Modern protests
May 14, 2024

Arnold Malone’s guest editorial regarding university protests reflects a picture of activism during softer, gentler times in the ’60s and ’70s. However, university activism in the 21st century is substantially different than when “we” were in university some 60 years ago.

During the intervening years, several factors have become an integral part of the university fabric; namely, (i) the impact of social media, (ii) university students are more ethnically diverse and (iii) universities have adopted Diversity, Equality and Inclusiveness (DEI) mandates to pander to woke and cancel culture narratives.

While recognizing there are benefits to social media; for many users, social media has had the effect of polarizing politics and suppressing critical thinking as users begin to operate in “group think” mode as they share common ideas with their social media friends. Many of these common ideas are based upon mis/dis information to advance the narrative of vested interest groups without significant fact checking by readers.

While university students represent a wonderful cross section of the ethnic mosaic of our country; I would argue that their closest friendships are formed with “like” fellow students and the diversity is of secondary value.

In recent times, Canadian universities have succumbed to pressure to cancel culture, woke and DEI initiatives that force conformity of thought resulting in the suppression of free speech on campus. Witness firings (Dr. Frances Widdowson) at Mount Royal University, forced resignations (Dr. Claudine Gay) at Harvard and questionable hirings at countless universities.

Many recent studies in Europe in the business/industry sector and university sector have concluded that the vast expenditures on DEI mandates have not worked; in fact, they have become counterproductive due to the backlash. The major conclusion…universities are funded by the public to educate the next generation through exposure to diverse ideas. This won’t work if ideological screening is part of the hiring process.

In an era of reduced public funding and creeping “corporatization” i.e. far too many university administrations are quick to put reputation and risk management and the appeasement of students, donors and politicians ahead of their commitment to academic freedom. A sad commentary indeed.

Lynn Clark,
Camrose
Common sense
May 14, 2024

Where has the common sense gone? We were shut down for almost two years because of our health care system. Have we built a hospital since then?

We’ve always had immigration, now the Prime Minister is bringing in one million people a year. How does the health care system take on that kind of increase?

There was a housing crunch for years, now what is happening? It leads the news daily. The Prime Minister is going to build a million new homes in a few years. Now how do you build a new home without using fossil fuels? Where are they getting the lumber, concrete, etc.

Do we produce anything here in Canada? We bring it in from all over in container ships to say we are green. What do container ships at minimum do to the oceans?

So now what about the water shortage? Solar should have been part of the building code years ago.

We have to start looking at reality instead of your newest phone. How did they build your phone, where do you get materials for batteries?

Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda 
Be committed
May 14, 2024

For future community wide sales, could it be mandatory that people add dates and times to their submitted addresses? It was a very frustrating time and waste of gas for anyone planning a trip into Camrose for the event (a lot of people do). We drove around and around looking for open sales until we said “to heck with it, we are not wasting gas on this.” Too many addresses not open, a few open, it took the fun out of it.

We actually heard others talking about the same thing when we were at a couple of the sales.

This event draws shoppers to Camrose, not just for garage sales. Hopefully changes can be made to make it a better experience.
 
Vivian Hupé,
 Camrose
Sunny side
May 14, 2024

Most people choose to live on the sunny side of the mountain. An author of a recent letter to The Booster seems to live on the dark side.

He states, “In the USA, they have convinced almost half of the population that voting in an idiot as a dictator will be better for them than maintaining a democracy, flawed as it may be. We in Alberta seem to be on the same track.”

This comment seems to be a reference to Donald trump and our own Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. If so, I make the following observations, Trump was the president of the USA for four years. What policies did he produce that were idiotic or smattered of a dictator? He used the resources available to protect their southern border–Biden removed those measures and allowed millions of people, seeking freedom offered by one of the world’s great democracies, to illegally enter the country, the overflow of which may affect our own country. Biden refused to enforce the very laws designed to protect the security of his nation. So, in this case alone, who reflects more the attributes an idiot or dictator, Biden or Trump?

In Alberta, we have for the first time in recent memory, a Premier who has the courage to use the province’s constitutional rights and power to deny the federal government from their constant incursion into areas outside of their jurisdiction.

It is not the responsibility of the federal government to project the rights of the provinces. That is the responsibility of the premiers of the provinces and the Canadian constitution grants them that power. Premier Smith is protecting our rights by exercising  those powers and is to be commended for doing so.

The greatest threat to the economic well-being of the individual and family is the unlimited power of the three levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal) to tax away our wealth, represented in part by the carbon tax.

And finally, the statement, “An uninformed poorly educated and fairly comfortable population is not going to expend too much energy on thinking and we are easily led by charlatans” elitist in nature and demeaning to the population whose vote grants, and rescinds political power.
 
Jack Ramsay,
Camrose
Working democracy
April 30, 2024

I call on you even though I know most of you disagree with me politically. Like most people in a working democracy and I include myself, we have become too comfortable.  Studies show that most of us vote against our own interests all too often.

Our politics have fractured. There are two basic positions. Since the mid ‘70s we have been fed propaganda to the effect that making the rich richer will be better than sharing limited world resources more fairly. We now have almost 50 years of evidence that this is absolutely false, but the super wealthy are now so powerful that they own most world governments.

