning 37 per cent of the total, but with only 22 per cent of the political power, seems unfair to him. Isn’t this the case for most of the rich, who greedily cling to their riches?
It is a shame that Alberta politicians whine about how Alberta is treated unfairly in Canada, when we Albertans should be happy to live in this great province and be proud to be part of this great country, Canada.
Mr. Ken Eshpeter’s letter is a breath of fresh air when it comes to speaking truth. I was shocked, however, to read how Mr. Arnold Malone has criticized that wonderfully brave and wise teenager, Greta Thunberg.
Arnold Baker, Camrose

Same story

January 21, 2020

Unfortunately, the cartoon that was at the very heart of my opinion piece dated Dec. 31 could not be printed due to copyright issues. The cartoon entitled The Milch Cow was sketched by Arch Dale and printed in The Grain Grower’s Guide in 1915, Glenbow Archives NA 3055-24.
Of critical importance is the recognition that the cartoon was printed in 1915 and depicts a dairy cow grazing in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with the udder suspended over Ontario and Quebec being milked by bankers, capitalists and politicians in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
So…during the past 104 years of sending Liberals, Conservatives, CCF/NDP, independents and Socreds to Ottawa, nothing has changed. Preston Manning’s Reform, plus Stockwell Day’s Alliance were permeated with Alt-right evangelicals that proved unable to mitigate western alienation.
Justin Trudeau promised electoral reform... didn’t happen; Stephen Harper promised a major overhaul of equalization payments…didn’t happen. Still waiting for pipelines…So where does the west go from here?
A common sense, political centrist, western Bloc party free from the trappings of ideologues would work if the proposed party could convince logical people to abandon their tribal and partisan roots. The illogicals would probably continue to reside inside their partisan tent.
Perhaps, a draft Brent Rathgeber movement, who was a former MP from St. Albert and who sat as a back-bencher, might appeal to many voters.
Worthwhile considering?
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Waiting game

January 21, 2020

What is the government waiting for? The international community has pledged a new round of disease prevention through the Global Polio Initiative, but Canada is nowhere to be found. Vaccinations are the cheapest, most effective way to prevent disease and reduce poverty worldwide. Disease and poverty are twin sides of the same coin: someone suffering from measles, malaria or polio or a whole host of other preventable diseases cannot work or support a family.
It makes far more economic sense to fund vaccinations than complex medical services for the sick. The world knows this and most developed nations have already pledged their share of funding. But where is Canada?  The election was a long time ago, yet Minister Gould is still missing in action. While the world waits for Canada to act, recent outbreaks of polio and measles show that infectious diseases do not.
Francis Beckow ,
Victoria, BC

Saving earth

January 14, 2020

Arnold Malone’s guest editorial is worthy of sober second thought.
There is a First Nation’s belief that states: we do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children. Viewed from this perspective, Greta Thunberg and every other youth on earth not only has a right, but a duty to chastise and reprimand previous generations and decision makers for supporting activities that have damaged the planet we all share.
Malone’s criticism of Thunberg’s approach to living lightly on the planet is short sighted. Not everyone needs to be vegan nor only wear used clothing. However, eating less meat and altering individual consumer behavior has the potential for making positive differences for the health of the planet as well as the health of the individual.
Malone’s claim that Canadians need to import citrus as a source of vitamin C in the winter is astonishing. At one time he was the owner of a Saskatoon and strawberry u-pick operation. One of the primary marketing tools for prairie fruit growers is pointing out both saskatoons and strawberries have much higher vitamin C levels than citrus fruits.  Instead of using concern for the environment as an opportunity to promote an industry he used to be engaged in, Malone opted to promote citrus farmers from other countries. He also neglected to point out other crops grown in Alberta such as red and green peppers, kale and cabbage all have much higher vitamin C levels than citrus fruits. Supporting buying local helps the environment and the Alberta economy.
As a retired career politician Malone boasts and credits his generation with eradicating disease and lifting many from poverty. He claims this, while we currently face a pending crisis of drug resistant diseases and the gulf between the rich and poor in the developed world has widened since the 2008-09 financial crisis. He uses his own brand of scare tactics by suggesting a return to hunter gatherer societies.
Whether a person embraces a creationist or an evolutionist belief, the hard cold fact is the planet earth is unique in the universe.  Each and every one of us has been blessed with the privilege of living on earth and has a duty to treat our shared planet with respect and to consciously consider first and foremost whether our actions bring harm and whether or not altering our consumer behaviors will reduce negative impacts. Our planet needs more Thunbergs.
Judy Cucheran,
Ferintosh

Using children

January 14, 2020

Harry Gaede wrote a response to my article about Greta Thunberg. He took umbrage with my writing and did so with two errors that a trained lawyer and former provincial judge ought not make. He made an assumption and then imputed a motive. He then chastised what he misunderstood. My opening and closing paragraphs were in support of climate action and environmental responsibility. My article was to underscore that children should not be used by powerful advocacy agencies for the purpose of promoting a cause.
It’s a stretch too far to believe that Greta’s sponsors would transport her across an ocean, lodged her in numerous cities on two continents, provided her food, and then not influence the scripting of her words and coaching her delivery.
No doubt Mr. Gaede, whom I know and respect, found it easy to support Greta because—I suspect—he supports her cause. However, consider a different example. I once, in the United States, saw a repeated advertisement based on an incident where a ten-year-old boy took his father’s bedside pistol and shot and killed a home intruder. The boy was featured in TV ads by an organization, and to paraphrase said, ‘Guns in homes makes safer homes.”
I suspect Mr. Gaede would not approve of using a child in that situation. On line I have watched a number of Greta’s speeches in North America and Europe. Some of those speeches have now been removed from viewing. I cannot help but believe that it was professional advocates and not a sixteen-year-old who designed a significant amount of her speech language.
Finally, what happens to Greta when–as I suspect –the advocacy groups find that her value has diminished and she is returned to Sweden. It has been much reported that Greta had a difficulty making friends and was a loner at school. After a year on the world stage does she simply return to school? Does she start in the grade she left? Is someone funding to help her cope after a year of intensive media attention? What pressures will be placed upon her now? My view is: “Advocacy groups, keep your hands off our children.”
Arnold Malone,
formerly of Camrose

Young messenger

January 7, 2020

Arnold Malone’s column in your recent edition seemed to join some others in the criticism of Grethe Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl, who came into prominence over the past year for her action on climate change. “Kill the messenger” is what we say when we hear news we don’t want to deal with.
We, as a society, have known about the danger our over use of the earth’s resources can cause for over 100 years, but have done virtually nothing to alleviate that danger. In 1965, the then president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, brought in legislation on climate change because the science of the day had, correctly warned of the coming potential disaster.
The leaders of the financial and energy markets then declared war on the science and on truth. They took control of both the Republican and Democratic parties and directed them to pass laws that gutted the environmental laws, and, since they now controlled the lawmakers, had legislation passed that enabled them to control the ownership of the technology that allowed the US to become the richest most powerful country in the world.  This was technology and wealth, that if used properly, could have saved the world from the mess we now find ourselves in.  Instead of investing in education, health care, and climate change, these, mostly all white elderly males, grabbed virtually all the gains in productivity over the past 50 years. They spent billions on propaganda, successfully convincing enough gullible people to believe that science and truth were only “false opinions.” They claimed that the incredible fortunes they gained through these lies would benefit everyone. We know how that story ended.
Yes, Grethe is a girl who does not provide solutions. She could not. What she could do was what she did, that is criticize we adults for blindly accepting the propaganda that “the house is not really on fire.”
Yes, she travelled the world with her message with the help of some concerned adults and used transportation and resources which add to global warming. Everything has a cost. But what about the benefits? I would say she was successful, and I consider her a great hero.
The 2020s maybe a decade of great hope, If we get some political leadership.
 Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Photo radar

January 7, 2020

Photo radar is often criticized by drivers and is no doubt causing some degree of frustration among Camrose residents who see the new photo radar popping up around town. It’s often criticized as a tax grab and something that doesn’t really affect safety.
I think it’s similar to the “sin tax” often levied on things like alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other things that offer short term satisfaction in exchange for long term and societal detriment. It has a two fold benefit: discourage the activity and produce tax revenue. Speeding to get somewhere a minute faster at the risk of increasing accidents sounds like it fits in that category. Speed limits are not pulled out of thin air; they are the product of many expert researchers and city planners figuring out how to effectively facilitate traffic and keep people safe. When we violate them or, obviously, go through red lights, we jeopardize our safety and the safety of those around us.
As a penalty to the speedy individual with a cavalier attitude towards public safety, why not make them contribute a little more to the collective services that benefit all people?
As for discouraging the behaviour, I know that I for one, as someone who got more photo radar tickets than I’d like this year, will be slowing down. It would be advisable for all Camrose residents to do the same: both to increase public safety and to avoid the “tax” of the “speeding sin.”
David Metcalfe,
Camrose

Need action

January 7, 2020

Given that mobile sources (cars, trucks, trains) contribute the vast majority of air pollutants, an estimated shortfall of almost 30,000 long haul truck drivers will occur over the next five years (StatsCan data), long distance transportation by rail is approximately three or four times more energy efficient than long haul trucking, one trainload could replace the equivalent of several hundred long haul trucks, highway/road maintenance is a significant component of municipal and provincial infrastructure spending: wouldn’t it make sense for some political party to advocate for a national transportation plan that would (i) double or triple Canada’s long haul railway capacity, (ii) alleviate looming manpower shortfalls in the trucking industry, (iii) reduce the maintenance costs on highways, (iv) reduce the backlog of shipping grain and other commodities to ports, (v) (probably) meet Canada’s emission targets in accordance with the Paris Climate Accord.
While the carbon tax contributes much needed tax dollars to government coffers; the direct action to reduce pollutants at the source makes more sense than the after-the-fact, illogical strategy of a carbon tax to induce users to curtail fuel use.
After all, we became a Confederation as a result of building railways; why not contribute to rebuilding/upgrading our railway infrastructure to “greenify” Canada and simultaneously, make it more efficient. Perhaps, efficient passenger rail service could even be restored for those who like to travel by train. Transportation costs to achieve this may be high but the indirect costs of not doing it are substantially higher.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Rural crime

December 31. 2019

On Dec. 17, I saw an article in the Camrose Booster regarding an announcement by Doug Schweitzer, Alberta Minister of Justice and Solicitor General stating that $286 million new money will be injected into rural policing services by 2023. The wording of the government announcement gives the impression that this money is being invested by the provincial government.
 However, a CBC news release on Dec. 3, on the CBC website states ‘the federal government will be contributing $86 million and Municipalities will be contributing $200 million in total by 2023.’
This surprisingly adds up to $286 million. The provincial government will be adding nothing. I don’t see how that actually helps us besides dramatically raising taxes on rural landowners. I also don’t see how this gives this provincial government the right to claim any of the credit for this initiative.
The fancy wording is misleading if these numbers are correct. This is also somewhat disturbing when this wording is coming out of the mouth of our minister of justice.  A more truthful statement would be that the federal government and the municipalities will be working together on increasing funding to reduce rural crime.
Brian L. Nelson,
Ohaton

Beat goes on

December 31. 2019

Feelings of disenfranchisement and frustration following the last federal election has re-awakened western separation and WEXIT. Long standing western alienation is based upon the recognition that the West contributes more than 37 per cent of Canada’s GDP but is represented by only 22 per cent of seats in the House of Commons (2018 StatsCan data).
Little progress has been made to redress the perceived inequalities. Westerners sending Liberals and Conservatives and NDP/CCF to Ottawa have not improved the lot of western Canadians. The election of Reform and Alliance MPs in the 1990s and the unholy alliance of Conservatives and Reform under Stephen Harper failed to produce anticipated, favorable results. In addition, Harper’s electoral promise of a major overhaul of the equalization formula resulted only in a minor tweak that actually improved the fortunes of Ontario and Quebec.
The west is largely ignored by the Liberals, taken for granted by the Conservatives and yet both parties, enforced by the party whip and the increasingly powerful PMO tend to favour Ontario and Quebec who collectively contribute 56 per cent of GDP, but garner more than 60 per cent of seats in the House of Commons.
Blind political partisanship has created virtually unworkable and uncompromising positions in the Canadian political milieu; e.g., westerners have vilified Pierre Trudeau for the infamous National Energy Plan. In reality, eminent Canadian historian Robert Bothwell cites the plan was conceived by Ontario Premier Bill Davis and PM Joe Clark; while Premier Lougheed nixed their proposal. NEP would have come into existence after the 1980 election regardless of which party won the election. Neither party spoke for Alberta.
Isn’t it timely for the West to steal a page out of the Quebec Bloc play book and establish a centrist regional party whose representatives in the House of Commons would hold the balance of power in a minority government?
Minority governments would require a sizeable measure of cooperation between all parties where reasonable MPs, free from the yoke of their party whip, could produce legislation for the good of all parts of Canada.
Advantages might be…(i) much sought after electoral reform with more free votes and reduction of absolute concentration of power in the PMO, (ii) abolition of illogical omnibus bills, (iii) avoiding poorly drafted bills which are ruled unconstitutional.
Such a strategy would provide substantive political clout to western Canada’s needs. Would this notion sell to voters?
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Increased production

December 31. 2019

I feel that I must react to the significant criticism by Mr. Arnold Malone of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Scandinavia who made an emotional presentation to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September. I often read Mr. Malone’s guest editorials and I occasionally agree with his conclusions, but in this case we are miles apart. I watched Ms. Thunberg’s presentation on the Internet. It was a very passionate appeal to the generations(us) who created this emissions debacle to begin remedial action to allow the global temperature to remain within 1.5 degrees Celsius of the current level to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate change. She finds it unbelievable that the people who created all of this carbon emitting technology are now unwilling to believe the science that suggests that time is running out on the allowable rate and level of carbon emissions.
At one point Mr. Malone made the statement that our generation has not sat idle. I certainly would agree with him on that point except it is on that point that we completely part company. He goes on to demonstrate how we idolize technology and efficiency and with that idolization we actually think that we are helping to solve the emissions problem. He suggests that we have created fuel efficient cars and airplanes and homes and various other things. What Mr. Malone forgets is the “Jevon theory” and how in actuality when we create or invent a technological efficiency we actually accelerate carbon emissions, rather than decrease them. Let me demonstrate that important point with a couple of examples.
In the case of vehicles we have enhanced fuel efficiency somewhat, but instead of total fuel consumption dropping it has sky rocketed because the number of vehicles sold has increased almost exponentially. We have made airplanes more fuel efficient, but fuel consumption for airline travel has sky rocketed because now anyone can afford a plane trip and global plane travel had increased exponentially. We have made technological gadgets like cell phones and computers affordable and convenient. Sales again have sky rocketed causing emissions from the production of those gadgets to sky rocket. The list of examples is longer than my arm.
In conclusion, I think that Mr. Malone felt hurt because Ms. Thunberg was not respecting her elders. He made that quite obvious in his remarks. I am sorry Mr. Malone if you feel slighted, but try to imagine how Greta feels. She did not contribute personally to any of the emissions creating the problem, but her whole life is about wallowing in the sludge that has been left behind.
Ken Eshpeter,
Daysland

Stop cutting trees

December 24, 2019

Why are we still cutting down trees for decorating at government buildings at Christmas? Why can’t we cut out some concrete and plant a tree that is good all year round?
Do the math how many trees and the expense to do it every year, under every level of government. Some government has to step up start a movement.
On another topic: why are we not copying Vancouver/Delta in their incinerator producing heat that took in that garbage from overseas? Those plants should be near every big centre in every province. What are we waiting for?
Merry Christmas.
Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda

Comfort quilts

December 24, 2019

I would like to extend a warm thank you to the Battle River Quilters’ Guild for their amazing hard work to benefit organizations in the Camrose Area. They have been involved in the donation of handmade quilts for residents in continuing care centres and will even offer to raffle beautiful quilts to assist with fundraising. They are an amazing group of genuine, dedicated ladies whose only goal is the enhancement of others’ lives. This Christmas, I would like to thank each and every one of you and let you know that you are so appreciated.
Christine Walrod,
Camrose

Everybody hurting

December 24, 2019

This is just a short and non partisan retort to Terry Lord and the group of doctors who wrote in to your letters. I am also working in an industry that has seen tremendous cut backs and unbelievable layoffs. To Lords comment about still haven’t recovered from Ralph Klein’s cuts...that happened in 1993-94, if you’re still paying the price you should change things.
As far as for the group of doctors who say the cuts will hurt the care patients get, the rate of funding is the same as the Notley government, because of no increase, the whole medical community is calling for huge cut backs in service...why I ask, if it’s because you need more money to make sure your patients get the best service , I can understand, but please let me put this into a regular working persons perspective, for almost every year, health and education has been the most important portfolios in any governments agenda. What most of the people who work in these occupations forget is that their very livelihood is linked to the royalties the government gets from a barrel of oil and from natural gas, when my industry is hurting and has been for the last five years, why are the government funded agencies so shocked that there are cutbacks and tough decisions.
I have worked in the oil and gas for 38 years and in four years I hope to retire, but until then I will tell you that going six years without a raise and just happy to have a job is the norm. Layoffs are an everyday occurrence and you do what you have to do to make a living. Knowing that all government employees are dependent on the oil and gas industry royalties for a paycheck, I find it baffling that people still think that their occupation has immunity to layoffs and cutbacks, here’s to better days ahead and , no more layoffs or cutbacks and a booming oil and gas industry. Merry Christmas!
Barry Tober,
Hay Lakes

Great community

December 24, 2019

I have always found that Christmas and the prospect of a new year forces me to reflect and to set goals. At the Camrose Heritage Railway Station, we do the same. The reflection this year again reminds us of the wonderful community we have the privilege to live in.
Without the support of the community, we could not be the community centre we profess to be. In 2019 we had more visitors than ever before. On behalf of the Canadian Northern Society, I want to thank the City and County of Camrose, the local newspaper, our priceless volunteers, all who donate to our White Elephant Gift Shop, the Battle River School Division and Elk Island Catholic Schools teachers whose children attend our school programs in Camrose and Meeting Creek, all who have taken part in and attended our events and those who promote our sites as worthwhile destinations. May God bless you all this Christmas and we look forward to a wonderful new season in 2020.
Glenys Smith,
Camrose Heritage Railway Station and Park

Property taxes

December 17, 2019

Property taxes
In the Dec. 3 Booster was a news story “Property taxes remain at 2019 rates, with City-wide funding reductions.”
An explanation as to what franchise fees are. These are charges that the City bills to the utility companies, which the utility companies directly add to all of our utility bills as franchise fees. In other words, it is a direct tax on the ratepayers that goes into the City coffers. The increase noted was 30 per cent on electricity and a little less than 10 per cent on natural gas. Based on the 2018 audited numbers, the franchise fees and concession contracts for the year were $2,678,750. Using a median of a 20 per cent increase, this means a direct charge on our utility bills, for the benefit of the City, of approximately $535,000. This is equivalent to a tax increase of 2.1 per cent for the year, based on real property taxes of $25,605,705 for 2018. A long ways from a zero percent increase.
The article leads you to believe this is a tax on the utility, rather than on the residents with a flow through to the City.
The franchise fee increase is “supported’ with a comment of benchmarking to other municipalities, to keep the City close to the 50 percentile. I fully support real benchmarking and suggest we should use and disclose credible benchmarks of all our costs and revenues. Are we in the lower half of property tax rates as compared to similar municipalities?
 I do applaud the council resolve to finally deal with exploding municipal salaries with a freeze to the non-union wages and hopefully a rollback or at least a freeze to come in union wages. In my view this is too little and the wage grids across the City should be reduced by five per cent to start to bring government sector wages more in line with the real world. I would not suggest pay cuts, but rather reducing the grid such that new starts would be at a lower level and existing staff would need to wait longer for any pay increase.
Sorry to all those I know and value on council and in the City management, but the news story was just not complete.
David W. Kotyk,
Camrose

Killing investment

December 17, 2019

I find it more than just a little ironic it is now conservatives of all stripes that are costing this province investment capital. Think about it. We have a premier who is dismantling an independent elections office who is investigating his party.
He is trying to gain access over public unions’ pensions so he gets to manage thousands of Albertans’ retirement investments. He has plans to do that with all Albertans’ pensions, not just provincial employees. The same premier gave a tax handout of 4.7 billion to corporations while he’s tearing apart public education with his eyes on our health care sector too.
The premier’s party is making it clear they want to enforce an evangelical right-wing agenda in this province, having stripped away protections for GSAs in high schools and just making an attempt to limit a woman’s right to control over her own body. Meanwhile, he is whipping up support for western alienation leading to open rallies for separation.
If that isn’t the working definition of a “banana republic” then I don’t know what is. Oh, and by the way, it isn’t good for our economy as investors are looking at this and wondering why they should invest in not just oil and gas development but green technology and our tech sector too. In health care research. In agriculture. Tourism. Our film industry. In university research. Everything.
After all, no matter what industry you look at, a smart investor is going to wonder about the sustainability of the workforce behind it. If workers can’t get quality education or health care for their families then why would they want to move to Alberta? If they know their pensions are under attack by moving here why would they want a job in Alberta? If they wonder about the protection of vulnerable members of society, who might be members of their families then how attractive is our province to them? If they have questions about how seriously this government takes the rule of law, then where is the security in that?
Jason Kenney and Wexit together are killing investment in all areas of this province’s future and that isn’t good for any of us. Period.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Health care

December 10, 2019

The Albertan Government is making major cuts to public health care. We are in full support of improving healthcare efficiency to ensure sustainable growth. Physicians have previously worked hard with government to find cost savings that do not jeopardize patient care. A current proposal to reduce physician costs disproportionately threatens family medicine and will have expensive repercussions in terms of patient health and costs to the system.
Quality primary care takes time. Currently family physicians are compensated for extra time spent on work outside of a basic, 15 minute visit which includes charting, requesting imaging tests and writing to specialists. The government is proposing to significantly limit compensation for time spent on patient care beyond 15 minutes.
It is expensive to run a clinic. Physicians provide the infrastructure to care for patients: equipment purchases, supplies, support staff salaries, and clinic rent come out of the fees paid to physicians. If this proposal goes through, it will be nearly impossible for family doctors to spend more than 15 minutes on visits including all paperwork.
We must not have 10-minute, one issue per visit, walk-in style family medicine. This will translate into rushed care placing patients at risk of getting sick and needing to go to the emergency room, be hospitalized or see specialists. Expenses will be higher–it is more expensive to pay for two separate appointments rather than one longer appointment addressing multiple issues. More tests will be ordered because physicians won’t have time to do thorough assessments. Many of our patients in Camrose are elderly with complex medical needs; these individuals will be hit hardest by the changes.
With the proposed cuts, current physicians may choose to leave and we will struggle to recruit replacements.
It is an honour to be a family physician, to witness the trust patients place in us for their care. Caring is our passion and we want to take the time to prevent problems, keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital. There is good evidence that investing in primary care leads to lower overall health care usage and better health outcomes over the long run. We implore our community to stand alongside nurses, stand alongside family physicians, and stand alongside allied health professionals, so that you can have the best publicly funded medical care available when you need it. Consider writing to our MLA and health minister to oppose these changes before Dec. 20.

Dr. Charley Boyd, Dr. Parampreet Sainbhee, Dr. Valerie Smith, Dr. Kevyn Letley, Dr. Leif Bredeson, Dr. Franco Leoni, Dr. Anna van den Berg, Dr. Amber Jorgensen, Dr. Babatunde Awakan, Dr. Ernst Snyman, Dr. Berdine Anderson, Dr. Adel El-Khatib,  Dr. Graham Kopjar,
Camrose doctors

Unkind cuts

December 10, 2019

We have known since our provincial election that cuts were coming, but the news of cuts laid out in  letters to unions on Friday, Nov.  25 is very alarming.
I was working as a nurse when the Ralph Klein Conservative cuts took place. It was a very difficult time and, to this day, we have not totally recovered from them. As Mr. Klein’s cuts took effect, doctors, nurses and teachers were forced to leave Alberta to find jobs elsewhere.
Compounding the subsequent staff shortages resulted in nurses being required to work overtime, which led to increased costs in wages. Teachers began to see increases in class sizes due to teacher shortages and a deficit in school infrastructure. Then the oil patch started another boom cycle. Workers began to migrate to Alberta for big paying jobs. This gradually resulted in subsequent Conservative governments negotiating wage increases to hospital workers and teachers to attract them back to Alberta.
Now, once again, Mr. Jason Kenney is insisting that we must get costs under control by laying off nurses, civil servants and teachers, as well as privatizing some services such as laundry, lab and ambulance services.
It has been proven in  study after study in Canada, the UK and even in the USA, that privatizing and contracting out services costs more. Private businesses are there to make a profit for themselves, otherwise they would not be in business. His insistence that the draconian and rapid cost-cutting measures he is proposing will save money in the long run, is absolute nonsense.
We have the right to show our displeasure with these proposed cuts by demonstrating and letter writing. To see our premier, on the news, during a speech he was making at the UCP meeting in Calgary, ridiculing concerned citizens, who were demonstrating outside the meeting site, was absolutely appalling. We expect our premier, and other elected members, to show respect for all citizens, whether they agree with him or not.
Terry Lord,
Camrose

Half truth

December 2, 2019

Reading Mr. Von Tettenborn’s letter in a previous Booster, one would believe there is a world-wide conspiracy of high school students and Swedish teenagers out to take away his money and way of life.
Many climate-crisis deniers take solace in half-facts and conspiracy theories generated in the Koch Brother’s School of Critical Thinking. Much of what Mr. Von Tettenborn writes is half-truth, but it is lost in the noise of the bigger picture, which he fails to acknowledge.
Kenneth Boulding, noted English economist and philosopher, said, “In 1859, humankind discovered a huge treasure. This was oil and gas, a fantastically cheap and easily available energy source. We did what anyone does who discovers a treasure; we lived it up and have been spending this treasure with great enjoyment.” Boulding goes on to characterize the reckless exploitation of this wealth to the actions of an adolescent, whose rapid growth is difficult to organize and manage; emotions out of control with a desperate need for identity. His hope was that we would use this wealth to mature, grow in knowledge, spirit, community and love. His fear was that we would not.
Mankind burns over 400 years’ worth of stored sunlight in the form of fossil fuels yearly. How can this consumption continue, and the world’s ecosystems maintain any kind of integrity? The weight and urgency of the massive scientific consensus and warning that we must act on GHG reductions has increased exponentially since the 1988 Rio Summit.
Pangloss, the teacher in Voltaire’s satire “Candide” taught his students that “they lived in the best of all possible worlds.” Throughout the story, he remains the ignorant optimist until he is hung by the Inquisition. Pangloss, derived from Greek, translates into “all tongue,” implying the emptiness of his teachings. On the other hand, Cassandra of Greek mythology was cursed to speak the truth, but to never be believed. She predicted the Greek conquest of Troy but was ignored.
To quote Dr. Ernest Partridge, Environmental Ethicist, “Pangloss, the ignorant optimist, is admired and Cassandra, the voice of warning is despised and ignored. But the Trojans were to learn, to their sorrow, Cassandra was right, and had she been heeded, the toil of appropriate preparation for the coming adversary would have been insignificant measured against the devastation that followed a brief season of blissful and ignorant optimism.” So, Mr. Von Tettenborn, are you Pangloss or Cassandra?
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Climate science

December 2, 2019

From a Treehugger to all the Treehaters. The letter from Bernie von Tettenborn, Nov. 19 The Booster, is strange. He insults all the students in high school and university who obviously study science in their courses, by accusing them of ignorance because they have not lived long enough to form rational opinions. Mr. Tettenborn must think that the results found by the scientific method are a matter of opinion and that his opinion is more factual because he is older and has lived through perhaps the end of a benign climate interval caused by human civilization.
This climate stability is now in the process of being destroyed by the emission of carbon dioxide at a rate 500 to a 1,000 times higher than that caused the five most extreme mass extinctions, each which almost caused the extinction of oxygen breathing life.
It has only been in the last 15 years that geologists have been able to determine the reason for the mass extinctions evident in the fossil record. Since theses catastrophic extinctions were first observed in the 19th century, geologist could only guess why they happened. They thought it must be slow climate change, although that didn’t seem at all reasonable. The recent advances in instruments that can examine the rocks at the molecular level, have shown very frightening evidence that the cause was a deadly poison, hydrogen sulphide. This was brought on by common sulphur bacteria which thrived when the oceans stagnated due to extreme global warming, the result of massive floods of lava resulting from the regular occurrence, every 100 to 200 million years, of continents breaking apart due to plate tectonics.
We needn’t worry about floods of basalt, but we should be panicking about the apparently uncaring increases in burning fossil fuel. The young students have plenty of reason to be frightened for the future. Perhaps the deniers should read some books on geology and physics.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

Rethinking wrapping

Rethinking wrapping
November 26, 2019

Thank you for running the article about the change in policy on wrapping paper recycling from Centra Cam. With recent focus on limiting single-use plastics such as straws and plastic bags this Christmas season seems like an excellent opportunity to reflect on if we really need gift wrap and perhaps start some new habits.
Given the many alternatives available and knowledge that we will be sending all of the wrapping paper to the landfill it seems like a no-brainer. A couple of personal anecdotes to this point. I can still distinctly recall the Christmas of 1995 and the best gift of them all, the sought-after GT SnoRacer (endorsed by Brett Hull!). It got lots of use. Can I recall how it was wrapped? Absolutely not.
The second anecdote is one that I married into. My in-laws have been using the same boxes to package gifts for each other for 25 years. They have become part of Christmas tradition and every year there is reminiscing about other gifts that have been given in that same Eaton’s box. All of this to say, other than a one-time aesthetic, there is really no point to single-use wrapping paper and there is often charm associated with alternatives. Wondering what you could use instead? You’re holding it! Everyone loves to unwrap The Booster.
Greg King,
Camrose

Common sense

November 26, 2019

Thanks to Bernie von Tettenborn for the dose of common sense in your letter on climate change. I am sure you will incur the wrath of the climate change fanatics who have little tolerance for those of us who do not drink the kool-aid of their religion, but you make several valid points.
What is most disconcerting to me is the unquestioning buy-in by most of the main stream media. They love to carry stories on nearly every weather event with the “conclusion” that it has been “caused” by climate change (implying of course that humans have somehow caused it). Climate change is a fact, not a “cause” of anything, and as you point out has been occurring forever. It is amusing, however, that when there are extreme weather-related events that are heat related (ex. forest fires) they are immediately cited as evidence of “the effects of climate change.” However, when we have unusually cold stretches of weather, the experts are equally quick to advise us that “that’s just weather”.
Now that the religion has found its new prophet in the truant schoolgirl Greta, I fear the brainwashing will only get worse, as unlike the Y2K scam, it will take another 50 years or more before this one becomes obvious to everyone. In the meantime there is a concerted effort being made to convince our younger generation that we are headed for disaster if we do not immediately address our “climate emergency”. Climate activist Steve Lee, who has no relevant academic credentials, is touring the country speaking in schools and warning students of a “possible apocalypse” if we do not stop burning fossil fuels. We need more people like you speaking out, Bernie, if we are to counter that insane rhetoric.
Larry Lewsaw,
Camrose

Change seriously

November 26, 2019

Bernie von Tettenborn wrote a letter expressing his thoughts on climate change and I am happy he did.  We should all be thinking long and hard about climate change.  In his analysis, Mr. von Tettenborn got some things right, but he got some things wrong too.  He is wrong when he says that without oil we would be going back to horses.  Oil and coal are just forms of stored solar energy and solar energy can be stored in other forms. He is wrong when he says that the many young people who are becoming alarmed are “influenced by the treehuggers.”
In fact, they are alarmed because they are paying attention to the scientists who are studying climate, as we all should be. He is right that there has been a balance between CO2 being removed from the air by plants and CO2 being added by animals, but that balance has been thrown completely out of whack by humans burning fossil fuels. He is right that climate has always been changing.  We know that from the work of climate scientists, the same scientists who tell us that the current human-produced climate change is different, and represents the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. It’s the same researchers. If you trust them when they explain past climate, why wouldn’t you trust their current warning?
Our climate is like a big snowball we have been pushing across a field and now we are pushing down a hill. The danger is that it will start to get away from us and then all hell breaks loose.  Add to that the problem that there are a lot of crackpots on the internet, being paid to spread misinformation about climate. The science of climate change is complex. We need to be listening to the scientists who are actually studying climate.  Listen to the 6,000 scientists of the IPCC who paint a dire picture of the consequences of not taking action now. Or the 11,000 scientists from 152 countries who jointly published a letter in the journal Bioscience a few weeks ago declaring a “global climate emergency” and warning that untold human misery will result from inaction. Or the scientists of NASA, the World Meteorological Organization, all the world’s major universities – they have all come to the same conclusions and what they have been predicting is unfolding more or less as they said it would.
We will all be hearing a lot about climate change over the next decade. We should join the young people and pay attention.  The world must act effectively to reverse climate change. We have no choice and for the sake of our children the world must get this right.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Climate change

November 19, 2019

The sky is falling, according to millions of high school and university students. They are young and don’t have the life experiences to form rational opinions, so are influenced by the treehuggers. What they don’t know is that climate changes continually.
We have had several ice ages over the millenniums. What do you think the woolly mammoths ate to get to the size they were when they got encased in ice–wasn’t ice? That shows that at one time, there was lush vegetation growth up north, also the Vikings called Greenland as such because when they discovered Greenland there was lush growth everywhere.
People have always looked at ways to improve living conditions and they found coal. Life centred around coal, so that was the start of the industrial revolution, where people could work for an income and share in prosperity. Then came oil where many more could work and build up an equity, oil has supplied many items to improve the lives of people of the world.
Items such as plastic, tires, paint, medicines, clothing, fertilizer to improve crops, fuel for transportation.
The push is on now to capture carbon dioxide, why? Plants use carbon dioxide to live and give off oxygen so animals can live, it is a circle, animals give off carbon dioxide.
So we change our lives to get rid of carbon dioxide, but mount Pinatubo erupted and spewed more carbon dioxide than man had saved in many years. Every time a mountain erupts it cancels out our pitiful  efforts. What about cars? We are told to go electric, but the jets flying all over the world and the ships on the ocean can’t go electric.
We need oil to fuel our equipment to grow food for the world. Going back to horses would be fruitless, it means longer days and more days in the field and part of the crop would have to be grown to feed the horses. When farming became mechanized, the efficiency went way up and more food was produced from each acre. They talk about coastal cities being flooded by the melting of the polar ice caps, where do they think the ice came from in the first place? Evaporation of the lakes and oceans.
The whole climate change action is actually a transfer of wealth from the have and prosperous countries to the poorer countries of the world.
Bernie von Tettenborn,
Round Hill

Common Ground

November 12, 2019

Recently,  I had the pleasure of joining thirty four other volunteer Energy Ambassadors for the Battle River Watershed ‘Finding Common Ground 2.0’ two day tour.
Visiting eight sites in the Watershed, the tour included industrial, government, business and homeowner efforts.   Nineteen guides and speakers, plus eight student EcoVision Ambassadors presented informative and thought provoking discussions about energy production and efficiency, emission and footprint reduction.
At the Paintearth coal mine we learned the coal mining for power production,  started in 1956, will soon complete the phase out.   Reclamation of the 6,226 hectare footprint will be completed with pea and willow planting, and biosoil amendments.
The coal is being replaced by a 10” natural gas line for the Atco Power plant  near Forestburg.  We trooped up 113 steps to the fifth story to see the massive former coal burning boilers converted to natural gas.  This will reduce emissions by two thirds.
Travelling to Halkirk, we entered an actual wind turbine tower at the Capital Power site. The  83 wind turbines, 80m tall with 44m blades, generate enough power to support 50,000 homes (same amount as the Atco generating station).
The 25,000 acre footprint is simultaneously used for agriculture.
A passive solar geodesic dome greenhouse with aquaponics was the highlight of the presentation by eight student EcoVision Ambassadors at the Lacombe Composite High School.  As part of the environmental teachings of the curriculum and extra curricular clubs, students grow food in the greenhouse,  outdoor raised beds and an indoor food tower.
The Nadon straw bale home in Camrose County optimizes residential energy efficiency. Site orientation,  straw bale wall construction, salvaged materials, energy efficient windows, appliances, lighting; and infloor heating and entry air locks all contribute to an inviting, cozy family home.
We all use energy. We are all part of the solution. We all have a part to play. We all  will benefit from finding solutions together. We all share this watershed, this province, this planet.
Our conclusion might agree with Aldo Leopold,  dean of ecological thinking, 1938: “We end, I think at what might be called the standard paradox of the 20th century, our tools are better than we are, and grow better faster than we do.  They suffice to crack the atom, to command the tides.  But they do not suffice for the oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”
Pat Reiter,
Camrose

More leadership

November 5, 2019

Instead of petulance, why don’t Conservatives ask themselves, “What is the reason our vision doesn’t resonate with a broader range of Canadians?”
Face it, the Prime Minister’s leadership is a disappointment even by the standards of many Liberals. If there was ever an election that should’ve been easy to win for a strong opposition party, this one was it. I think reform-party Conservatives ignore the fact that most Canadians are progressively-minded. We’ve all seen the memes floating around from the Conservative’s support groups, such as the Yellow Vests, Alberta Strong (or Ontario Strong, etc.) that attack science, women, immigrants, LGBTQ2+, young voters, and the list goes on. In fact, these aren’t disagreements, they are vitriolic and hateful in nature. This profoundly doesn’t resonate with young and progressive voters.
Instead of merely trying to demonize opponents, why don’t Conservatives try to show why they are the better option by doing something they haven’t for decades? Win people over by showing them they have a superior platform that furthers their cause, but includes us all instead of drawing lines between groups. Demonizing others and then asking them to trust you’ll be fair is hardly a strategy. I remember when Progressive Conservatives were a truly national party concerned with all of Canada. I think Conservatives need to show integrity too, instead of just demanding it from others. Perhaps they’d fair better.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Distracted driving

November 5, 2019

I am interested to make public aware about the seriousness of road accidents and the penalties. Our family was in a serious highway accident on June 27, 2018 on Highway 21.
We lost our 16-year-old daughter and we all got life threatening injuries. There are more victims of this accident who are still suffering. It was a six car collision resulting from a driver of a delivery truck not paying attention to the vehicles stopped behind a vehicle to make left turn. It is a case of distracted driving. It was a collision of high magnitude.
After 16 months of anxious waiting for the judgement, we were disappointed when the driver was offered to plead guilty to only careless driving as he did not plead guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.
He got a fine of $2,000 and 90 days suspension of his driving license. This was shocking not only for us, but the whole Camrose community.
Give me the opportunity to make public aware to take care of themselves, while driving and to report seeing anyone using a phone, while driving. As such people end up causing collision and the victims suffer without getting justice. It is as serious as drinking and driving.
The punishment should be more serious then only people will take it seriously. We are all on the road on a daily basis and our lives are at risk. Distracted driving can take a life. Don’t text and drive. I don’t want anyone else to suffer. The family is re-victimized when the offender is not punished for taking a precious life.
I am very thankful for our community to support for justice to Hershita Sainbhee. But unfortunately, such a driver is off the roads for only 90 days.
Stay safe on the roads.
Parampreet Sainbhee, Camrose

Electoral reform

November 5, 2019

Justin Trudeau broke a cornerstone 2015 platform promise and it needs to be fulfilled now more than ever. I had always been a stubborn first past the post supporter, but my view has changed drastically over just the last few months.
In 2015, Trudeau promised that “we are committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first past the post.” The committee responsible for recommendations on an appropriate replacement made it’s recommendations, and Trudeau backed out of the promise on the grounds that there wasn’t a clear consensus with Canadians on which system to go with. Four years later, it’s become quite clear that a proportional representation system would have been best for the country based on some of the glaring inconsistencies this election result has brought on, the direction of consensus on issues in differing regions and the rabbit holes people are being lead down as a result such as western separation and self righteous environmentalism.
Trudeau couldn’t get his ranked ballot outcome so he scrapped the whole idea because first past the post was the next best option for the Liberals. This should have been pointed out much more during the campaign. With proportional representation the east would have provided more Conservative voices that do exist there. The NDP would have a better representation in Alberta so supporters here could get their voice. Working together would become crucial to political survival instead of the other way around.
The country is divided and the gap has grown too wide under the current system. Something has to give, and it can’t be having the country end as we know it. Never thought I’d be nervous to tell a fellow countryman which province I’m from, but here we are and that is a major cause for concern not just for me, but anybody who gives a damn about the well-being of Canada.

Bobby Wells,
Camrose

Great community

October 29, 2019

Thank you for making the cover page available to Sahakarini once again, this time on Oct. 22. We certainly appreciate the fine support from The Booster over the many years and appreciate how you support the broader community.
The photo with Laura Parker, Varghese Manaloor and Maya Rathnavalu riding the red antique bicycle of founding member, Jane Ross, together with the sandals of founding member Gordon Schieck, speaks of our theme of movement. Thank you.
Sahakarini was the brain child of Drs. Jane and Jack Ross, Rev. Gordon and Mina Schieck, together with Norm and Eloise Umbach. It is due to their foresight, planning skills, and their ability to create, in the minds and hearts of the community, an idea that grew wings and legs that has benefitted many people around the world over the past 40 years.
Thank you to these pioneers and their vision, and to all who followed and took up the challenge, thanks to the community for your support. Because of our partnership over the past 40 years, children and youth have been educated, women have received training in income generation, families have access to health care, the result of which is a better, more productive and healthy life for all whose lives have been impacted in India, Nepal, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Guatemala among other places.
Here at home, we too have benefitted from the opportunity to work with and on behalf of others. Forty years have passed, the future is before us. You are invited to join us.

Ruth E. Jensen,
president Sahakarini

Plastic

October 29, 2019

Down at Centra Cam, we see some big square bales of plastic. Being an old country boy, looks like they could be used to make sturdy cattle shelters or maybe silage bunkers.
I will send along a short tribute I wrote to an old farmer some years ago.
Tribute
It is the smell of new tilled soil. Out early spring farming the hilltops, anticipating a new growing season, having faith the rain will fall on the crops.
Camping out with family or friends with folks from across the sea, being proud of your heritage and to cherish them all in memory.
To service and operate farm machinery. The satisfactions of building a shop tool or making the grade with things made from lessons learned in the old school.
It is knowing after a lifetime of learning you have not lost that light in your eye, they say some men never live. Ah...but then some will never die.
Jeff Strandquist, Camrose

Election over
October 29, 2019

The great election of 2019 is over. Since Alberta voters voted the province out of the decision making process, a group is proposing the creation of a new nation. This group wants two revolutionary changes; namely creation of a new nation by Western Canada succeeding from Canada, and secondly by severing our connection with the monarchy by the creation of the new nation, the Republic of Western Canada.
The creation of a new nation is open to debate with arguments on both sides of the question, but why should we sever our relationship with the crown? Queen Elizabeth is the most respected person in the world. A few years ago when Pope John XXIII or Pope John Paul II were alive that could be debated, but since those prelates are gone, it is accepted that Her Majesty is the most respected person in the whole entire world. Why would we wish to exchange our Head of State with an overweight, over-aged, has-been politician for the most respected person in the world? As a new nation on the stage, which Head of State would command more respect?
Queen Elizabeth has filled her great position for 67 years, never putting a foot even a little wrong. The independence group now wishes to thank her by dismissing her. Or maybe they wish to adopt the American system of having one person being both the Head of State and Head of Government. It appears possible that Donald Trump will be impeached, so he might be available to take on the position.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has earned the respect she enjoys and some of that respect is transferred to each of the 18 nations of which she is Queen. If Western Canada became a nation, it could be number 19 thus retaining the respect given its Head of State.
Therefore, God Save the Queen.
Ron Williams,
Camrose

Money waste

Money waste
October 29, 2019

Well, well, well. I have to believe the engineering dept. must have found a money tree behind City Hall, because once again we are throwing money around like drunken sailors. Why did they have to rip up a perfect concrete walking path on the south side of the new bridge and replace the concrete with asphalt? Makes absolutely no sense to do this.
Another rant is on the ugly eyesore at the north end of Main Street, between the Alice and Windsor Hotels. I believe the engineering department must have a vision that within a couple of years, we will all be driving smart cars because this is about the space that is left. I think they forgot this is an agriculture city and there are still big trucks that use this truck route.
I do firmly believe that someone, either the engineers or City Council, has to be held financially responsible for the idiotic projects they undertake at the expense of the taxpayers of this great city.
One final question for the engineering dept. When will the swimming pool be completed and how many more millions is it going to take to complete?
Louie Hagel,
Camrose

Red Tape

October 22, 2019

If the Camrose Red Tape Reduction meeting  is indicative of the UCP’s Alberta-wide Red Tape Round-Tables, it’s a mega waste of tax dollars.
1. Attendance, “by invitation only,” didn’t result in accurate community representation. A dozen people attended (Damien Kurek, some lawyers, builders, realtors, Daysland’s mayor and two councillors; the Forestburg CAO, and two landowners).
2. Red Tape was not defined, with obvious examples. So most responses were not specific enough to allow MLA Lovely to pass meaningful feedback to associate minister Hunter and his Red Tape Team.
3. CutRedTape,Alberta.ca. could provide feedback to Hunter at a lower cost, but Alberta Taxpayers bear the cost of an associate red tape minister, his office and administrative staff, a Red Tape Team, a Red Tape Force, and province-wide MLAs’ Red Tape session expenses.
4. Albertans with Red Tape concerns now face additional Red Tape barriers.
5. If “cutting Red Tape by a third” is truly the goal, government would mandate it a priority for every MLA/minister, and hold them responsible for eliminating it.
M. R. Leithead,
Bawlf

Wasted money

October 22, 2019

What is Camrose City council doing?
Council complains that costs are sky high and they are hard to control, but the council also approved the street work at the north end of Main Street and also along Highway 13 or 48th Avenue.
A lot of work is being done, for what? The original design was practical and useful as it was, but somebody had the revelation that it should be better, but in the end is inconvenient and hard to justify, plus a big cost to the city revenues.
What is gained? Somebody’s brainwave is acted on and doesn’t make an improvement and costs a lot of money.
Bernie von Tettenborn,
Round Hill

Climate change

October 22, 2019

Is Climate Change real? Yes, the climate has been constantly changing, since the ice age. Are humans the cause of climate change? Answer–partially–there are natural factors and there are human factors, which magnify the situation.
The simple fact is that humans cause pollution, in the air, on land and in the oceans. Humans change the natural environment. Forests and meadows, of rain and carbon absorbing trees and grasses, are replaced with energy consuming residences, offices, factories, industrial complexes, vehicles, etc. This expanding human environment creates impenetrable roadways, rooftops and parking lots which spew carbon into the air, accumulate rainfall into unnatural runoffs and floods, and absorb the sun to create more heat (the heat bubbles of the cities). Simple extended fact, more humans cause more development and more pollution and certainly advance undesirable aspects of climate change.
Changes to our energy production and consumption, with the use of less carbon, are part of the solution in advanced countries such as Canada. However, any reductions made in the advanced world are more than offset by greater, more polluting, energy consumption in the heavily populated developing world.
The solution is simple, but way too controversial for the risk adverse leaders of the world to address–we need less humans to have any hope of reducing the impact humanity has on climate change. The United Nations solution–move more humans to the advanced economies. The result is that the developing countries continue to add an endless supply of additional people.
We need to eliminate population growth to have any hope of reducing the impact of humans on the climate and the quality of life on our planet. We need to cap population growth, and Canada could be a leader in this regard.
The facts on world population, in 2018 the world population was 7.594 billion and in 1968 it was 3.534 billion. In 50 years the world population more than doubled and you wonder why our climate is changing quickly?
Wake up climate crusaders and take on the real issue and not the easy targets.
David W. Kotyk,
Camrose

SCN Lavalin

SCN Lavalin
October 22, 2019

I read Neil Leeson’s letter and felt I had to respond. Ron Williams had written to express his opinion on the SNC Lavalin affair and Mr. Leeson wrote back with no facts, no logic, just to express an insult.  That’s disappointing.
I, for one, sort of agree with Mr. Williams. When you get past all the shouting, I don’t see that there is much to the SNC Lavalin affair. Yes, in 2011, SNC bribed some Libyan officials, just like other foreign companies, including Canadian, do. It’s the cost of doing business in Libya.  And yes, the Trudeau government was just sweeping that under the rug, just like the Harper government had before them and like other countries do in that situation. The only unusual thing is that Jodie Wilson-Raybold went rogue, proceeding with charges that will destroy the company and the 10,000 Canadian jobs that go with it. It’s messy and it stinks.  Welcome to government. But compare that to Stephen Harper’s handling of the giant accounting firm KPMG. When the Canada Revenue Agency went after KPMG for tax fraud, behavior that KPMG was fined $489 million for in the US, Harper stepped in to protect KPMG and the many very wealthy Canadians who were dodging their taxes. As a result, the Canada Revenue Agency backed off, KPMG does business as usual and Stephen Harper is now a paid “advisor” to the law firm that works for KPMG.  That really stinks and seems to me to be far worse than the SNC affair, once you get past all the shouting.
Now Mr. Leeson, if you think I am wrong and you have facts, logic and an intelligent argument to back up your opinion, I’d like to read it. After all, an open, fact-based exchange of ideas is very important in a democracy and I’m grateful that the Booster provides a useful forum for that. If, on the other hand, you only want to hurl insults, I’d ask you to please not bother because it only lowers the quality of the discourse.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

 

Lack of urgency

October 8, 2019


I’m struck by the lack of climate urgency displayed by our political leaders in this federal election. It is a continuation of the willful ignorance displayed in our recent provincial election. All parties are guilty, but because we have provincial Conservatives in power and will certainly elect a federal Conservative, I will direct my ire at them, although I could spread the blame quite liberally (pun intended).
The National Post’s Andrew Coyne describes the Sheer climate plan as “prop, not a plan–a work essentially of mischief–an intentionally pointless bit of misdirection.” The Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason describes it as “a sad joke.” Provincially, Jason Kenny has undermined every effort to make the urgent changes we need. Conservatives lack the courage to meet the climate threat.
Conservatives weren’t always like this. As Seth Kline points out in his Tyee article, the leadership of Winston Churchill galvanized the Commonwealth to action against a seemingly unstoppable Nazi foe. Back then, Canada mobilized every corner of the economy against the existential threat and in the process changed our lives permanently. Together, Canadians built 800,000 military vehicles, 50,000 tanks, 40,000 naval and aircraft guns, 348 merchant cargo ships, 393 warships and  16,000 military aircraft.
All this was accomplished following the Great Depression in six short years. Historians called this, “an astonishing feat of organization and production, a massive effort by every sector of the Canadian economy.”
Conservative leadership needs to inspire the same effort with climate change. Polls show most Conservative voters believe climate change poses a serious problem. If only Conservative policies reflected their voters’ concerns.
Stanford University analyzed the economies of every jurisdiction in the world. It shows what energy mix is required to meet emission targets by 2050 to stop runaway climate change. The energy mix Calgary needs for 100 per cent transition to renewables are four per cent residential solar, 19 per cent solar plants, 10 per cent concentrating solar plants,  35 per cent wind, four per cent commercial solar, nine per cent geothermal and 19 per cent hydroelectric.
This uses current technology and provides 8,308 construction jobs and 2,821 operations jobs in Calgary for 40 years. These jobs are directly transferable from current energy and tech sectors.
We have the technology we need now. Conservatives must stop the obfuscation and work with all Canadians to inspire the changes we need. Only then can we give our grandchildren a safe and healthy planet.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Get inspired

October 8, 2019

Over the past year a 16-year-old girl has inspired us. Why?
The answer is that the generations that get to vote can’t see the danger our world is in, or they won’t look. Our children and grandchildren, whose un-blinkered eyes can see the obvious, are frightened. They know that if we continue the trajectory of unbridled growth the world of their parents is doomed, and any hope for a safe future for them is disappearing rapidly.
Greta has pointed out that “our house is on fire,” but the adults in the room seem oblivious. Some even attack her as being mentally ill. Millions of young people and even some of the older generation agree with her. Young people from Camrose joined the strike on Sept. 27.
Neuroscientists tell us that our brains are not designed to deal with slow moving dangers like climate change. We deny or discount the danger because we expect danger to be clearly apparent, rather than slow and incremental. Scientists have been aware of the danger of climate change for more than 100 years and have been sounding the alarm bells for at least 50 years.
We could have solved the problem had we listened to what science warned us about if we had started action when the problem became obvious to scientists, instead we became truth deniers. In a universe where the nature of reality is not easy to discern, truth must be extracted by rigorous testing by using tools to extend our senses, like telescopes, microscopes, computers, mathematics and our ability to use reason to clear away the fog of ignorance. Opinion is not truth. The truth value of an opinion can only be discerned by testing it against what nature herself tells us. That is called science!
Neither of the two main political parties are going to change anything without being forced to. The coming federal election is mostly a farce. However, it is important that as many of us who are able, vote in opposition to the status quo where denial of truth is rampant. No matter who wins this election, we must put pressure on our elected leaders to face reality and make evidence based decisions rather than based on ideology.
Harry D. Gaede,
Camrose

