Common Ground

November 12, 2019

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

More leadership

November 5, 2019

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

Distracted driving

November 5, 2019

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

Electoral reform

November 5, 2019

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

Bobby Wells,
Camrose

Great community

October 29, 2019

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

Ruth E. Jensen,
president Sahakarini

Plastic

October 29, 2019

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

Election over
October 29, 2019

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

Money waste

Money waste
October 29, 2019

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

Red Tape

October 22, 2019

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

Wasted money

October 22, 2019

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

Climate change

October 22, 2019

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

SCN Lavalin

SCN Lavalin
October 22, 2019

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

 

Lack of urgency

October 8, 2019


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

Get inspired

October 8, 2019

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

Election time

October 1, 2019

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

Plastic problem

September 24

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

Election

September 24

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

Bridge construction

September 17, 2019

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

Swan program

September 17, 2019

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

Park walk

September 10, 2019

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

Distracted driving

August 27, 2019

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

Miquelon Lake

August 27, 2019

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

Good plastic?

August 20, 2019

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

Joy-Anne Murphy,
Camrose

Not left vs. right

August 20, 2019

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

Nora Abercrombie,
Beaver County

Swans or no swans

August 6, 2019


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

Drake Landing

August 6, 2019

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

Rose show

July 23, 2019

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

Gas prices

July 16, 2019

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

Universe law

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

Book launch

July 2, 2019

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

Indigenous inquiry

June 25, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Lindberg,
formerly of Camrose

Bill 7

June 25, 2019

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

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

Rob Hill,
Camrose

Bill 7

June 18, 2019

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

Next election 

June 18, 2019

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

Plastic bag ban

June 4, 2019

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

MdDS month

June 4, 2019

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

Break-in

May 28, 2019

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

New government

May 28, 2019

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

Climate change

May 21, 2019

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

Stronger province

May 21, 2019

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

  Carbon tax

May 21, 2019

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

Free speech

May 14, 2019

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

Election result

May 14, 2019

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

Grad message

May 7, 2019

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

KidSport

May 7, 2019

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

Ronelle Kiziak,
KidSport Camrose

Mud boggers

May 7, 2019

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

Advanced poll

April 23, 2019

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

Polling help

April 23, 2019

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

Temporary venues

April 16, 2019

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

Volunteer week

April 16, 2019

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

Polling station

April 16, 2019

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

Vote splitting

April 9, 2019

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

Hospital stay

April 9, 2019

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

Climate change

April 9, 2019

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

More sports

April 2, 2019

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

Bronze medal

April 2, 2019

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

Work together

April 2, 2019

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

History lessons

March 26, 2019

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

Young talent

March 26, 2019

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

Above law

March 26, 2019

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

Amazing show

March 19, 2019

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

Lavalin justice

March 19, 2019

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

Won’t vanish

March 19, 2019

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

Repeat history

March 5, 2019

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

SNC Lavalin

March 5, 2019

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

Election

March 5, 2019

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

Climate change

March 5, 2019

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

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

Depressing tone

February 26, 2019

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

Horst Schreiber,
Ohaton

Uplifted spirits

February 26, 2019

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

Colleen Nelson,
Camrose

Weather vs. Climate

February 19, 2019

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

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

Yellow Vest

February 19, 2019

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

Tax grab

February 12, 2019

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

Orphan wells

February 12, 2019

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

Hunting fines

February 5, 2019

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

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

 

Racism

February 5, 2019

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

Carbon tax

February 5, 2019

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

Separate this

January 29, 2019

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

Hydrocarbons

January 29, 2019

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

Carbon tax

January 29, 2019

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

Informed voters

January 22, 2019

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

Yellow Vests

January 22, 2019

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

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

Losing animals

January 15, 2019

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

 

Change coming

January 15, 2019

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

Election time

January 1, 2019

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

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose