Dire Straits

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

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

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

Will those people please step up?

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Disillusioned

December 6, 2022

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

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

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

 Pat Barott,
Camrose

Time change

November 22, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Kristenson,
Camrose 

Not mandatory

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

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

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

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

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

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose 

No fools

October 18, 2022

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

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

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

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

Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

Land use

October 4, 2022

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

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

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

John Olson,
Camrose

Fortunate

September 20, 2022

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

Alan Fielding,
Camrose

Canine support

September 20, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Rolfe,
Camrose

Nomination election

August 16, 2022

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

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

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

Kevin Smook,
Camrose

Disappointing leader

August 16, 2022

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

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

Michael Andresen, Camrose

Poilievre politics

August 16, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allen Spiller,
formerly of Camrose

No simple solutions

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

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

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

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

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

If the US fails we will not be far behind.

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

Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Disappointing leader

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

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

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

Rob Hill,
Camrose

Root Causes

July 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

 

Going outside

June 28, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donna Duff, Camrose

High costs

June 28, 2022

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

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

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

Lorne Vanderwoude, Camrose

Health care

June 14, 2022

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

The rich

June 14, 2022

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

Health care

May 24, 2022

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

Rule of law

May 24, 2022

In my last letter, I pointed out that the wealthy kleptocrats invested in western nations because we have societies governed by “Rule of Law”. In the “west”, they could safely invest their ill-gotten gains so long as they followed the laws of that jurisdiction. That was the case for most of my life.
The doctrine of “rule of law” has been under attack by our elites for at least the last 50 years.  The most egregious cases come from the United States, which has held itself out as the bastion of democracy, but we in Canada and Alberta are no slouches in having our politicians being dependent on wealthy elites.  These elites control our media and virtually all big corporations. Corporations are legal entities that magnify the power of the small group that controls it, notwithstanding that the ownership of the corporation might be widely held by the citizenry, i.e. in their pension plans or ownership by many small stockholders.
The corporation’s interest is to make a profit for its shareholders, but a large portion of that profit goes to management, to lobbying politicians to pass laws to enhance its ability to make a profit, and to reduce competition, even at the expense of the public, and even to the extent of having the public purse subsidise these corporations.
Politicians are elected to make laws for the benefit of all their citizens and the Courts of Law were established to enforce those laws. As the corporation became more powerful, it could pay lobbyist to influence politicians to make laws that enhanced its political power to fund the political process to the extent that they can essentially buy political parties that make laws that harm citizens, even when those citizens overwhelmingly oppose those laws. We see this in the US, where the country is becoming ungovernable. We see this in our politicians when they don’t believe the law applies to them, ignoring laws they don’t like, and not being prosecuted because of their wealth or position. We see this in tax laws which reduce taxes on the wealthy and increase them on the poor. We see it in the attempt by our elites to destroy safety the nets like health care, pensions and public education–policies that made this country so wonderful to so many of us.
The Ukrainian war has shown that there is no longer a “rule of law” that can protect the ill-gotten wealth of the Russian Oligarchs, but it also shows there is no rule of law for any of us.
We now live in very dangerous times, where powerful minorities can dictate who will win and who will lose. Democracy is messy, but history shows other alternatives as worse.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Rich west

May 10, 2022

I was born just as the Second World War began.   I lived my life in the right time and the right place.  The place is still the best, but the times have become very dangerous for the world at large. Why, when we in the western world have had it so good, could this happen?
The parents of my generation were born just before the First World War, lived through the Great Depression, and fought and survived the Second World War. After the Second World War ended, there was a demand by some to punish Germany and Japan, but saner voices led by the United States prevailed. Europe and Japan were rebuilt and Germany and Japan now are among the largest economies in the world.
My parents’ generation, with the great leadership of the time, accepted the need to defer their own interests in favour of my generation and our children. The wealthy of the time accepted marginal tax rates of up to 90 per cent to build the schools, infrastructure and safety nets like health care, pensions for the elderly, and subsidies for the poor and disabled.
Poor families like mine could send their children to good schools and even university at low cost. Many of us took advantage of this and there was the opportunity to become “upwardly mobile”.  This dramatically increased the wealth of our societies as measured by GDP.
What went wrong? I suggest that the “Boomer generation” became greedy.  Instead of sharing their good fortune, and because they were the largest generation in history, they voted in governments to provide them with benefits that would be paid for by their children and grandchildren.
They voted in governments that cut taxes for the wealthier parts of society and increased them on the poor, i.e. sales taxes. Because of the good health care and education many received, they lived long lives and refused to give up power to the younger generations.
That’s why so many of our leaders are my age. The only way to change things is to vote us out of power and those of your generations who owe their positions to keeping us in power. By power, I mean the power to make laws that overwhelmingly benefit people like me.
This answers the question with which I began. We in the west have benefited greatly by being a society governed by the rule of law. But the law can be corrupted to favour the few. In societies like Russia and China, governed by despots, there is no rule of law, just rule at the whim of the dictator, so their sycophants steal as much as they can and invest in the west, where there still is rule of law, albeit skewed.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Salute to volunteers

April 26, 2022

April 24 to 30 is National Volunteer Week. This is the perfect time to salute the thousands of volunteers in our community. Countless organizations, teams and groups rely on the generous assistance of volunteers. Our non-profit organizations survive because of the passion and commitment of volunteers. In many cases, volunteers were the glue that held our community together through COVID-19.

The theme for Volunteer Week is: Volunteering is Empathy in Action. Volunteers care about people, facilities and causes. Then they put that care into action. I am surprised that many individual volunteers work with several different volunteer groups, which connects our community.

On behalf of the Bailey Theatre Society, hats off to our volunteers. They care so much and give tirelessly. Thank you for your service to the Bailey Theatre and for making our community a better place.

Colleen Nelson,
Volunteer Coordinator,
Bailey Theatre

Auto insurance

April 26, 2022

In recent days, the NDP has been ranting about auto insurance and the related cost. One thing they seem to have overlooked when mentioning provinces that have government auto insurance plans is the situation in British Columbia. Our neighbors in that province have a government plan for auto insurance run by ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia). In recent years, ICBC experienced a bottom line loss of one billion dollars. This is a loss even after investment income is considered. When governments run auto insurance plans, there is only one place for a loss such as this to be recovered from and that is from the taxpayers. That is you and I. Kind of humorous that this never gets mentioned. I wonder why.

Jim Orr,
Camrose

Vaccinated juries

April 12, 2022

On February 2, the CBC published an article: “Only fully vaccinated now being chosen to serve on Alberta juries.” After reading the article further, it established that the decision of the vaccine requirement stemmed from a recommendation made by the Alberta Court’s Pandemic Committee in mid-January.
From the beginning, the line had been clearly drawn: separating those who feel the vaccine covers society from illness and those who are unable to take the vaccine or feel there is another side to the science. Whatever side a person is on, most people agree that there is an opposing position and that time will tell which one, on balance, was the best way to go. On either end of the spectrum, there are highly credentialled medical experts expressing their views along with supporting statistics.
The court system is a separate branch of government which allows autonomy in decision making, provides freedom in the judicial obligation to allow all sides to be heard, to require proper evidence to be tendered, and bestows justice and impartiality for all citizens. This arms-length branch of government should always display indisputable fairness, even in the most uncertain of times. Many of the decisions coming down from our judicial system have been concerning as of late, yet it wasn’t until this most recent decision regarding jury vaccination mandates that I lost complete respect for their ability to provide fairness in the most fundamental of ways.
Serving as a juror has always been a civic duty that has only excluded those in a position that prevents them from being unbiased, and those who have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence. Now we can add being unvaccinated as being dangerous to our courts.
We must ask ourselves if we’re accepting of a decision that promotes exclusion in any form. If we allow this ‘guilty before proven innocent’ mentality to take hold in our courts, we are headed down a slippery slope. How can we expect a just and fair decision from a jury which is pre-conceived to only hold a pro vaccine–read: pro government–view? Would we go back to the days where we placed a female before an all-male jury, or an accused minority before an all-white jury? We must be careful, no matter what side we are on, to not allow ‘woke’ reasoning into our most sacred and necessary function of government.
Janet M. Hatch,
Camrose

Plentiful, pitiful

April 12, 2022

As we wait patiently for the 2021 Census data to emerge in 2022, I was drawn to take a step back and look at the last five years critically. I was curious as to what services were improved or changed, and what priorities Camrose made in the years since we were given this valuable data.
As of 2016, the Camrose population of adults aged 65-plus made up 21.6 per cent of the population. In comparison, the average province-wide for this demographic was 12.3 per cent. Furthermore, adults aged 85- plus in Camrose made up four per cent of the population, compared to the Alberta average of 1.6 per cent. This put Camrose in an uncharacteristically high demographic of older adults, nearly double.
Programs like the World Health Organization (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities Project and many more cite transportation as an essential service for healthy, community living. For those who do not know, the single Camrose bus runs Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $2 each way. There are 22 stops total, with eight being on-demand and 14 are scheduled. The bus runs each hour, so eight time options at each stop available per day, and 32 time options per week.
The route excludes the majority of Camrose and for those who have mobility issues, this still causes issues in accessibility and getting to where you need to go. Some examples of businesses not included are: pharmacies, physiotherapy and chiropractic clinics, denturists, Camrose Resort Casino, salons, restaurants, veterinary office, or anything east past 46 Street. Eight out of the 14 scheduled stops are to older adult housing facilities, leaving the remaining six stops to serve as destinations. While it is necessary that these facilities are stops, this renders the bus system to be very limited. The options remaining are Superstore, Walmart, DynaLIFE Lab, Duggan Mall, Marler Mini Mart, and Mirror Lake Centre.
I believe that the underutilization of the transit system is likely due to the limited days and hours of operation, as well as the incredibly limited route.
Camrose also has a Taxi Token Program for those with financial difficulties. While this program can be useful in subsidizing rides, drivers are not obligated to accept the tokens, and the City of Camrose website states that “…we’re aware that the system still has some problems.”
My hope is that the City of Camrose takes a serious look at this new data that is due to come out this year. Unless this data has drastically changed in the last five years, I urge others to advocate for our community, and look out for the needs of our neighbours.
Robyn Bahry,
Camrose

Well done

April 12, 2022

Congratulations for maintaining your readership. And, for letting your readers know that.
How wonderful that The Camrose Booster staff have withstood the digital onslaught with such amazing success. Keep writing it the way it is.
Thank you so much for keeping us informed.
Marion and
Bill Leithead,
Bawlf

Better education

April 5, 2022

“We made a commitment to Alberta parents that we would have strong foundational knowledge presented to our children, that we would have rigour in the curriculum, and we make no apologies for that,” said Adrianna LaGrange, December 13, 2021.
But LaGrange should definitely apologize for what passes as “foundational knowledge” in the draft curriculum. She should apologize, withdraw the curriculum and restart the process.
The content in the Knowledge columns of the draft curriculum is not important foundational knowledge.
Too often the content is not developmentally appropriate. In some cases, high school topics have been pushed down into elementary. When the content is meaningless for young children, they will be memorizing nonsense for the test and then forgetting it. Pointless and stressful.
Critics point out that what is deemed “essential knowledge” is too often just trivia.
There are many documented factual errors, especially in Music and Social Studies. Some of the “content” in various subjects was plagiarized off internet sources, including Wikipedia. https://alberta-curriculum- analysis.ca/analysis-of-plagiarism-in-the-draft-alberta-k-6-curriculum/.
LaGrange asserts that this content is “strong foundational knowledge that will make our students successful”. But the carelessness in selecting the “foundational knowledge” to be learned and tested is outrageous. This is to be our curriculum for the next 20 or 30 years? Shameful.
In addition, some of the content in the Knowledge column seems to be background information for teachers. In ELAL do students really have to memorize the criteria that define Tier 2 sight words? Teachers have been asking for clarification on how to use the “Knowledge” columns since March 2021. Do they have to wait for the newly mandated standardized tests in Grade 1 and 2 to arrive before they know what has to be taught?
Time and again critics have said that there is too much “knowledge” content. To test that, one must pilot the curriculum for at least a full school year in many classrooms. Instead, most school boards declined to pilot any of it and those that did were limited to six months of piloting. Six months. There must be a full year of piloting to determine what is reasonable and doable when it comes to the amount of content to be covered.
This curriculum is a disaster that will harm our children, not educate them. Minister LaGrange should most definitely apologize. Visit https://ditchthedraft.ca/ for more information.

Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Soft stance

April 5, 2022

MP Kurek’s statement that crime levels in Canada remain high is absolutely correct. His simplistic narrative that it is due to the Liberals “soft stance on crime” and overreach on firearms legislation is misleading, disingenuous and outright wrong.
Let’s take a detailed, historical look on the root causes of Canada’s excessive crime scenario dating back some 20 years.
PM Harper’s drastic budget cuts to the RCMP (ably assisted by Premier Kenney during the 2012-15 timeframe) drastically reduced protective services to Canadians.
Budget cuts have dire consequences; e.g., had the Moncton RCMP detachment received carbines, body armour and training as recommended by the Mayerthorpe Inquiry, there probably would have been one Mountie killed, not three killed. Quite possibly, the current RCMP inquiry in Nova Scotia may have roots in underfunding as well.
The day of the attack on Capital Hill by a mentally ill (mental illness, another underfunded issue) gunman, the RCMP contingent on duty was about one-third of its normal complement.
According to retired Court of Queen’s Bench chief justice, Neil Wittman, as reported by CBC several years ago, Alberta has the fewest federally appointed judges per capita in all of Canada. The Alberta court requested four new judges in 2008, got funding for two in 2014, but needed 13 judges to bring Alberta up to the national level.
Anybody in the Camrose area had to suffer through long court delays? How does it make you feel when alleged criminals are free to walk as a result of excessive delays in coming to trial?
“If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am,” said Wittmann. “The previous federal government (Harper) wouldn’t even authorize the appointment of the number of judges that the Alberta government had, by statute, said they require. In my opinion that is constitutionally impermissible.”
The Conservative model that underfunds essential services to the point that the system breaks down opening the door to privatization just does not work. It makes one wonder what is the motivation behind Premier Kenney’s headlong rush to replace the RCMP by a more costly provincial police force.
Mr. Kurek, ineptitude by both the Liberals and the Conservatives results in high crime levels; your partisan (and false) narrative is counterproductive to achieving the goal of reducing crime. It is timely to support adequate funding of police services complemented by financial support to the courts. Will you provide that support with your vote?

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Democracy sham

March 29, 2022

Merriam-Webster defines democracy as government in which the supreme power is vested in and held by the majority of the people and exercised by them through a system of representation usually involving periodically-held free elections.
The world currently is watching democracy under attack, as Ukrainians die defending (their) democracy and, indeed, that of the whole world.
Yet Alberta makes a sham of democracy by allowing a premier who won the 2017 election by fraudulently promoting the (deliberately suicidal) kamikaze political fate for a fellow candidate (Jeff Callaway), to try to reduce votes for Kenney’s major rival (Brian Jean). Then, under the guise of it being a “cost-saving” move that would save this government $1 million over five years, Kenney used Bill 22 to fire (terminate the contract of) Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson, who was investigating Kenney’s fraud, which had already resulted in over $200,000 in fines, leveled against more than a dozen people involved in that 2017 UCP Leadership Campaign (Sarah Lawryniuk, National Observer.com, “Kenney government passes bill firing investigator, but will anyone remember tomorrow?” Nov. 21/19).
Have Albertans “remembered”? Do you remember…and what are you going to do about it in the upcoming Leadership Review for Kenney?
And now, to add insult to injury, news sources report that Premier Kenney compelled, urgently requested and/or appealed to his political staffers to “take Friday off work” to make phone calls to drum up support for him in his pending April 9th leadership vote. According to Janet French, CBC; Lisa Johnson, Edmonton Journal (March 18/22); and Postmedia; the emails “contain a link to a publicly viewable Google document, garnering more than 70 political staff who signed up to make calls on Friday, urging Albertans to get out and vote for Kenney. These emails, sent by a cabinet minister’s chief of staff, are fairly forceful, saying the workers should participate unless they have a medical appointment, wedding, or another critical commitment. And, that someone will be checking back on those who don’t follow-through on their commitment to volunteer.
Additionally, Kenney had his cronies phone Albertans to “invite” them to a town hall during which he can potentially conjure up more votes for himself. Apparently he is also offering transportation/buses for them to come and vote for him.
These tactics seems highly unethical. That is a blatant abuse of our tax dollars. And we cannot let Kenney get away with this.
M. R. Leithead,
Bawlf

Ukrainian War

March 29, 2022

We are sadly living in another dangerous period in human history. However, as dangerous as it is, we in Alberta will come out of it better than most, but no thanks go to us. We are just incredibly lucky.
The war in Ukraine has just given our oil industry a shot in the arm. We must wean ourselves off oil, but Alberta’s oil will be needed for a long time.
The birth rates in the world are below replacement requirements, especially in western countries.  We don’t have enough young people to replace retiring workers. Soon, this low birth rate will force most countries to prohibit their young people from leaving, and everyone will be doing everything they can to find skilled workers to fill the places left by the retirees.
Our government, wisely, has encouraged immigration and now circumstances have given us the opportunity to again welcome refugees from war.  The bonus here is that most Ukrainians who are displaced by war have many connections with Canada and Alberta. History has shown us that immigrants give a huge boost to the economy and the society they join.
Many of us are immigrants or children of immigrants, as I am. My grandparents were economic immigrants who came here just before the Great Depression and thus they and their children had a pretty hard life. My generation, on the other hand, had access to a great education and almost unbelievable opportunity. That opportunity allowed us to contribute and to make it a pretty wonderful society. Every wave of immigration from war-torn areas has taken those advantages and contributed to this fantastic country and province.
My suggestion is that we welcome this new wave of refugees. They will only make this country better.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Draft curriculum

March 22, 2022

Why should parents and grandparents stand up and fight the draft curriculum?
Because there is no one else left. The teachers, academics and school boards have been protesting for a year, and nothing substantial has changed.
Show up at the protests in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge or Red Deer on April 2. Or alert local media to your own local protest on April 1 or 2, even if it’s just chalking messages on the sidewalk. For more information go to https://ditchthedraft.ca/.
Three subjects will be implemented in K-6 in September 2022: Math, English Language Arts and Literature (ELAL), and Phys. Ed./Wellness.
Phys. Ed./Wellness: Next year, when parents ask, “What did you do in gym today?” students may answer “Financial Literacy.” Desk work. For 12 year olds: mutual funds and bad debt. Or perhaps the child will reply, “Wellness. We learned about Consent.” where young children facing a potential abuser learn they just need to communicate refusal clearly. Or maybe the child will say, “Today we had to study stuff for the test”, because there is a “knowledge” column for Phys. Ed. that has to be “learned” and an alarming number of the outcomes in the “skills and procedures” column also uses verbs that involve no movement at all. The draft Phys. Ed./Wellness curriculum is a sad piece of work that needs a do-over.
Math: Careless errors with sequencing mean certain failure for children. In Grade 3, students must convert between metric and Canadian (imperial) units. This will involve multiplying decimals, but children won’t learn decimals until Grade 4, and won’t learn multiplying them until Grade 6. Grade 2s work with numbers to 1,000 and add and subtract two-digit numbers, but place value isn’t taught until Grade 3.  The draft Math also needs a do-over.
ELAL: There’s a heavy emphasis on teaching phonics. This isn’t new, but the down-playing of other supporting strategies is. There’s a focus on teaching and testing sight words in isolation. In both cases, the instruction is divorced from reading words in context and understanding what is read, which should be the main goals of reading instruction. After three years of rigid programming in phonics and common sight words, in Grades 4 to 6, prescribed reading includes Shakespeare, Aristotle, Cicero and dramatic works from ancient Greece or Rome. ELAL needs a do-over too.
Make yourselves seen and heard on April 2. Protest the draft curriculum. Our children deserve better than this.
Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Growing violence

March 22, 2022

Over the past several years, Canadians have been subjected to increasingly disruptive and violent protests associated with pipelines, railways, shipping ports, bridges, public roadways, airports, access to institutions of higher learning, public education, medical facilities, abortion clinics and others, where innocent and undeserving people are harassed and intimidated.
The protesters’ rights cite religious, political, disenfranchised, historical, ethnical and [probably a few other beliefs that I can’t think of] that are perceived to have been infringed upon. A small percentage of malcontents whose apperceived grievances cost the Canadian taxpayers a great deal of money plus they perceive their “rights” to take precedence over persons awaiting elective surgeries as one example.
This is not the Canadian way. I find it particularly offensive to watch politicians of all stripes engage in partisanship and add fuel to the fire and further divide a gullible readership whose opinions are established and supported by 20-second sound bytes shared with “friends” on social media.
Political posturing is consistently inconsistent as politicians posture using slogans and jargon in vague attempts to gain votes…witness Premier Kenney denouncing the Prime Minister’s actions, while simultaneously Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver was seeking federal support to end the trucker blockade at the Coutts border crossing.
Isn’t it timely for our highly-paid politicians on both sides of the House of Commons and on both sides of the Alberta Legislative assembly to stop this political partisanship? Collectively, you are being well paid to govern provincially and nationally…park your ideologies and serve your constituents.
1. determine where the jurisdiction for public safety and the “support of the economic good” lies.
2. develop a matrix of unacceptable behaviours that impinge upon the rights of individuals, small business entrepreneurs, pursuit of religious beliefs, corporations, public institutions (school, hospitals), community groups, etc.
3. develop specific regulations and consequences for noncompliance at the municipal, provincial and national levels.
4. rain and direct law enforcement agencies to enforce the regulations supported by the military as required.
5. look to European nations for guidance as they probably have already solved the problem. (Maybe this should be Step 1.)
While the legal community would probably love my proposed solutions as a potential gold mine, I am compelled to state that I am not a lawyer, nor do I represent legal interests.
I am a peace-loving Canadian who is appalled at what is happening in my country.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Stressful lives

March 22, 2022

The events which are happening here in our country are very stressful.  The cost of living is going through the roof, while the wages which we as citizens of this fine city earn are decreasing. However, this does not compare to what is happening in the country called Ukraine.
We are not holding our breath as a large nation next to us is building up their military, while lying to the world about their true intentions. Not knowing if their borders will be invaded must be very stressful. Yes, I do realize our struggles, when it comes to paying all of our bills, are very real. However, I am grateful that we do live in a secure safe country, for now, that is. So, it is wise to count your blessings one by one. You will be surprised how blessed you are at the end of all of your counting.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Leadership questioned

March 15, 2022

As I watch the horrific consequences of the Russian leader’s complete disregard for democracy, I’m reminded of how fragile a thing democracy is and how easily and brutally it can be assaulted. In this regard, let me raise a question that relates to a much less obscene attack on democracy; nevertheless, I’m quite disturbed by it.
Let me begin with this quotation, which is referring to a motion from a UCP constituency asking for the leadership review process to be open, via mail-in ballots, to all UCP members across the province: the current leader (Kenney) was the proponent of a Grassroots Guarantee on August 1, 2017, stating that ‘We must develop policy in the same way that we created the united party, democratically, with grassroots members in charge.’”
Notice the request is for mail-in ballots. This is understandable, given the controversy that surrounded Kenney’s online leadership vote in 2017. In fact, you might recall that Kenney actually removed the Elections Commissioner soon after taking office.
I draw your attention to the words “democratically, with grassroots members in charge.” These were our premier’s words in 2017. Now to the present. His party controllers have decided that the leadership review will occur in Red Deer, where only those present will be able to cast a ballot. Keep in mind this will occur at a time when many farmers will need to be out on their fields, literally the grass roots.
I challenge our MLA, who after all is our conduit to the larger party, to finally actually respond to an email or other requests that I have made of her. I would like to know her feelings about this undemocratic tactic, given how easy it will be to stack the meeting. I’m not holding out much hope of a reply, for three reasons:
• have yet to receive a direct response to anything I have asked her, although I have received party circulars.
• t’s often difficult to defend the indefensible.
• t’s entirely possible that she sees nothing wrong in this voting restriction measure promoted by the party. Using the adage “Silence gives consent,” this would mean she does not need to make any statement about this.
I have to say that while I’m disturbed, I’m not surprised about this. After all, Bill 1 and especially Bill 81 run roughshod over democratic principles, so why should this be any different?
Tim Parker,
Camrose

Better opinions

March 15, 2022

Let us assume that no matter how hard we try, we cannot state a truth claim that cannot be attacked in some way. Even if this is the case, some of our explanations surely must describe reality in a way that most people would accept. The description would always be subject to criticism and if someone found a better description, we would adopt it. That is what happened when Einstein discovered relativity and our world view changed. Some people still believe in a flat earth theory, but they are largely ignored. In Galileo’s time, the church tried to force him to deny that the earth travelled around the sun, but had to bow to the better story.
For hundreds of thousands of years, human technological progress was quite slow, until the age of writing, which allowed humans to store their accumulated knowledge. That accumulation sped up with the invention of the printing press, which was instrumental in the age we call the renaissance. Out of that came the ability to criticize any and all generally accepted ideas. Society adopted the scientific method as a rigorous way to test any claim made by any “truth statement”. We called the most rigorously tested truths laws, which sit on a hierarchy of ideas such as theories and hypotheses. These are truths about the nature of our reality and are subject to updating.
There is another claim to truth based on belief.  Anyone can believe whatever they want, but that truth is not the same as scientific truth. It is subjective and personal, but is often held to be equal to or superior to scientific truth. That idea is now posing a danger to the survival of life on this planet and, closer to home, the survival of your children and grandchildren.
Our survival may depend on our focussing on the scientific method to discover how we might do this. To give you some hope, the fact is that most of the scientists who have ever lived are living and actively working now. Every time there is a new idea, hundreds or thousands of adjacent possibilities, often never thought of before, pop up (there is an infinite number). Given time and resources, we can solve our problems. That means you may have to give up beliefs, such as climate change is normal or we will never run out of oil or water.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Trucker’s protest

February 22, 2022

I was at the truckers’ protest on Capital Hill in Ottawa, February 11 to 13.
During these three days, I walked from the Westin Hotel to Kent Street and from Kent Street to Somerset, and many other areas. I saw thousands of smiling happy people, many dancing in the street. I saw garbage pickup, food cooked for the homeless, snow cleared from sidewalks and hundreds of Canadian flags.
I saw the police present in significant numbers, with nothing more to do then observe a peaceful protest. I also saw portable toilets in accessible locations. I never witnessed an act of violence or aggressive behaviour except for the occasional honking of horns and shouts of “freedom”. I saw Veterans wearing medals, standing respectfully at the War Memorial, which had been scrupulously cleared of snow and debris by the protesters.
According to my Fitbit, I walked more than 18 miles during the three days. I recorded videos of much of what I witnessed, which is a far cry from the depiction by the national media and those opposed to the right of Canadians to choose what they believe in is in their best interests.
Jack Ramsay,
Camrose

Freedom Convoy

February 22, 2022

Our daughter lives in Ottawa. She has provided our family with a bird’s-eye view of what is happening with the Freedom Convoy.
In part, our daughter describes it this way:
“I have waded through the thousands and thousands along Wellington Street that runs before our Parliament. The goodwill, sense of connection and community and pure joy there is overwhelming. It is the best block party the capital has ever hosted.
“There is a beautiful blend of west and east gathering here, along with many aboriginal voices. Canada, in all her complexity of original nations, is well represented on our streets in this hour.
“Free food is shared everywhere. A large tent has been set up with varied fare not only for the long-haulers, their families and the many supporters, but anyone who is hungry. The homeless in Ottawa have never eaten so well since the truckers came to town. Any excess food donated is promptly passed on to our local soup kitchens.
“This is how Canadians protest–calmly, cheerfully and with pick-up street hockey games in front of the Department of Justice. Shovels and hockey sticks poke out from the snowbanks along the long span of blocks that comprise Wellington.
“Those in the convoy shovel snow all along it, scrape off icy patches and help direct traffic. And the streets are spotless. There is a constant pickup of litter. They are even going into local restaurants with mops and pails to wash their floors and clean their well-used washrooms.
“Since the big wheelers rolled in, the crime rate has dropped dramatically. There has been nothing but respect for our beautiful capital and its police force by both the drivers and those joining in this peaceful demonstration.”
Sharing this firsthand perspective.
Jean Molnar,
Camrose

Power corrupts

February 22, 2022

Everyone I know is hurting and upset about what is going on in our society. Climate change and COVID underlie many of our problems, but they are not the only things bothering us. People are angry and upset, and my children and their children must wonder what is going on. Perhaps I can shed some light on it based on my experience and studies of history.
There was a well-documented shift in politics, especially in the US, which started in the late 1970s, which affected the whole world. It was a movement of politics from the center of the political spectrum towards the “right”. I suggest it was fueled by the takeover of politics by the extremely wealthy, resulting in the depletion of the middle class, like what happened in Germany in the 1930s. I don’t think it was meant to turn out that way, but studies show that as people get much wealthier, it affects their brain and they get greedier, amassing more wealth in fewer hands. The system became institutionalized and no one can seem to stop it.
We were warned years ago that we needed to prepare for pandemics. We were warned over 100 years ago that, as a species, we were affecting our biosphere. Doing something about these things might come at a cost to the wealth accumulation of our elites, so they actively campaigned against action to do anything about climate change. When the pandemic hit the governments of the world, especially the US, then poured billions of dollars into finding a vaccine. This resulted in vaccines being found in record time. To defeat the pandemic, the whole world needed to be vaccinated as soon as possible, but the drug companies and the governments they owned refused to share the vaccines equitably and poor countries, who could not provide for their citizens, remained hotbeds for new variations of the disease to continue to infect the world.
Our politicians are not idiots, but they know that if they do not pander to the small groups who make the most noise, and who they and we know are manipulated by well-funded elites, might negatively affect their  hold on power. “Power corrupts” is a truism. I suggest our society has never been more corrupt. Only your vote can change things.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Gas and oil

February 15, 2022

Where does MP Damien Kurek get his idea that the oil and gas industry is under attack, as per his most recent mail-out? The government’s continuous subsidizing of oil and gas and their pipelines has cost Albertans and Canadians billions. Yet, when Kurek lists key issues, which he says he “is hoping to address in Parliament”, his third one is what he calls an attack on the oil and gas industry.
Kurek states that these industries are “an essential part of our lives and economy” and tells us how grateful he is for these industries “keeping Canadians warm”. He further says this industry “deserves our support”. Fair enough. However, none of these remarks support his opening sentence about oil and gas industries being attacked.
His following statements, “This industry deserves our support, and Trudeau’s carbon tax needs to go” also say absolutely nothing to enlighten the reader as to how or why Kurek feels oil and gas are being attacked.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Jason Kenney have provided billions in subsidies (both federal and provincial) for pipelines and roughly $11.5 billion for upgraders. For example, Trudeau/the federal government provided Petro Canada with about $10.5 billion to buy up various oil companies…and then subsequently sold Petro Canada for only about $3.8 billion. (Canadians took that loss!)
How can Kurek flatly state that our oil and gas industries are being attacked? Where did he get that idea from? And, what data does he use to support that opinion?
All of us, politicians and the public alike, consume and pay for our use of oil and gas to fly, drive, ship goods, and heat our homes. How is that an attack on these industries?
M. R. Leithead,
Bawlf

Truckers or protesters

February 15, 2022

I’m all for peaceful and respectful protests. Democracy requires them.
On January 29 and 30, we saw what some folks calling themselves “truckers” (they are certainly not the majority of truckers–90 per cent of whom are vaccinated and comply with health regulations) did in their “protest” in our nation’s capital.
Was there a well organized and peaceful protest? No. We hear the organizers never coordinated with the police or the city council in Ottawa and it also appears they did not obtain a permit for the protest. No portable toilets were set up, even though many people bragged about the millions donated to this cause.
Once in Ottawa, what did these “defenders of freedom” do? Here are some of the details so far: they desecrated the Terry Fox statue; they danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Solider; they urinated on the War Memorial; they mocked Indigenous culture by misusing video of a drum dance from a different event; they assaulted a security guard at a soup kitchen for homeless people and then, overpowering the staff, they stole food; they made their way all over Ottawa forcing businesses to close because they harassed the staff who were trying to abide by the local City of Ottawa health regulations.
Some are quick to point out these are a few bad apples. If so, then why in nearly all these instances are there videos of large groups of people cheering, while these disgusting events happened? What I see in those videos is the crowd happily egging on these so-called bad apples. It went from peaceful to a protest. In short, they showed everyone in the country and around the world who they are. Then I watched another video, where in midst of all this was our own MP Damian Kurek.
I have many questions. I’m curious who collected all that money and what groups or individuals have it now. I’m also interested in what are they really protesting…the rule of law? You opposed to that, Mr. Kurek? I’m curious and I think a lot of your constituents, whom who you claim to represent, are too. Those certainly weren’t our views you were representing.

Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

No leader

February 8, 2022

The news indicates that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is afraid to use the army to evict the truckers from downtown Ottawa and the Ottawa police are afraid to become involved. The question becomes, who runs this country? It is becoming obvious that it is the anti-vaxers. Therefore let us not resist. Remove all mandates and health restrictions. I have my three shots so I feel very safe. But I would still be free to wear a mask in public and I would be free to not attend public places where vaccine shots are not required.
Let the anti-vaxers risk their health, but protect the healthcare system. Reserve half the healthcare system for those who are vaccinated. Perhaps, then I could get an appointment for a CT scan to see how my lung cancer is progressing. Stop overstressing the healthcare workers. Too many are being burned out, overloading the rest. The anti-vaxers should have to wait for an appointment just as I do. Those who refuse to get vaccinated when sick should ask if there is space in the care system. If not go home and hope for the best.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

World tension

February 8, 2022

Vaccine mandates, supply chain disruptions, inflation and spiraling world tension are all steadily on the rise.
My wife and I are fully vaxed to be compliant. However, that doesn’t guarantee safety against spreading of the Omicron variant, according to Pfizer. They notified the USA health minister that they are starting clinical trials on a new vaccine specifically targeting the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has eluded the Pfizer current two-dose protection.
Conservative MPs, Premier Jason Kenney and Scott Moe, as well as numerous experts from business and commerce have urged the Prime Minister and President Biden to seek a solution of compromise to keep these trucks moving and earning driver’s pay cheques.
Justin Trudeau remains steadfast. “I won’t compromise safety.”
In view of Pfizer’s admission that current two-shot vaccines are not effective against Omicron…there’s little safety being gained to sacrifice. Since the US health minister was notified, it is safe to say that the Prime Minister and the Canadian health minister were also informed and the persistent refusal to disregard the truckers’ concerns appear to have been implemented solely to punish non-vaxers. It’s time for him to heed the new science. His disdainful response has caused these protests to appear and their persistence to stay until they’re heard. He has abdicated his responsibility.
Meanwhile, he exaggerates the degree of disrespect shown by protesters. (a few bad actors, thousands of respectful ones), but as he chastised them for their hateful behaviour…saying we must erase all forms of hatred and racism…while his voice was laced with venom.
He needs to examine his own conduct, that perfect idol that he sees in the mirror, is not what the rest of the world is seeing. His top-down autocratic style of governance is not Canadian.
All essential workers (included truckers) deserve respect.
Bill Mattinson,
Camrose

History repeats

February 8, 2022

The fall of the Roman Empire was preceded by several secessio plebis (withdrawal of the commoners), where protests became bitter in the mouths of many. The ordinary citizen Roman plebians would exercise power over the Patrician elitists by calling for a general strike by abandoning their shops and workshops, leaving the city and commerce would cease. This occurred many times before the empire crumbled.
In view of recent history in North America (and in Europe), it is sad to see history repeating itself for the umpteenth time. Conflict is fueled by a burgeoning population (aided and abetted by social media) competing over decreasing land and diminishing resources.
Is there a mechanism for taking the bitterness out of the mouths of so many? The polarization of our Canadian politicians would suggest “no”.
It leads me to the sad conclusion that Homo sapiens simply do not have the capability of learning from our past (and well documented) history over the last 2,000 years.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Know risks

February 1, 2022

Upon reading the article “Know Risks of Vaping” in the January 25 edition of The Booster, I feel there is a need to put forth a benefit of vaping.  While by no means am I saying that a person should vape, or that it is good for your health, vaping has proven to me (and many others) to be an effective way to quit smoking.
I was a heavy smoker from the age of 16, at times smoking two packs a day. A friend of my husband suggested we try vaping. So we did…starting with a substantial amount of nicotine in our e-juice.  We gradually cut the nicotine down to zero and managed to quit vaping also.
I have been smoke-free for nine years and my husband even longer. It took a while to do it, but with a commitment to using the vape as a means of quitting, it was a relatively easy and painless way to quit. Also, I feel that the vape contained less toxins than cigarettes. I lost my smoker’s cough almost immediately. Again, I do not condone vaping as a way of life, but as a quit smoking method, it was great.
Janet Tokarek,
Camrose

Limit growth

February 1, 2022

We all know that the last 100 years have been extraordinary in human terms. Our ancient ancestor, “Homo Erectus” has been around for more than one million years, evolving into Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo Sapiens. The last Neanderthals died off about 25,000 years ago and the Denisovans before that. It appears, from DNA evidence, that our genome contains some of their DNA, so there must have been some mixing.
In the last 200 years or so, human population has quadrupled from about two billion to eight billion, while almost all other living species are in collapse or decline. We are using up the resources we need to survive at an alarming rate. Fifty years ago, the book, The Limits of Growth was published, pointing out that on a finite planet, growth cannot continue forever.
Before I comment on this, I want to point out that never in human history has there been so many educated people. The vast majority of scientists who have ever lived, are living and working right now. Humankind has virtually all of the knowledge available to humanity at it’s fingertips.  As a result, technological knowledge is growing at an exponential rate, and we have been able to postpone the inevitable result of ever increasing exploitation of the earth’s resources.
We all know that there is a limit to the resources accessible to us. To date, humans have been successful in postponing the date of reckoning. If we can’t get into the solar system and access it’s resources, our time on this planet might end soon.
We live in a period of uncertainty with war again possible. Will we be like the Easter Islanders and cut down the last trees on our island and starve to death, or will we learn to live sustainably with the remaining of Earth’s resources. We have been in a period called “overshoot” for many years, where we are using resources that should have been left for our children and grandchildren.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Build trust

February 1, 2022

Thank you, Mr. Erga,  as a professional educator, you will always be “Mister” to me, for bringing forth the subject of “trust”. In the normal course of interaction, there is a basic level of trust between me and those I deal with. As the people I interact with develop a level of familiarity, the level of trust I have is commensurate with the actions that I observe.
I don’t interact directly with government leaders, but their campaign promises are far different from what they actually do.  Their actions generally focus on using taxpayer dollars to get themselves re-elected. Of slightly lesser importance is being seen wearing stylish socks, the best summer ever, WE charity, and a list of things that are not important to citizens. The greater public good is far off the radar of politicians. Politicians, in general, are less trusted than used car salesmen.
The challenge is to sort out the trustworthy from the not. People who have earned educational certifications, such as a doctor or scientist, are afforded a higher level of trust in their knowledge about their subject of expertise than someone without that formal education. So when doctor after doctor after doctor states that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, I am more likely to take them at their word. When some blow-hard on Facebook says vaccines will alter my DNA and I should not take it, I am somewhat less-inclined to take them at their word.
And when a politician is speaking, my trust level is at its lowest. On the subject of trust, for pre-owned vehicle sales representatives to be mentioned in the same sentence as politicians is a grievous insult to the pre-owned vehicle sales representatives.
Mathew Banack,
Round Hill
(Not Matt Banack, Camrose Realtor)

Trust experts

January 18, 2022

In 79 years on this earth, I have survived the polio epidemic, diabetes, cancer and various other scary difficulties in life.
I remember the feeling of relief when I received the first polio vaccine. I trusted the scientists and medical professionals who developed this life-saving vaccine.
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a young man, I was grateful for the opportunity to continue my life. Again, I trusted the medical specialists who saved my life.
My cancer diagnoses was almost as scary. I trusted the cancer specialists when they recommended a treatment procedure that successfully eradicated the cancer.
I felt relief and gratitude when I received my COVID-19 vaccinations. I trusted the medical specialist team who developed another life-saving procedure for me. I have lived a long time and a wonderful life because I learned to trust.
Alan Erga,
Camrose

Rural Alberta

January 18, 2022

As a rural Alberta-raised girl, I know what it is like to have one school, one hospital, and a single RCMP detachment in the area, or perhaps a couple within a reasonable driving distance. We make do with the services we have in more remote areas and hope that amazing teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and law enforcement officers are willing to make these towns their home and care for our communities like we do.
However, things are changing drastically, and they are not in your best interests. If you are worried and confused right now, you should be.
The current government is seeking to transform the very fabric of what makes Rural Alberta strong. The premier elected to care for Albertans is seeking to privatize our valuable public services and vilifying the people who serve our communities–teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, as well as RCMP. This ongoing running down of our valued professionals is leading to burnout, despair and eventually loss of these services. It is death by 1,000 cuts.
One major issue that will impact your children’s lives is education. Premier Jason Kenney is throwing around some buzzwords that sound good on the surface but are far from helpful. For example, “Choice in Education” means that funds are being diverted from public schools to private and charter schools. What if you live in a rural area and public school is your only choice? What if the Kenney curriculum becomes law and your children are subject to an outdated, fact-based curriculum that experts deem inappropriate and regressive? Did you know that Kenney defunded a valuable educational resource for rural Alberta students (the Alberta Distance Learning Centre) and replaced it with an e-learning model for a fee? Are you really ready for homeschooling? What if your child has special needs? Funding cuts across the province mean your children will not get the services you need.
Your voice is important.  Learn about the changes to education, health care and law enforcement, and write your MLA and the opposition. You deserve so much better than what is coming down the pipe.
Dr. Angela Grace,
Calgary

Accepting vaccines

January 11, 2022

Once again, Arnold Malone has nailed it. In his opinion piece on page 17 of the January 4 Camrose Booster, he deftly summarizes the balance required to live in a civilized society.
He quotes Margaret Mead (whom I had the privilege of meeting in 1965): “Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization begins.” Could I paraphrase this to say that is what we mean when we claim Camrose to be a compassionate community?
Arnold’s article should be required reading for anyone engaged in the vaccination debate. Maybe engaged in any debate around all the “pro and anti” issues becoming more and more common in our increasingly polarized society. He does not attack anyone. He simply appeals to the best nature of all of us to consider not just ourselves, but our neighbours who are affected by our choices. Just as we are by theirs.
Well done, Arnold.  Yours is a voice of reason among the cacophony of “me first” demanders.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

We need better

January 11, 2022

In his year end review, Premier Jason Kenney, being the perpetual liar that he is, had to provide Albertans with one more. He claims BC is allowing coal to be safely mined and we should allow our eastern slopes to be coal mined also. What he ignores is the fact that in March 2021, we learned that Teck Coal Limited pleaded guilty to polluting waters in BC and Montana, and were fined $60 million by Fisheries Canada.
Can you imagine what would happen if we allowed this lame-brain Kenney scheme and polluted the Mississippi River, when its headwaters are the Milk River in southern Alberta? Our hero Peter Lougheed was smart enough to put protection on our mountains to make certain that nothing like this would ever happen. The farmers and ranchers in southern Alberta are to be saluted for taking a stand against this Reform Party fool. 
Alan Spiller,
formerly of Camrose