Election time

October 1, 2019

Re: Ron Williams Election  letter.
I have struggled for 70 years to acknowledge a strong and undeniable definition of “delusional.”
Thanks to Williams’ assessments of the SNC-Lavalin bribery scandal, resulting in The World Bank banning  future bids on international contracts and Jodie Wilson-Raybould’s values, subsequently exonerated by the ethics commissioner of Canada–I struggle no more!
Neil Leeson,
Camrose

Plastic problem

September 24

I would like to thank Arnold Malone for his excellent guest column raising the issue of plastic contamination of our environment.
The issue is timely and important, but I’d like to add two things.  One is that the problem is much greater than Mr. Malone stated, and the second is that there is good news that everyone should be aware of. Masses of plastic in the ocean that Mr. Malone described are definitely a concern, but the greater threat is much closer to home.
Mr. Malone is correct that plastic molecules don’t break down naturally, but under pressure, such as in a landfill, plastic crumbles into tiny fragments called microplastics, which get everywhere. Scientists at the University of Victoria, this past spring, revealed that the average Canadian consumes between 70 and 120 thousand particles of microplastic each year.
Its in our air, our water and our food. When asked if this was bad, the scientists responded yes, but that they didn’t know if it was like smoking one cigarette per day or a whole pack per day. But because the world produces 300 million tons more plastic each year, the damage to our health is greater every year. And because some of this microplastic gets stuck in our tissues and we can’t get rid of it, these toxins keep building in us.
So, we have to stop contaminating our environment with plastic. It’s that simple. We have no choice. That’s where the good news comes in.
In Europe, they haven’t been leaving garbage to rot in landfills for decades.  That’s because Europeans have figured out that they can make money from garbage. In Sweden, they make so much money from garbage that they import it from other countries. Automobile fuel in Stockholm, Sweden’s largest city, is 100 per cent biofuel made from garbage and much of the electricity in Sweden is made from garbage. We could do that too. The technology is proven. Its safe and effective. Its win, win. Don’t contaminate the environment and make money. It’s an opportunity waiting for us if we want it.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Election

September 24

We have finally entered the election campaign. This should be a time to hear the policies of the parties and to determine which are the nearest to our own beliefs. There are important questions facing our country; climate change, national finances, immigration and many more. However, the media seems determined to drag up a so called scandal, which was dealt with over and over months ago.
This is the SNC-Lavalin question. This was a disagreement about a policy issue. The basis of it was an allegation that SNC-Lavalin bribed official including the dictator’s son in Libya over a decade ago. It is a large international company whose head office is in Montreal and several factories employing several thousand high salaried workers are located in Canada. The alleged actions occurred in Libya, not Canada.
When a business engages in a foreign country it must operate according to the standards of that place; not Canada. In many foreign countries corrupt payments are a cost of doing business.
The question was how to deal with the alleged action by SNC-Lavalin. One choice was for the company to sign an agreement admitting the action and agreeing to pay a penalty but avoiding a criminal trial. This procedure has been used in the United States and United Kingdom for several years. Such penalties have been substantial, up to nearly $1 billion in the U.S.  Whatever the penalty was it would be paid directly into public treasury without legal expenses.
The other choice was to prosecute. Lavalin is a large and rich company and so it can employ the best lawyers in the land and the crown will have to match them, spending a great amount of public money. Nearly a year has already passed and the case is no ways near a court.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was minister of justice and attorney general, decided to prosecute. She showed herself to be a self-centred, self righteous hypocrite who felt she did not need to explain or justify her decision. She was asked to consider the economic effects of her decision, but she felt no one had the right to ask her to reconsider her decision or to explain why she made it.
Ms. Raybould, when shifted to a different department, resigned. Now please let us consider the real future of our country and not go over the has been phony issue.
Ron Williams,
Camrose

Bridge construction

September 17, 2019

Here I thought that all construction and expenses were done with the overpriced bridge on 48th Avenue. But what have I seen the past week? We are removing the grass that was planted so late last October in the snow between the posts that support the guard rail. It is being removed at who knows what exuberant cost to put back shale, gravel, or dirt so the summer students not have to whipper snip the grass between the posts to save money. Probably what we are spending on the removal of grass, we could have paid the summer students for the next 20 years to whipper snip the little bit of grass.
While I’m on a rant, what about the Camrose Community Centre having to be torn down? Reports have shown the floor joists were wrapped with plastic where the joists are attached to the wall joints to rot. Now who should be held accountable? The contractors, building inspector or the engineers?
Why couldn’t our engineers have had the foresight to realize that the metal support pillars and the wood studs would rust and rot being contained in a sealed building? The old swimming pool should have been demolished and started new. Also the building should have been built with a peaked roof running east and west and, with the way our previous premier was handing out money for green projects, the new building could have had 50 or more solar panels to help reduce operating costs, to keep the water heaters for the pool or even to help heat or light the new building at certain times of the year.
My final rant is the swan issue. First of all, if the City employees are concerned about the health of the swans, then let’s house them on the empty top floor of the new City Hall that is not currently being used. We could also have some of the City workers utilize some of this empty space that require office space, then the City could store some of the town mowers and weed eaters in the swan building.
As far as swans attacking different people on the sidewalk, let’s put a snow fence up about three or four feet back from the water’s edge, which would contain the swans away from the sidewalks and from swans trying to cross 48th Avenue.
I have spoken with some of the concerned citizens of Camrose and they voice the same concerns.
I firmly believe that our engineers, City aldermen, building inspectors have to be accountable for the mis-use of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.
Louis Hagel,
Camrose

Swan program

September 17, 2019

I read with sadness and disbelief “City Swan Program Under Debate.” Thank you to those who attended the council meeting and spoke up in favour of keeping the swan program. (I was out of the country and unable to attend, nor did I know that this was even under consideration.)
We have signs posted, “Swans Are Wild Creatures and As Such Are Unpredictable” posted in prominent places. Swans may look tame, but they’re not, just as the deer roaming the streets of Camrose are not tame. Therefore, we need to act responsibly and not blame wild animals for being what they are. I regularly have red-winged blackbirds bombing me in the spring as I walk around Mirror Lake. They are behaving naturally, and I wouldn’t want them removed.
As to the swans scaring away other wildfowl or acting aggressively towards them, I see plenty of ducks and geese on the lakes, and they are smart enough to stay away from the bigger stronger swans. Nature is amazing.
As to humane treatment of the swans, they have freedom to roam the lakes all summer, are fed well, and are treated well during the winter–actually better than they would be out in the wild where they fend for themselves. To be able to observe wildlife up close is a gift that enables us to cherish them even more.
As to breeding cygnets, I was very disappointed when that was discontinued. It was incredible to watch the growth of those little cygnets throughout the summer and to watch the “family” swim across the lake with a parent at either end with the little ones in between. Further research needs to be done as to allowing the release of the cygnets into the wild. This is being done all the time with zoos and their breeding programs.
As to access to recreational activities on Mirror Lake, why did we discontinue canoeing and paddle boats in the first place? There is plenty of room for both birds and people.
And finally, what is the price of joy, because I wonder if the price of keeping the swans isn’t the real issue. To hear the swans’ clarion call across the air, to see their regal movement reflected in the water–these bring joy and even a certain amount of peace. And frankly, we need all the joy and peace we can get.
 Carolyn Olson,
Camrose

Park walk

September 10, 2019

Back home on the farm we learned to watch  where we stepped. Today, if we walk in the Bullrush Park it is getting like that because some people don’t pick up after their pets.
We saw a pile right beside the plastic bag dispenser. At another place it looked like the dog was not allowed to finish the job in one place. What a drag that must have been!
You can bet your rubber boots we will hear more about this.
Jeffrey Strandquist,
Camrose

Distracted driving

August 27, 2019

In the past year, I have seen more and more people driving while being distracted. I was even told by one person that a class four exempted that person from the distractive law all together. I decided to do some research to find out exactly what the real truth is. I found out from the government’s website on distractive driving that the law applies to all vehicles as defined under the traffic safety act, to all roads here in Alberta.
The law restricts all drivers from doing any of the following: using any handheld cell phones except when phoning emergency services such as 9-1-1; texting or emailing; using electronic devices such as laptops, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming audio players such as MP3 players; entering information on GPS units; reading printed materials; writing or printing or sketching and personal grooming.
You can be charged with distractive driving even if your driving performance appears not to be affected. Police can also charge you with this offence if you permit anything to occupy the front seat of your vehicle that interferes with your access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle and if anything obstructs your clear vision in any direction.
The penalty for distractive driving is $287 and three demerit  points.
There are a few exceptions which are using a hands-free phone, using a car phone, drinking nonalcoholic beverages, eating a snack, smoking, talking to passengers, listening to a portable audio player which was set up before the vehicle was moved, calling 9-1-1 with a handheld phone, using a two-way radio or handheld radio, GPS systems, collision avoidance system, gauges in the vehicle, dispatch systems for transporting passengers which does not include a handheld device, logistical transportation, tracking system and an alcohol ignition interlock device.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Miquelon Lake

August 27, 2019

Miquelon Lake is the essence of the United Nations Beaver Hills Biosphere, for need or greed this lake was drained down by sixteen feet dealing a severe blow to its entire watersheds existence. The University of Alberta’s Alberta Lakes website, read all the Miquelon Lakes, Oliver, Joseph, Ministik, Cooking, Hastings and Beverhill, were proclaimed a bird sanctuary in 1915, so why was Calgary Power allowed to dig a 16 foot drainage diversion ditch in the watershed divide rim of a finite glacial melt lake? (Edo Nyland, This Dying Watershed and the official Park logs) Alberta Environment records show this south draining ditch to the Lyseng Reservoir remained open for 18 years and discharged 48 per cent of the lake’s water. A park sign read “because of high evaporation and low precipitation, the lake level is down 17 feet,” it went on to say the lake is vanishing, turning into land, that sign has been removed.
It appears the Alberta government’s intention is to stagnate this now United Nations Wold Heritage Biosphere’s watershed, their six volume thirteen pounds of information in the 1977 Cooking Lake Area Study to consider importing water to the lakes, failed to disclose the fact that watershed headwaters had suffered this ecoscatastrophe.
Unless Alberta Environment and Parks intends to kill this unique organism, they must start an honest conversation, address the situation with all the pertinent information. Because this is a glacial melt water lake it has no way of regeneration feed water must be returned to this lake’s basin. For over a century water has been drained away from the area via Hay Lakes drainage district, it and the water from the Lyseng Reservoir could be pumped back into Miquelon starting its revitalization process.
Dennis Fenske, Sherwood Park

Good plastic?

August 20, 2019

You recently ran a guest editorial extolling the virtues of plastic in all forms, and pushing back against a campaign called Plastic Free July.
I think the author was helping accomplish exactly what PFJ was aiming for: raising awareness about the ubiquitousness of plastics, and asking challenging questions about their use/abuse.
At the end he indicates he’ll be back with “another perspective”.  Nonetheless, I’m compelled to respond, in case some of the statements go unchallenged.
The goal for this campaign is to get people to eliminate single-use plastics for the month, and perhaps see how much of that plastic they might be able to eliminate all the time. I find no references to boycotting items that one might need for every day health, work, transportation (or space exploration, for that matter).
Of course plastics have drastically improved the quality of life for most people around the world, and there are many invaluable uses for plastics that should continue if we wish to remain civilized cultures. But Mr Malone’s first column ignores another obvious aspect: human beings, in their quest for comfort and convenience, have created a monster.
There are no viable methods to truly recycle plastic! Instead, those few plastics that we can truly find a way to use again are really “down-cycled” into items which cannot themselves be recycled and still end up either in landfills or incinerators. Very little of our plastic actually gets recycled (only about 11 per cent in Canada), and even that figure may be suspect now that the countries that used to accept our plastics are refusing to, as they are unable to process the vast amounts of waste coming their way and are left with the burden of landfill or incineration and all the toxic results.
Why do we need to use a plastic fork that took vital resources to make and transport to only be used once, then lasts hundreds of years in a landfill?
Instead of digging in our heels, ask yourself: “Is this necessary? Is there a better way to get what I need/want without waste or toxins?” On a corporate/societal level, we should also be insisting that those who create items have a plan for their disposal that does not involve polluting the land, air or water that we all have a right to enjoy and an obligation to pass on.

Joy-Anne Murphy,
Camrose

Not left vs. right

August 20, 2019

This next election is not going to be about left vs. right. It has to be more about top vs. bottom because the extreme difference in income between the top earners in society and the rest of us has become dangerous.
According to the CRA, Canadians are hiding approximately $240 billion overseas and not declaring it, which translates into $14.6 billion in lost federal taxes. Meanwhile, consumer debt in Canada is at an all-time high. When consumers stop being able to pay their debts because of a stagnating economy, we all fall off a financial cliff. Pundits say that the next crisis will be longer and more severe than the Great Depression. I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to avoid that.
So, in the next election, I am voting for whoever promises to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes, especially on money that is languishing overseas doing nothing. I support a progressive tax where the richer you are, the higher percentage tax rate you pay (especially considering that it was our labour, or access to our publicly-owned resources, that made those folks rich in the first place).
The next election is also going to be about survival, pure and simple. In the past few years, I have cut way back on the cattle I feed sometimes because of drought and this year, because I am not entirely sure it’s ever going to be dry enough to get hay off. If things keep on this way, we are going to end up with food shortages, or at least very expensive food that only the rich will be able to afford.
If we don’t do something fast, it’s only going to get worse. This summer, Greenland lost ice that wasn’t supposed to melt for another 70 years. Scientists are saying that we have less than 10 years to get carbon emissions under control, which means we have to start a fast transition right now. If we don’t, the weather here becomes so volatile that we can no longer grow food or escape wildfires, tornados, droughts and floods. How are we going to pay for that transition? Well, I think that the $14.6 billion owed to us by rich Canadians is a pretty good start.
Today is not like yesterday and tomorrow will definitely be different from today. So I am going to leave the old politics behind and vote for whichever party is actually going to do whatever it takes to keep my family safe and secure.

Nora Abercrombie,
Beaver County

Swans or no swans

August 6, 2019


In all of our combined years of living in Camrose (over 110), this is the first time we have felt the need to write a letter to the editor regarding the City of Camrose.
With all the frittering away of public money in city projects through bad planning, poor engineering and cost overruns on such projects as the arena, City Hall, community centre, swimming pool, 48th Avenue bridge and the use of concrete on roads, such as in the road in front of the new Catholic church and 51 Avenue at the end of Main Street in the name of safety and downtown beautification, it boggles the mind that administration is now looking to save money by cancelling one of the icons of our city–the swans. We have been lucky to live next to Mirror Lake for the past 20 years and have the swans on our back lawn many times.  They are a docile bird; however, if you get in their space or pose a threat they can become aggravated.  We’ve seen people put their children at risk to the swans to take a picture which is not smart and then wonder why they become aggressive. We think better public awareness and more signage could be a help. Camrose is known far and wide  as that cute little prairie city with the lake, fountain and swans.  We urge the citizens of Camrose to voice their opinion pro or con to our elected officials because if we lose the swans we will not get them back.
Joanne and Arden
Olsen, Camrose

Drake Landing

August 6, 2019

I would like to comment on Bonnie Hutchinson’s article in the last edition of The Booster, Bonnie has made some excellent points about the Okotoks development of Drake Landing.
Bonnie touches on, but does not really dig into the fact that our future depends on a low carbon economy. Alberta has an abundance of oil and gas and the demand will run out long before our supply does. We are already seeing that, even given access to tide water via pipelines, there is no guarantee that anyone will buy our oil and gas, particularly in the long term.  Already we see our biggest customer, the US, become a net exporter of hydrocarbons due to the opening of the shale structures in the Dakotas. While I support a managed transition to cleaner energy, this has been hampered by rhetoric on the issue by our past and present provincial and federal leaders. They have either been in denial of the climate crisis and the need for a low carbon economy, or they have set goals and signed climate treaties and have failed miserably to meet the promised emissions targets.
As we see in Okotoks, I feel that it will be municipalities that are, and will, lead the way on clean energy and climate action. The scaling of the Okotoks project is not economically competitive due to the low price of natural gas. I would argue that projects like these would be economic if they were given a level playing field with oil and gas. The economics of oil and gas are artificially cheap due to the incentives, tax breaks and royalty reductions and holidays given to hydrocarbons. And, I’ll say it, the future of the planet depends upon putting a price on carbon.
In other parts of the world, solar technologies are subsidized. As we see in California, and of all places New Jersey, America’s leader in residential solar, this leads to a mature and viable industry that employs thousands of people. In Spain, the building code requires the installation of solar hot water systems. I have had solar hot water for most of the last 25 years that provided 75 per cent of my domestic hot water.
The solar incentives offered by the last government have been cut as our new leaders have killed the carbon tax. I fear that the number of solar company upstarts, new companies with young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, will also not be able to stay viable without the incentives the carbon tax brought for homeowners to buy in to this budding industry.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Rose show

July 23, 2019

Thank you for the great picture along with news about our Rose and Lily Show on July 18th. Many of the people attending commented on the picture. As always The Booster supports the many endeavours that make our community so great.
The show was a success with many beautiful roses and lilies entered by local and out of town exhibitors and the tea was attended by over 100 people who also enjoyed viewing the flowers.
Sandra Dorosz,
secretary,
Camrose and District Horticultural Society

Gas prices

July 16, 2019

This is an open letter to retailers of gasoline in the City of Camrose:    Frankly, as a Camrosian, I’m feeling as if I’m getting gouged. Communities in every direction of our wonderful community have been displaying significantly lower fuel prices than what’s been offered in our city for several weeks.  Serious price drops seemed to coincide with the demise of the carbon tax. But not at Camrose stations.
In the past few days, I have been through Wetaskiwin, driven east to west on Highway 14, travelled to Peace River and also done a trek on Highway 21. I’ve seen prices as low as 91 cents per litre for regular fuel. Under $1 per litre seems to be the norm regardless of location. Here at home $108.9 seems to be where price collusion has landed. Not fair. I do everything possible to shop local, always. I get annoyed with people who won’t give local businesses a fair shot when buying, instead choosing online sources or Edmonton retailers, as a natural part of their lives. However, fair, reasonable and competitive must also be considered. I don’t think local gas retailers are being any of these three things for consumers, at least at present.
Ultimately, greed so obvious will be a deciding factor in driving consumers to search elsewhere, not only for fuel, but other products and services too.  And that’s not only sad, but completely unavoidable.
Al Rostad,
Camrose 

Universe law

Lack of knowledge of the physical behaviour of the universe, that we are so lucky to be a part of, will ultimately cause our extinction, a tragedy far beyond any tragedy that one could imagine. I am concerned here about climate disruption due to the burning of fossil fuel.
One must understand the simple physical laws involved. Burning fossil fuel increases the climate’s temperature, since the CO2 produced by the carbon in the fuel blocks part of the infrared radiation of the heat that must radiate back into outer space to maintain the heat balance of the sun’s radiation on earth.
As earth’s oceans heat up, feedback mechanisms come into play. The hot oceans evaporate more vapour, which is a very potent green-house gas. As the heating increases, methane, a very potent greenhouse stored in the melting permafrost is released.
In addition, the melting ice caps don’t reflect the sun light which is absorbed and contributes more to the heating. The result is run-a-way heating and the melting of the frozen hydrate of methane at the bottom of the ocean, which will be disastrous. Shortly after that, the oceans will stop circulating because of lack of convection caused by the normally cold polar oceans circulating with the tropical oceans mixing in oxygen.
As the oxygen disappears and the oceans stagnate the oxygen hating microbes, the original life forms that existed for billions of years, will take over and emit their normal waste gas, hydrogen sulphide, an extreme poison to oxygen breathing animals causing mass extinction which of course will include humanity.
Is this really what anyone would be happy with? Some people, professing ignorance, say there is no problem, or that it is not possible for human activity to have any affect, or it is just nature, or it is God’s will, or our population and emissions are too small to matter. They spout this ignorance, not because they believe it, but because they don’t care what happens to future people or even present people. They only care about their own affluence, or perhaps they only care about their obsolete religious beliefs.
What can we do? At the moment, all we can do is wait for the federal election and vote for a party that promises to put into effect proportional representation, so every one is represented. But don’t depend on the Liberals.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

Book launch

July 2, 2019

I just wanted to say thank you for the great ad. We had a very good turnout at my Comedy Show and Book Launch on June 21. I was so surprised to see so many people I know (from 20 plus years ago)! I believe placing an ad in The Booster was the reason why. Good work.
Donna Lynne Erickson,
Camrose

Indigenous inquiry

June 25, 2019

Some white people in Canada are upset the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Inquiry (MMIWI) final report used the term genocide. One of them is conservative leader, Andrew Scheer. He said it isn’t, he doesn’t know what it is, but he says it isn’t that.

What would you call stealing children (sometimes for seven generations) and putting them into church-run residential schools? (Think about that. Seriously, right now think of a stranger outside of your culture and language taking your children miles away to a “school” for months at a time. A school where abuse, torture and rape were commonplace. Where the goal is to “drive the savage out of them”. The children are taught their language and culture are garbage.) All those kids came out messed up, likely with PTSD, anxiety and depression. When they return, they aren’t the same. The worst part is you know exactly what is waiting for your kids there. When you were a kid, they took you away too.
These schools were still operating in the 1970s. Over 150,000 children went through those schools for 160 years, right here in Canada. What was done by white Canadians and colonialists?
Do you wonder why you see First Nations people living in poverty? Struggling with addictions? Living in dysfunctional families? I’ll bet none of us would do any better. There is a reason these are huge problems for Indigenous people and, of course, who suffers the most? Women and girls.

If that isn’t genocide, I don’t know what is. Maybe our government and churches didn’t pull a trigger or wield a machete … but I honestly think those government and church leaders were just hoping they would kill each other. Commit suicide, or drink themselves to death over the pain.

If the MMIWI is going to mean anything at all, I think we need to stand up to people who try and diminish this and tell them how wrong that is. It only adds another grievous insult to a terrible wound.

I hope you change how you see First Nations people. Look at what they’ve endured. Reach out to them. Kill the stereotype of “just another drunk Indian”. Yeah, that sentence isn’t politically correct, but you’ve heard people talk that way. I certainly have. Challenge those words when you hear them.

I think genocide is exactly the correct term. I just hope they don’t judge all of us white people the way that we’ve judged them.

Mark Lindberg,
formerly of Camrose

Bill 7

June 25, 2019

In a recent letter to the editor, the writer expressed hope that Bill 7, by allowing communities to lower taxes to attract business, could be used by Camrose to stimulate the local economy. The common perception is that lower taxes are good for an economy, but the evidence does not always support that.
Alabama, with zero business tax, no minimum wage and very low income tax, has a weak economy and widespread poverty.  In contrast, Sweden with high taxes, including a carbon tax of $175/ton, has a strong, diversified economy with almost no poverty.

If Camrose were to lower business tax, all other communities would be doing the same. They would have to remain competitive and the playing field stays the same. Camrose would have no more advantage than it had before the tax decrease. But the city would collect less business tax revenue. As a result, it would have to raise property taxes to make up for the revenue shortfall, thereby reducing citizens’ spending power and harming the local economy, or lay off workers to reduce costs, thereby reducing the number of consumers and harming the local economy.
Bill 7 would give communities more flexibility, and that may be good, but communities lowering business tax would probably hurt everyone. You might want to look up the great business tax cuts made by Kansas in 2012. Instead of stimulating the economy, it was an economic disaster and they had to bring in massive tax increases four years later to prevent economic collapse.  Nobody wants that. The reality is that taxes are complex. It is a challenge getting levels right. In a healthy democracy, citizens need to be involved in thoughtful, fact-based discussions about many issues, including taxes.

Rob Hill,
Camrose

Bill 7

June 18, 2019

Now, I am not an expert on this sort of bill and I am not a member of any council of any city. Yet, I am a human who has the right to air my opinion of what I see here. I am a writer who has four books published with many letters published in around nine newspapers across Canada.
Now, Bill 7 has not been passed yet. If it is passed, and I am sure it will be, this will be a good tool for councils of any town or city to have the power to pass a local bylaw in order to set out their programs to attract new business to their town or city.
This will allow councils to defer or cancel taxes to attract whatever industry which they want to attract to their area or place.  This bill will give the power over to those who are in charge of each community.  In my view, this bill could help create millions of jobs which would never be created without this bill. 
In my view if passed, the City of Camrose should attract businesses who produce things like beer, cereals and other items.  What this community does not need is another restaurant, liquor store, hairstyle place or church. This is only my opinion. This bill could be very good for Camrose if used in the right way and after businesses which this city really needs. This is just something for all of you to think about.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Next election 

June 18, 2019

About six months before the recent Alberta elections I had a conversation with some friends.  The gist of this discourse was basically how much and in what ways the Notley government would try and “suck up” to the Alberta voters.  Having noted a definite “shift in position,” even as far back as the beginning of her third year at the helm, it was safe to assume she’d be “apple polishing” as hard as she possibly could the closer it got to election day.
My fellow Canadians…it’s about to happen again.  This time it’s drama teacher boys’ turn (yes, our so-called Prime Minister).  And judging from his past performances (both here and abroad…India in particular), his apple polishing performance is going to be epic. You know why?  Because it’s going to have to be epic in order to get anyone to seriously consider voting for this clown. I urge all Canadian voters to keep an eye on this character to see exactly what he’ll try to pull off in order to keep his “seat of power” in place.  I can’t wait to watch the debates and see the similarities between Notleys’ aggressive campaign (she couldn’t possibly stand on the merits of her past performance) and what Trudeau will attempt to launch against the UCP and others. I’m not a betting person, but I’ll wager the farm he’ll take the low road, rather than the high road (most likely because his past performance was tantamount to an ugly storm that wiped out the high road). It ain’t there anymore people.
Let’s all stay vigilant and keep his antics in our memories.  Look at his past record, not at his hairdo.  Should you read this letter, I encourage you to cut it out, paste in your fridge and read it out loud every day until it’s time to cast your vote.
Bobbie Norman,
formerly of Camrose

Plastic bag ban

June 4, 2019

I recently heard that Wetaskiwin is going to be banning single use plastic bags beginning on July 9, 2019. I am wondering if Camrose has thought about doing the same thing. I believe that our community would benefit from a similar bylaw.
Plastic bags are not biodegradable and they pollute oceans, rivers, farmland and cities. Eventually they become microplastics that get into our food and water.
I know that some people will say that they forget to bring cloth bags to stores, but they will get used to it just like they remember to bring their purses or wallets.
I hope that our City Council will consider banning plastic bags in Camrose. Although they are convenient, they are not worth the damage they do to our environment.
Josh Agrey,
Grade 7 student in Camrose

MdDS month

June 4, 2019

June is Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) Awareness Month. MdDS is a rare neurological balance disorder that causes people to feel like their body is rocking, swaying, or bobbing. I am in my third year of living with this syndrome and I can best describe it as being on a cruise ship on high seas or trying to walk on a trampoline all day, every day.
This syndrome usually develops following a cruise, travel by air, or long distance travel on land.  About 20 per sent of people develop it spontaneously. For me, the motion began on my treadmill.
In addition to rocking, swaying, and bobbing there is the feeling of disequilibrium, unsteadiness and a sense of unsteady ground.  The sense of motion is often associated with anxiety or depression, difficulty multitasking, difficulty concentrating and visual motion intolerance.
 It is rare to find a doctor who is familiar with this syndrome. Fortunately for me, my doctor, although she had not heard of this disorder, never once doubted that I was feeling that my body was in constant motion. Over time, Dr. Anderson learned about this rare disorder. A caring doctor is crucial to living with this condition. There is no effective treatment or cure for this disorder. I sought and receive help from the counseling service offered by the PCN. That has been helpful as I learn to cope with the frustration and acceptance of my rock and roll life. The understanding, support, and compassion I receive from my doctor and my counselor have helped me manage to live with this disorder that is constant, debilitating and exhausting.
In order to cope with this syndrome I must reduce stress, be well rested, and avoid symptom triggers. Walking is recommended so I am a regular at the track. Walking is one of the most difficult things for me to do, but I walk with the aid of  walking poles. I also find that yard work and housework are hard to do.
I look perfectly normal, but over the past few months, my difficulty walking has become visibly noticeable. However, the fact remains that I am still me.
I have chosen to share my journey in hopes that I can help somebody else or educate medical professionals that this condition does exist.
If I can be of assistance to anyone, do not hesitate to contact me at edithread43@yahoo.ca.
Edith J. Read,
Camrose

Break-in

May 28, 2019

This is a letter to those responsible for the recent break in at Wilhelmina Lutheran Church. When I discovered that there had been a break in, I checked our church and noticed that you obviously didn’t find what you were looking for.  I want to thank you that you respected the sacredness of our little church. If you stopped to look at the pictures in the kitchen you would have noticed a picture taken over a hundred years ago. It was a picture of some of our founding families.
If you looked closely you would have seen poor immigrant families, maybe similar to your ancestors. These people brought something here which they shared with the community. It’s been shared in our building ever since. I think this is what you were looking for.  We are a community based on the inspired Word of God, the Bible, fancy words to say that what is written in the Bible is what we believe and these words are from God Himself.  No other writings are of this standard. These teachings bring to us not only the words of God, but also to the love of God as we see through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us to love one another, “​So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  ​Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35). He tells us to forgive those who have wronged us, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14). You might have heard the Lord’s Prayer which says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”.  Most importantly He tells us how we can be redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus. All of our sins, the wrongs we have done, can be forgiven. “Brothers, listen. We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins.” (Acts 13:38). This truly is the Good News. Our church community isn’t perfect and I think you would be surprised how much we are like you. 
I want to use this as an invitation for you to join us on a Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Maybe this could be a way for you to find what you were looking for. I guarantee you will be met by people who are searching just like you.
Pastor Ron R. Chetney,
Wilhelmina Lutheran Church

New government

May 28, 2019

The provincial election is over. We will have a Conservative government with Jason Kenney as premier for the next four years. An unusual feature of the result is the fact that the government was backed by a majority of votes. The UCP obtained 52 per cent of the votes cast; hence a majority. Usually the result in a first past the post election is that the winning party has the most votes but far less than a majority. In Ontario, the Conservatives have a large majority in the Assembly but only 38 per cent of the votes cast, so if a propositional system were in use the result would have been a Liberal-New Democrat coalition supported by 60 per  cent of the votes.
In Alberta, we have a new government but the problems faced by Alberta were not the responsibility of the previous government. The downturn of the economy in Alberta was the result of the fall in the world oil price. The government did what it could by controlling production. During the campaign every effort was made to fix responsibility onto the provincial government as if it was its policy to cause unemployment.
The previous government built and renovated schools and hospitals. This by providing employment, made unemployment less and put the money paid out of wages and supplies into the economy with positive results. This program was needed because Conservative governments had left an infrastructure deficit.
The new government says it plans to reduce corporate income tax so companies will invest in employment creating enterprises. Experience in “Trumpland” shows that is not true. Their companies used the money from reduced taxes to buy back shares to further concentrate control and to increase dividends. Investment in production increases did not happen and will not in Alberta. What will happen is the provincial government will receive up to $1 billion less in revenue...hence cuts, cuts in services, larger class sizes, longer waits in health care.
There is a deficit in Alberta finances. That deficit can be made less by increasing revenue or reduction expenses. Mr. Kenney is reducing revenue. This will increase, not decrease the deficit so expenses will be reduced by cutting service. Look at Ontario where a government was replaced without thought as to the results. The same has happened in Alberta.
Ron Williams,
Camrose

Climate change

May 21, 2019

I wonder why so many people, whom I love and respect, continue to claim that climate change is normal, especially in the light of scientific evidence that seems, overwhelmingly, to contradict that position.
How do we discern the truth in this case? I suggest we follow the money. Who is spending billions in supporting the climate change deniers? It is clearly those who benefit from the status quo, the ultra-rich who in one half of my lifetime, have shifted the gap between rich and poor to the greatest level in history.  They bought us off by convincing us that damage to the environment was free. We got cheaper goods, but they kept the bulk of the profits. We didn’t have to pick up the garbage we poured into our oceans, lands and air, nor did the corporations created to exploit us.
Now the piper demands to be paid...either that, or the earth will foreclose on us by making the planet unlivable for us, but some forms of life will survive, at least for a while. In the meantime, where do we put the hundreds of millions of refugees that are predicted. How do we feed everyone as crops are reduced or destroyed by heat, let alone storms and drought?
Even if those who claim that climate change may threaten our very existence are overstating the case timewise, is that a bet we can afford to make? On the other hand, the ultra-elites, who are already hugely wealthy, will continue to increase their enormous wealth by doing all the things that brought us to this critical time, that is, using the resources of the planet in a way that guarantees our ultimate demise.
At 80 years of age, I am afraid I may still live long enough to see that a world I knew and benefited from and loved, may not be available for our children and grandchildren.
Please note–the highest levels of pollution have happened in the last 50 years and it is not slowing down. The population will continue to grow to an estimated 10 to 11 billion within the lifetime of our children. It was about two billion when I was born.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Stronger province

May 21, 2019

Albertans, don’t disappoint the rest of us. We don’t want to be prisoners of despair so let’s look up now and sing glory, glory, thank God we’ve now have Jason Kenney. For the past four years, we’ve been possessed by weakness…our pride has fallen…where were you people? Better penance with an iron whip.  I’m sounding off like my mother’s voice now. I want to give you the reason why. Let me prick your conscience…congratulations to the UCP. The slogan is “The west will not hide behind the walls of insecurity.” Let’s send that message to Mr. Trudeau.  It’s up to us to change the policies and get the pipelines in. We will say what we have to with our new UCP government. Remember again, Albertans...the west is strong and we will not back down, even though there are many who would have us in the poor house.
Bobbie Norman,
formerly of Camrose

  Carbon tax

May 21, 2019

Jason Kenney campaigned on getting rid of the carbon tax if elected.  It would be a wonderful idea if this was only a provincial tax and there was no federal carbon tax.
Now the Liberals have introduced a federal carbon tax to those provinces who do not have a provincial carbon tax in place. Now, the way it stands is if the United Conservatives somehow get rid of this provincial carbon tax, the federal government will give us another tax to replace the provincial carbon tax.
I do believe we are between a rock and a hard place.  Now, I do believe it would be wise to wait and see if the Liberals federal government is defeated or not. If so, a federal Conservative government would repeal the federal carbon tax and this should not be a problem for us.
Kenney has campaigned on that there will be a replacement bill to help Alberta meet their climate change commitments.  The bill is the Alberta Climate elimination act. Now I might be wrong on the name, but there is more than one way to meet our climate reduction commitments. One idea is to charge the overpolluters who refuse to comply with these pollution reductions instead of punishing every Albertan.
It matters who gets in because Alberta’s future does count on the right party to be elected as our next federal election.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Free speech

May 14, 2019

The proposed UCP Campus Free Speech Policy is directed at university campuses and, as many people know, we have a U of A Campus in Camrose and if this policy goes through, it will greatly effect the campus and the Camrose community.
For those who are not familiar with this policy, it is currently being utilized in Ontario and is modeled after the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression.  At first glace at this policy, you would assume that it is good as it furthers free speech. However, there are a few problematic items within the policy that actually hinder free speech and give voice to extremist groups that otherwise would not normally have a voice.
The basis of the policy is that it encourages universities to be open to all forms of discussions, however, the methods it uses actually interfere with free speech. The biggest issue I have with the policy is that it denies students from holding counter-protests as well as stops universities from denying hate speech on their campuses. For example, if a speaker, protest or demonstration that promotes hate or misinformation, wants to have a space and voice on campus, students and the university are not allowed to interfere with these.
By stating that no one can interfere with the ‘free speech’ of an organization, regardless of how hateful, ignorant or scientifically wrong, is how this policy is able to disguise itself as promoting free speech, when in fact speaking out against hate and ignorance and having counter protests are just as valid of a form of free speech as any other and should also be protected.
In many cases across the province, anti-racist, anti-bigoted, etc. groups have been able to protect their communities from groups like the Soldiers of Odin (re-branded now as Canadian Infidels) from spreading their ideals. In September of last year, a community in Edmonton was able to stop a Soldiers of Odin event by their use of counter protest.
Currently the policy in effect in Ontario penalizes universities by removing funding if counter protests occur.
It should also be noted that this is not the first time Kenney has tried to dictate what speech is allowed on campus. While he was a student at USF, he argued against free speech for women’s groups by saying it would open up discussion for abortion advocates, pedophiles and the ‘Church of Satan.’
Stacey Wall,
Camrose

Election result

May 14, 2019

Well the election is finally over, with the majority of the people happy, some of the people disappointed as expected. It has been a long and hard time for Albertans as the oil patch came to a virtual standstill thanks to some very poor decisions made in the last four years. We went from the most prosperous province in Canada to the most unemployed province. It is obvious that we had the worst provincial and federal government that we have had ever since.
Coming from a premier who shut down all the potential pipelines to having none. After they ran out of money, she realized that she needed those oil sales, she changed her attitude towards pipelines. Sounds like closing the barn door after the horse gets out. She created many government jobs in Edmonton, which were not needed, but made her look good to the NDP supporters.
She forced labour laws on the farmers without consulting them, closed down coal mines, put on a carbon tax, would not stand up to the BC premier, put many people out of work because of very poor decisions, spent billions of dollars that she didn’t have ruining our credit rating in Alberta and still figures she did everything right.
I would imagine most of these government workers she made jobs for still don’t know where their paycheck comes from, as long as it is there on payday.
I really hope that the new government can repair the mess that has been created. They have a really big job ahead of them. I talked to our local MLA about three years ago and told him that they needed some businessmen in there and his answer was, “You can’t run a government like a business” and it is quite obvious they didn’t do that.
Businessmen try to make a business successful and prosperous. The NDP sure didn’t do that. They just went on a crazy spending spree and put us in tremendous debt. My old grandpa once said to me, “You can’t fix stupid”, but I guess he was wrong because we just got rid of stupid.
Marvin Despas,
Camrose

Grad message

May 7, 2019

Fifteen years ago, I co-delivered the valedictory address at the CCHS graduation. I gave a typical speech, focusing on our grad theme of ‘live, love, and learn.’ I knew at the time that this aspirational alliteration was not my full reality, nor the reality of many of my peers.
Here’s what I should have said instead: “High school can be hell. To get here today, all of us have gone through our own challenges–some more than others. And our happy faces, shiny suits, and colourful dresses show how well a lot of us have learned to hide our struggles. People may know me as the happy-go-lucky class clown.
What they don’t know is that my transition to high school was, at the time, a nightmare. I felt so different, alone, and that no one would understand what I was going through. Any social interaction was fraught with anxiety and fear of rejection. Lunches were spent hiding in the bathroom. Thoughts of harming myself were common. The few people who noticed told me it would get better. This may not have been the advice I needed at the time, but it was true. All it took was a few classmates to show kindness to me, and gradually it did indeed get better. I was lucky–I bet there are a few of us who never did find those people.
If there’s one thing I’d like everyone to remember, it’s that everyone is going through their own struggles. So, try to be good to one another–I apologize for when I wasn’t. And, if things get dark–talk to someone. If there’s no one in your life you feel comfortable confiding in, call the Camrose Addiction and Mental Health Clinic at 780-672-1181 for an appointment, and 1-877-303-2642 for their 24-hour crisis line. We are all in this together.
Mike Benusic,
Toronto, with frequent visits back to Camrose

KidSport

May 7, 2019

I would like to thank you for giving KidSport Camrose the opportunity to showcase this year’s KidSport Camrose BikeFest on the cover of the April 23 Camrose Booster. Despite the cold and snowy weather conditions, we had a record turnout at the BikeFest.
Our partners from the CARE Coalition, Camrose Police Service, Camrose RCMP, Alberta Health Services, Sport Chek and Kiwanis were extremely busy with their respective stations at the event.
The consignment portion of the event saw a record number of bicycles, 60 in total, consigned or donated. It was wonderful to watch patrons large and small find affordable “new” to them wheels just in time for summer.
Events such as ours are successful because of the generous support we receive from the community, so again I thank you for supporting KidSport Camrose and the community.

Ronelle Kiziak,
KidSport Camrose

Mud boggers

May 7, 2019

I guess that means all our snowmobiling trespassers now turn into mud boggers? I never heard that term used until we read Lori’s article.
Please pass on our appreciation for that excellent piece. We struggle with all the OHV-users treating our farmland as their private playground…year round. We have posted on every quarter with “No Trespassing” signs, and they enter and leave our fields at will, within a few metres of the signs. Very frustrating.
As for reporting them to the RCMP so that they can be “charged”…they are gone before we can get near enough to them to identify them. In one case of snowmobilers, we know they are neighbours, so we have asked them to stay off our fields. They don’t.
And, on one occasion when we actually saw them, we reported it, along with the day and time. Nothing happened. In the winter, we provided the RCMP with photos of the tracks in the snow (again a few metres from a No Trespassing sign). And again, there were no results.
But thank Lori for paying it some heed. Please pass our thanks on to her.
Thanks for all of your efforts to make The Booster a good (informative) read.
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf 

Advanced poll

April 23, 2019

This letter to the editor is to address the concerns of a voter in regards to the Advanced Poll held in the Forum of the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. While their concerns are genuine, I feel their language grossly exaggerated the situation. These concerns can be resolved. This was the first time ever that an Advanced Poll was held at Augustana. As this was organized in collaboration with the UofA Students’ Union and the Augustana Students’ Association (ASA), it was organized primarily for students to have an accessible way to vote. Allowing all eligible voters a way to vote is an important part of our democracy.
For many, driving back to their home riding, if they choose their parents’ address to be their home address, is unfeasible, especially as elections have been called at very inconvenient times for students in recent years. While the primary purpose was for students, other electors in the riding were also welcome to cast their advanced ballot for their home riding.
As the voter came on the first day of Advanced Voting, there were some concerns that needed to be addressed. Students were passing by on their regular schedule between classes, and some may have stopped to talk if they were not aware of the Advanced Poll taking place at the time. Some were talking about political parties at an inappropriate distance to the voting booth as mentioned. I question if any student intentionally ‘blocked’ his path. This issue was quickly addressed with better signage, a wall divider, and an elections staff wearing a safety vest for visibility and asking students to not stop and talk in the area for privacy later that day. While there were noise distractions, no one passing by was able to see what electors were writing on their ballots. For future years the ASA has suggested hosting the Advanced Poll in another location on campus such as the Faith and Life Lounge with pipe-and-drape to ensure privacy of voters.
Elections Alberta polling staff provide an important role in the voting process and while they may need some improvements in performing their job, I believe they should be paid for their work, and that students should have accessible ways to vote.
Geordie Nelson,
Camrose

Polling help

April 23, 2019

I thank the ladies at the reception desk in the voting room for their consideration and kindness.
This all started when we arrived at the Camrose high school where our voting was to take place. We had to park on the street east of the school because the parking lot was full. There was no one directing traffic. Because I have serious pain in my hips and lower back, I hauled my cane out and walked with my spouse toward the door. At the bottom of the stairs there was a sign that said Vote Here, but the arrow pointed to the north. No other signs were seen and we followed other voters.
Once inside, signs were certainly in evidence and as we continued through the myriad of hallways, it was becoming quite painful for me to walk and had to rest once near a railing. Finally, we reached the station. I asked the receptionist if I could sit in her chair. She obliged. We voted. The same receptionist suggested that my spouse bring our vehicle around to the north west door of the gym. It was less than 50 feet to the van. Thanks again to the nice receptionist.
If I had known that it was so far to walk, I would not have voted because of the arrangement.
Lew Goddard,
Camrose

Temporary venues

April 16, 2019

For this summer’s Big Valley Jamboree, Camrose City council is being asked by the organizers to approve a temporary liquor store on the BVJ site. This is a short-sighted, irresponsible request that shouldn’t be approved.
The Big Valley Jamboree provides a major economic boon to the merchants of Camrose, including the five independent and four chain liquor stores. These stores not only pay taxes to the City of Camrose, but also support local community events and other Camrose businesses through the purchase of advertising and supplies.
What responsibility would a four-day temporary liquor store have to the City or its residents? What benefit would anyone outside of the Big Valley Campground see from the profits?
A temporary liquor store at Big Valley Jamboree is a slap in the face to local Camrose businesses. How can City council talk about supporting the local community when they’re considering doing the exact opposite?
Daniel van Kesteren,
Camrose

Volunteer week

April 16, 2019

April 7 to 13 was National Volunteer Week. What better time to salute the hundreds of people who volunteer in our community.
With the Camrose and District Music Festival taking place, as well as other events at the Bailey Theatre and the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre take a look and see the dedicated, friendly volunteers that will make those events special.
Thank you to all the volunteers who help out in the many organizations in Camrose which help others; especially Martha’s Table, Neighbor Aid, Meals on Wheels, helping at St. Mary’s Hospital, in our schools and working with candidates before the election. Your generous spirits make our community a better place.
Volunteers make such a difference in Camrose. I salute you.
Colleen Nelson,
Camrose

Polling station

April 16, 2019

I was horrified to witness what happened at an advanced polling station, Tuesday, April 9. We decided to vote at the forum advanced polling station at Augustana Campus in Camrose.
Upon entering the polling station inside the doors was a circle of young males students talking about a certain political party. We had to walk around this group to get to the polling station and as we proceeded, we overheard one individual tell another what party to vote for.
This was a few feet from the polling station and within earshot of both the returning and receiving officers. Neither made an effort to stop what was happening in front of them.
We got our ballots and advanced to the booth to cast our votes. When we wanted to return our ballots to the ballot box, we were stopped by a class of university students walking by in front of us, preventing us from casting our ballots into the ballot box.
While waiting, we overheard from that same circle of students saying vote for the (unnamed) political party, as the class of students walked by.
The officers sat there doing nothing, yet they are paid to perform their electorial duties. What happened to the days when you were not to talk politics anywhere near a polling station, especially within. We are sure the tactics of these particular students was to intimate other students and others as how to vote. Nor do we believe that the electoral officers should be paid. This has been the poorest polling station we have ever cast a vote in, a mere hallway. These premises should not be considered to host another election. Is this what we are to expect from our provincial election process?
Disgruntled voters.
J. Bergstrom,
Camrose

Vote splitting

April 9, 2019

My wife and I went to the candidate’s forum, which was held at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Centre. There were seven candidates who are running in this area. Because there are three parties on the right, why did we bother to merge the Wildrose Party with the Progressive Conservatives? Somehow, some of the Wildrose Party who did not agree with the majority about the merger, now have formed a new replacement party called, The Alberta Advantage Party. The Freedom  Conservatives were formed by one of the Wildrose Party’s members who also did not agree with the direction of our new United Conservative Party.  So, the problem of the Conservative vote being split in the end was not solved, but recreated.
I really do believe that it is possible that because of the Conservative vote being split, the NDP will go up the middle to form the next government. So, I do thank all of those who redid the solution, which we tried to do in order to avoid the NDP from getting back in. This is one of the most depressing elections, which I have ever faced. So if because of all these other Conservative parties causes us to get another NDP government; it will be your fault and not mine. This was what we were trying to avoid.  Thanks a lot.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Hospital stay

April 9, 2019

A few weeks ago I was a patient at the Red Deer Hospital. It was there that I witnessed first hand abuse from a patient toward nursing staff. I was only in my room one hour after recovery when her daughters and grandchild came in for a visit.
The grandchild  turned the room into a playground and the patient (grandmother) and the child’s mother didn’t control him. After they left this women, she called for help to go to the washroom. A male nurse came in only to be kicked out as she didn’t want any man seeing her backside. Next a female nurse came in to assist and she was told she was useless and she was rudely told to get out. Next this patient picked up her walker and threw it at the wall.
More nurses came in to calm this patient down. She wanted them to lift her off the bed, they explained her recovery needs to her.
Then she wanted a bed pan because she didn’t want to move. Next she stated that she’d teach them a lesson  and gathered up a bed sheet and peed in her bed, so the nurses would have to clean up after her.
Because of this women’s verbal and physical abuse, a security guard was placed outside my room for protection for the nurses and me. The next day she was discharged if she could get out of bed and move on her own. She said, she had been and went home. Thank God, I did a happy dance when she left.
To patients—its good to get mobile as soon as possible to avoid stiffness. Nurses and doctors are professionals. They had the knowledge to go to university for a career. They are career people who have your health as their and your top agenda. They should be treated with respect and not be a servant. Before I was discharged, I spoke with two head nurses about what I saw and heard and made it clear that the patient was totally rude and the nurses did nothing wrong. So to the nurses, thank you for all you do.
Cougar Klug,
Camrose

Climate change

April 9, 2019

There is only one issue in the upcoming election. Forget the economy, health, education or ethical leadership. None of those matter if the world doesn’t begin to deal effectively with climate change. The scientific evidence is clear and there is no time to lose. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.  In 2018, the average Canadian was responsible for three times the amount of green house gases as the average Chinese. After a slow start, no country is moving faster on climate change than China and they are doing so because it is  their own economic self interest. Its also in Alberta’s self interest to act.  We have the technology, we don’t have to give up any comforts and adapting will create jobs and stimulate our economy.
Every jurisdiction, large or small, has to choose whether to continue to be part of problem or to become part of the solution.  It is that simple.  In that light, there is one party that stands out.  In refusing to accept even a carbon tax, the basic first step to modernizing our economy, the UCP is, quite simply, morally unfit to govern.  As such, election of the UCP would represent a significant blow to Alberta’s future economic health.
If we have kids, if we care about the future, this is a vital election and we can’t get it wrong.  We as citizens must vote for the party that has the strongest platform to tackle climate change. Alberta depends upon it.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

More sports

April 2, 2019

Pathetic is the only word that can be used to describe The Booster’s level of coverage of University of Alberta Augustana Vikings athletics, particularly in the March 12 edition, given the school’s recent successes.
The Booster has certainly included far more banal activities on its front page than what Vikings basketball has accomplished this year (I’ll let the other sports speak for themselves), namely: bronze medal for men’s basketball in the provincial playoffs–the first basketball medal ever in the school’s history; fourth place finish by women’s basketball in the provincial playoffs, including beating number one-ranked Medicine Hat in their first playoff game; women’s coach Robyn Fleckenstein being named ACAC Coach of the Year; Tobore Okome being named ACAC Women’s Basketball Rookie of the Year; and several all-stars on both the men’s and women’s team.
Sure, these things were mentioned in the article on March 12, but everything was from the website–nothing more.  These are all things to be celebrated and headlined. Frankly, our coaches and student athletes, who work exceptionally hard to represent their school and this community the way it should be represented, deserve better. At the very least, there should be actual interviews with the coaches.
Camrose is very lucky to have a post-secondary institution in town, particularly one that competes at a high level in athletics and makes (or should make) the community proud.  With 20 per cent of the students at Augustana being student-athletes (with the emphasis on student), it’s time The Booster took its name seriously and showed its support for one of the main things that makes Camrose the great community it is.
Jerry Iwanus,
Camrose

Bronze medal

April 2, 2019

So here it is sports fans. Camrose is a college town. Home to the University of Alberta Augustana Campus. Camrose is also a sports town. Straight up, disappointed in the coverage afforded to bronze medal winning Augustana men’s Vikings basketball team in The Camrose Booster.
I am an Augustana Vikings fan. I am also a basketball fan. Mens and ladies. I have never had a child on either team. I just enjoy watching local well-coached, hard-working basketball teams. The write-up about coach Robyn Fleckenstein is accurate in every word, she is first class and deserves every accolade.
I am truly hoping I am premature in this observation, that there is bigger noise coming on their behalf, but the scant four paragraphs about the mens team winning a bronze medal frustrated and saddened me. This is a huge deal. First time in school history the mens basketball team has brought home a medal.
Dave Drabiuk has worked hard at his coaching skills and recruitment to build this program. Fans over the years have watched him develop teams that every year increase their level of determination, work ethic and character. The best basketball is happening right here at Augustana.
This bronze medal team had two seniors. The only game they lost in that ACAC playoff run was to nationally ranked Concordia University. A well-coached team the Viking men had beaten once in regular season play. These guys are some of the hardest working kids I’ve seen on a basketball court and they brought hardware home to Camrose.
Student athletic programs are a challenge on so many levels. There is a team behind the team and the coaches. There are administrators busting it for funding and the people that must figure out how to spread that funding out, families doing everything they can to support these kids, sponsors that do what they can, local fans paying money at the door. There is little local coverage anymore to help them build support. The heart and work ethic put in by these coaches and their people here should be celebrated far more often than it is. In this moment, with bronze medals on their chests, the Augustana men’s basketball team has earned more than a minor headline and 82 words at the bottom of the article from their only local media.
Support our local student athletes and the awards they have achieved for their efforts.
With pride, watched them ‘keep their identity.’
Terri Blackwell,
Bawlf