In the USA, they have convinced almost half the population that voting in an idiot as a dictator will be better for them than maintaining a democracy, flawed as it may be. We in Alberta seem to be on the same track.

During the last 50 years we have seen another experiment in how to govern, the Scandinavian countries, where the country’s wealth is shared more equably. It’s not perfect. They also have millionaires, but they are among the happiest and wealthiest people on the planet.

The Scandinavian countries are among the highest taxed in the world, but that is how they pay for their much better education, health care and safety nets for their most vulnerable citizens. Let’s also talk about carbon tax.

Carbon taxes are not going to solve the climate change question. However there is no question among the experts that making a resource like oil more expensive will reduce its use by most people. As oil resources deplete they become more expensive anyway so we need to learn how to substitute. But we must do much more. Will we? I’m not holding my breath.

A word on capitalism. Properly regulated, it has its place. Unregulated it guarantees extreme inequality, that has in the past always led to revolution, although not always successful, it does guarantee the death of significant numbers.

A word on democracy. Democracy requires an informed educated population to work well. An uninformed poorly educated and fairly comfortable population is not going to expend too much energy on thinking and are easily led by charlatans. Deep thinking uses up to 40 per cent of the bodies energy resources so we have developed short cuts, like letting someone else do the thinking. Enough for now.

Harry Gaede,
Camrose
Acts of kindness
April 23, 2024

On April 7, while driving home from Armena on Highway 616, I got a flat tire. I felt helpless and uncertain as to what to do as I am a senior woman.

I pulled into a laneway and walked out to the highway waving my arms. Two vehicles passed and a black truck braked, backed up and three young fellows proceeded to jump out of the truck.
All were cheerful, kind and without hesitation began to change my tire.

It was Gerard M. who owns an oil well servicing business, along with his two helpers Joshua and Jackson. I’m so grateful for their generosity.
Pam Symons,
Millet
Acts of kindness
April 23, 2024

On April 7, while driving home from Armena on Highway 616, I got a flat tire. I felt helpless and uncertain as to what to do as I am a senior woman.

I pulled into a laneway and walked out to the highway waving my arms. Two vehicles passed and a black truck braked, backed up and three young fellows proceeded to jump out of the truck.
All were cheerful, kind and without hesitation began to change my tire.

It was Gerard M. who owns an oil well servicing business, along with his two helpers Joshua and Jackson. I’m so grateful for their generosity.
Pam Symons,
Millet
Moments matter
April 16, 2024

Camrose and area is a lovely place to live. As I reflect on what makes this community so special, I feel the dedication of volunteers is a key component.

April 14 to 20 is National Volunteer Week. It is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 24 million volunteers. The theme of this week is Every Moment Matters. Every moment that volunteers spend helping in their communities matters.

Organizations such as The Bailey Theatre Society count on our volunteers. You may see them at our events, taking tickets, ushering, selling 50/50 tickets and making you feel welcome. There are also a number of volunteers working behind the scenes: working on the board of directors and committees, making popcorn, helping with recycling and doing changeovers between shows.

I’m grateful for their efforts and commitment. They are unsung heroes and every moment they spend in service to our organization matters. Thank you, Bailey volunteers.

Please take time to thank volunteers you encounter this week.

Colleen Nelson president,
Bailey Theatre Society
Sense of loss
April 9, 2024

I feel a sense of loss that Jaywalkers’ Jamboree is moving from a street festival to a multi-use space.

This proposal reminds me of one Thanksgiving many years ago:
Our family decided to break its longstanding tradition of a homecooked feast at my in-laws to celebrate that holiday at our favourite restaurant.

Thanksgiving had always been a time when relatives and friends jammed in the family home until it almost burst at the seams.  It lasted hours, with lots of teasing and laughter. We all looked forward to such chaotic closeness!

This new transition to a restaurant, with its promise of no prep nor clean up, did provide a savoury meal, but it lacked the traditional vibe of the holiday. It didn’t have that “at home” feel, like usual (not to mention, there were no leftovers to share later).
The proposed change is, for me, an echo of that Thanksgiving Day.
With respect to keeping Jaywalkers’ downtown, could some of the larger parking lots be rented for carnival rides? (The Brick? CityLights Church?)

Can additional side streets be closed to traffic to accommodate more rides?

The name says it all. Jaywalkers’ belongs on the crowded Main Street, where we can saunter close to our shared community, close to home, with shops to browse, where we can shop local–thus, continuing a very happy annual tradition.

Jacques Vaillancourt,
Camrose
In defence
April 2, 2024

I would first like to address frustrations regarding the prospects of Jaywalkers’ Jamboree moving locations. The Chamber explains the relocation to be the result of their intentions for the largest Jaywalkers’ Jamboree in history. Our downtown space was designed over a century ago, likely without large scale amusement park rides in mind.

While I understand downtown business owners being unhappy with the Chamber, many people are behaving as though the downtown Camrose business association was never dissolved. Further, we need to acknowledge that West Coast Amusements, the company which provides the rides, has a monopoly over events such as this one. It is not as though the Chamber can just up and select a new, more accommodating company, especially when we consider that Jaywalkers’ planning is a year round affair.
Finally, I find this overarching attitude of Jaywalkers’ moving being the end of our community to be ridiculous. A community does not revolve around the material events that take place, it is a combination of smaller groups making the choice to interact and exist as one. Many of those complaining do not seem to be offering any fixes–if we really believe our community is dying, what are we going to do about it?
 
Lynda Baker,
Camrose
Disappointing move
April 2, 2024

I was so disappointed when I read of the decision to move Jaywalkers’ to the CRE. The reason why it was called Jaywalkers’ was because Main Street would be closed down and people would have to jaywalk to get to the various booths.

This is the only time of year when jaywalking would be legal. The rides were a nice touch, but it was not just about the rides. People were able to get out and enjoy the different booths which were set up by the different organizations and places on main street.

I do believe those in charge have forgotten why this was set up in the first place–to promote the down town. I do personally believe this was a very bad move.
 
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose
Carbon tax
April 2, 2024

Recently, some politicians have been making a lot of noise about the federal carbon tax. Let’s cut through the noise. The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle studied the 32 countries that have a national carbon tax and concluded that a carbon tax is the most cost effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions although it can put a burden on lower income people.

DW did centre out Canada though, pointing out that our rebate eliminates the burden on our lower and middle income earners. You can go onto the Ecofiscal Institute website for a short video explaining why economists agree that a carbon tax is good for Canada’s economy. Perrin Beatty, former Conservative cabinet minister and head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has long maintained that our carbon tax is good for Canadian business. Conservative Stephen Harper was the first Prime Minister to say we need a carbon tax.  During the 2021 election, the Conservative Party said we needed a carbon tax.

The Liberals point out that the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) concluded that 80 per cent of Canadians get more in rebate than they pay in carbon tax and no one disputes that. The Conservatives point out that the PBO also concluded that the carbon tax is a slight brake on the economy and no one disputes that. Whether most of us are better off with or without the carbon tax is open for debate. A person with a low income, who lives in an apartment and has no car pays little in carbon tax but gets the rebate. Therefore all low income people will definitely find life less affordable if the carbon tax is removed. In contrast, wealthy people like our politicians will personally benefit if the carbon tax is removed. For most of us in the middle it makes almost no difference.

However, the PBO also makes clear that if the carbon tax is simply removed with nothing to replace it, that will cost us more than having the carbon tax. And the PBO is clear that anything we could replace the carbon tax with will cost us more and no one disputes that. So, if politicians tell you they would “axe the tax” we can assume that they have decided that in the short term it will get them votes, because what they are not telling us is that they intend to make our life more expensive.
 
Rob Hill,
Camrose
Questions abound
March 26, 2024

The board of the Chamber of Commerce decided to move Jaywalkers’ to the CRE. The more I listen to the reasons for the decision, the more confused I get and the more questions I have.
When a decision is to be made, you need to ask yourself a simple question…is it right or is it wrong, and there is no right way to do something that is wrong. To me, what I have heard has led me to believe this decision is wrong.

I will start with what I believe to be fact:

1. Jaywalkers’ dates back to the early agricultural heritage of Camrose. Since 1958, the event has been held the first weekend in June to celebrate the farmers’ completion of seeding.

2. The festival owes its existence to the visionary founding fathers of Camrose, who designed the downtown core with wide streets, meant to provide room for festivities during the Jamboree.

3. Jaywalkers’ is Alberta’s oldest outdoor fair, Alberta’s largest sidewalk sale, and one of the largest street festivals in Alberta.

4. Jaywalkers’ celebrates community with a street fest that invites you to jaywalk through the shops, arts and culture of Camrose, but it is much more than that.

5. Vibrant downtown space reflects the spirit of the City and plays a crucial role in its overall well-being and prosperity.

A number of reasons for the board’s decision to move the site have been provided, however, all appear solvable, especially when so much is at stake.

I am left to wonder: Why was this decision made by the Chamber board without consulting its around 350 members?

How does bringing in additional vendors from outside Camrose help the Camrose business community? In fact, do they not take business away?

Is West Coast Amusements dictating this move? Are the midway rides more important than all the other reasons to keep the current location?

The Chamber’s strength lies in the hands of the members who lead and govern the Chamber. They are committed to promoting Camrose as a vibrant and dynamic community–a place to visit, live, work, shop, play, and invest. In chaos is opportunity…we have a tremendous opportunity to work together to unify our community and maintain one of the greatest, most iconic and historic celebrations in Alberta, while honouring and respecting our rich history. Let’s get back to the joy this event was intended to bring.

Ron Baier,
Camrose
Senior friendly
March 26, 2024

Is Camrose no longer senior friendly? As a citizen of Camrose for close to half a century, I currently am confused about who is making the decisions for our City: City council or the trash collectors. City council is responsible to make decisions in the best interest of the citizens. The trash collector makes decisions that will make them the most money.

We have been told that the City of Camrose signed a five-year deal for garbage pickup one year ago. We have also been advised that the garbage collectors have purchased a new, longer and heavier truck, therefore, they have trouble navigating the back alleys.
They requested that the citizens now move their heavy garbage containers to the front street for pickup. I am confused how the contractors making a purchase of a truck that prevents them from fulfilling their contractual obligations is the problem of the citizens. They should ensure that they have the proper equipment to carry out the contract that they signed. It is not the duty of the citizens to accommodate them. Rather, it is their obligation to figure out how to deal with their unwise purchase.

The current truck the trash collector is using in our area appears to have been purchased from a museum. While it is big, there are senior citizens in our area who drive larger RVs and navigate the back alleys without difficulties. I am not sure how old the driver of the garbage truck is, but the mess left behind by him indicates that he has little to no experience. If the trash could be collected in the alley for over 50 years without complaint, it confuses me as to why there is a sudden problem and why it is my issue.

There are many senior citizens in the area who are unable to carry heavy garbage cans from the back of their property to the street, through the snow, upstairs, etc. Their only option is to haul the empty can to the front, where it will sit permanently.

Currently, homeowners have no right to restrict others from parking in front of their homes, thus the trucks will be frequently unable to collect garbage, which will then pile up, turning our beautiful neighbourhood into a garbage dump. This may be a factor forcing the elderly out of their homes.

A dissatisfied senior.

Joan Petruk,
Camrose
Jaywalkers’ decision
March 26, 2024

We’re reaching out to provide you with an update on the latest developments concerning Jaywalkers’ Jamboree. First and foremost, we want you to know that we’ve been listening closely to your feedback. Your response to the news of Jaywalkers’ moving to the CRE has resonated deeply with the board of directors, and we truly appreciate your input.

In light of this, we’ve taken a step back to assess the situation carefully. We’re currently engaged in collaborative discussions with multiple partners to explore all available options for hosting Jaywalkers’. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be diligently working on the details in partnership with these stakeholders. Our aim is to determine the most suitable path forward that ensures the event’s safety, enjoyment for all attendees, and continued support for the local businesses in Camrose.

We’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way and we eagerly anticipate sharing updates with you as soon as possible regarding our next course of action.

Camrose and District Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors
No communication
March 19, 2024

While I have no financial interest in either the downtown or the Chamber of Commerce, it was always my perception that the Chamber represented the downtown merchants and was mainly comprised of them. This Jaywalkers’ change seems to have been made without any communication with the downtown merchants. What a pity.

Our downtown has remained a vibrant, vital part of Camrose and has not deteriorated like many other downtown areas in the west. Something is wrong someplace here. Camrose council needs to get involved in this unfair change of venue and straighten things out. We do not need some out of town midway company making decisions for our great little city.
Jim Orr,
Camrose
Jaywalkers’ downtown
March 19, 2024

I just read a sad news article about our cherished Jaywalkers’. We have been involved in celebrating Jaywalkers’ downtown with our kids and now our grandkids for many, many years. It has a unique atmosphere having blocked Main Street and you are able to “jaywalk” down town Camrose. We have friends and family who travel from the cities specifically for this unique jaywalking event. Moving it to the CRE grounds totally defeats the purpose.
Downtown was a great place for adults to shop great deals and the kids enjoyed the numerous rides. I think moving it is a huge mistake and hopefully the businesses downtown will continue on with a downtown celebration.
 
George Shostak,
Camrose

Caring words

March 19, 2024

As a retired mental health care professional, it concerns me greatly how the use of such words as “crazy,” “bonkers” and “nuts” are flippantly applied in everyday conversation. This is especially the case when such words are used as weapons against people for whom we may disagree with politically. This is also the case when such words are simply used to describe someone we may dislike.
Words such as these are damaging for those living with psychosis. It creates a hostile atmosphere and silences them and their lived experience. This can inflame symptoms and make vulnerable people more ill.

What is most shocking is that I have heard these words used in spaces, such as churches, which purport to be safe places for those we label as different. Creating inclusive places involves more than just installing chair lifts for those with mobility challenges. It involves using language that is truly inclusive so that all are welcomed.

Instead, I invite people to use more sophisticated and nuanced language to healthily express themselves. This is not “cancel culture.” It’s just showing compassion and love towards those living with psychosis and others who are different from ourselves.
 
      Sandra Nordstrom,
Camrose

No communication

March 19, 2024

Does the City really think we have forgotten that it was Waste Connections Canada, not Integrity, that accomplished the switch to automated collection six years ago?

Camrose never had semi-automated collection, we went straight from manual collection to ASL (automated side load). Nobody is arguing the decision to move to ASL; it is the trend and the right decision. The interview in the article makes it sound like the move to front street collection is a result of the switch to ASL, which is misleading and untrue. The ASL trucks are neither heavier or wider than the manual collection trucks they replaced. These dimensions are highly regulated  maximum width of 2.65m and maximum weight of 24,300kg. The grapple must be able to open completely and nest inside of the width of the truck and it does.

I would be shocked to see anyone from the City fall on their sword and take responsibility for this bad decision, or to do anything about it. I would however urge my fellow residents to remember this fumbling of a pretty important issue in the next municipal election cycle. Hopefully our woefully inadequate garbage and recycling strategy is an issue next time around.

Landon Lewsaw,
Camrose

Fading Community

March 19, 2024

Thanks for taking the time to express your opinion Carole Preston. But I must disagree with your position, if you expect the City council to spend tax dollars to provide community life support. I am of the opinion the taxes I now pay are enough.

Pat Barott,
Camrose

Good stuff

March 12, 2024

First the “good stuff.”

Many thanks to Geraint Osborne for his excellent article in the February 27, edition of The Booster on the value of community newspapers. If you haven’t read it, grab a copy and do so.
Within The Camrose Booster, we get a laugh-out-loud treat each week with the Booster Banter, Bonnie Hutchinson dishes up food for thought, and Murray Green and Lori Larsen are out and about highlighting events in the community. The “Booster Shot” selections are very applicable to daily life, and the “25 and 50 Years Ago” column is a reminder of just how fast that life is swishing by. And let’s not forget the “Just Sayin’” space that allows people like me to air an opinion, something that wouldn’t be allowed in some countries.

A super big congratulations to Bob Bailey on being one of five chosen from across Canada for the MusicCounts Teacher of the Year Award. With all of the research on how valuable music is in all areas of life, it’s amazing that parents aren’t lined up clamoring to get their children into band and choir. We wish you the best of luck, Bob. You deserve it.

There are many things to be thankful for here in Camrose. Here are just a few: Augustana University, two performing art venues, music opportunities, theatre groups, aquatic centre and other sports facilities. Feel free to add your favourites to the list.
And now for the “not so good stuff.”

We are quite fond of our black and green bins, but not so fond of what is happening with them. The present company has not been nearly as competent as the past company. There have been many complaints in The Booster and social media platforms concerning the treatment of the bins, the incompetency of the drivers, and the demands for bins to be placed out on the street. It’s time to rethink that decision.

And now it has been decided to move Jaywalkers’ Jamboree out to the CRE. Our first consideration needs to be for the businesses and citizens of Camrose and the history of the Jaywalkers’ Jamboree, not West Coast Amusements’ “carrot” of bigger and more rides. Jaywalkers’ Jamboree has been a highlight and delight of our downtown area for decades and not something we want to lose. Again, it’s time to rethink that decision, too.
 
Carolyn and Lloyd Olson, Camrose

Jaywalkers’ moving

March 12, 2024

My colleagues and I  were dumbfounded to read this. It seems to make no sense and I’ve already heard that many will not be able to attend, because of the problems of packing up children, strollers, diaper bags and loading all into the car...for a few hours of carnival. Adults go to shop local and bump into friends and families they don’t often see, some that are local and many who have returned home, specifically for the fun and familiar gathering of this long time event and tradition.

Kids go for the rides, many of us walk there, because we can and that’s part of the engagement with our community. Adults will go downtown to visit local businesses, bump into friends and cash in on sales, just as they always have for more than 50 years.

Our children will be the big losers here. They will not be able to walk to the safety of downtown for the carnival with their friends. This event is as much for our local business community as it is a family event – you’ve missed the mark on all points.
 
Barbara Anderson,
Camrose

Fading community

March 12, 2024

Our community is fading. It started with the closure of the Downtown Camrose Business Association. The loss is obvious in the comparison of the pre-2023 downtown market to the 2023 market experience. The market was everything that great public spaces should be: inviting naturally shaded spaces to linger and visit, food vendors, local onsight businesses spilling out onto the streets, kids playing with bubbles, farm fresh stalls, handicrafts and live music. It was fulsome as an event. The 2023 market was hot, unshaded, experienced a massive loss of quality vendors, had no connections to the businesses in place on Main Street and lost the feel of a welcome place to linger with friends. It was and is a massive loss for Camrose as a place to be.

The fading continues with the Chamber of Commerce decision to move Jaywalkers’ Jamboree to the CRE. Hosting Jaywalkers’ in our downtown core has a massive financial benefit to our local businesses and even more than that, creates a place to be, for community, for vibrancy, for keeping our downtown alive. Jaywalkers’ Jamboree is the atmosphere, the opportunities for connection, the shaded streets and the opportunity to check out small businesses and the rides. It’s also the only time that some Camrosians come downtown.  The event creates and maintains a vibrant community for all of Camrose not just the downtown core.

To pick up the losses, Love Local Camrose, a volunteer run effort, organized two well attended events.  Why should a community of our size have to rely on volunteers to organize vital events that create community and keep our community alive? Volunteerism is great for supporting events and community, but we cannot expect volunteers to provide community life support.

This is the responsibility of our City council, and our institutions like the Chamber of Commerce and the now defunct downtown business association.  These organizations and more have a responsibility beyond the interests of business owners. They are part of the social fabric that makes up our community. Our downtown is more than the businesses that are located there; it’s the people who live there, the people who visit and shop there, it’s the not-for-profits, it’s the church community and the public space for all. Don’t snuff out our remaining light. Chamber of Commerce, please reconsider.
 
Carole Preston,
Camrose

Garbage nonsense

March 5, 2024

On October 22 2023, City council, at the end of a very long agenda, when everyone was probably tired and wanting to get home, passed a proposal to change the garbage pickup routes in certain neighbourhoods, mine included. The proposed change was to start about one month ago.

However, no one gave any thought to notifying the affected citizens and a trial period of new pick-ups began without anyone affected being so advised. The change was to move pickup from the back alley to the front of our “keyhole” close adjoining Chester Ronning School. The alleged reasons for the change given by the City were false, at least in part.

I have lived in this home for 50 years and we have had garbage pickup in our reasonably wide alley all that time without any problems. Yet despite the fact garbage pickup continues in our alley immediately south of us, our garbage was not picked up. Neither I, nor my wife, can manipulate a full garbage bin from our back alley to the front of our crescent. The alleged trial period of three weeks was over one week after notice.

Of course we want to co-operate where we can and where it makes sense.  Our neighbourhoods were designed to be serviced  through the back alley, and keyhole close pickups from the front area are congested, especially with parked cars and young school children constantly in the area because of the adjoining school.
I would think that it would be more difficult to pick up there, rather than the usual way.  I realize not every neighbourhood has back alleys and presumably they were designed for front yard pickup. Our neighbourhood was designed for backyard pickup.
I would suggest that council’s first duty is to its citizens, not to the cheapest contractors it can hire. Changes like this should be done in consultation with affected citizens and not imposed retroactively.

I blame the management team for inundating councillors with much more information than can be reasonably dealt with at one meeting. The decision in this case was the last item on the agenda, based on an information package of 231 pages for that meeting. My own experience in civic politics is that management teams often try to overwhelm their political bosses with too much information so difficult decisions they want done are pushed to the end of long, often boring meetings.
 
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Garbage mess

March 5, 2024

I am one of the many residents impacted by the changes in garbage collection requiring us to drag our bins to the front curb.
For the few people who have front driveways, this is not an huge issue, but for those of us who have 20-cm high steps leading from the street to the front of our homes, as we do, it is quite different.
In this season of snow accumulations, dragging the bin down the hill is not an option.

We are forced to drag our bin 50 m down the unpaved, unplowed side alley, compete with icy ruts. Eventually, this extra wear and tear is bound to damage the bins, which were not designed for this type of abuse, not to mention the safety risk for the senior trying to accomplish this unnecessary task.

Our neighbourhood was originally designed to accommodate garbage services in the rear laneways. The real problem here is that the City has awarded the contract for this essential service to a company that has neither the appropriate equipment, nor the expertise to fulfill their commitment.

This is hardly the solution to this relatively new problem. It should also be mentioned that one unintended consequence of this new policy will likely be a reduced use of green bins.

As people have to struggle to get bins to the curb, they will be more likely to place compostables in the black bin, rather than having to drag two bins out front.

Ruth A. Muzika,
Camrose

Garbage mess

Like roughly 250 other homeowners in Camrose, I now have to wheel my garbage bins from the back alley out to the front street for collection.

We are told this is to prevent damage to the alleys, and that the trucks can’t negotiate the alley intersection behind our crescent. Funny, there’s been garbage trucks in our alley for 50 years, and the grader is able to make these turns. The rest of the story is...the city switched garbage collection contractors last year. The new contractor runs older, longer and taller trucks than the previous one did and the operators are less experienced. I worked in the garbage business for years and have seen these municipal contracts.

Not only does the city save money by going with the low-ball bid, they also get money back by fining the contractor when they inevitably have problems. Did your house get missed during the recent cold snap? That’s because Integrity doesn’t have an indoor parking facility either and they couldn’t get the trucks started.

They would have been fined for that too—a win-win for the city. Unfortunately it’s a lose-lose for us homeowners. Garbage collection is a pretty basic element of municipal services, and just about every year the value proposition for us taxpayers gets worse. Places like Hay Lakes have curbside recycle collection, while we have nothing.  Centra Cam accepts less and less all the time. The landfill is now a transfer station, and they charge to dump everything, even compost. Camrose is way behind other municipalities when it comes to waste collection.

Landon Lewsaw,
Camrose

Entertaining hockey

February 26, 2024

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the wives, girlfriends and family members of the Camrose Bruins players for giving them the okay to play this year. Same holds true to the family members of the coaching staff, trainers and equipment manager.

Senior hockey is a special game, played by teams that love the game of hockey. It is a very fast paced, hard hitting and exciting game to watch. Blink and you might have missed a goal. You sure get great entertainment value for the price of a ticket, I am not sure if there is better hockey played in Camrose.

There are many other volunteers working up front and behind the scenes to put Bruins hockey in Camrose. I also thank them and hope they can come back next year. I should also offer thanks to the employers of the Bruins players, for allowing players to get off work for an early away game or putting a player on a desk, while he suffers an injury. It all helps and as a fan, thanks.

From the smile on his face every time I talked with Boris about the Bruins, I could tell he was enjoying the job. Your effort and knowledge will be missed.

Let’s hope whoever takes over for Boris can get the city to put in a sound system that is not a total embarrassment and could be heard in the Max McLean.  I wonder if one of the wonderful Bruins sponsors might like to tackle that issue. Without the sponsors there would be no Bruins hockey.

Every team cannot win, but nobody can fault the effort the Bruins put into this year.

Pat Barott,
Camrose

Cultural tolerance

February 20, 2024

Mr. Malone’s thoughtful opinion pieces complete with historical context are most welcome. His latest revealing piece on the lack of cultural tolerance speaks volumes in these polarized and troubling times; but, unfortunately, conditions seem to be getting worse, not better. The backlash against wokeness, political correctness and cancel culture narratives seem to be counterproductive.

Mr. Malone included a quote from a well-educated Palestinian lady who wanted to raise her sons to kill Israelis; Golda Meir said it best…“there will be no peace in the Middle East until Palestinians love their sons more than they hate Israelis.”

Music brings people together in a way like no other. Enjoy the video clip of the Andre Rieu concert in Bahrain www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oUZF8p 20pk where a Christian song played in a deeply Muslim country to the enjoyment of all might be a great start to bring people together.
 
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Own agenda

February 13, 2024

With typical lack of consultation and her own political agenda, Danielle Smith announced policies that attack the rights and freedoms of our children who identify as trans-gender or non-binary.

She claims that her announcement is not politically driven but this is questionable in view of her ties with right wing extremist Tucker Carlson and an upcoming leadership review, gotta keep that base happy.

In the meantime, there is no evidence of consultation with the groups involved the 2SLGBTQ+ community,  parents, medical and psychological experts or educators. These groups have a right to be angry and concerned about the hurt and harm  these policies will cause to these children.

My 14 year old grandchild is angry and states “This policy harms kids. You know what? We should be protecting our kids from poverty, homelessness and hunger.”

My grandchild is right and has more empathy and concern for all Albertans than Smith. I find it sad that a 14-year-old has a better grip on the needs of kids in this province than the person responsible for leadership.
 
Arlene Hendrickson,
Camrose

Transgender polices

February 13, 2024

I am compelled to express my deep concerns regarding the transgender policies introduced by the UCP government, as articulated by Marlaina Danielle Smith. It is imperative to address the significant ramifications these policies have, particularly regarding parental rights and the well-being of transgender youth.
Smith asserts that these policies uphold “parents’ choice” and aim to “protect trans youth.” However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that these assertions are unfounded.

The purported medical justifications presented to justify the restrictions on gender-affirming care are not only inaccurate but also lack support from credible medical evidence. Delving into the specifics seems futile when faced with a prevailing trend of selective belief regardless of empirical data.

Furthermore, the implementation of these policies directly infringes upon the rights of numerous parents in our province. Many parents, having diligently considered their child’s needs, have consented to gender-affirming care, including hormonal therapy. It is crucial to recognize that Alberta Health Services already mandates parental consent for minors under 16. Smith’s policies prohibiting access to transgender hormonal care for youth under 16, irrespective of parental consent, blatantly disregards parents’ autonomy in making healthcare decisions for their children.

Smith’s concerns about youth under 16 receiving transgender health care without parental permission appear to be based on a fictitious premise, as such occurrences are not documented in Alberta.

As a parent who has meticulously researched this issue and consulted with healthcare professionals, I made an informed decision, together with my child, to pursue transgender hormonal therapy. However, these recent policies have arbitrarily stripped away my parental rights, contradicting the assurances made by Smith and the UCP government.

In light of these developments, we must question the sincerity of the UCP government’s commitment to safeguarding parental rights. How can they claim to champion parental autonomy while simultaneously curtailing our fundamental right to provide essential medical care and treatment for our children?

Stacey Wall,
Camrose

Gender identity

February 13, 2024

I am writing to express my absolute outrage at the UCP government’s announcement about proposed “gender identity” policies.

It is a massive infringement of human rights, for both transgender children and their parents and directly puts them in danger. Rates of homelessness and suicide for transgender kids are already sky high. Suicide is the number one cause of death for LGBTQ2S+ youth. Up to 40 per cent of homeless youth are  LGBTQ2S+. This legilsation will only cause harm for trans, non-binary and gender queer kids, especially ones who are not safe to express their gender identity in their home.

The proposed legislation is directly counter to expert guidance, as evidenced by the Alberta Medical Association Section of Pediatrics statement (February 4) “this is a medical decision, and no one should be involved except the child, their parents if the child is not a mature minor, the physician and other health care team members.” The physicians providing gender affirming care are bound by professional standards, regulations, and supported by an extensive evidence base. Not to mention a patient who has every right to determine their desired care. Or do individual rights related to bodily autonomy only apply when making decisions about vaccinations?

All non-binary, transgender, and gender queer Albertans deserve to exist and be safe. The right to gender identity and gender expression are both protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Stripping basic human rights from marginalized children is not something this Albertan supports, especially considering the other myriad of issues facing our government (health care? cost of living? forest-fires?). I’d much rather our government focus on those.

Mostly, these policies are not at all representative of the Alberta I know and want. My Alberta is inclusive. I will relentlessly advocate for the LGBTQ2S+ community and call out this atrociously backwards attack for what it is: transphobic, homophobic and hateful.

Tawnya Williamson,
Camrose

Gender policies

February 13, 2024

In a familiar story in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus reminded the people that how we treat those around us is how we are treating Jesus, God. In my reading of this passage, I hear that it is in supporting the most vulnerable that we have the opportunity to be our most compassionate, to choose to do what will give someone else support, hope and life.

The announcement from Premier Danielle Smith treats Two Spirit, transgender, non-binary, and gender-diverse people–some of our most vulnerable folk–with such disrespect that it is unimaginable.
In these decisions, despite the Premier’s claims that the proposed legislation respects them, some of our most vulnerable children are being sacrificed to an ideology that is discarding their worth and value.

Medical services are being withheld for youth below the age of 15 and mental trauma is being exacerbated. Parental rights are also being manipulated by the government as they can’t make decisions for their children under the age of 15 to engage in medical therapies, such as puberty blockers, because the government doesn’t think they have the capacity to consult, assess and respond appropriately to their children’s needs.

The statement quotes the Premier as saying this is preserving choice. I disagree. I believe that this removes choices from families, parents, children, health care professionals, and the education system. In these decisions the government has decided that it knows better than the folk who are living with family members who identify as transgender. For those who have supportive family or community units, this proposed legislation takes away the ability to fully accompany them in their journey. For those who do not have those avenues of support, it takes away the ability to find the support they need.

This is not compassionate. This is not caring. This is inhumane. These decisions remove support, remove hope, remove life.
Listen to the people whom this impacts the most. Hear the despair, fear and anger they feel in this move that devalues them as people.

We must do better for those who are the most vulnerable. We need to speak out against this atrocious flaunting of power at the cost of lives, safety, and dignity. We need to be the places of support and hope and to show them that they are valued and loved for who they are, as they are.

Look at what we are doing “for the least of these.”
 
Rev. Helen Reed,
chair of the executive, Northern Spirit Regional Council

Kurek's Column

February 13, 2024

There is much distortion and misinformation in MP Kurek’s January 30 column. What are the Liberal failures he alludes to? Perhaps instead of making partisan allegations, he could back them up by listing the perceived failures with citations from independent  and credible news sources. Canada is ranked as the second best country in the world to live in (US News and World Report) and our inflation rate is among the lowest of G7 countries. Does that sound like a broken country as  the Conservatives allege?

Trudeau’s vacation scandal that wasn’t. The ethics commissioner advised  MP’s that no rules were broken (CBC, Globe and Mail).
He states: “Liberals consistently failed to deliver on their promises.” Whether you agree with the government or not, over the past eight years, they have been busy developing policies and passing much legislation dealing with environmental, economic and social issues.

According to the Conservatives, the sky is falling because of the carbon tax. The reality? Most economists and about 78 per cent of the 50 largest oil and gas companies consider it an effective and efficient method to combat climate change (Ecological Economics, a journal).  Axing the tax will benefit the wealthy, but  the middle and lower income Canadians will be less well off (CBC, CTV). U of A economist Trevor Tombe estimates the carbon tax has contributed less than one per cent to grocery prices.

To say PM Trudeau doesn’t support Israel is a gross distortion. Canada has always, and still does, support Israel’s  right to defend itself against their hostile neighbors. However, I am sure the government has concerns and compassion for the 16,000 women and children who have been killed in Gaza since the war started. Has the Conservative Party shown any compassion or concern for the women and children dying in Gaza? MP Kurek states that we’re not supporting Ukraine. Canada has supported Ukraine from the start with aid and resources. We’ve also welcomed more than 210,000  Ukrainian refugees to Canada since the war started.
Criticism is easy: doing is difficult. Will the nattering nabobs of negativism stop pounding the pavement of pessimism and tell us what their plan is? Enough mudslinging Mr. Kurek. Be constructive and specific in your criticisms and tell us how your party will correct all the perceived Liberal failures of the last eight years.

Reg Ernst,
Camrose

Another side

February 13, 2024

Apparently Douglas M. Henderson is another rural Albertan who has bought into the lies that these Reformers trying to pretend they are conservatives have fed him. While Jason Kenney claimed that Rachael Notley and Justin Trudeau created the carbon tax to steal all our money yet it’s been in place in Sweden since 1991 and is working well as this article states; When It Comes To Emissions Sweden Has Its Cake and Eats it Too.

The truth is it was created in Alberta by Conservatives to help the oil corporations show the world that we do care about global warming and are trying to do something about it as this article proves Alberta’s Path To A Carbon Tax: A Timeline. Had Douglas bothered to do the math we know that the carbon tax rebates are actually putting some money in our pockets like the oil industry intended it to do.

In addition, while these Reformers wrongly accused Notley of destroying our coal fired electricity production it was the Conservatives under Stephen Harper who did it as this proves Harper Disappoints On Coal-Fired Power Plant Regulations.
My big question is why have so many rural Albertans allowed these Reformers to get away with their lies?  It has made them look rather foolish and has allowed them to once again put our lives at risk by the way they have treated our doctors and nurses.
 
Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

Lending place

February 6, 2024

There is an old song called “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life.” There are words in the song that say, “There is a dark and sunny side of life, but no matter what sorrow and strife, the sunny side will always shine through.”

We live in world where listening to the news rarely includes the sunny side of life. The Camrose community has the blessing of The Camrose Booster who celebrates businesses, organizations, churches, individuals and events by reporting the good things that connect us and show that there is hope to build a better world and community.

On January 25, the Battle River Lending Place Society had its official opening of the Lending Place. It will serve those in need of medical equipment. We want to thank The Booster for their excellent coverage of the preparation for the event and reporting of the grand opening.

Erhard Pinno and
Glenys Smith, Camrose

City taxes

February 6, 2024

I just read a recent article in your paper regarding the City of Camrose tax process.  I think I was the one 2023 appeal and I have to admit I find a few comments made by the City are unfair.

Is there any interest in hearing the other side of the story? In our case our house burnt down and the City elected to charge us full rates–even though there was a clear reduction in property value.
 
 Travis Culham,
Camrose