Work together

April 2, 2019

The up-coming provincial election is fielding a variety of candidates/parties who each claim to represent the true aspirations of Albertans. I expect that a portion of each political parties’ messaging will sadly involve deamonizing their respective rivals. In this time of high employment uncertainty and a national crisis in terms of a severe down turn of the economy, should not those running for office consider a coalition government not out legislative necessity but to combine resources for the common good of our province, as well as the best for Canada.
The main-line Christian churches of Camrose are very different from each other, often with polar opposite theologies on key matters such as: what is Holy Communion? Yet, come on Tuesday, April 9 of at 7 p.m. to Saint Andrew’s (Anglican) Church and see these churches worshipping together on common ground.  PLURA churches still have much to learn but perhaps there is also something to contribute to the collective provincial election process that is ahead of us all; unity need not be based on conformity, but rather on the common good. The common good sets aside party politics for a united stand.
Jacques Vaillancourt,
Camrose

History lessons

March 26, 2019

I agree with Mr. Gaede, “those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” (Repeat History, March 5).  I am a student of politics and history and, if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that socialism brings nothing but misery.
He draws our attention to “the well-known gap between the rich and the poor,” suggesting that this gap is the result of capitalism and free markets.  Nothing could be further from the truth.
Canada has been doing the slow-dance with socialism since the beginning of the 20th Century and the more we adopt socialist policies the greater the gap has grown.  Have you never wondered why so many of our “privileged classes” support socialist policies?  Have you not heard of “billionaire socialists”? I first learned of this connection when Alexa McDonough, leader of the federal NDP, was described as the daughter of a “billionaire socialist.”
You see, socialism benefits the rich.  Socialism and the wealthy have a symbiotic relationship.  The rich get special protections, both regulatory and financial, which allow them to escape the punitive taxation. Socialist politicians get power.
The SNC Lavalin controversy is a case in point.  Companies such as Lavalin regularly receive lucrative government contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, protection from prosecution, and regulatory favors from corrupt governments. Sometimes called “crony capitalism” these oligarchies are the natural offspring of the marriage of government and business. Socialism is the fig leaf that lets them hide the real fruit of their con-game.
The outcome is poisonous. Economic and social decline. Learn the lessons of history, every province in Canada that has elected a socialist government has suffered economic collapse.  Every new socialist program makes us poorer and increases the gape between the rich and the poor. Yes, Mr. Gaede, “those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.”
Dave Gosse,
Camrose

Young talent

March 26, 2019

Checking out Facebook a few weeks ago, I saw the poster for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, About Time Productions’ musical show, Cargill Theatre March 1 to 6. On the spur of the moment I booked a flight and travelled over 7,000 km from my home in Yorkshire, England to see it.  Not only is it produced and directed by my daughter-in-law, but my oldest grandchild has been performing.
Wow. What a show. Well worth the journey. The singing was superb with great harmonies and amazing solos. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the young performers, but their professional approach was clear to see. Their movement around the stage flowed easily and worked well with the music. No doubt this apparently effortless choreography was only achieved after months of hard work by all concerned.
The whole ATP team deserve praise, so much preparation must have been made in planning, directing, musical coaching, costumes, set design and sound and lighting, not to forget the essential support from the backstage staff. Most of all though, I was beyond impressed by the young performers, who gave 100 per cent and made my trip to see them so worthwhile. Camrose should be proud of them all.
Christine Johnson,
England

Above law

March 26, 2019

While reading the recent letter titled “SNC Lavalin” I thought...the truth is not obvious to this guy. Jody Wilson-Raybould spoke the truth with clarity—that is the greatest evidence that truth has been spoken, but the hearer does need ears to hear and eyes to see that this is the “real issue,” which needs to be dealt with and not to be “swept under the carpet.”  As some have pointed out, both Jody W-R and Jane Philpott are doing what is right, and according to our Criminal Code: Section 3, under “Factors Not To Consider” it declares that jobs or the economy are not to rise above the law, or be considered above justice.
Further to this “real issue” of which we can thank our previous PM Harper who wrote into our law, within the Constitution, that whenever the attorney-general reverses a decision of the public prosecutor (which Jody W-R did) it must be made public to the Canadians. Any attempt to ignore an obstruction of justice or prove it as a false accusation should be dealt with by the RCMP. There is currently in Canada a push for Islamic sharia law and real Canadians need to push back harder.
Tina Kawalilak,
Edmonton,
 formerly from Daysland

Amazing show

March 19, 2019

 My husband and I attended the opening night performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat performed by the cast of About Time Productions. This group, under the direction of Cathie Johnson, has put together a production par excellence. The talent of these young singers is beyond amazing.
 Les Clampitt,
Sherwood Park,
formerly of Camrose

Lavalin justice

March 19, 2019

 It is inappropriate for anyone including the Prime Minister, or his officials, to attempt to interfere with the administration of justice.
The director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel, decided on a course of action against Lavalin based on a comprehensive investigation by the RCMP. This decision was supported by the Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Officials of Lavelin lobbied the Prime Minister for the less aggressive approach referred to as “remediation agreement” which would have resulted in a slap on the wrists for serious acts of bribery and fraud. The Prime Minister and his officials took Lavalin’s case to the attorney general. Not once, according to the attorney general, but a number of times, citing the loss of jobs and the fact that the Prime Minister was an MP from Quebec. The attorney general remained firm in her decision to proceed against Lavalin as originally determined.
The Prime Minister later removed Wilson-Raybould from the office of attorney general with no justifiable reason. This appears to be an attempt by the Prime Minister and others to interfere with the course of justice and must be fully investigated, as their actions may very well bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
 Jack Ramsay,
Camrose

Won’t vanish

March 19, 2019

It goes without sayin’ that the “so-called SNC scandal” won’t just vanish. Pundits suggest it may go on for months.
Despite SNC’s excessive lobbying and the repeated efforts of 11 officials from the PMO, privy council, and the finance minister’s offices, Wilson-Raybould firmly supported Roussel’s (Oct 9/18) decision. Prime Minister Trudeau, Gerald Butts, finance minister Morneau, and others obsessed about the “possible (9,000) SNC job losses” if SNC doesn’t get its requested DPA. Analysts, however, question that number because: 1. SNC’s employees in Ontario nuclear facilities, Vancouver’s Sky Train, a major rail-line and two bridges in Quebec, a $660 million Ottawa light-rail contract, and a 27-year maintenance Airport connection contract as part of a $4.7 Billion transit project. 2. SNC’s admin staff for provincial and international projects will keep their positions. 3. Other companies will hire trained SNC personnel.
SNC-Lavalin’s murky world-wide corrupt past (e.g. Feb. 1 a $1.3 billion Montreal hospital court case; a pending court case for $48/$130 million Libya bribes and fraud; a suspended $1.2 billion (2012) World Bank loan in Bangladesh, etc.) is serious enough to ban SNC from doing business with the World Bank (April 2013). Yet SNC carries-on “business as usual” in Canada, with its Ontario, Vancouver, and Quebec contracts, Ottawa’s $660 million light-rail contract and a Trillium Line Project. The worst-case scenario job-loss would be fewer SNC CEOs/top-brass, due to a bidding-ban on federal projects.
Wilson-Raybould’s testimony before the justice committee provided verifiable facts, dates, actions, emails, text-messages, phone calls, and documented meetings, naming 11 officials from the PMO, the privy council and finance minister Moreau’s offices, who applied pressure on her. (Globe and Mail, March 1; “A Closer Look…”).
This DPP denial is corroborated by federal court justice Catharine Kane’s (March 8) striking down of SNC’s appeal for a judicial review. She stated, “The law is clear that prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review, except for abuse of process.”
What a significant achievement for these strong women, on International Women’s Day. Canadians are fortunate that, regardless of the personal cost, Wilson-Raybould “went to bat” for us.
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf

Repeat history

March 5, 2019

We often hear the mantra that those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.
One of today’s major problems is the well-known gap between the rich and the poor. This has happened over and over in human history, and is always accompanied by dire consequences. It appears to me that we are in one of those periods. Our privileged classes show no signs of trying to redress the balance.  Most of our citizens have accepted the propaganda that the rich somehow benefit us all, and if we were worthy and hardworking we too could become wealthy.
We are bombarded by the lie that taxing the rich more would harm our economy. History shows this is not true. For example, take the period from the crash of 1929 to the 1960s.  The ‘20s were booming, but this led to ridiculous speculation, like the period 2000 to  2008, when the economy crashed again. The governments of the time brought in severe austerity leading to  an unemployment rate of 25 per cent or more. Governments refused to borrow to help their citizens because that would unbalance the budget.  Yet just a few years later the US government borrowed over $3 trillion to fund Second World War and then had money to fund the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe and Japan. After the war we had about a 25 year period of general prosperity before the wealthy, claiming danger from Communism and Socialism, started their attacks on the middle and lower classes by getting control of our governments. Our governments passed laws enabling the rich to get even richer by allowing them to create the world we now live in. A polluted world, a world facing the existential threat from global warming, and a world where the middle classes are being gutted.  This could not have happened if our democratic governments (so called) really represented the whole people. They have been able to pretend to govern in the best interests of the people, convincing many to vote against their own interest by raising the boogyman of socialism and communism. Look at the facts.  Russian communism was defeated (although it was a tyranny not communist). Look at the Scandinavian countries who many call socialists. They are among the happiest, wealthiest, highest taxed countries in the world. Think.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

SNC Lavalin

March 5, 2019

I am very tired of hearing and reading about the so called scandal of the SNC Lavalin affair.
The former Minister of Justice and Attorney General says she was pressured. The opposition and media keep harping on this subject without stating the truth.
Officials in the Prime Ministers’s office the Privy Council office and the Minister of Finance’s office all did their duty to bring to the attention of the AG the economic effects of her decision. She apparently feels that when she made a decision based not on fact, but her whims and prejudices, any bringing up facts was improper pressure. Since when is saying jobs and the possible loss of jobs is important, improper?
Yapping about political considerations being involved is a joke. Of course all decisions of the government are political. Is this yapping of the opposition not political? In a democracy how the people judge a situation is important. Hence all decisions of the government are political.
The Cabinet, as the centre of government, must be a team not 30 individuals each acting on his/her own.
The other Cabinet ministers must have greeted the resignation of Jody Wilson Raybough with cheers. Dealing with the self centred, self righteous individual must have been a constant pain.
The mistake the Prime Minister made was to appoint her to the Cabinet in 2015. Now she is out of Cabinet, lets move on and deal with real issues.
Ron Williams,
Camrose

Election

March 5, 2019

This spring, we as Albertans, are soon headed back to the election booth. The NDP government has been in power since 2015 and I do agree with many Albertans that the old Progressive Conservatives in 2015 were out of touch with Albertans.
This had happened many times before. In 1935, the United Farmers received the largest defeat when they went from full government to no seats when the Alberta Social Credit did the impossible and formed the government.  This reminded me of a repeat of what happened in 2015.
So, what has happened differently now than what happened back in 1943?  The Alberta Social Credit Party were in a lot of trouble.  They still won the 1939 election under Aberhart. Aberhart died in May of 1943 then Earnest Manning took over. He dumped a lot of the Social Credit ideas and concentrated on winning elections.
So, what should we take from the past? At first, the Social Credit were voted in a lot of false promises. Every Albertan was promised a $25 credit. Alberta, at that time was bankrupt. Aberhart did not have the funds to make our loan payments to the federal government not counting this $25 credit, which Albertans were counting on. Later, Aberhart did try to pay the government pay roll with Alberta money certificates. Most people refused to be paid in that currency. Later Manning used some of the oil royalties to pay each Albertan a $25 cheque.  Later Ralph paid Albertans an even higher cheque based on the Alberta Social Credit’s concept. It won him the next election. 
When Manning came to power as our premier, he was the one who helped create our oil sands. So, call our oil whatever you want, dirty or anything else you want, just know that this oil pulled Alberta out of bankruptcy.
So no matter who you vote for or refuse to vote over, remember those people in our past who fought hard to make this province what it is today.  
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Climate change

March 5, 2019

I’m getting very tired of people making excuses for not acting on climate change. The sad thing is that by not acting, we are only hurting ourselves. In 2018, the average Canadian was responsible for 22.2 tonnes of carbon emissions.  The average Chinese was responsible for eight tonnes of carbon emissions, but its China that is making great efforts against climate change. Last year half of the world’s electric vehicles sold were sold in China because China has a stiff carbon tax that discourages gas vehicles. China is not doing this because it cares about the Earth; it is doing it because it is in its own economic interest. Its own interest. That’s why in Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the banks, even the oil companies say that for Canada’s future prosperity, we require a carbon tax. The evidence is clear from BC, California and some European countries that a carbon tax makes the economy healthier by stimulating innovation and diversity at the same time that it reduces carbon emissions.  The American Paul Romer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in October for his work showing that a country can benefit by adapting its economy for climate change, but a carbon tax is a necessary first step.
In a previous letter, it stated that we are “paying through the nose,” but that isn’t the carbon tax, which is a tiny part of the tax we pay. It is the one tax that is shown to do a lot of good for a very small price. Whether you like it or not, people are going to continue to press our governments to act on climate change because someone has to stand up for Canada, not to mention for the younger generation whose future we put at risk by refusing to act. The world economy is changing because of climate change and Canada can choose to change with it or get run over as the world passes us by.  I’ll continue to stand up for Canada.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Editor’s note: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said it is a fact: despite having the highest carbon tax in Canada, CO2 emissions in British Columbia are rising for the second straight year, not falling.

Depressing tone

February 26, 2019

It has been discouraging to read the letters to the editor in the last while because the tone has certainly been depressing with all blame pointed at the present government. Mr. Prentice’s budget for 2015 was based on an oil price of $82 per barrel. That price has not been reached and has mostly been at half that amount. It wouldn’t matter who is in government, that is the price of oil and a pipeline might not even be the cure.
The reason for the low price of oil is because there is a glut on the global market. As any farmer knows, even the perception of a glut lowers the price of grain and we are in a global market driven economy.
This is happening even while OPEC is cutting production and Iran and Venezuela are not producing at anywhere near capacity; the former because of sanctions and the latter because of a dysfunctional government.
To top this off there is a decline in demand for various reasons and the future looks like more of the same. A company in the US, Rivian, is in the process of building electric half tons that sound very exciting and will perform better than anything available now.
Tesla is finally catching up with demand and is also in the planning stages of building an electric pickup while building another factory in China. All of this points to less demand for oil and a declining oil industry. It will be painful for those involved, but it will happen. Blaming the government for the problem is like blaming the mountain for the skiing  accident.
With regard to abandoned and marginal wells, it should be a comfort to Alberta taxpayers that they may not have to bear the full cost of reclamation, thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling. It is to be hoped this will encourage the reclamation process. If we wait until a casing rusts out and ruins the groundwater, we may find out which liquid is more necessary to life. If Mr. Leeson can reclaim a well site for $100,000, I suggest he will be busy.
In conclusion, I would further suggest that civil discussion of these matters might be more helpful than hot rhetoric.

Horst Schreiber,
Ohaton

Uplifted spirits

February 26, 2019

What a cold month it’s been. But I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.
February was a month full of outstanding entertainment opportunities in Camrose. Churchmice Players brought us Mamma Mia!, and uplifted our spirits with their incredible show. The Nordlys Film Festival celebrated its 10th season with beautiful and thought provoking films. The Bailey Theatre and the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre had a great selection of live artists to enjoy.
We plan to stay home in February, so we won’t miss any of these great opportunities. Thank you to the organizations that make this possible for us. The stage really is set.

Colleen Nelson,
Camrose

Weather vs. Climate

February 19, 2019

It was with disappointment that I read a Camrose Now! alert from Feb. 4 that declared “Global warming postponed” as we experienced a period of extreme cold temperatures. Although the headline may be written in jest, it contributes to confusion and misinformation on the important difference between weather and climate. Weather is the state of the atmosphere at a given place and moment. In comparison, climate represents the average conditions (or norms) experienced over a longer period of time. This is internationally recognized as a period of at least 30 years, although longer periods can also be used. Both climate and weather change, but they are not the same thing.
In fact, extreme weather patterns including both cold snaps and drought conditions that stay in place for many days or weeks at a time, including both last week’s frigid temperatures and summer 2018’s tinder-box conditions, have been directly linked to global warming. As we lose sea ice and northern latitudes rapidly warm there is less difference in upper atmospheric air temperatures between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. This leads to the jet stream becoming weaker and allowing air masses to meander more north to south than the normal west to east and staying in place for longer periods of time.
It is not just Camrose NOW! that makes this error. When asked during cold snaps, people are less likely to support statements about global warming than during extended warm periods. I think this simply reveals that we have very short memories and are much more influenced by recent weather than we often like to admit, often not seeing connections and differences between the two.
The fact remains that even with global warming Canada will continue to experience seasons, one them of will be winter and sometimes it will be really cold (although not nearly as often). As the Norwegians like to say, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
Greg King, assistant professor of environmental science, U of A Augustana Campus

Editor’s note: We live in a sensitive world at present.

Yellow Vest

February 19, 2019

I was born in Alberta and my mother was born in Daysland, but a few of my grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants, of which their culture still thrives to this day.
It was incorrect for a past letter to say that the Yellow Vests in France were about wages–it began with too high taxes on fuel, but now covers a range of issues within a corrupt government. If the author would have joined the protest on Saturday (11 a.m. to  1 p.m.) before writing to the editor, she would have known the love from not only the yellow vest protestors, but also would have seen the wonderful support of thousands of people in Camrose driving by us on Highway 13.
Yellow Vests protest: the NDP and Liberal government destroying Alberta’s oil and economy; 40,000 or more illegal migrants in 2018 entering through Canada’s border with the USA; the out-of-control Trudeau government spending–after paying $40 million or more to terrorists, we now have an illegal-migrant suing Canada for $34 million because we rejected his claim for citizenship due to his links to terrorism (see Rebel Media).
Regarding violence, this is almost always coming from the people who must either live in a confused state or they just enjoy lying, but then again I have never seen a joyful liar–usually they are horrified or sickening and ill-informed.
I also encountered a Syrian refugee at one of those events hosted by the church, and this so-called-refugee not only told me that she supported Islamic “sharia law” but also said, “We are allowing you to live on our land.”
These so-called-refugees should be deported;  Yellow Vests want our borders secured, bringing in people who are not military-like, demanding sharia law. We have freedom of religion here, not freedom of law. The Saudi princess escaping persecution from sharia law was welcomed into Canada (she is costing the tax-payers, millions for 24 hour security). Yet, here is dual stupidity of the government: in Ontario they allowed Islamic sharia law to become a party that is running in the next election–this is a barbaric religion that still practices in curses and ruled the Ottoman period in history.  Its practices, in Canada, include the partial removal of the woman’s sex organ (FGM) so she has no pleasure in that act.
The Yellow Vests are here to remind Canadians to get informed.
Tina Kawalilak,
Edmonton

Tax grab

February 12, 2019

I’m reading article after article that point to the fact Canada’s NET contribution to the worlds’ carbon footprint is half of one per cent. If you do the math, it becomes very apparent even if Canadians could “totally” clean up their act, we would only make a .5 per cent difference to the global carbon pollution problem. Yet here we are, paying through the nose to our elected government and for what? This accrued wealth is not going toward a carbon problem at all.  Why do I say that?  Because we don’t have a carbon problem. Canada is in essence a carbon sponge.  Our elected officials are dinging us stupid amounts of money to address an issue that, in our country, is a shred as important as most any other issues and programs that could be addressed with these funds (veterans, social security, our armed forces, immigration etc.). Call it what it is…a tax grab, because that is exactly what it is.  There is little or no logic in having Canadians paying through the teeth for a program that will make no difference whatsoever to the published bottom line of said program.
 
Bobbie Norman,
Camrose

Orphan wells

February 12, 2019

Orphan (i.e. abandoned by owner, not plugged and reclaimed) well solution–give me a break.
Estimates indicate more than 70,000 wells in Alberta’s orphan category.
So much attention recently (must be an election on the horizon) by the Alberta NDP Government to beat on the oil patch to pay for plugging, abandonment and reclamation of shut-in/suspended wells (estimated average of more than $100,000 per well).
Many, not all, orphan wells are the result of oil and gas companies going bankrupt and simply do not have the funds. Any reader who has been involved with bank debt is surely aware of how ruthless this experience is when money is owed to a bank. Much orphan well reconciliation is on the back burner of priorities, due to the urgency for financial survival in this extraordinary perfect storm of weak made-in-Canada energy prices and intransigent government policy and lack of leadership.
Is it possible oil patch bankruptcy could have anything to do with having to sell products at prices up to one-fifth (in the case of oil) and one-10th (in the case of natural gas) of the global market supply and demand price that most countries on this planet benefit from, except Canada?
Could the federal and provincial governments’ failure to approve pipelines for exporting Alberta’s energy resources bear any responsibility (just a few months ago the premier’s own estimated loss to the economy was $80 million daily)?
Could Quebec, as the most prominent benefactor of Alberta’s equalization payments, estimated by experts (not me) to total more than $200 billion in the past 50 years, not bear any conscience to contribute their liability share– just like they are all too keen to extend their hands out for their unearned wealth share?
This government should be ashamed for kicking the oil patch when it is down. Where was all this condemnation when energy royalties were filling your coffers? Enough. Go away, just go away.
 
Neil Leeson,
Camrose

Hunting fines

February 5, 2019

I saw in a past Camrose Booster an article describing a court case in Canmore about how two Camrosians paid a hefty fine.
They were charged for transporting guns and Bighorn sheep carcasses through a national park, also the forfeiture of the two Bighorn rams.
They obviously had licenses for what they shot and they were using a public road, what are people to do?
Hire a helicopter to take them out or go the long way around through Jasper to come home? I do not see the justification of these fines.
Bernie von Tettenborn,
Round Hill

Editor’s note: The hunters broke the law and were fined accordingly by the court system.

 

Racism

February 5, 2019

A past letter (Jan. 22) claims to have been horrified to see  protestors (wearing yellow vests) who do not buy into her socialist globalism (communism by other names).
Horror of horrors, there are those who want pipelines built, who want to scrap useless carbon taxes, who don’t want open borders for anyone and everyone to just wander in, and in general desire and work for a prosperous economy with low taxes. How awful such ideas are to those who essentially want to destroy our state and indeed all nation states: surely any citizens wanting to defend our borders must be attacked.
So we get the usual leftist “arguments,” her gratuitous and false name-calling, thrown at those who don’t buy the UN agenda, including its latest rules to facilitate world migration. Falsely characterizing the protestors as haters, racists, bigots, misogynic, and horror of horrors, anti-immigration.
How awful it is that many people do not want the open-borders agenda, do not want foreigners with, in some cases, very different customs (that they sometimes even want to establish in our laws) over-running our well established and formerly well-run country. How awful. But consider the hypocrisy, when those of her ideology and their Indian pals are first to criticize and attack the original migrants who discovered our country, denouncing them and their descendants as “settlers.”
Of course they are “ill-informed,” those yellow vests, those not buying her message. She tells us we in Camrose have a “large faith community whose values include ‘brotherly love’ and tolerance,” even welcoming Syrian refugees. And that there are lots of immigrants employed around and about including students at our local university, as though all that is somehow automatically a good thing.
In the end she smears with the spurious, “Make racism wrong again” (Surely it was never right). As though those opposing her throw-away view of the country were somehow racists. There is nothing racist in opposing an increasingly thick and sick piling people into our country, especially the big cities, with criminals and all the needs that the millions include. It is nothing about race when all immigration is opposed, including a call for less not more. What is truly sick is her labeling messages opposing her one-world view as “ugly” and “sickening.”
Douglas Hendrickson, 
Bittern Lake

Carbon tax

February 5, 2019

In response to a previous letter. The Yellow Vest are not against legal, vetted immigrations, we are against, illegal, unvetted migration.
We are not racists or white supremacists. We have people of all races and ethnicities as well as all religions in our group.
A large number of our members are recent immigrants who came to Canada through the proper channels.
We are against the UN Compact. We are against the carbon tax. We are for pipelines and for lower taxes. We are for taking care of our veterans, elderly and homeless.
I’m sorry that people are believing all the lies that the liberal media is and has told about us.
We rally every Saturday and we collect food donations and warm winter items for our local homeless.
We are a God fearing, loving group of people who have been vilified by the media who have been paid $600,000 by the government to tell lies about us.
The government knows we are telling the truth and they don’t want the Canadian people to know the truth.
I’m a 61-year-old woman. I am a mom and grandmother. I am fighting for my children and grandchildren so they will never be ruled by the UN.
We are fighting for Canada to stay Canada. A country built by immigrants. A country that enjoys freedom of speech. A country that enjoys freedom of religion. A country that believes every Canadian citizen has a right to live in peace.
We are fighting for Canada, we are fighting for every Canadian citizen, no matter your race, religious beliefs or age.
Carol Vance,
Camrose

Separate this

January 29, 2019

With the election in Canada looming and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doing everything in his power to bring Canada to her knees, the talk of separation has moved west. Yes, that’s right. Instead of Quebec throwing that word around, it’s now coming from the mouths of Alberta and Saskatchewan citizens. Toward that, I decided to delve into the “logistics” of separation even being a possibility.  Turns out, it is possible. But there’s a problem.
The clarity act (initiated and passed into law before the turn of the century) basically states the province(s) seeking separation would have to achieve a majority vote “in favor of separation” through a referendum. Now comes the good part. The government (house) has the power to determine exactly what percentage of the vote would constitute said majority vote. In other words, they’ve concocted a law that, unless every citizen of the province(s) applying for separation voted yes, the government could rule against it. Would the Canadian government allow a province(s) to leave confederation. Probably not. The only way to “get ‘er done” is a total yes vote. You can’t argue when the majority figure is a resounding 100 per cent yes.
There you have it people.  There’s only one surefire way to fix the predicament we’re in and that is to vote your way out of “said predicament” in the upcoming election. I used the term earlier…get er’ done.
Bobbie Norman,
Camrose

Hydrocarbons

January 29, 2019

I have read several letters proclaiming the supposed “economic benefits” of a carbon tax.  Let me make one thing perfectly clear; no tax confers an “economic benefit.”  Every tax, and every regulation, is a burden on the economy.  The only question is whether the burden on the economy is justified by services provided.
For example, building better roads will bring benefits in transportation, safety, and convenience.  The economic burden of extra taxes is offset by the benefits of road-building.  Building a theatre or sports arena provides more recreational options but it is debatable whether such spending is worth the cost of lost income or employment.
So, what is the carbon tax intended to provide? Quite frankly, the carbon tax is not intended to provide any services, it is intended to reduce our use of carbon-based energy (hydrocarbons) by raising the price of hydrocarbons.
However, everything we grow, harvest, make, and transport, relies on carbon-based energy. A carbon tax will, necessarily raise the cost of everything we make, grow, import, and export; and it will raise costs at every step of the process, like compound interest. Even the so-called ‘green’ technologies would not exist if we did not have hydrocarbons for their manufacture, transportation, and installation.
Hydrocarbons are the most plentiful, cost-effective, efficient, portable, and reliable energy source known to man. Without them we would still be living in shacks, without electricity, running water, transportation, or communications. The prosperity brought by hydrocarbons benefits everyone.  Even so-called ‘underdeveloped’ countries enjoy more and better food, clothing, housing, and health than they did a mere 50 years ago because hydrocarbons fuel cheap production and transportation.
Raising the price of hydrocarbons will raise the price of everything and leave us with less surplus to share with those in need. It will benefit no one.
 Dave Gosse,
Camrose

Carbon tax

January 29, 2019

Once again our Prime Minister just doesn’t get it, or does he?  His recent imposition of the carbon tax on four provinces (after refusing to accept the plans they were proposing) seems to be designed solely to make himself look good to world-wide, anti-carbon crusaders, while doing little to actually reduce carbon pollution.
Both the tax and the proposed “incentive refunds” look highly suspect, and are extremely inequitable. Consider four member families for example. In one, the main income earner(s) may live close enough to their place of work to walk or take rapid transit. In the second family, their income employment may require hundreds of miles of travel each month resulting in a significant carbon tax expense–they have no choice. And yet, each family will be eligible for the same refund. Is it just a coincidence that rural residents and those in remote areas will be hardest hit?
And, in Ontario, the family of the PM will apparently also be eligible for the refund, even though he doesn’t pay for his excessive polluting, as he (and his family) strive to visit as many corners of the planet earth as possible during his reign as PM. And we, the tax payers, assume his expenses.  As he so eloquently stated, “Pollution, in Canada, is no longer free,” unless of course you are the Prime Minister.
Bill Mattinson,
Camrose

Informed voters

January 22, 2019

Lorne Vanderwoude, I want to commend you for encouraging citizens to vote in the upcoming elections, but I’ll add something.  Not only do we have a responsibility to vote–we also have a responsibility to be informed voters.  Most of us are not informed enough.
Unfortunately, in our system, a politician’s first priority is to do and say what will get them elected, not necessarily what is good for citizens.  For example, Jason Kenney and the UCP continue to say that the carbon tax is bad for the economy and jobs when the evidence is just the opposite. Perrin Beatty, head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and former Conservative cabinet minister, has told the Conservatives to stop opposing the carbon tax because it is good for our economy. Mark Cameron, former advisor to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has said the Trudeau carbon tax will be good for our economy, actually put money in the pockets of low and middle income Canadians and is essential for Canada to meet its international obligations. Still, Mr. Kenney says he will scrap the NDP carbon tax. But wait, he said on CBC’s Power and Politics that he will replace it with a Large Emitters Carbon Levy–in other words, the Kenney carbon tax. We need some answers, Lorne. We need to make the UCP tell us, for example, if the Kenney carbon tax will have a rebate for low and middle income Albertans and an exemption for farmers like the Notley carbon tax. Because Kenny is not saying.
Yes, we must vote, Lorne, but we also must educate ourselves. We must ask the tough questions and we must fact-check, because sadly, we cannot assume our politicians will be honest.  Because, Lorne, only the informed voter has the power to make the correct choice.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Yellow Vests

January 22, 2019

I was horrified to see a “yellow vest” gathering in Camrose the other day.
The yellow vest Canada movement has nothing to do with the Yellow Vest protests against low wages and high taxes in France.
Yellow Vest Canada has now been widely documented as a group that represents hatred, racism, bigotry, misogyny, white supremacism and yes, anti-immigration.
Camrose is a city established on Treaty 6 land by immigrants, mostly from Scandinavia and Camrose celebrates it’s Scandinavian heritage. There is a large faith community whose values include “brotherly love” and tolerance. Not so long ago, some of these people went out of their way to welcome Syrian refugee families.
We have an exceptional university campus that welcomes a large number of international students, and is building a strong, collaborative relationship with Indigenous neighbours. There are hundreds of recent immigrants employed in every avenue of our society–doctors, servers, business owners, students, teachers, maintenance workers, caregivers and so much more.
To see this ill-informed yellow vest group–all descendants of immigrants–and their spokesperson  who, unless she has an Indigenous background, is also of immigrant descent, start to rear their ugly message in our community is  sickening.
Make racism wrong again.
Midge Lambert,
Camrose

Editor’s note: Every Canadian was an immigrant at some point.

Losing animals

January 15, 2019

I highly concur with our former MP Arnold Malone’s thoughts in his guest editorial, The Animals, published on Christmas.
Humans have a unique capacity amongst creation to nurture and to restore, yet also to take and destroy. The Earth is currently going through the sixth largest mass extinction on the planet. This is at a rate a thousand times higher than the previous extinctions (the last one killed the dinosaurs) and this one is being caused by humans.
Collectively, we are to blame. To correct a statistic, the WWF’s Living Planet report has declared that 60 per cent of vertebrates have been wiped out from 1970 to 2014. Sixty per cent. This has dramatically increased from a loss of 50 per cent from 1970 to 2010. In less than half a century, humanity has killed more than half of vertebrate animals on the planet. If this is not a wake-up call then I do not know what is.
I am appalled at this organization called the Century Project to increase Canada’s population to 100 million people by the end of the century. I am disturbed that finance minister Bill Morneau’s chief advisers are pushing this idea. Will a future Canada triple our current population have the same consumption levels? With the same carbon footprint?
Certainly our population will grow, yet to insist on intentionally tripling it is ludicrous. Two key elements of our national identity are: wilderness and a low population density. We do not need to triple our population. We need to conserve our current wild spaces and wildlife. Arnold’s thoughts show how conservation of wildlife and recognition of our interdependence with nature need not be a partisan issue.
Adlai Stevenson made a speech to the UN in 1965: “We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.” On this spaceship we have called Earth we have everything we need to live. And we share it with the rest of creation. And we need them more than they need us.
Geordie Nelson,
Camrose

 

Change coming

January 15, 2019

It  has now changed over to 2019. I am not sure if anyone else seems to really care, but I do as a citizen of this province called Alberta. The United Conservatives have raised over $1.18 million in the third quarter of 2018, which is nearly 75 per cent more than what the NDP government brought in the same time period. This does point to a coming change.
The last time when Albertans booted a party out of power was back in 1935 when the Social Credit came into power. The United Farmers were all shown the door by the voter. In 2015, the voters were a little more kinder by giving the party a few seats and a chance to redeem themselves. They are now called the United Conservatives. Now they are now ahead in the polls.
Now what does this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  The only poll which counts only happens on election day. In 1971, the one thing the PC Party did right was that they took nothing for granted. The Social Credit did take the voter for granted. In 2015, the NDP did one thing right. They took nothing for granted.  The PC Party did take the voter for granted last time.
Am I the only one who sees this repeat of the past?  Like I have said before, your one vote alone will not do much, but together it can change the world.  The voter has more power than what they know that they have.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Election time

January 1, 2019

There is talk of an early spring election here in Alberta. Time sure has gone so very fast since the Alberta New Democratic Party was elected as our government.
There are many excuses which people give me for not voting. Some say that they do not know enough to pick a party. In the late summer 1935, a lack of knowledge did not stop the 80 plus per cent who showed up to vote the United Farmers out of office. I would say it is a lack of interest, which stop most people from voting.
Others say there is not a lot of choice. We have at least 10 parties which are registered here in Alberta. We have the Alberta Advantage Party, Alberta Liberal Party, Alberta New Democratic Party, Alberta Party, Communist Party-Alberta, Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, Green Party of Alberta, Pro-Life Alberta Political Association, Reform Party of Alberta and The United Conservative Party. There is no excuse not to vote.
When our next election arrives, take the time to vote for someone in your area. Even if you decide to vote for a party who might not have a chance to get in.  You will be surprised how much your vote does count in any election. By yourself, your vote means nothing.  Together all your votes can change the world.

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose