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Natural area

March 14, 2017

One evening last fall, I went for a walk up along the ring road berm. It was late, I was tired, but the dog needed exercise. I saw for the first time that the Naturalization Projects had been extended farther west. A variety of new trees had been planted along the slope of the berm and the grass had been allowed to grow freely. It was remarkable to see how the different kinds of grasses distinguished themselves by their growth habits. Some grew in clusters, others spread freely: their heights varied as did the shape of their leaves, and the form of their seed heads. They even moved differently as they bent and twisted in the wind. When I stepped off the berm that evening, I had a spring in my step and the tiredness was gone.
This response surprised even me until I recalled a discovery I had made years ago – the joys of travelling the backroads and exploring the awe-inspiring beauty of our prairie landscape. And out on the plains, or in the river valleys, in the places too rugged or otherwise unsuitable, I discovered where the wild prairie grasses grow.
It was the people I met along the way who taught me to really see and love the abundant life in the grasslands. They were farmers and ranchers, artists and scientists and indigenous peoples and others. Often my companions and I were invited to sit at the kitchen table, or to walk the land, and even though we were most often perfect strangers, these people shared their stories with us. In time, I understood what it was to be a steadfast steward of the land.
Of the grasses, I learned they are superbly evolved organisms that are food-making, water-retaining, soil-stabilizing, carbon-eating machines. The sad reality is that the grasslands of North America, of which our Aspen Parkland makes up the northern most boundary, are amongst the most altered and endangered ecosystems in the world. In the past 150 years, we have lost 80 percent of our native grasslands and many species are endangered.
What has this to do with the Naturalization Projects in our community, of which the grasses are not necessarily native varieties? For me, it is two-fold. Firstly, I know that it does me good, body and soul, to be in the midst of grasses, and the other flora allowed to grow freely. The existing natural areas that run through the heart of Camrose are astonishingly beautiful and I am forever grateful for the work of people who both protect and maintain them.
Secondly, the intent behind the continued greening of this community is a reminder to me that I need to be both insatiably curious about nature and to be constantly refueling my determination to take less from it and give back more.
I support the Naturalization Projects in Camrose.  No matter what the outcome of the current debate concerning these, if this process causes us to think more deeply about our relationship with the natural world that abounds in our own backyard, then that, in itself, is a good thing.

June Osborne,

Carbon debate

February 28, 2017

I want to express a concern that has been on my mind for some time now. Since the NDP was voted in and has assumed the political power in our province, the residents of this great province have had various situations shoved down our throats with no recourse for the residents who oppose their logic.
Stop and think about what is happening in our province, and as well the whole earth. I don’t believe anyone living in this world has any intentions on not leaving this planet in great shape for our children and their children and so on. We are not illiterate, nor are we selfish.
The world has, for some time now, been dependent on hydrocarbons and petroleum products. As far as I know the world hasn’t developed an alternative product to replace all the items that are produced by either petroleum or hydrocarbon sources.
Some of the auto producers are going the way of electric cars. Great, now we must find a solution to supply power to charge the batteries, so now when the owners of these vehicles get home from work they will be plugging in their vehicles to charge them. This is normally the highest usage of power in a day. Are we going to experience brown out periods in our power distribution system? What about the cost to dispose of these batteries after their five-year service has run out? As of now I have been informed the cost to replace those batteries is around $3,000 per battery. Not cheap to charge every night either. You’re saying we have solar power and wind power. The wind power and mirror generated power has been slammed by the animal activists because the birds are dying by flying into the blades of the wind power or being fried in flight due to the mirror reflected heat in the mirror fields. Guess where the products come from to build these power sources? That’s right, from the petroleum industry and the hydro-carbon industry. In fact, if you are open minded enough you will realize that every product you touch in your daily life has been touched by both industries. The food you eat was developed and then transported to the store and to your home by truck. The clothes on your back, the asphalt roads you travel on. Factories that used high heat to develop their products have been using both petroleum and hydrocarbon products.
When there is some other product developed that uses neither hydrocarbon products nor petroleum products; then and only then; we should consider changing our current daily products and replacing them with the new age products we will use daily as today.
A little common sense will go a long way here. The hydrocarbon capture system developed by the Saskatchewan government in Estevan captures more carbon from the coal fired power plant than will be produced by power plant fueled on natural gas. The NDP government wants to convert our coal fired plants to natural gas powered. The money spent on converting and not gain anything is a waste.
Both the federal liberals (as they have decided that coal will be eliminated by the year 2030) and the provincial NDP want us to revert to living the life as our predecessors did; Neanderthals. That’s right cave men. The way I see it anyway.

Rodger Banack,

Sidewalk bylaw

February 21, 2017

This is in response to Michael Smith’s recent submission regarding “slippery walks”. His message was full of scorn and intolerance. This is definitely not the “Spirit of Camrose”. In our neighbourhood, if you are out for an energizing walk, why not knock on your neighbours door to check if they need help? Are they ill or disabled or working two jobs to survive? Are their children or parents ill? Can you lend a helping hand in a time of need? When out walking in our extreme Alberta winters, wear good footwear and use caution. We are in this together! This hatefulness must end. We do not need babysitters! We need more human compassion for each other.

Julietta Martin,

Trump card

February 21, 2017

All I am hearing from many well meaning people here in Alberta is how terrible Donald Trump is. Now, I am not sure how much good this amount of complaining is going to do.
I do believe that people are wasting their time and energy. They should be focusing their time and energy on things, which will improve the lives of the people who we care most about.
Donald Trump was fairly elected by the American people. He has approved our Keystone pipeline, which will help us get our product to market. Now, when it comes to his global policies, I do know where he is coming from. When it comes to Islam beliefs, I suggest that no one gets me started on that. Mohammed is the only founder who started a religion as a lifestyle and not as a option for people to believe in. All you have to do is look at countries, which are run by Muslims.
So, when it comes to Trump, there is little we can do about him. Let us hope that in the next four years, he does not bring about the end of the World as we know it. World War Three could be around the corner. Mr. Bush’s One World Order could be delayed for four years. That is another possible result.
Complaining about things you can not change is never productive. Just find things to do which are.

Lorne W.P Vanderwoude,

Other choices

January 31, 2017

All I hear now a days is how dissatisfied Albertans are with our current Alberta New Democratic Party. Many people have told me that there does not seem to be a lot of choices when it comes to political parties. I do believe this is due to a lack of education when it comes to current political parties here in Alberta.
There are currently 10 parties listed with elections Canada when it comes to parties operating in Alberta.  There is the Alberta First Party who is lead by Bart Hampton; Liberal Party, David Swann; Alberta Party,  Greg Clark; Alberta Social Credit Party, Jeremy Fraser; Communist Party of Alberta,  Naomi Rankin; Green Party of Alberta, Janet Keeping; Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, Ric Mclver; Reform Party of Alberta, Randy Thorsteinson; Wildrose Party, Brian Jean; and finally our current government, Alberta New Democratic Party, which is lead by Rachel Notley.
There are 10 parties, which people could join and support. There is no excuse why there is no where for people to go and to belong to.  So, in the 2019 election. I do encourage everybody to find a party and to join that party.   Maybe in our next election, we could have 10 parties running instead of the usual five. This could make our next election into an interesting contest instead of a boring event, which a lot of people seem to always avoid. Politics can be very interesting if everybody puts their minds to make it interesting. The choice is up to you.

Lorne W.P Vanderwoude,

Slippery walks

January 31, 2017

I am a resident of Camrose and notice how many people don’t take care of their sidewalks in the winter.
An address on 53 Street is an example of where no house even exists and has had four complaint calls made to the police, bylaw officers and one call to the Mayor.
It took over two weeks to finally get it taken care of. If someone slips and hurts themselves it can cause great injury and loss of time at work.
People don’t seem to get it, but I do and it is very frustrating to repeat myself to deaf ears. People I’ve talked to throughout the city agree but don’t know what to do or who to call or don’t have any faith that anything can be done. It’s common sense to shovel sidewalks in the winter, however a lot of residents don’t do it. More enforcement and awareness is needed to teach people to take responsibility for their property.
It’s too bad society needs a babysitter.

Michael Smith,

Prefer others

January 24, 2017

A Happy New Year to everyone. I have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions and that’s at the beginning of the year of turning over a new leaf.
With this in mind I wondered if I could put a challenge out to all of us. Most of us spend too much of our time (I speak from experience) fussing, fretting, grasping and moaning our way through life. We’re busy looking after number one and if our toes are stepped on we’re quick to blame our neighbour, the government, our mother, or whoever we can find to dump our problems onto.
Doubtless others are to blame, sometimes or in part and adverse circumstances do effect our lives, but too often I think they run our lives.
One time I went to a retreat and the speaker said, “I just have on thing to say to you; go out and be real, be yourself.” Some people say,“If I was myself, it’d really be bad.” And yet, I think to be ourselves is the only one we can be with any comfort or confidence.
So, onto the challenge I suggest. Could we try for one year, a month or as long as we can stand it, instead of being indifferent to or cursing others, bless everyone we meet. If we could in our mind say to everyone we know or meet, ‘You are of value, you have worth, God loves you and so do I, I wish you the best.’ Maybe we could get into the habit of wishing to others wherever we go. At church, at home, at a party, at a concert, or at an Oilers’ game. It might be a wonderful way to forget ourselves and if no one else benefits at least we’d feel better ourselves. There’s a verse in the Bible, which in my opinion is the most wonderful book and up-to-date piece of literature we have or even will have. It contains the answer to every one of our problems. Wow! The verse goes like this, “Be ye kind one to another, in honour preferring one another.” If we are kind and prefer others because we really love them for themselves we will receive a very warm feeling in our hearts and life will be easier and better.
We say in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Do we want His Kingdom on earth? There is much fear in the world and the opposite of fear is love, faith and trust. If we “prefer others” to ourselves they will feel special and so will we. It’s a win-win situation. Wishing everyone a splendid 2017 of “preferring others.”

Mary Thiessin,

Going crazy

January 17, 2017

Do you think the world is going crazy? Politicians, journalists, scientists and educators–all our so-called cultural elites–are acting crazy. “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength” Any dissent is viciously attacked by self-righteous purveyors of peace and tolerance.
It’s as if, given the choice between two options, they invariably make the wrong decision–not some of the time, not most of the time, but every time. It’s like their view of reality is so warped they wouldn’t recognize truth if it bit them on the nose.
Most of these folks subscribe to an atheistic reality model called “naturalism.” Naturalism claims only those things we can detect with our sense or instruments are real. “Everything is physics.” On the surface this sounds reasonable but let’s just have a peek below the surface.
If everything is physics then, logically, everything must operate according to observed physical laws of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause all the way back to the first cause, the Big Bang.
But what about our mental states? If the mental states are physical, then they behave in accord with the natural laws of cause and effect. We don’t ‘think’ any more than an eight-ball ‘thinks’, we simply react to stimuli (like the eight-ball reacts to the cue-ball). To the naturalist, mind is an illusion because mind transcends natural law.
“‘You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Francis Crick, Nobel Prize, Physiology.
Now, think about it…if Crick is right then we have no reason to believe him, his ideas are no more than molecules in motion. But, if he is wrong, then there is evidence for the super-natural. If the mind ‘thinks’ then it transcends the natural (is super-natural) and our thoughts can be trusted.
Naturalism, in rejecting the super-natural ends with the rejection of reason. Molecules do not think, they react; minds do not think, they feel.
If we subscribe to naturalism, as do our so-called ‘cultural elites’, then reason, facts, and truth go out the window. All that remains are feelings–emotional reactions, but feelings are not conducive to truth. In fact, trusting our feelings alone can lead to some very bad decisions. And that’s why the world is going crazy.

Dave Gosse,

Government mistake

January 10, 2017

Looks like the NDP did it again. You must have seen all the ads on television. “The Alberta Government is working for the citizens of Alberta, creating jobs and cleaning up the environment!”
Do you remember last summer, the NDP was reviewing the Motor Transportation renewal notices to all operator licences and licence plates? They outsourced the job and hired a company from the United States to make phone calls and send out emails to all operators and licence holders prior to their renewal dates. Now that’s creating Alberta jobs!
To say the least, this was probably the worst decision they could have made and so proudly announced. I didn’t see any Albertan’s going back to work with this decision which was later retracted. Now; I must ask for transparency on this transaction. Was there a penalty we as taxpayers paid for cancelling the contract with the US corporation?
As an Albertan who does not agree with the Carbon Tax being forced on its residents, I do not agree with the payments made from the Provincial Government to the Canadian Revenue Agency to the Alberta resident. You heard it right!
The Alberta government has hired Revenue Canada to distribute the Carbon Tax refunds. This is going to cost the Alberta residents additional cash as there will be administration costs attributed to this action. Why was this outsourced again? No Alberta jobs created again.
The NDP keeps bragging about all the jobs they are creating, what about the jobs they have reduced in Alberta by implementing their policies and; considering the future; reducing jobs further by their cutbacks and plant shut downs and ridiculous tax implementation on the coal users. To tax a coal user for his/her use of stoker coal by 73 per cent is retarded. This may well force our small coal mines out of business. I don’t consider this as working for the Alberta taxpayers, would you?
Weyburn, Saskatchewan has developed and installed a Carbon Capture Program at their coal fired power plant. This system reduced the carbon output less than a natural gas power plant. Who would have thought that it would be a good idea to review this and start to install this process on our power plants instead of forcing them out of business and costing the Alberta taxpayers extra monies cancelling contracts between the power processing companies and the Alberta government. This will be reflected on our future power bills, I understand.
It never rains, it just pours with this NDP government.

Rodger Banack,

In the cold

January 10, 2017

One cold morning in November my spouse and I woke up to a cold house and our 25-year-old furnace had stopped working. We received very prompt service from J Heating and Sheet Metal, and had a new one installed. I contacted both Kevin Sorenson and Bruce Hinkley about possible government rebates for energy efficient furnaces. I received a prompt response from Mr. Sorenson with several suggestions, but despite follow ups with Mr. Hinkley, not a word in response. Members of parliament/legislature should attend to the needs of their constituents and it is obvious who does this locally. Hinkley is probably too busy kicking Albertans when they are down with additional taxes. Shame on him.

Jim Orr,

Organic farms

January 3, 2017

Organic farmers are not chemical farmers. As an organic farmer, I need to comment on an article in the September  issue of the Country Guide.
In the article The Target is Glyphosate, the writer, Gerald Pilger wrote (on page 60) “even organic farmers use this herbicide (glyphosate).” On page 61 he wrote “we also need to showcase farmers (including organic farmers) who use glyphosate on their farms.”
We do not use and can not use herbicides, insecticides or fungicides (which we call suicide chemicals).
To become a certified organic farm you need to go through a three year transition period with inspections each year. Certified organic farms are inspected every year for chemical use and contamination. Our fields, bin storage and records are inspected.
These inspections have become very rigid and costly since the big chemical companies have been trying to downplay the benefits of organic foods.

Robert Snider,
New Norway

What is truth

January 3, 2017

Dr. Julia Shaw, senior lecturer in Criminology, tells us, “I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year.” [I’m a Scientist, and I Don’t Believe in Facts].
Ask yourself the following question, “Is it true that we cannot know truth?” If you answer “yes” then we can know at least one truth and the statement that we cannot know truth is false.
She’s not alone. Several years ago, a teacher at Augustana College challenged a letter I wrote by claiming we can’t know ‘absolute’ truth.  We exchanged a few letters, but I hadn’t studied enough to debate the issue properly. I should have asked if it’s ‘absolutely’ true that we can’t know ‘absolute’ truth. If it is only true for him (subjective truth), there’s no reason for me to believe him. If it is always true (absolute truth), then we can know absolute truth and he is wrong.
This might all sound a little finicky–why should we care if some academics don’t believe in truth? These academics write books and articles and teach. Their ideas get passed through our culture in classrooms, television, and theatre and they cripple our ability to think.
I often wonder why so many intellectuals–people occupied with the pursuit of knowledge–would embrace a philosophy that denies our ability to know anything.
The only explanation that makes sense is that true knowledge leads to God, and many intellectuals don’t want God, so they are willing to abandon all knowledge to deny God. Some will even admit it openly. “It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” Thomas Nagel. “[to abandon] meaning is finally to refuse God and his [foundation], reason, science, the law.” Roland Barthes.
The foundation of Western civilization, our ability to feed, clothe, and heal the world, and our desire for truth and justice, is Jesus Christ.
“Jesus answered him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…’”  When we abandon Jesus, we abandon truth, justice, reason and science.  With God, all things are possible.  Without God, we are lost.

Dave Gosse,

Carbon tax

January 3, 2017

Jan. 1 has come and has gone. We all are noticing the effects of our government’s carbon tax. This year gas has an added 4.49 cents per litre. Natural gas has an added 1.011 per GJ. According to the government website on this tax, it states “All Albertans who take steps to reduce their emissions by turning down the heat, while no one is at home, installing smart thermostats, choosing more fuel efficiency cars, using public transit (including taxis), walking, biking or taking advantage of coming efficiency programs can reduce the cost of the carbon levy.”
I have looked at these programs. There is nothing for renters, only owners of homes. All the programs require money to be spent up-front. For those on support income, there is really nothing to help them, but a few dollars thrown their way to give them a little relief from the high costs which businesses will pass onto the consumer. This tax will help those who are in the middle class only. This will be one huge mess for the next government to fix when this government is tossed out in 2019. Time will tell if I am right, or wrong. I sure do hope that the impact which I am describing will be wrong for Alberta’s sake.

Lorne Vanderwoude,

Idling vehicles

December 20, 2016

As I walked around Camrose the last couple of days I wondered why the politicians are worried about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The average citizen certainly isn’t. Everywhere I look, whether it be curb side or parking lot, vehicles are idling with nobody in them.
It’s too bad the police can’t dedicate one vehicle to go around and slap huge tickets on these people. This is Alberta in the winter, if you can’t stand the cold, move.

John Parry,

Sangkor concerts

December 20, 2016

As a one term member of Sangkor at Augustana and a visitor to your country, I wish to acknowledge the other members of the women’s choir and thank them for their warm welcome and acceptance of me. It was fun from start to finish. On the first night, officers were elected and I knew I had come to the right place when the first item put on the agenda by the newly elected president was the organizing of the food we would eat during the evening break.
The musical director and a total live-wire, Dr John Wiebe, is a most informed musician and he gladly shared his knowledge and experience with us all. The weekly two hour rehearsals just sped by, I wish I could have retained all of the information and tips he gave so generously.
The next Sangkor term starts in early January so if you want to have lots of fun, meet lots of interesting women and learn new songs taught by a great tutor, why not join them?
The recent “A Winter’s Night” concerts held in the Augustana Chapel, were a joy to be part.
Thank you, Sangkor.

Ngaire Fletcher,
New Zealand

Community support

December 20, 2016

Next year, 2017 promises to be an exciting year at the Camrose and District Centennial Museum—we celebrate 50 years of collecting, storing, restoring and sharing our community history. With this substantial anniversary looming, I would like to express my appreciation to the Camrose Booster for their generous support given to the museum and to other local organizations.
It takes just a phone call, or email to mobilize an interview and have a wonderfully crafted article written about upcoming events. Being featured on the Booster front page is an incredible way to get noticed. Each is artistic, informative and completely dedicated to helping local events be successful. There is no better way is to connect with residents. Thanks, Ron Pilger, for creating unique photo ops and for pulling details together into short, precise descriptions. Merry Christmas to everyone at the Booster and thank you for another year of dedication.

Janine Carroll,
museum coordinator
Camrose and District
Centennial Museum

Pipeline factions

December 13, 2016

The pipeline debates/protests illustrate a problem we are now all facing.  The environmental side seems to have broken into two factions. One faction is the people who are concerned with the environment but recognize the framework of our society today. They advocate a concerted but sensible move away from hydrocarbon fuels to conservation and the use of alternatives. They are the current Alberta and Canadian governments. The other faction I call extreme environmentalists and they advocate stopping the use of hydrocarbons NOW and often by violence. They seem to believe in a mythical utopia that would suddenly emerge and we would all live happily ever after. They want to burn down your house without fire insurance.
Their views on hybrid cars separate the two factions. Environmentalists see hybrids as a practical way to cut fuel consumption in half and build electric vehicle technology. Extreme environmentalists see hybrids as continuing to use hydrocarbon fuels and they would ban them immediately. Comparing extremism to environmentalism is like comparing ISIS to Islam. Extremism discredits the larger, more sensible, underlying group.
Now, sadly, the media cannot (doesn’t want to) distinguish between these two factions and it’s more dramatic to publicize the extremist agenda. We live in a democracy and that is where the majority chooses the government. Not everyone is happy, but consensus rules and there must be acceptance of the consensus by all for democracy to work.  Special interest extremism in any form invites what has happened in the US where the majority of lower and middle-class whites have spoken in a backlash. The result is that the US election may have set back fair treatment of everyone.
Now for the majority of us who are neither active environmentalists nor extremists here’s what we need to remember: No-one in his or her right mind, left, right, or centre, wants to destroy this planet. Farmers do not want to destroy their land. However, it is a fact that our standard of living is directly tied to energy consumption so, for today and for many tomorrows, that means using hydrocarbon energy.
To the true environmentalists I say watch the extremists, they are damaging you and inviting a backlash that will undo the progress you make. The media inflates how many extremists there are and gives them voice way beyond their numbers. Work in a cooperative, sensible way as illustrated in the recent pipeline approvals, but you now must have the courage to see your decisions through. If you don’t you will lose the support of the majority and a backlash will probably follow as it has in the US.
To the extremists I say you will fail because in the short term all you do is freeze the status quo so nothing positive happens, and in the long term the majority will be negatively impacted so they will eventually exercise their democratic power and you will do yourselves more harm than good.

Tony Hladun,

Expensive walkway

December 6, 2016

Really! Seven lanes of traffic for Camrose rush “minutes”. Just read that the City of Camrose approved a $7 million, yes that’s right, $7 million to rebuild the bridge and level off 48th Avenue, so a walkway can be constructed under it to link the walking trails together. The plan calls for two additional traffic lanes. Further to the expansion of number of lanes—why seven lanes of traffic in this short stretch of 48 Ave when east of 51 Street? Due to recent land sales by the City, we will never be able to expand our useable lane count to increase our traffic flow. The project also calls for the grade of the hill in both directions (by the Co-op store/gas bar) to be reduced for safety reasons. If this is necessary then should the grade also change on 53 Street north of the hospital?
This will involve a full closure of 48th Avenue from 50th Street to 53rd Street, then turning west on 47th Avenue to go west to 53rd Avenue just north of St. Mary’s Hospital, then turning north on 53rd Street to go down the hill to 48th Avenue, or vice versa to go east, all for  a walkway under 48th Avenue.
If the bridge needs replacing, then replace the bridge and allocate the rest of the money to repair more streets and avenues in Camrose, such as properly repairing 53rd Street from the hospital south to the fire hall and many other rough, deteriorated roads.
I have talked to numerous citizens of Camrose that would be very thankful if a new swimming pool was to be constructed. There would be a lot more people utilizing a swimming pool than walking under 48th Avenue.
The current condition of the swimming pool is not very nice. The waterslide is condemned and the children’s spray park is falling apart. The swim teams can’t even hold swim meets in the current building, they have to go to Wetaskiwin or Edmonton. Sort of embarrassing for a city of 16,000 people.
Again I ask the question. Do we need a $7 million bridge with underpass for 50 people to cross under 48th Avenue, or  a nice new swimming pool for the proud people of Camrose and area to utilize and enjoy?
I firmly believe that this project should be put to a plebiscite before we spend $7 million on a bridge and walkway project, versus a swimming pool.

Louis Hagel,
Editors note: Transportation off-site levies can not be used to fund a swimming pool.

Deer at large

December 6, 2016

I live in the Creekview subdivision and I drive north on 50th Street to the downtown area at least four or five times a week. I often see deer on both sides of the road and many times I have encountered them on the road or crossing the road.
From Augustana to 48th Avenue, parking along the sides of 50th Street is usually quite dense. It becomes very difficult to see anything beyond the parked vehicles.
Last Friday (Nov. 25) a deer bounded out from between parked vehicles on the street between 47th and 48th Avenues, by the red brick apartment building next to the Anglican church.  I have never seen a deer this close to the centre of Camrose. Unfortunately, my vehicle collided with the deer and the deer was knocked out. I was driving well below the speed limit not only because this is a very congested area, but also because I was preparing to make a turn onto 48th Avenue. Because I couldn’t find a parking spot along the street when I realized what had happened, I drove around the block and returned to the scene. By that time a young lady had stopped, called the police, and was in the process of calling Fish and Wildlife. She was having some difficulty getting through to speak to someone about the incident and in the meantime the deer got to its feet and limped away on three legs. It was obvious that one of its front legs was injured. I then reported the incident to the police because I would have to make an insurance claim and produce documentation from the authorities.
I have heard many comments about the deer in town. Some have been negative in that the deer are perceived as destructive and a nuisance. Others have been positive, calling the deer “cute” and adding to the charm of our city. I have never taken a side and have always accepted that I make allowances for them. However, because of my accident, I now wonder if they are, in fact, a costly safety issue. Not only is there a maimed deer wandering about our city, but I have also incurred a substantial insurance claim for my vehicle.
Do we have a problem with deer in our community? Should this issue be addressed by members of our elected municipal and provincial governments. At the very least, I hope this letter will make the citizens in our community aware that the deer seem to be moving toward more densely populated areas, and that we should all consider the possible implications of this.

Marlene Maertens-Poole,

Wait times

December 6, 2016

According to a new report from the Fraser Institute released very recently, it shows that Alberta wait times for key medical procedures continue to balloon, leaving patients lagging in very dangerous situations. According to this report, Alberta has the second worst wait times among non-maritime provinces with median wait times. Alberta now has over a five month wait across the province. Alberta wait times are now three weeks more than the national average.  I had the understanding that this NDP government was supposed to improve Alberta, not make us the laughing stock of Canada.  
My best man lives in Manitoba and he was laughing when he told me that they got rid of their NDP government. He commented that they got rid of the brand which was destroying their province.  He thought it was so funny that Albertans thought that things would be different in their province.
I guess to people who live in other provinces, Alberta is the new joke to laugh at.  I just hope that in 2019, Albertans will put a stop to us being one huge joke. Time will tell if that is going to happen or not. 

Lorne W.P Vanderwoude,

President-elect Trump

December 6, 2016

Watching the US election has been both humorous and disconcerting. Humorous because if I don’t laugh I will probably cry; disconcerting because the insanity of post-modernism is on full display. I don’t know if Donald Trump should be president or whether he will make a good or bad president. I don’t much care.
Frankly, the US has had only two good presidents in my lifetime; Kennedy and Reagan. One they killed the other they tried to kill. The last four presidents were disastrous and the four between Kennedy and Reagan weren’t any better.
But consider what Trump accomplished. As soon as he declared his candidacy he was treated as a joke; just another attention seeking celebrity. The Republican party, afraid he would lose and run as an independent, insisted the candidates sign a loyalty pledge. Then, against all odds, he wins.
Half of the 16 other candidates violated their pledge, refused to support him, and some actively undermined his campaign. The 72-year-old Trump began a marathon, year-long campaign running against the party that nominated him, the party that opposed him, the press, and most of the social and intellectual elite.
He was denounced by his own party, attacked ceaselessly in the media, dismissed as a crank and accused of every nefarious act known to man except cannibalism. Trump ignored it all, buckled down and took his message directly to the people. People sick of being treated as pawns by an elite who think them too stupid to tie their own shoes.
Time and again these people had elected ‘representatives’ to office - Democrat and Republican - only to watch them fill their own pockets and ignore those who elected them. Adding insult to injury were a media and social elite that scorn them as ignorant rednecks.
Now they have Trump, a man who talks the way they do and calls out the elite for their patronizing and corrupt ways. Sure, he has his flaws-don’t we all? And all the slander from the malicious media, the patronizing pundits and the perfidious political fall on deaf ears. He wins again.
Now that they have lost the legitimate battle, it is time for Plan B. The establishment will not relinquish power without a fight. Political ‘surrogates’ are attacking the president-elect for everything he does and everything he does not do. Professional agitators are inciting civil disobedience (the politically correct term for riots). The mainstream media are inciting fear.
And people are frightened. People are frightened because the press have incited fear. Because the agitators are inciting riots. Because the US continues to descend into anarchy. Because, through their silence, President Obama and secretary Clinton condone it.
I don’t know if Trump will be a good president, but he’d better watch his back.

Dave Gosse,


November 29, 2016

The act of bullying has shown up in various places.  It has shown up at school, the work place, the playground and now in the legislature.   There are so many bad attitudes towards different types of people.
People are all human beings. Therefore all people should be treated with respect no matter who they are.  Whether they are women, men, gay, or transsexual.   Now, we may not all agree with each other.
     Some feel that women should not be in politics.  Others feel that others should not be gay. Still others feel that it is okay to treat those who do not agree with them with disrespect. However, it is never okay to disrespect anyone.
This is a society social problem. As long as we, as a society, look the other way and allow those who disrespect these people to do so in silence; we are just as much at fault as those who do the acts of being disrespectful.  We all have to act and to stand up to those who disrespect others.
It is all of our responsibility to act and to stand up against disrespect. I just would like to encourage all of us to be faithful and protect the rights of those who need to be protected.

Lorne W.P Vanderwoude,

Political propaganda

November 22, 2016

I find it appalling that my tax dollars are used to finance sending Conservative propaganda by Mr. Sorenson. The Conservative party should pay to send its garbage.
His latest missile criticizes the deficit. Federal government spending on infrastructure projects, wages and other items makes the downturn less. Mr. Sorenson wants to end the deficit. There are only two ways to do this. One is increase taxes; very substantially to raise $20 billion. The other is to reduce expenditure which would require the reduction of services and dismissal of hundreds, indeed thousands, of government employees. How would turning a large number of people onto the unemployed list do anything but further depress the economy?
Yes, Mr. Sorenson, we will have a much merrier Christmas than we would have if your policies were in effect!
Congratulations to Sandra Jansen for her brave decision.

Ron Williams,

Tax rally

Editor’s note: A story on the carbon tax rally was in the November 15 issue of the Camrose Booster.

November 22, 2016

I wish to congratulate the organizers of the anti-carbon tax rallies held throughout the province on Nov. 5 in a desperate effort to gain the attention of an apparently stone-deaf government whose misguided, tunnel vision approach to leading our province seems a greater threat to our survival than CO2 emissions! I also congratulate participants at the rallies for their civil and subdued behaviour in the face of economic hardship and despair. This was certainly in contrast to the belligerent and violent behaviour displayed by many pro-climate change activists at their rallies. Unfortunately, it seems to have again gone unheard.
The reason the NDP legislation is making a bad situation much worse is because they ram it through without due consideration or consensus. In a democracy, there is a valid reason for going through the three-reading stages, to expose any flaws before enactment. This government seems to favour the baseball rule of “three strikes and you’re out”. They are both pitcher and umpire with their strategy-pitch the “concept” past the opposition three times in rapid succession-then enact it. We’ll have consultations later, as with the farm safety legislation one year ago.
The opposition to the carbon tax is not an anti-conservation attitude, it is the realization that it will not significantly reduce carbon emissions but it will significantly reduce the personal finances for many who are already maxed out. The promised rebates (to those who qualify) won’t be seen for at least 16 months and by then the government will be taking it away again. No cost, they say.
This government comprised largely of rookies, should be aware of and heed these old-time tested adages. Wise people seek wise counsel. Look before you leap. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Even assuming the CO2 emissions are the main cause of climate change, it is foolhardy to rush the phasing out of fossil fuels before securing adequate renewable energy.

Bill Mattinson,

Tax grab

November 22, 2016

I woke up this morning tired after staying up to see the presidential election  results. I started to read the paper (Camrose Booster), looking to see  any articles about the Alberta Wide protest regarding carbon tax. To my surprise I didn’t find any articles about the very successful protest. I did find a letter to the editor.
Reading  that letter it became very obvious that the writer was just spouting off the scripted UN environmentalism message. He complained about speeders using too much fuel,  how we are using up our resources, and of course, how we are bound to use it all up in the near future. According to his “Global Material Flows and resource Productivity” UN propaganda, we are using the global Material (resources) up too fast, we’re overpopulated and “Humanity” needs to come to its senses; it is all humanities fault (SUV’S).
He seemed upset that a “conservation effort” should become a “political football.”
I would suggest that if this carbon tax implemented by the government and pushed by the un-elected Globalist UN is not a political issue and a major tax grab, he is not really in touch with common sense. It is a massive global tax grab, it will be a tax on everything and it is political.
So if you feel comfortable with the globalists massively taxing every Albertan, Canadian,  go ahead pay up, but don’t say it ain’t political, don’t say it will slow drivers down, it is a conservation effort, it will save the polar bears, stop the glaciers from melting etc. because, when I walk in a field with a herd of cattle in it, I step in something that sticks to my boots, it smells and looks like cow dung, the chances are it probably is cow dung and so is your message.
So, like the results of the USA presidential election, a big message has been sent out to the globalists, the people are awakened, they don’t like what they see, they are sick of it, the media has been biased,  pushing their agenda and it ain’t going to stand.
There are now alternative sources for information, the “status quo” has made a big mistake.
“We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be,” said Matt Drudge.

Randy Burke,

US Election

November 15, 2016

The United States election, which took place on Nov. 8 has turned out to be better than anyone would think.  This president has no ties to any secret society or to the international bankers club.
There were four candidates. Trump, Clinton, Johnson and Stein. Trump is the declared winner.
I am amused at the responses of most people in this world. There are few men alive who have been attacked by so many people, yet have not only survived, but have succeeded against all odds.  About 71 per cent for Clinton and 28 per cent for Trump. Clinton had just under $700,000 to spend in her campaign, while Trump spent just under $250,000 which a lot of it was his own money.
Knowledge is the key to success. Now, I am aware of the power of campaign promises.  I know of someone who has made 285 plus promises. He has done a few but not all of them. I read on the website that in Gettysburg, PA at the end of October a speech, which Trump gave on what he plans to do within the first 100 days of office.
This plan involves cleaning up Washington including by imposing term limits on Congress, protecting the American people and restoring the rule of law. He also laid out his plan to work with Congress to introduce 10 pieces of legislation. Repealing Obama Care, fund the construction of a wall to stop the run on of the Mexican American border.  If you have ever watched the show Border Security, you will know what I mean. This wall will be built only if they get cooperation with Mexico.  That is their problem as well as the United States.
This is a wait and see situation. All I am saying is this is too early to jump to a conclusion that America is doomed. It is possible that America’s best days are just ahead of us. Time will tell if I am right or if I am wrong.

Lorne W.P. Vanderwoude,

CAFCL impressive

November 8, 2016

My husband and I recently attended a charity auction for the Camrose Association of Community Living. We would like to express how impressed we were with two things. One, the sold out event spoke to the support Camrose extends to the work of this organization. In particular it was wonderful to also see the degree of support from the local business community. Two, we were unfamiliar with this organization. Like many they work with the invisible people of our communities and therefore don’t draw attention like high profile causes. Indeed, the measure of a community is the degree to which they support those who struggle. Thank you Camrose for showing someone from outside the community how it’s done.
Ronna Jevne and
Hal Martin, Millet


Doctor week

November 8, 2016

The Camrose Primary Care Network (PCN) once again wishes to celebrate Family Doctor Week in Canada (Nov. 7 to 12).  This is the 13th annual Family Doctor Week in Canada–acknowledging the outstanding contributions of Canadian family doctors for their dedication to their patients and the delivery of high-quality health care.
As many of you know a fundamental part of the Camrose PCN’s vision is to support family doctors in delivering coordinated, quality rural primary care with the support of other health providers. Over the past eight years the PCN has worked with family doctors in a variety of settings in the communities of Camrose, Bashaw, Daysland, Forestburg, Hardisty and Tofield.  We are very proud of the local PCN programming that has been developed - dedicated to patients and patient care.
We know the importance of a positive relationship between patients and their family doctors. A family doctor is an important part of the patient’s health home, their own network of their family doctor, health care providers and community organizations all working together in providing the best possible primary care.
During Family Doctor week, the Camrose PCN will be conducting a Primary Care and You Survey, which asks individuals to tell us about their relationship with their family doctor as well as their experience with their family doctor’s office and the Camrose PCN.
The information we received from survey participants will provide good insight into how people understand what Primary Care is and how it is being accessed in our community.
To access the survey, visit or drop by your family doctor’s office. In appreciation to those that fill out the short survey, there will be a draw for an iPad mini.
On behalf of the PCN, I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the PCN board of directors, which includes Dr. Nichol, Dr. Bredesen, Dr. Pasha, Dr. Niemann and Dr. Letley as well as all the PCN family doctors for all they do.     
I encourage you to celebrate Family Doctor week by taking a moment to acknowledge and thank your family doctor.  A listing of all our Camrose PCN family doctors can be found at
Stacey L. Strilchuk,
executive director,
Camrose PCN

Carbon protest

November 8, 2016

It’s hard to miss the large sign on Highway 26 that invites folks to participate in a convoy to “protest the NDP carbon tax.” My first reaction to this was disappointment that someone is trying to turn a conservation effort into a political football. The purpose of this tax is to encourage conservation and less wasteful use of our resources until some kind of alternatives can be found. Which political party would not be in favour of conservation?
I can see that this will be a difficult effort since many folks can’t even bring themselves to drive the speed limit to save fuel. I can imagine the outrage would any government have “the nerve” to reduce speed limits to conserve fuel, as was done in the early 1970s. It appears the fact that our fuels are a finite and declining asset has not sunk in. By the way, other provinces with different political parties have also instituted some form of incentives to use less fuel. If you read Mr. Malone’s article in the Oct. 25 edition of the Camrose Booster you would have seen a perfect illustration of the change in attitude toward consumption within one generation. It would seem that getting used to having more is much easier than doing with less, which is in the offing.
The United Nations Environmental Program recently published a report entitled, Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity. Sounds boring until you read the second sentence, ”Overall, the global economy expanded more than threefold over the four decades since 1970, population almost doubled and global material extraction tripled.” If less than twice as many people used three times more “global Material”- oil, coal, grain, minerals, water, soil, gravel, gas – the next 40 years, with more people and wealth, will push the world’s resources to and past their breaking point. To make a lengthy story short; at these rates of extraction the world will run out of all of the above in 497 years.
The “if” in this scenario is present rates of extraction. If humanity comes to its senses and starts a serious effort at conservation this timeline can be changed but experts tell us that to this point there is nothing on the horizon that is close to the energy sources we now use and major changes in our behaviour are coming. Think of how convenient it would be to carry a pail of electricity to your electric car.
The good news in all of this is that thousands of people are working on alternatives and are making progress. The latest is the “accidental” discovery (They were looking for something else) of a process that can turn carbon dioxide into ethanol. It has worked in the lab but a prototype large scale facility will determine if this holds true for a commercial effort. Wait about 10 years for the results.
I would suggest that the folks who are considering participating in this protest stay home, save gas and go to the website They will find a lot of reliable information with regard to energy development.
Horst Schreiber,

 Jean visit

November 1, 2016

On Wednesday,  Oct. 26, Brian Jean visited our fine city from 5 to 6 p.m. at Smitty’s Restaurant. There were around 50 people in attendance.
 I was  very impressed with what our leader of the opposition had to say.  We do live in one of the best places in the world.  We are very blessed to have the resources which we have here in Alberta.
 It was Premier John Edward Brownlee who was our fifth premier of our province who signed an agreement with the federal government transferring control over Alberta’s natural resources to its provincial government.  Many well meaning Albertans are not aware of the fact that Alberta has not always had control of our natural resources. 
We as Albertans do have to fight for our rights before we lose them. We have a right to be consulted before any government makes any laws which will affect our lives.
 Bill 6 is an example of our government constructing a bill without consulting the ranchers and farmers who would be affected. This legislation was passed in the Alberta’s legislature on Dec. 10, 2015 before they consulted with the farmers and ranchers.  
The government does claim that they will be consulting with farmers and ranchers as they develop this legislation.  From what I have been told, there has not been too much consulting so far until this time. Who knows what the real truth is on this matter.
 The next election is coming in 2019. Albertans will have to decide what sort of government they want to lead them for the next four years.  I really do hope that the right decision will be made for everybody’s sake. Time will tell.
Lorne W.P. Vanderwoude,



October 25, 2016

I attended the regular City of Camrose council meeting held on Oct. 17.
During the meeting we had the opportunity to express our concerns on the Naturalization Program.
Our major concerns we placed forward were: weed control, esthetics, rodent infestation and fire hazard all caused by this program. Our concerns apparently fell on deaf ears; one council member indicated that he felt our presentation contained fear mongering. I am anticipating this was because we informed  them of the high fire hazard created for homes along Camrose Drive as there is only one fire hydrant between Exhibition Drive and 48th Avenue, as well we mentioned the huge infestation of rodents and snakes since this program was implemented.
A pro (for) group attended as well. The group for the program indicated with two speakers the advantages of this program. Some of their views I did have to agree with. In certain areas this program would be beneficial and look appealing. My interpretation of our Mayor’s (Norm Mayer) comments was that he thought the Camrose Drive portion of this program didn’t represent his vision of what he thought the City of Camrose would want to present to commuters passing through our community and some of the residences in our community, but did agree that in certain areas it would be appealing.
Regardless of all the redact presented by both sides of the issue, the council did pass a motion to continue the Naturalization Program next spring along Camrose Drive and 48 Avenue (Canadian Tire corner.) Council did indicate that they would like to further look at this program in the spring of next year prior to spring deliberation debate. It was indicated that a few professional people would be summoned to the meeting to hear their views on this matter.
In my presentation, I suggested that this issue be placed into a plebiscite in the next municipal election to allow residents to decide what image of the city they want to present to visitors and the community. I felt the council should at least allow the majority of the people who pay taxes in this community decide on this situation, not just the few who want this program installed in our community. This suggestion fell on deaf ears as well.
I will be still collecting signatures with hopes of obtaining enough signatures to force this issue to a plebiscite as I strongly believe the community as  a whole should be the one to decide what image our community wants to present itself.
I will be attending Duggan Mall at centre court during the Farmers’ Market, Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Kodiaks games and Viking games looking for additional signatures.
We now have over 700 signatures against this program and want to at least double the amount of signatures in order to force this issue into plebiscite.  This is your city and you do have a say in this matter.

Rodger Banack,

Helipad construction

October 25, 2016

We’ve all had those moments - those times when we were not certain if what we had heard, was heard correctly. I had one of these situations last week. In a split second I had to interpret body language.  I looked deep into the eyes of the person I was speaking with to see if I was being hoodwinked. Not a hint of insincerity.  The words that were conveyed: “Did you know that the helipad at St. Mary’s Hospital still isn’t open for use?” This person knew full well that many months ago I had spoken out, publicly, against the helipad design, cost and location. “It’s still not approved for landings and take-off,” my friend volunteered, “my doctor told me so.”  I made a call.  It’s true. It’s not yet certified for use! 
A new helipad became a necessity when STARS updated their fleet with higher-lift, faster, medi-vac choppers. Some in the medical field suggest to me STARS decision-makers should have done more to alert health partners and supporters what their choice of replacement helicopters would mean, in terms of existing helipad obsolescence.
The pad at SMH was one of 13 in the province which became unusable. Total cost to taxpayers – at least $25 million.
Read the next sentence fast – it’s not as painful: The SMH helipad was constructed at a cost approaching $2 million.
Helipad re-construction in Camrose started in August 2015. The helipad at SMH was finally completed about eight months later in the spring of 2016.
Now we await Transport Canada to sign off on the project. This could happen as early as January 2017  (helipad in Camrose out of commission for a minimum of  18 months).
Since the former helipad was shut down in August 2015, STARS has transported a patient out of the community (landing and taking off at the Camrose airport) 26 times. Over the past 10 years STARS has left Camrose with a patient on board an average of 23 times per year.
My concerns: Though it’s a moot point, I continue to submit that the design of this grandiose, raised/heated helipad or the placement of it at SMH did not demonstrate fiscal responsibility. 
I tried the local MLA’s office five times, over several months, to get financial data relating to this project. No luck. Finally, they admitted being unable to get data from their counterparts.  I was told to contact the office of the minister of health, directly, suggesting I may have better luck than they.
Not being able to get government certification on this helipad build is intriguing to me. The obvious questions:  Why not? What’s the hold-up? Could an unexpected and expensive surprise soon surface?
Is this “mini’-fiasco” just a sampling of how/why health care costs have spiraled out of control in this province/this country?
Are the right people at STARS, AHS, Covenant Health and Transport Canada collectively motivated to get this situation resolved – tomorrow?
 As one of the taxpayers who chipped in to pay for it, I feel there must be an easy way to have this white elephant operational, with no excuse for further delay.
Ron Pilger,

Less cheerful

October 11, 2016

We wrongly assumed that within our elected public officials there is a microcosm of the concept “servant.”
The blitzkrieg socialism of the Notley Crew has left us reeling without a navigational reference point. We are accustomed to political parties listening and heeding the advice and tempered wisdom of the electorate with the realization that by doing so we reward them with tenure in government. It never occurred to us that our little experiment into socialism was going to garner us a Crew of the eminently unqualified, acting audacious, with indolent indifference to all that makes Alberta great.
The piling on of taxes, income, payroll, and carbon ostensibly trumpets the revelation that the Crew has not comprehended how the wealth has been generated in this province. Hitting the oil industry through legislation designed to discourage investment and expansion at a time of depressed prices has successfully helped to eliminate over 100,000 private sector jobs. The hiring of 50,000 new bureaucrats (the expensive ones don’t even live in Alberta), at a cost of going on $5 billion, enables an ever escalating deficit leading to a continuous down grade in our credit rating. What can be said about Bill 6 and the thousands who descended upon the legislature without being heard or maybe in spite of their voices’? The blind LEAP of faith manifesto, billions in carbon tax, the killing of their job creation strategy because it couldn’t create a single job. The government filing a law suit against itself because it never read it’s own agreements. Yes the Alberta NDP will be remembered fondly in the annals of Alberta history as the government who cured Alberta’s itch for socialism.
On May 5, 2015, after the results of the election came in people said cheer up things could be worse.  So I cheered up and sure enough things are getting worse, much worse. I have decided for the remaining three years I will be less cheerful, much less cheerful.

Rob Johnson,

Witness sought

October 4, 2016

We were driving west on Highway 13 Sept. 26 from Camrose to Wetaskiwin when a trailer door flew off a truck and trailer heading east. My husband took evasive action as it would have come through the windshield and killed us both, but it seriously damaged the front side of our car.
The driver never stopped, maybe did not realize, but we need him to come forward. Also, would like the people who witnessed it to contact the Wetaskiwin RCMP.
Pauline Taylor,

Council decisions

September 27, 2016

I was privileged to attend a city of Camrose council meeting last week. Having some experience as a town councillor in Bashaw I was appalled at the action of our city councillors. They passed a reading of a payment of $19,000 of your tax monies for sound suppression on a backup generator for the new City Hall in one sitting. That’s right the first, second and third reading of this was passed in one vote. The person promoting this corrective action could not guarantee this change would suppress the sound effectively, but the money is being spent regardless. There were no questions raised as to who was requesting this noise issue to be attended to. I had the opportunity to speak to a resident in the immediate area of the city hall location, she didn’t know that a backup generator existed. These are your tax dollars that are being spent by the current City council members. About $19,000 is what some minimum wage earners earn in a year; to them that’s a lot of money and they work hard to earn it.
I attended the meeting in anticipation of finding out what council’s thoughts were on the Naturalization Program. This issue was discussed prior to the meeting open to the public. A huge thank you to Mayor Norm Mayer, as he asked Hugh and myself to speak on behalf of the program after the meeting was adjourned (nothing was recorded as the meeting was adjourned). Council listened to our impromptu concerns (neither Hugh or myself were prepared to speak to council) but we did address some of the major concerns. Whether council will consider the issues stated will be determined at a later date.
Recently I was approached by a concerned parent in Camrose to look at a situation which exists in our city that is somewhat disturbing. In our city school zones, we have flashing lights at two schools out of 10 school zones that have flashing lights at critical times during the day when the students are at risk. These are our most important renewable resources – our children and grandchildren. I must admit that a posted sign to me is complacent as we have signs everywhere and I rarely look at them, a terrible fault of my driving habits. Some people become complacent and rarely notice the signs. A flashing light is noticeable and will alert a driver of a vehicle that caution is required. At the corner of 48 Avenue and 56 Street we have solar powered crossing lights to alert drivers of a person crossing the roadway. Why can’t we have the same at the school pedestrian crossings? We would only be protecting our most valuable renewable resource; our children and grandchildren. I would consider that money well spent.
I’ve been around long enough to know that you can’t please everybody all of the time, but you should be accountable for your actions and decisions. I urge all residents and taxpayers to attend these city council meetings and see for yourself how you are being represented by the elected council.  Simply amazing. One final thought; as mentioned to me by my neighbour (Joan Cunningham), this city we live in is large enough to have elected ward zones established. We need to be able to address the current council members of certain concerns within an accountable area in the city, The current system does not address this situation. We don’t have an area dedicated council member to address our concerns to.
Rodger Banack,

Private Member’s Bills

September 20, 2016

Mr. Sorenson, please do the right thing and withdraw your Private Member’s Bill re: tamper resistant dispensary containers as a panacea to reduce the spate of fentanyl deaths due to accidental overdosage.
About 99.999 per cent of the fentanyl overdoses/death are due to illicitly manufactured, smuggled, and criminally sourced fentanyl; is it reasonable or logical to expect criminals to comply with legislation that would require them to provide drug users with tamper proof containers? I think not.
I can only hope that this proposed bill finds its way into the trash bin of unsuccessful private members bills. The unneeded debate on this non-issue will cost overburdened taxpayers additional government wastage and contribute to our already-too-large deficit.
On a related issue, and as a legislator, Mr. Sorenson; would it be illegal under Canada’s Criminal Code for those terminally ill individuals who:
(i)    do not wish to wait for our indecisive political leaders to debate, waffle, obfuscate, or otherwise delay clarifying and expanding the eligibility for physician-assisted dying,
(ii)    have a clearly-written personal directive,
(iii)    have communicated that directive to their loved ones and family members, to take matters into their own hands with criminally-available fentanyl?

Lynn Clark,

Health issues

September 13, 2016

I am going to write this letter very carefully because of the large support which our present government has.  Health care was a very important issue to many Albertans.  Despite massive increases to spending, medical surgery room wait times have increased to 11 weeks.
Under this government,  our health care system is more about dollars spent instead of actual patients served.
Wildrose shadow health minister Drew Barnes said, “The NDP has not only failed to put together any real wait time reduction but things are getting worse.” Barnes also said, “with over $20 billion in spending, Alberta should be a leader in outcomes in patients across Canada, instead Albertans are just seeing wait times get longer.”
I almost forgot. I guess this is why people voted these people in? “It is the government for you,” people have said to me.
All I can say is this was why I never voted for them.  But, I guess I am not in the majority. People in the majority must have an inside track.  I guess it is not the one which I am on.
Lorne Vanderwoude,

Lakeland flyer

September 6, 2016

I received a Shanon Stubbs (MP Lakeland) flyer in my Bawlf mailbox. Who knows why a Lakeland flyer ended up in Bawlf? But, I couldn’t help but compare Stubbs’ flyer to what our local MP Sorenson offers his riding in his Parliamentary Report.
Stubbs’ flyer announces that she is “Working together keeping the government accountable” assuring her supporters that she will “continue to advocate on your behalf on issues that matter most to you.” Stubbs flyer shows her with her volunteers at local festivals and parades. We periodically see Sorenson in photo ops with politicians, and recently, reading to children at the local library.
On the matter of the CPP premium rate changes, she informs us, “On June 20, the federal government and eight provincial governments signed an agreement in principle.” It is to take effect in 2019. She is pretty straight forward, providing a half-page chart indicating “how your paycheque will “shrink”: Those earning $30,000 will lose $215/year Those earning $60,000 will lose $565/year.  Those earning $90,000 will lose $1,098/year.
She continues to give specifics. “The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, two-thirds of business owners, believe that a CPP tax-hike would result in... In 2015, the CFIB studied a CPP tax-hike and found that it would eliminate 110,000 jobs and permanently lower wages by nearly one per cent.” She speaks in specifics.
Compare that to Sorenson’s Parliamentary Report in the July 5/16 edition of the Booster, with its inflammatory language on the same subject. He begins well...citing the proposed change starting date and the increase in pensionable earnings from $54,900 (2019) to $82,700 in 2025.
Whether any of Stubbs or Sorenson’s numbers are based on actual fact becomes a mute point. But Sorenson’s Report quickly resorts to emotive fear-mongering generalizations, without giving the source for his assumptions: “The CPP tax hike will take money from the paycheques of hardworking Canadians and place hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk because employers in the tough economy may not be able to pay their share of a CPP premium hike.”
Sorenson’s “Report” abandons any semblance of providing facts, and deteriorates into emotionally-laden rhetoric. For example, Sorenson continues, “The Liberals are salivating at getting their hands on the more than $220 billion CPP fund and force it to invest in their government’s infrastructure projects.” (a statement that would be edited if it appeared in a Letter to the Editor). His “Canadians should be allowed to manage their own money” is somewhat of a motherhood statement. Neither of these statements adhere to a factual informative tone. Nor, do they convey any meaningful information.
Are your Booster readers justified in expecting a more factual and informative “Parliamentary Report” from our elected MP? Could we raise the bar?
Marion Leithead,

Editor’s note: MP Sorenson covers a large riding, but still manages to take in many local events. With tens of thousands of “bosses” being a politician can be a very difficult job.


Naturalization petition

August 30, 2016

The Alberta Weed Control Act specifically states which weeds are prohibited noxious, designated noxious and restricted and nuisance weeds. These weeds must be controlled by Alberta Provincial Law. The City of Camrose has numerous green space areas which are full of these weeds and haven’t been controlled. These weeds have matured to flowering stage and have produced seeds. The wind, birds and wild animals have and are transporting these seeds around our communities at this time. We noticed in the past couple of weeks after numerous complaints by taxpayers to City Hall that they have taken action on some complaints.
By taking action, I mean by bringing a tractor and flail mower and mowing down the wild millet (commonly known as foxtail.) Great, this action has allowed the foxtail seeds to spread by wind and birds. It’s one of the many complaints I have heard lately from areas residents. My biggest concern is still the fire hazard the City has created near the residences by letting the grass grow and not keeping it manicured. After all we do have a volunteer fire department where the firefighters do have other jobs and have to be called to service.
You can’t blame the summer students for not recognizing these situations as they probably haven’t been informed what to look for. My brother and I planned to go to the Augustana for tea about 2 p.m. on Aug. 18. Upon arriving we noticed four city employees  (weed eaters) and a city one-ton truck. The view was just simply amazing, three riders in the truck and one weed eating. How many people does it take to weed a flower bed? The city management figures quite a few, because that’s what we see every time they are picking weeds and having a casual conversation.
Myself, personally, I believe we are not getting what our tax dollars are paying for and therefore have started a petition against the Naturalization program the City of Camrose is running. I have received more opposition comments about this program from the people I have approached and have witnessed their signatures.
The City has stated there is no evidence of rodents or snakes in these areas and no complaints, that’s not what I am being informed by the residents signing the petition. The snakes go where their food source is and that’s in the tall grass. Mice, lots of them have been reported to me. We as taxpayers are spending more money trying to implement this program than what it’s worth. Another disturbing thing that was mentioned to me was some of the pet owners are taking advantage of the Naturalization program by letting their dogs defecate in the tall grass and not picking it up. Come on, there are tax payers watching. Be responsible.
Since the city has sprayed herbicide along the ring road, or hired it out, now we have a real mess. Drive by and see how nice our boulevards look now. During Big Valley Jamboree many or our guests to the city were wondering what happened to Camrose. Camrose used to be such a clean city, now look at it. It can’t afford to cut the grass anymore, and the city still advertises it as being clean. Move to Camrose. I will be canvassing neighbourhoods in the near future with the petition and will be at the Duggan Mall on Saturday, Sept. 3 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Farmers’ Market hours) if anyone is interested in signing the petition. Hope to see you there.
Rodger Banack,

Attack advertising

August 30, 2016

I just have to make a comment on how disappointed I was in a comment by your editor in last weeks edition. He/she made reference to Donald Trump missing the meeting on attracting votes through attack advertising. I am wondering if there is any difference on what Donald Trump is doing as opposed to what Hillary Clinton is doing? I see no difference–one is as bad as the other! But to me, singling one out over the other is not a very professional way to conduct yourself! Journalism should be kept neutral. Just my opinion, but it did raise the hair on the back of my neck.
Carol Siemens,

City icon

August 23, 2016

What is an icon?
An icon is a symbol on your computer or phone screen. A city icon is something that is very visible and easily identifiable to the public. (City of Vancouver). The ski jump was an identifiable visual for any stranger travelling the Highway 13A bypass. They associated Camrose with it.
When the city incorporated in 1955 the image of the ski jump was selected for the official City of Camrose crest. It is still there.
What does the ski jump represent? Not only the original Scandinavian settlers and their passion for Nordic sports (cross country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined - cross country skiing and jumping and biathlon) but also current Nordic sports for all ages - from Learn to Ski Jackrabbits, ages four and up to recreational ski lessons for adults and seniors. Furthermore, it represents over 100 years of Nordic sports in Stoney Creek Valley on excellent ski trails designed from the grassroots up, groomed in the winter and maintained twice yearly by volunteer skiers, parents and more recently, members of the Augustana cross country and biathlon teams. The City of Camrose Green Space Master Plan 2014 acknowledges the trails are second in Alberta only to those at the Canmore Nordic Centre, due to the work and commitment of volunteers.
Not only is Camrose known as home of the daring Norwegian Flyers (jumpers) who made Camrose the birthplace of ski jumping in Alberta ( it is home to one of the oldest ski clubs in Canada. The ski trails at the base of the jump, beside the jump and at the back of the jump are the very place where seven local Camrose skiers began their training which resulted in them representing Canada at the Winter Olympics: 1934 - Jostein Nordmoe and Kari Englestad (Nordic combined), 1956 - Clarence and Irvin Servold (Nordic combined and cross country), 1960 - Clarence and Irvin Servold (Nordic combined and cross  country), 1988 - Carol Gibson (cross country) and Glenn Rupertus (biathlon), 1990- Glenn Rupertus (biathlon), 1994 - Glenn Rupertus (biathlon), and 2006 - David Leoni (biathlon).
The ski jump is a city icon. When the fountain was installed in Mirror Lake it was an icon but, even though it is still very pretty, it is no longer an icon since many cities and towns now have a four seasons park with a fountain. We had the ski jump; one of four in Canada. It was unique. It was built for the Alberta Winter Games in 1990 with Alberta Sports Legacy money. Taxpayer money will be used to remove it.
Recently the City of Wetaskiwin enhanced its unused water tower and protected it with a chain link fence at the base. Not all residents like it but all recognize it as a symbol of their community – a city icon.
Ruth Ford,

Ski trails

August 23, 2016

I would like to know if you were able to help me find some information regarding the Camrose ski trails.  I am looking for information on three separate topics. 1) the old ski hill that was located near the current Camrose sanitary landfill. This ski hill was in operation near the turn of last century possible 1910-20. 2) the Canada cup mountain bike race that was held in the 1990s (not sure which dates) and 3) a CN rail derailment that happened about 10 to 15 years ago.
If you are able to help me find information on these topics that would be greatly appreciated.
Tom Layton,

MLA conversation

August 16, 2016

Just recently I had the opportunity to speak to our new MLA for Camrose area and his assistant. After this conversation, I’m having trouble believing he’s qualified for the role. I asked why they were shutting down all the coal mines in the province. I asked if they had ever driven down Hwy. 36 past Sheerness. I mentioned that it is not possible to see even a whiff of smoke coming out of the stack. The assistant replied that there still is pollution from our coal, and it is significant. My reply was that most of the world’s pollution likely comes from places other than Canada, including India and China. Mr. Hinkley said China and India were starting to clean up their pollution, also. I said, “No disrespect meant to anyone, but our premier seems to be somewhat of a dictator and she is making some very bad decisions”.
In response to my question about the carbon tax that is coming in, Mr. Hinkley’s reply was that it was only 4 or 4.5 cents per litre, which people were used to in the fluctuating gas prices and people wouldn’t even notice it.
I also asked him why they always blamed the previous government for everything they find wrong. I said if there is a problem, fix it. Don’t complain about previous governments. The Liberals are notorious for the same public relations stunt federally. I told Mr. Hinkley what we really need is to have qualified business people in the government so it could be run like a business. Mr. Hinkley said, and I quote: “You cannot run a government like a business. Business runs to try and make a successful living, hire people and serve the community. Some make it and some don’t.”
I told Mr. Hinkley I was 73-years-old and still had to work because I didn’t know if I had enough savings to last me with all the new taxes that are being imposed. I think it is very sad that we have a number of MLAs that got a paycheque all their lives and didn’t really know where it came from as long as it was there on payday. A lot of people have had jobs or businesses and worked hard to make a living and pay taxes which helped pay the wages for those people who didn’t really know where the money came from.
And a final note to the NDP party – you were not voted in. The previous government was voted out.
Marvin Despas,

News coverage

August 16, 2016

Thank you for printing my letter in its entirety in the Aug. 9 Booster. I’ve received an incredible amount of positive feedback. Also, thanks for providing the copies of the articles and front pages you indicated in the “Editor’s Note” following my letter.
However, upon review of the copies, it has become evident that I will be sticking with my stance about coverage in this publication for the Rose City Farmers’ Market. The two “Farmers’ Market” articles in March of 2015 and 2016 are 100 per cent about the Camrose and District Farmers’ Market which runs Saturdays. The front page of the Sept. 9, 2014 issue is also all about the Saturday market with nothing to do with the Rose City Farmers’ Market.
The other two front pages (Sept. 6, 2011; Aug. 13, 2013) feature pictures of venders from the Rose City Farmer’s Market with only one of them correctly captioned for that market. However, the write up below talks about the Thursday and Saturday markets operating in Camrose. It further underlines the misconception in the community that these two markets are the same, just run on different days in the Duggan Mall. Couldn’t be further from the truth, and once again, the Rose City Farmers’ Market is not the focal point.
I must also point out that the reference at the end of the “Notes” that Rose City as a “group of small businesses” is a misnomer. Rose City Farmer’s market is a registered and approved Farmers’ Market which is the only way we can use the wording in our name.
I do retract one item in my original letter – Rose City Farmers’ Market is only 12 years old, not 13 as stated. My apologies for the gaff. You may have gathered I am pretty passionate about my market and can get carried away.
For your information-Rose City Farmers’ Market is still waiting for a response from the City on our letter of complaint. Apparently, the person who is to deal with these issues is away. If the gong show with the traffic and 49 Avenue on Aug. 11 at 3:30 p.m. is any indication, the Camrose City police aren’t taking the situation there seriously either. The road was not barricaded as they are supposed to wait until 4 p.m., but the venders were attempting to set up, which blocked the road. Non-market traffic was still trying to use the avenue and having to back out into the intersections because of the blockages. Not a very safe situation.
Speaking of legalities, here is a question for all you legal pundits out there: whose liability is it if the air sock on 48 Avenue causes an accident or injury to persons or property, either directly or indirectly? Is it the Downtown Camrose Market, which owns and operates the sign? Is it the 7/11 gas bar, which allows it on its property? Or is it the City, for not enforcing the regulation about signage deemed potentially hazardous to pedestrians or vehicles?
Just wondering.
Lori Blades,
Editor’s note
Many years ago an example of the wisdom of The Camrose Booster editor and company founder, the late Berdie Fowler, came into play with a lifelong lesson. We were having an end-of-workday discussion on American presidential election politics.   She expressed being appalled at the way candidates of the day were attempting to attract votes though attack advertising. (Donald Trump clearly missed the meeting).    She offered timeless advice, which ironically comes into mind in formulating this editor’s note: when you want people to buy into your goals or your vision kill them with kindness. It’s a far easier route to success than beating up on them until they say “uncle.”


No transparency

August 9, 2016

I always hear about transparency in government.  I don’t think that applies to Camrose municipal government though - I guess they’re an entity on their own, which I think is wrong. I didn’t know about the ski hill, the water bills being transferred to the landlord, the barricades on special neighborhoods (who do they know to get the special treatment), land development by infilling or any other issues affecting our community until someone wrote about it in the paper.
I’m very concerned about this trend - after all council is to answer to us - they work for us and I don’t think we are getting our money’s worth. Remember that at election time.

Cheryl Grundberg,

Farmers’ Market

August 9, 2016

This is going to come across as sour grapes, but the only sour note is the lack of balance and fairness in this situation. I am speaking of the two markets running on Thursdays. According to the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association, all farmers’ markets are tourist attractions to the communities in which they reside. Everyone can see that an open air market would be quite the draw. But does it warrant what seems to be favouritism (my choice word) on behalf of City Hall and others?
Before I explain this comment, let me first say thank you to all the venders and customers of the Rose City Farmers’ Market running out of Duggan Mall. You are such a loyal and dedicated group. The fact that we are a year-round market means that the other market will not run us out of business. Rose City is, however, facing extreme odds in serving the citizens of Camrose and area. Let me explain.
The downtown market doesn’t seem to have to follow the same rules and regulations with regards to the signage on public property as we non-profit organizations. It also seems that a blind eye is turned towards some of their practices. Rose City Farmers’ Market has submitted a formal letter of complaint about these to the City as well as a copy to the police.
The odds are tipped in their favour again with this very publication. Please do not  misunderstand me; Rose City Farmers’ Market advertises with the Camrose Booster, and Sue (along with the rest of the advertising department) do a marvelous job for us. The reality lies in the fact that the downtown market has received, in the past seven months, more articles, pictures, etc. than Rose City has in the past 13 years. A prime example is the invitation to the Booster (in writing) to attend our 10th Anniversary. We received nothing. No reporter, no photographer and no printing of story with pictures submitted to this paper.
Let’s cap this off with the full colour, full page advertisement the downtown market received with the front page of the Aug. 2 Booster following a City-granted 10 plus hour market they ran July 28. In comparison, the Rose City Farmers’ Market submitted a five inch two column coloured advertisement plus a boxed announcement in the classifieds in the July 26 Booster and for that privilege we paid over $300.
Does any of this seem right to you?
Lori Blades,

Editor’s Note: The Camrose Booster takes pride in our serious and dedicated effort to provide fair and balanced coverage to the community.  Non-profit groups and associations, and the corporate community alike, regularly benefit from our commitment to comprehensive, competent and always popular news features and photography. It is worth noting that each of the Farmers’ Markets at Duggan Mall have had an impressive, perhaps enviable level, of  free Booster news coverage over many years. In March of both 2015 and 2016, we dedicated a free full page of space where we profiled the appealing local Farmers’ Market concept and lengthy service to the community. In addition, free full front page exposure on our publications has also been granted many times, including: Sept. 6, 2011, Aug. 13, 2013 and Sept. 9, 2014. In the spirit of being an on-going supporter of Camrose, we will continue to watch for additional opportunities to provide coverage to all Farmers’ Markets including the Rose City group of small businesses.


Carbon tax

August 2, 2016

The Alberta government has just passed the Carbon tax bill. As an Albertan I was not too pleased with this tax because of the burden this will place on families who are already struggling with paying their monthly bills.
The deed has been done! There is nothing we as Albertans can do about it so we might as well just move on. So, I began to look and see what this bill could do for me. Now, I am an adult with a spouse and no children. I am sure this will mean something else to all those people with one child to 14 children. You will be getting more money than myself. But that is your problem and not mine.
The rebates will start in 2017 in January. This will work similar to our GST rebates. If the amount owed to your family is more than $400 per year, the government will give you four equal payments equaling that amount. January, April, July and October. If from $200 to $399 is owed then two equal payments in January and July will be handed out. If the amount is $100 to $199 owed to you then it will be one payment in January.
The ceiling where the amounts will not be paid out are as following. Any single person who makes over $51,250, a couple at over $100,000, a couple with two children is over $101,500 and a couple with four children is over $103,000.
You can find all this listed on the website, under carbon levy and rebates. Do I believe this will be good for Alberta? I do not personally believe it is good for this province. However, I am not too proud to take any money that the government wants to give me. Time will tell how good or how bad this tax will be for our province.  Like the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them”
Lorne W.P Vanderwoude,

Sell the jump

July 26, 2016

It seems a strange pity that such an iconic feature of our city would, at significant cost to the taxpayers, so nonchalantly be destroyed. Certainly there need not be a great rush to do so and all could be given another year to consider this possibility.
Especially since there is a group prepared to do fund-raising and whatever it takes to maintain the structure, at no cost to the city. Could they not be sold a small parcel of land for parking and access from the south, where there is already a street less than a block away?
 Such a sale would remove from the City any further costs for the site, and any other responsibilities and liabilities. If a few people in the area happen to not like the looks of the thing, certainly when they moved nearby it already existed and if they really don’t like to see it there are plenty of places to live in the city where it can’t be seen.
Douglas Hendrickson,
Bittern Lake

Opposing rezoning

July 26, 2016

I write this publication in regards to the proposed rezoning of our mature, homey, quiet, lakeside neighbourhood on 54 Street. The condo proposed could be as high as 75 feet and as close as nine feet from the side of my house right in the middle of our block. We have many concerns including traffic, parking, crowding, shading, noise, loss of privacy and loss of property value. After having talked with several councillors I learned that there is no Area Redevelopment Plan or ARP. In mature neighbourhoods like ours ARPs are essential in preventing unpredictable rezoning and creates a development vision going forward. We need a mature neighbourhood overlay which is community supported like the Augustana neighbourhood adopted. This creates a clear vision and takes away the fear and anxiety of what’s coming next. A home is probably the single most important investment people make. The primary purpose of zoning bylaws is to protect property values and to make sure development maintains the form and character of the neighbourhood.
Section 641 of the Revised Statutes of Alberta, Chapter M-26 of the Municipal Government Act reads as follows, (6) A land use bylaw may authorize a development authority to decide on an application for a development permit even though the proposed development does not comply with the land use bylaw or is a non-conforming building, if in the opinion of the development authority,
(a) the proposed development would not
(i) unduly interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood
(ii) or materially interfere with or affect the use, enjoyment, or value of neighbourhood parcel of land, and
(b) the proposed development conforms with the land use bylaw.
Clearly this rezoning would violate Section 641. Some members of council have stated that we need the density downtown. If this is the case there are three lots right downtown which would be perfect including north of Wild Rose Co-op store, south of the RBC Royal Bank and across the street from Francoeur Cleaners.
None of these would cause any hardships to the neighbourhoods.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, the proposed rezoning will come before council for the third reading time at 5 p.m. at City Hall. The last two times it received overwhelming opposition. I ask any concerned citizens to attend this meeting and help us stop this rezoning and ask council to consider an ARP. If you cannot attend write or email your concerns to council. Remember this could happen to your neighbourhood.
Barry Green and
Linda Rolleston,

Naturalization inspiring

July 19, 2016

I am inspired by the July 12 letter to editor of Robert Earley and Lori Larsen’s column of same date. In fact I feel all residents of Camrose should follow the example of  the City.
Audley Gaudet

Amazing Camrosians

July 19, 2016

My husband and I moved to Camrose three years ago today. We are now moving back to BC to be closer to family. There are so many people from Camrose that I wanted to individually thank. The community in general is what made the move so welcoming in the first place. I was hoping to write a letter to all of the beautiful Camrosians about my experience-how they turned this city slicker into a country girl-something so that I could say goodbye and thank you!
Aman Hunt

Ski jump disappointment

July 19, 2016

We, (Camrose Nordic Park Society) feel a need to apologize to the citizens of Camrose for the failure of our endeavor to refurbish and repurpose the ski scaffold.
We proposed a viable plan, ideas to repaint and repurpose the scaffold with stairs and a viewing platform, all to safety standards. The proposal to the city council contained engineer plans, monies already pledged by persons passionate about our City’s heritage, visuals and a newly formed society to enable us to apply for grants to continue the work that needed to be done. The council was informed that grated stairs would minimize snow build-up and slipping and that the powder coating of the scaffold would have a sustainability factor of 25 years, so their concern of maintenance should not have been a huge issue.
This project was to be carried out at no cost to the City taxpayer; an icon for the city and a usable structure that the citizens of Camrose would be proud of. There were only two councillors, councillor Lindstrand and councillor Hycha with the foresight to see that the project had merit.
Instead, the City council chose to demolish the scaffold (at what cost?) and initiate their own agenda to erect signs and a commemorative alternative (at what cost?) With a city already over budget on numerous projects, the council elected to add yet another cost to the high taxes of the city taxpayers. Could not the unbudgeted cost of the demolition project be better used for a decent swimming pool for our youth, not just a fix? At the very least, could council not have used the cost of demolition to fund their ideas of a bigger playground, an annex to the Valley Ski Lodge and information boards?
So, if we must go the route of council, wouldn’t it be impressive for tourists to visit at the lodge, look out the window and see a magnificent scaffold and just maybe, they would have the urge to go to the top to see for miles and get the feeling of what the ski jumpers must have felt.
And, as a last note, with comments from city councillors such as it’s like putting lipstick on a pig, we have to wonder what they are doing as councillors. Is this how you represent what’s best for Camrose citizens? Shame on you, councillor Wood and councillor Throndson for being so unprofessional and rude.
Camrose Nordic
Park Society

Urban naturalization

July 12, 2016

I was pleased to see Camrose City Council on Monday, July 4th agreed to continue with the urban naturalization program. It was initiated by the city as a means to reduce costs, saving taxpayers dollars, but also other benefits were noted. City parks staff and equipment can be re-allocated to other projects; increased level of attention given to other areas; as the city grows in size, there is less need to hire new staff and buy new equipment.
The Urban Naturalization in Canada: A Policy and Program Guidebook produced by an organization called Evergreen (, lists a number of other benefits. These include reduced pesticide use and cost of product and labour; improved water and air quality; fostering of environmental stewardship; and improved passive recreation such as walking and birdwatching.
There are solutions to the common barriers to urban naturalization. Preference for manicured landscaping can be countered with public education presenting the true economic costs and environmental costs of manicured landscaping. Concerns for public safety can be satisfied with proper design.
The city has addressed the concern over fire safety in discussion with the fire department. On the ring road berms, the city is not creating a forest, but trees spaced at intervals. The long grass will help retain snow and rain keeping the south facing slopes much greener than the brown flammable grass seen there during the very dry start to our spring.
Lack of political will is often an obstacle. However, city councillors are taking the advice of their staff who have researched the process and have a good understanding of what needs to be done.
The experience in both Edmonton and Calgary has been that it will take a few years for the full benefits of a naturalization program to become apparent. Until the grass has choked out the weeds steps will be needed to control the weeds. Just this past week, I saw city staff doing just that … pulling weeds.
Robert Earley,

Sadly disappointed

July 12, 2016

Today (July 4) around 3 p.m., I set out to walk around my block heading west and as I turned north along 65th Street, I experienced an attack of vertigo and eventually fell onto the grass with my cane beside me. I heard voices  and as I rolled onto my side to get up off the ground saw a young couple walking north along the sidewalk with their dog. They made no query as to why I was on the ground … I was shocked to say the least; such indifference shocked me. What if I’d been having a heart attack?
I eventually was able to walk back to my house, just east of the First Baptist church [once the parsonage].
I am disappointed by this occasion!
R. P Steeves,

Keep naturalization

July 5, 2016

I am definitely in favour of the naturalization of berms and parkland throughout Camrose. I have seen one or two letters of complaint in the local papers, but I felt it worth noting there are those who agree with this policy.
Camrose parks and green space areas have traditionally had huge swaths of land mowed each year. Of course it can be hard to adjust, especially when one equates manicured lawns with care and attention. It should be noted that several communities throughout north America are taking steps toward naturalization for many reasons (including Edmonton and Calgary according to their websites). It seems wise to take steps to save emissions, drastically reduce costs on staff and maintenance (resources a department or city can choose to put elsewhere), and reduce herbicide use, all while providing habitat, reducing dust, increasing shade, improving groundwater retention and  even reducing noise in some areas, not to mention setting a great example.
I truly appreciate the efforts of our city to become more sustainable both economically and environmentally, and see this as a big step in that direction.
Joy- Anne Murphy,

Not for Naturalization

July 5, 2016

Further to my last letter dated June 10, concerning the Naturalization Project along the 13A by-pass, I would like to address the following additional concerns.
First and foremost if anybody misinterpreted my comment of our fire department’s response time I want to express my appreciation for these women and men. Kudos you are doing great, I feel we have some of the best in Alberta.
The Camrose City By-law (2865-15 definitions)on unsightly premises within the City of Camrose states that (Section) 2. (i) shows signs of lack of general maintenance and upkeep, including excessive accumulation on the premises of: (r) “yard material” means organic matter formed as a result of gardening or horticultural pursuits and includes grass, tree and hedge cutting and clippings.
Section 3. states, “No owner or occupant of premises shall cause or maintain his or her premises as an unsightly premises as defined in this bylaw.”
 There are many privately owned as well as the City of Camrose properties which are in violation of this bylaw. I do have to wonder what the city would think if we all imitated the Naturalization Program in our front yards. Wouldn’t that look great.
The intent is to see this program choke out the weeds as the program matures in about three years. This does not address the unsightly issue and fire hazard in my opinion.
Weeds designated as noxious have the ability to spread rapidly, and cause severe crop losses and economic hardship.
Such weeds include Canada thistle, perennial sow thistle, Persian darnel, cypress purge and garlic mustard.
Restricted weeds in this category pose a serious threat and as such must be eradicated. Generally these weeds possess characteristics of rapid spread, and superior competition they include poison ivy, mint family.
Nuisance weeds are common to the province and are very difficult to eradicate and include dandelions, chick weed, wild millet (fox tail), pig weed and scented chamomile.
I am suggesting that you as citizens and taxpayers in the City of Camrose, call the city councillors and demand they re-address this matter, Naturalization Program, and start to take care of their unsightly premises as per their bylaw.
I was informed and have since noticed that the Naturalization Program has started in the valley along the creek near the ski jump and headed up towards Jubilee Park. In my opinion it’s a mess too.
Rodger Banack,

In-patient care

June 28, 2016

On June 6, a new In-patient Care Program was launched at Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital. If you were admitted or in hospital during the week of June 6 – you would have met and been cared for by the hospitalist (a doctor based in the hospital).
A hospitalist is a doctor dedicated to being your doctor throughout your entire hospital stay. Their primary responsibility is caring for you while you are in the hospital. Working directly out of Covenant Health, St. Mary’s Hospital, the hospitalist is available to you and your family for questions, to discuss your care and attend to any emergencies that may arise.
Evidence gathered from hospitals with existing Inpatient Care Programs show that hospitalists can improve quality of care and patient satisfaction. This new Inpatient Care Program at Covenant Health, St. Mary’s Hospital is about enhancing team based, patient centered care and providing the best possible care to the patients.
The development of the In-patient Care Program started in September 2011. Community family physicians, the Camrose Primary Care Network, Covenant Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and Alberta Health Services, Central Zone worked collaboratively to create a program unique to Camrose and surrounding area. A key component to successfully implementing the Inpatient Care Program was the gathering of relevant data and information to support the approval of an Alternative Relation Plan or (ARP) from Alberta Health.
ARPs have an important role to play in health care delivery as they can encourage innovation in the health care system. The aim of the program is to develop compensation strategies–other than Fee for Service–to remunerate physicians for providing defined program services. The purpose of an ARP is to provide innovation in clinical service, and may enhance the following five dimensions; recruitment and retention, team-based approach, access, patient satisfaction and value for money.
None of this would have been possible without the leadership and perseverance of two community family physicians and I would like to highlight and acknowledge the work of both Dr. Bick and Dr. Letley for developing and implementing such a high quality Inpatient Care Program as well as their efforts in recruiting physicians to the program.
I would also like to take this opportunity to show appreciation to all stakeholders involved in the development of the ARP and In-patient Care Program including Alberta Health, the ARP Program Management Office, Covenant Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and Alberta Health Services, Central Zone. In addition to this, I would also like to thank Colleen McKinstry, clinical director, Camrose Primary Care Network, for her leadership, direction and work in ensuring team based, patient centered care remained in the forefront of this project from day one. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated heath care and community providers.
Stacey L. Strilchuk,
Camrose Primary Care Network

Banack’s letter

June 28, 2016

I am 100 per cent in agreement with Rodger.  Though it is a fool’s errand trying to understand why we have among the highest taxes in the province, probably the most embarrassing pool in the country, and likely the worst roads in the western hemisphere.
Then again, it can also be a short trip when you consider that those who run the show also decided the best way to reduce traffic on a road is to essentially shut it down.  Or use round sign posts with hose clamps to hold a sign adjacent to prevailing winds.  Or pour a bunch of road tar and “cat litter” into a hole to patch the road and let traffic pack it down for days instead of doing it right.  Or why they diverted funds for the northern leg of the ring road for other projects and then turned 54 Ave through Victoria Park into a truck route thus destroying the road; and then it never was fixed because, rightfully so, the residents don’t want to foot the bill!
By the way, Kudos to the City for finally getting rid of the totally dead trees in front of the golf course. Better late (years) than never (I had all but given up hope).  Perhaps you can get rid of the dying ones now.
“They” say that they want Camrose to be inviting to young families.  Well here is an idea, if you want this, don’t merely cater to seniors and don’t be incurring millions upon millions of debt (i.e.: Edgeworth...or whatever it is called now, CPAC and City Hall) that the new residents will be paying off for years.
But hey, spending millions on a building on land we don’t own is a good investment, right? It has to be.  After all…it is only good management to blow through the contingency fund and require $1 million emergency funding above and beyond the budget just to furnish the place!
That said, people move their families to places because of fun things to do with their families, not because of some artsy place.  How about a pool?  Something we all could use.  Something that truly adds value to life in this community for all.  It is all about priorities of those who make the decisions.
Instead, we are going to pour more and more money (read: throw away more money) into the pool over the next number of years because there is no money for a pool? No…it is a short trip understanding how Camrose is run.
Nick Papagiorgio

Dog park

June 21, 2016

Hats off to all the wonderful people who worked so hard digging, planting, carrying pails of water and soil on a very windy June 15 evening to make the off leash area behind Sunrise Village into a beautiful park-like area.
Even the dogs seemed to enjoy the activity.  Watching the dogs and their owners is quite entertaining and I greatly admire these people for their devotion to their pets.

Marilyn Henderson,

Naturalization program

June 21, 2016

As a taxpayer and resident of the City of Camrose, I am very proud to tell people where we have purchased our home and love to hear the nice comments about the cleanliness and stature of our city. When a non-resident person says I have a beautiful city, clean and appears to have all the big box stores, the Augustana University, the historical downtown centre, a decent hospital and medical facilities that appear to be second to none, my chest expands a bit. Yes; I am proud to be a Camrose native, born and raised.
Then someone on city council or an employee of the city had a bit of a lapse of thinking and destroyed the beautiful image. Whoever is responsible for the Naturalization Program being set up along the bypass route (13A) has not put any thought into the matter. We live in Creekview and have since the area was in early development. The Naturalization Program started, I believe last year on the north side of the bypass route. I didn’t like the idea then. I thought it was just an easy out, not to pay employees to mow the grass. In my opinion it looks shabby and does not reflect the status of our city’s appearance. We (the residents living next to the overgrown mess) were never consulted as to whether we would like to see this type of landscape, the city took it upon themselves to change it at their discretion.
Now that we are in year two of the project, I have noticed the expansion of the project further to the west as far as Enevold Drive. We in Creekview have noticed we are now having to contend with rodents such as gophers, mice and moles. Not to mention the huge fire hazard we will have in the fall once the grass starts to die off. All we need is for another Fort McMurray type situation on our hands.
We pay some of the highest property taxes in the province of Alberta and I feel we deserve better treatment from our city council and city employees than we are getting.
The way to fix this would be to start mowing around all the small shrubs the city has planted and let them grow. It would allow a future windbreak for the area residences from the south winds and give a nice scenic drive as people pass through our beautiful city on the bypass route.

Rodger Banack,

Museum tour

June 21, 2016

For many the word museum invokes a mood of silence and rich memories-and for good reason. However, on May 17 silence was scarce at our Camrose and District Centennial Museum as scores of elementary students saw, in action, the source of many artifacts of our fine museum. They heard (and learned to speak) Norwegian, thanks to faculty of Augustana, they saw authentic national costumes being modeled and saw excellent wood carving and rosemaling. They heard the ring of a young blacksmith as he shaped red hot iron and were entertained by a performer with a whip. The smell of food led to another area where Norwegian goodies were being baked and samples enjoyed as they listened to a gifted storyteller’s tales. The children observed a home, a church and a school as our ancestors knew them. Being May 17, ice cream was enjoyed as is the custom in Norway.
Watching the expressions of our youngsters and hearing their questions was a joyful experience for me. It came about as a result of organization by Janine and the museum board as they focused our attention on the strong Scandinavian influence on our history in Camrose. And there are exciting plans for further events this summer.
Our centennial museum, as well as our excellent railway museum are gems we can be proud of and a showpiece for visitors as well. With well over 100,000 items on display and as many again carefully catalogued in storage, I say thanks to the dedication of organizers over the years and to the enthusiastic plans of Janine and her staff today. Rediscover our museums this summer-they are gems.

Lyle Erga,

Ski jump

June 14, 2016

A group of concerned citizens joined up in August 2015 to look for realistic, positive options with regards to the future of the existing ski jump, originally built with provincial legacy money and one of only three such scaffold ski jump structures remaining in Canada.
After hundreds of hours of committee work, discussion with the public and consultation with applicable parties and professionals,  a plan has indeed come together. The vision is for the ski jump to remain part of a family oriented nordic park and have it refurbished into a safe, use-able and inspiring look-out tower.
It will have to undergo geotechnical investigation (soil testing), ultrasonic steel thickness testing for corrosion structural integrity under the direction of an engineer using the original plans for the jump. Strategic lighting will discourage inappropriate activity at night, 60 metal-grid staggered steps with resting platforms and railings to conform to all safety standards will allow access to a lookout observation platform and provide an outstanding view of our city and beyond for the enjoyment of all. The tower will be painted and be installed with tamper-proof LED lighting that can be customized for  special occasions i.e. maple leaf, Christmas star. Artwork, landscaping and tree planting will occur on top of the hill around the tower.
Benches and historic cairns placed along the grass trail leading up to a gazebo and picnic tables at the base of the jump, a climbing wall, the world’s largest sundial and zip line are other ideas that could be investigated in future years, with further consultation with the city and interested parties.
It should be duly noted that the City of Camrose and  taxpayers will not be asked to cover the cost of the jump’s refurbishment into the lookout tower. A society has been created and a portion of the cost to realize this vision  has already been raised in the form of pledges from supportive community members. Additional funding will be garnered from corporate and public foundations, local businesses and organizations, as well as provincial and federal grants.
The stage is set! All citizens who support this vision for the ski jump, to be enjoyed by generations to come  are encouraged to attend the City council meeting at 5 p.m. Monday,  June 20. For more information call Garry Gibson at 780-672-5095.

Mark Eggink,

Bill C 225

June 14, 2016

On Feb. 23, Member of Parliament, Cathay Wagantall, introduced a private member’s bill (C 225 or Cassie and Molly’s Law) that would make it a separate offence to injure or cause the death of an unborn child while assaulting or killing a pregnant woman.
This Bill is a response to the 2014 murder of seven-month pregnant Cassandra Kaake, which also resulted in the death of her unborn daughter, Molly. An arrest was made and the accused was charged with the murder of Cassie but not her daughter. Under Section 223 (1) of the Criminal Code, a child becomes a human being only when he or she has completely left the body of the mother. The unborn have no protection using this 400-year-old definition of a human being.
Now we have another similar case, also in Ontario. On May 15, Candice Bobb, who was 24 weeks pregnant, died after shots were fired at a car in which she was a passenger. Friends rushed her to Etobicoke General Hospital where her premature son was delivered by emergency C-section. This baby boy died in hospital on Sunday, June 5, three weeks after the death of his mother.
No one has been arrested in connection with these murders. Section 223 (2) of the Criminal Code says a person can be considered to have committed a homicide when causing an injury before birth that results in the child dying after being delivered. If a suspect is identified, it is likely that he/she/they will be charged with both deaths. Justice will be served for both Candice and her baby.
When will Canadian law recognize unborn babies as ‘human beings’ and provide them with the same protection as those who have ‘completely left the body of the mother’?

Evelyn Scott,

No freedom

June 7, 2016

People, wake up to powers the NDP government is giving itself in the (carbon tax) Bill 20 Climate Leadership Implementation Act, Part 3, division 1 and 2 from pages 52 to 621.
Without warrant they can enter any land or premises used by the person in connection with the purchase, storage, or use of fuel. To side step any warrant, all they have to do is say the conditions for obtaining a warrant exist. They can seize and remove any records, computers, search any vehicle, even hook hardware or software to vehicles to obtain readings or other information.
They can stop any vehicle at any time for inspection. If you are transporting fuel other than what is in the vehicle’s fuel tank, you shall provide written proof of quantity and type of fuel, where obtained, to be delivered to and its use. The vehicle may be detained until written proof is provided and verified to the satisfaction of the officer. So, technically, if you are transporting  four liters of fuel for a lawn mower, they can detain a vehicle with no specified time limit; it’s up to the satisfaction of the officer.
These powers fly in the face of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section eight, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. It appears Part 3 of this Bill is aimed primarily at rural Albertans, because could anyone envision these powers ever being used on city dwellers who are AUPE members. Never would that happen.
Where is the media’s concern and how are such drastic powers justified? If someone is running a crystal meth drug lab, the government has to obtain warrants and follow constitutional rights. But the Alberta NDP see nothing wrong with violating rural Albertan’s rights in particular with this Bill.
Recently, Brian Mason said, “when we have guests in the legislature, we treat them with civility.” He has a very short memory of how in December 2015 the NDP treated rural Albertans present in the gallery. Such as Daniel Larivee making faces at those in the gallery and other NDP MLAs’ conduct, putting their feet up on the desk, leaning back and laughing about Bill 6 concerns.
Ron Wurban,


May 31, 2016

Over the years the one thing that is missing from many people in this society is respect. It does not matter where you look in society, I see a lot of people being disrespectful.
 I also do see the boundaries which we as humans do set up. The more connected we as a society get through channels like Face Book, twitter, public blogs and My space; the harder it gets to darken the lines of these boundaries.
When a person is faced with a situation where a boundary has been crossed; there is a set of procedures which is proper when approaching that person about the offence. 
It is really disrespectful and not wise to publicly advise that person in front of people who do not need to hear that conversation. This causes embarrassment and could cause anxiety to that person. 
Now, if the deed is done publicly, then that is an exemption to this privacy rule. Our Prime Minister committed that act of losing control of his temper, it was done publicly and needed to be dealt with publicly. Everything else should be dealt with in private person to person.
Unless that person is a bully, and in that case it is surely that person’s problem.  
At the end of the day, always do follow this rule. “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” Follow this rule when in doubt and you will never go wrong.

Lorne Vanderwoude,

War amps

May 31, 2016

As a graduate of the War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program and a safety ambassador for the PLAYSAFE Program, I have met kids who have lost limbs in accidents that could have been prevented. With the weather warming up, it’s a good time to teach kids about the dangers that can come with summer, such as lawn mowers, boat motors and playing around water areas.
Over the past few years, I have given War Amps PLAYSAFE presentations as I believe it is crucial to pass on the safety message and prevent as many accidents as possible. I would encourage parents to take their children on a “safety walk” and point out the dangers in their area.
It only takes a split second for an accident to happen, so let’s all PLAYSAFE!
Aleah Negus,

Report card

May 24, 2016

We were surprised to read MP Sorenson’s May 10 out-dated “Federal Report Card” approach to evaluating the Liberal Government. Alberta has years ago eliminated report cards and precise marks. Evaluation has been replaced with student learning assessments/SLAs. Has Mr. Sorenson forgotten how SLAs were foisted on us, despite demonstrations and protests by Battle River students, parents, and Camrose and community members?
Mr. Sorenson’s Government Report Card fails to resonate with Albertans, in that Alberta students are currently “assessed” and given “rich descriptive feedback,” instead of striving for and earning precise measurable per cent grades.
How did Sorenson miss Dirks’ Bill 19, the Education Amendment Act (2015) Section 196 (a), which eliminates (“strikes out”) words like “evaluate” and “evaluation” and substitutes “assess” and “assessment”? Why would students (as Mr. Sorenson claims) be “working hard in the coming weeks during their lead-up to their (nonexistent) report card? Sorenson’s concept of passing marks on their report card is so out-dated. There are no report cards; they are now SLAs. The Education Amendment Act (Section 196.b) eliminates/strikes out provincial achievement tests and diploma examinations, and substitutes provincial assessments, and report cards are no longer mentioned.
Mr. Sorenson’s out-dated Report Card analogy also lacks credibility, since it seems neither students nor Parliamentarians (Conservative MPs included) any longer work hard to achieve  measurable goals. Since implementation of AB Ed’s 2010 Inspiring Education Mandate there has been a significant philosophical shift, which deems mediocre to be excellence. In the government arena, the Harper era heralded a similar shift, one that leads Mr. Sorenson to praise Harper’s Conservatives as budgetary/fiscal exemplars, despite their eight consecutive years of deficit budgets, and to portray their final deficit budget as a (predicted) $7.5 billion surplus (the only precise number Sorenson used in his whole report card). That predicted surplus was based on anticipated (fantasy) $100/barrel oil revenues, plus Harper’s cuts to Canada’s programs for veterans and charity/non-profit organizations. So that predicted surplus number was only a paper surplus, far from reality.
Your readers would appreciate reading facts and figures in Mr. Sorenson’s Parliamentary Report, instead of vague accusatory rhetoric like “Liberals continue to recklessly borrow tens of billions of dollars....” As for Sorenson’s accusation that Liberals are not being frank and honest, one need only recall Harper’s and Duffy’s obtuse vacillations during the Senate fiasco, to realize that federal officials have not been frank or honest with Canadians for a very long time. Nor has there been any justice.
Marion Leithead,


May 17, 2016

One of the first things I look for in the Camrose Booster is the Reflections column by Bonnie Hutchinson. Bonnie writes well about a variety of topics, but seemingly always hits the mark. She is a ‘keeper’.
Thank you for providing the Camrose Booster in our area.
Doris Johnson,


Water bills

May 17, 2016

Further to letters sent by Ron Pilger and Pat Hagel; as a landlord myself and this includes several members of my family in the rental business, I would like to say that we all agree with Ron and Pat in what they have said.
There are all sorts of instances of what tenants can and will do when not paying for their own water bills. I would like to make everyone aware that as landlords, we are trying to provide and are providing a service to the community with rental accommodations for the people of Camrose who need to rent.
Therefore, as landlords, we expect to be paid for our service (if I go to a restaurant for a meal, I have to pay for that service.) As landlords we already face a lot of challenges. We have a bylaw if tenants leave garbage behind a house, we have AHS if a tenant decides to retaliate over some supposed slight we have done and they leave old vehicles for us to pay for towing. Ron is very correct in his assessment of what can and will happen when a tenant is evicted (for non-payment of rent for our service). Water bills are a very big part of our ongoing problems in doing our business.
We as landlords are of the opinion that all tenants should pay their own utilities as part of living. It would create a more responsible attitude towards life and their well-being.
We agree the City of Camrose should hold a deposit, re: water bills and when the bill is too high they notify and disconnect. I’m sure all people do not want to be without their utilities. A fairly hefty deposit would be installed, all other utilities, as mentioned in Ron’s letter, do and they seem to survive and collect.
Again, if landlords try to control, or inquire about utilities not being hooked up or disconnected, we cannot do so due to privacy laws and this is on our own property, re: heat in winter, excessive water bills due to broken taps and running toilets that need fixing.
With the constant increase in taxes, higher insurance costs, large water bills (they seem to go up all of the time), landlords are probably going to go out of business, which will put a larger strain on the city to provide affordable housing in Camrose in the very near future. It does seem that as landlords, we are balked, penalized and blamed for everything. We are just trying to provide a service for the people of Camrose.
We totally agree with Ron and Pat in saying that it is the City’s responsibility to operate a sound business and to be responsible for their own problems in incorporating a sound business plan in the very near future and stop  trying to pass the buck.
Carol Kostawich and
Avis McMann, Camrose

Stoney Creek Lodge

May 17, 2016

In the May 10 edition of the Camrose Booster, a Letter to the Editor brought up the issue of Stoney Creek Lodge remaining empty during the recent crisis. Ms. Rickards mentions “people seeking a roof over their heads for many months to come, one wonders if an empty building like this couldn’t be utilized to help people in distress.”
Stoney Creek Lodge is owned by the Government of Alberta, not The Bethany Group or Camrose and Area Lodge Authority. While The Bethany Group can manage and operate the facility, we have no decision making capabilities in regards to whether or not it is used.
That said, Stoney Creek Lodge has been offered as a suitable place to house evacuees and it is part of a possible response to housing needs. While the Government of Alberta has focused their housing efforts further north, the lodge is still a part of their portfolio of available spaces and will be considered if deemed appropriate.
We thank the City of Camrose and its partners in galvanizing a community-wide response, that includes The Bethany Group and its resources, in offering support, housing and assistance to those in need.
Denis Beesley,
president and CEO,
 The Bethany Group

Empty lodge

May 10, 2016

With the present crisis in Fort McMurray, an empty lodge in Camrose - the Stoney Creek Lodge - and people seeking a roof over their heads for many months to come, one wonders if an empty building like this couldn’t be utilized to help people in distress.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the evacuees as they try to make some normalcy out of their broken lives.
Janet Rickards,

Opposed to legislation

May 10, 2016

You can certainly count my wife Doris and I as being against assisted end of life in any form. Doris says the whole debate “makes me ill.” I agree.
We wonder where law makers get their authority to legislate end of life. Obviously they did not create life. They do not own life, nor therefore, are they empowered to end life.
We believe also that there is a higher power involved.
And so we believe that the mandate of the law is to protect and promote the sanctity of life, certainly not to end life.
As to “end suffering,” we understand that there is a medication to control pain.
We understand that to remove life support from the terminally ill does allow for a natural death.
Doris and Bernie
Rostaing, Ohaton
*This letter originally ran in the May 3 edition. The correct version is listed above and the Booster regrets any confusion this

Questionable reasoning

May 10, 2016

In response to the councillors proposal to transfer the financial risks of their business of supplying water to the residents of Camrose I simply must shake my head in disbelief. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where those in the business of supplying a commodity didn’t have to shoulder any risk at all. Wow, I’d love that! Just imagine not having to train staff to ask the proper questions and check out the references of every single customer they elect to do business with, the thought of it makes me positively giddy. Unfortunately that particular planet doesn’t happen to be the one we live on. Every business person I know has had to shoulder the risks that are inherent to their field of endeavour and they understand that these are “their” responsibilities to mitigate through the use of well proven techniques as mentioned by Ron Pilger in his well written letter to the editor of the latest edition of the Camrose Booster. Credit card hold/debitable deposit with automatic warning letters issued as it is depleted so that when the water is finally cut off sufficient warning has been issued in a timely manner. These were very good alternatives.
I can appreciate the frustration associated with delinquent water accounts, but suggesting that the risk of them should lie with a landlord who can’t even confirm with the city of Camrose if his/her tenants’ accounts are up to date because of privacy laws, or cannot even enter the rented premises without confirmed consent from the tenant in question (even if they are absent), leaves them little recourse to respond to just the situation described by Ron in his example of a necessary eviction notice.
As a landlord, I too experience losses that I cannot just heartlessly shove off on the next tenant, painful as it is, I must take the bad with the good. I’m sure most of the citizens of Camrose understand that a utility service will have its legitimate costs of which bad accounts are one,  but the real source of limiting these costs are only addressed by adopting good financial products that eliminate a person’s ability to prosper “unfairly” at the expense of others and this must be done when the account is first established, which is the responsibility of the one who provides the commodity, period.
In conclusion I must agree with Ron in saying that this proposed policy is a bad proposition which unfortunately suggests a council that is not very business friendly, or at the very least, not very understanding that  business does have risks that you can’t ethically just wish upon somebody else.
Pat Hagel,

Opposed to end of life legislation

May 3, 2016

You can certainly count my wife Doris and I as being against assisted end of life in any form. Doris says the whole debate “makes me ill.” I agree.
We wonder where law makers get their authority to legislate end of life. Obviously they did not create life. They do not own life, nor therefore, are they empowered to end life.
We believe also that there is a higher power involved.
And so we believe that the mandate of the law is to protect and promote the sanctity of life, certainly not to end life.
As to “end suffering,” we understand that there is a medication to control pain.
We understand that to remove life support from the terminally ill does not allow for a natural death.
Respectfully submitted,
Bernie and Doris

Life insurance

May 3, 2016

When buying life insurance we are instructed that, if a suicide occurs within the first two years of purchasing the policy, there will not be a pay out. But with the recent introduction of doctor assisted death “suicide,” and the acknowledgement of the life insurance companies willingness to pay out the insurance at any time, are we heading down a slippery slope?
The increasing age of baby-boomers and mounting expense on the health system, which the millennials will be mainly responsible for may result in “transitioning” the non productive boomers with the MAID (medical assistance in dying) program. Since the elderly are a debit to society, why not cash in on the life insurance policies and help the economy?
Two words...Very Scary!
I am sure we all are reassured that such measures will never occur...until maybe a very debt ridden society sees a solution to their dilemma.
Not getting a 10 per cent seniors’ discount! Ha! That’s the least of our worries. We will be closely watching the pills administered to us instead.
George Shostak,

March for Life

May 3, 2016

On Thursday, May 12, the National March for Life will be held in Ottawa. Several provincial capitals, including Edmonton, will also held marches on the same day. Last year over 25,000 attended the march in Ottawa and about 3,100 marched in Edmonton. No Canadian media covered either event.
The theme for this year’s march is “No Tax Money for Abortions.” Every year more than 13,000 abortions are performed in Alberta ( at an average cost of $800 each. Our provincial government “spends” over $10 million dollars of taxpayers’ money for this unnecessary medical procedure at a time when many Albertans do not have a family doctor. Others wait months for diagnostic tests or hip/knee replacements, and the waiting list for urgent cancer treatment grows longer every day. Would you rather see our taxes spent on medically necessary health care? If so, write to Premier Notley, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and MLA Bruce Hinkley at the Legislature Building, 10800-97 Avenue, Edmonton, T5K 2B6.
Gail Schulte,


May 3, 2016

I would like to express my appreciation to Dan Jensen for his many years as a talented columnist in your newspaper.
When I heard last fall that you were planning to retire in the spring, Dan, it was with mixed feelings. Of course, I was happy that you would now have more time to relax and pursue other interests without the constant deadlines hanging over you. But undeniably, as Camrose’s most capable newsman, you will certainly be missed!
On many occasions over the years, I have had to prepare a press release for one of the organizations for which I was a volunteer. With the Camrose Booster, it was so easy! I would just list all the relevant information, contact you and you would prepare a well written, accurate news article and, if necessary, include an appropriate photo.
I always enjoyed reading your articles, as well, Dan. You have a special gift for writing about the human interest events in our community. I hope in your retirement there will still be an opportunity for you to use your writing skills.
Congratulations on a job well done!
Jean Heie,

Flawed thinking

May 3, 2016

Camrose City council is on the verge of making property owners 100 per cent responsible for the cost of water usage of their residential tenants. Boiled down, our elected officials are in effect saying that collectively they cannot trust renters of free-standing homes to pay for the water they are using. Councillor Max Lindstrand offers prevailing perspective with these words: “The question is who should really have the risk in this? We are suggesting we transfer the risk from the City to the landowner, and that’s probably where it belongs.” Huh? At the risk of being excessively sarcastic, should landlords also be responsible for the upfront costs of  their renter’s other consumables: Their grocery bills? Or charges at the dry cleaner?  What about their school or sports fees for their kids? Why not – with this kind of  bizarre logic?  Thank goodness that Epcor, Direct Energy, Atco Gas, Bell Mobility, Lynx and many other providers of service to tenants do not feel the need to bill non-users for the services they each provide. 
There is an additional compounding problem for rental property owners: Under AHS Housing Standards property owners must supply a continuous supply of water to tenants. In other words – we cannot request water shut-off (even if we are unable to collect City water charges back from a tenant)!
So, what has precipitated this interesting council direction? It’s $144,000 in delinquent water accounts over the past “several” years. A lot of money. Way too high and charges that should not be the responsibility of taxpayers. So, would it not be prudent to have the right department/personnel improve their skills at collecting or not extending credit in the first place? While there will inevitably always be some write-offs required – the normal cost of doing business, it would be my perspective that someone at the City may have been relatively incompetent if taxpayers are faced with this level of delinquency. 
Solutions from my perspective, rather than billing me for my various tenant’s water usage:
A larger deposit when anyone opens a water account with the City. Let’s say $400. If an account becomes overdue, the City would be authorized to draw down the deposit.  As soon as money runs out – the water gets shut off. The water comes back on when the deposit is replenished to the original amount.
If a $400 cash deposit is too lofty or not palatable, arrange for a credit card hold.  Hotels/motels do this daily as a normal course of business.
Direct withdrawal consent from bank or credit card accounts. No money – no water.  I can’t eat at a restaurant if I don’t have the money. I can’t gas up my car if I don’t have the money.  Water bills can and should work the same way.
Use the current billing system if you wish, but be far more responsive when accounts are unpaid. Shut the water off.  Make a call.  Get a credit card number to cover the account. Tough love, in other words.  If you can’t pay – you can’t use.  Isn’t that real life?
Arrange for a co-signer on water accounts.   That might be a landlord.  Maybe it will be a family member.  A friend.  This system works for banks in terms of lending.  If a renter cannot find someone who believes in him or her, for their water usage, maybe the City should not be a willing partner, either.  Some people may, in fact, not be ready to live or survive out on their own....
City council – you are taking an easy way out by choosing to transfer water bills into property owner’s names. You did the same when you chose to make property owners be accountable for renter’s/tenant excess garbage tag fees after move-outs.  Any of the suggestions above should also be adopted so that tenant garbage charges are not property owners’ problem going forward, as well.
I submit to you a hypothetical situation that I and other rental property owners could face....
Bearing in mind that I as a property owner cannot control water usage of a tenant, imagine this situation: I evict a tenant. The tenant knowing full well that the water charges are the property owner’s responsibility rather than his or hers decides to “get even” with me for evicting him (for non-payment of rent). So for the next 30 days around the clock he leaves every tap on full in the home. He also waters the lawn 24-7. Ultimately, I get the bill for all water used. Far-fetched? After renting property for 30 years- trust me – this is a highly probable scenario.
Fellow landlords: if you agree with me, contact Council members and help put a stop to the next reading of this proposal.
City council members.  Please re-think this game-changing policy change.  Admit that the City has not done a good job of managing accounts in the past or assessing credit worthiness. Resist the route of passing the buck, or in this case the bill.
Ron Pilger,

Racing pigeons

May 3, 2016

I am in favour of allowing residents of Camrose to keep pigeons (fancy or racing).  In 1997, I started keeping pigeons in Camrose and had them until 2007.
During this time I had anywhere between 40 to 60 birds. I trained them most mornings during racing season and raced them on weekends with the Central Alberta Racing Pigeon Club. During the winter months they were never let out. There was a small aviary attached to the loft and people walking down the lane would stop and watch the birds. I also noticed the handivan on more than one occasion stop to see the birds. I did not receive any complaints from neighbours.
I must confess, though, that when the young birds take their first flight things can get a little unpredictable. I had a neighbour from across the lane bring one of my young birds back to me that had fallen down their chimney. They told me their young daughter had come running into the kitchen saying “Mommy, Mommy there’s a chicken in the fireplace.”
I think the City should look at the by-laws of other cities before making any decision on this. Birds are birds. If the City keeps swans why can’t one keep pigeons? The Queen does (YouTube – The Queen’s Wings).
Pat Spelliscy,

Missing mail

April 26, 2016

Recently I have experienced a problem with my mail delivery. I have not received three pieces of mail that I know I should have received at my apartment mailbox. The first piece was my T-4 slip, the second piece was my bank statement for the month of March, which usually arrives on March 20, and the third piece was a letter containing a cheque. This particular letter was mailed to me on March 29 from Vermilion, but has never arrived.
My concern is: does it take over three weeks for a letter to come from such a short distance? I am wondering if anybody else has or has had a similar problem?
Carmen Grundberg,

Racing pigeons

April 26, 2016

As a resident of Camrose and one of the silent majority, I feel I must respond to 11 people in Camrose (who responded to council on racing pigeons). I would wager none of these residents has ever heard of pigeon racing before.
The reasons mentioned in the report show a complete lack of education for the sport. Damage to property, damage to vehicles re: excrement issues, this is not true. I would further add that eleven residents do not represent the rest of the population of Camrose with their sentiments.
Racing pigeons are not to be confused with “city” pigeons you see flapping around buildings. Racing pigeons are housed in well made lofts with ample ventilation and do not smell. A fancier only allows his birds out to exercise, training flights and on race days when the racing pigeons  are racing home from a liberation point, anywhere from 80 to 600 miles on the day. These special birds are valuable  with figures in the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on top breeding pairs. Needless to say they are kept under lock and key.
Keeping of racing pig-eons is allowed in Edmonton, Calgary and in most major cities in Canada, where  they have been exempt from the livestock by-law.
The other concern I have is “not the right time.” Well, “when ever is the right time?”  This side stepping could go on for years from one elected council to another with no positive conclusion. The timing is now, while people like myself who have an interest in the sport/pastime can enjoy and keep racing pigeons and take part in the keen competition of racing while still able.
I hope this has offset the negative view of this noble sport.
 Oliver Brown,

Garbage collection

April 19, 2016

My wife and I welcome the upgrading of the garbage collection service. Recycling the compostable refuse will save years on our landfill.
Our concern was the disposition of the galvanized tin and plastic garbage containers.  A call to the City resulted in a reply that “we don’t know, nothing has been arranged.”   I visited Centra Cam Recycle one morning and expressed my concern about the galvanized tin cans.  Centra Cam has already sent out a notice that they would take all the plastic containers for reuse or recycle. The local metal recycler did not have a market for the tin. Later that day, Terry, the manager of Centra Cam Recycle, advised that he had found an end-use market for the tin and that they would welcome all drop-offs of the garbage can when the new system starts on May 1. What a relief that the thousands of tin garbage cans won’t be filling our landfill. Thank you Terry and staff.
Ross Shuman,

Right to live

April 19, 2016

As a retired nurse I find Steve Passmore’s open letter to the Prime Minister to reflect some of my own concerns regarding the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case. The Feb. 6, 2015 Carter decision opens the door to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.
Steve Passmore is a disability rights advocate living in Hamilton, Ontario. When he was a child his parents placed him in a “home” for children like him – that is, children with cerebral palsy. He lived there for six years, feeling totally abandoned and wondering, “Does anyone really care?” With the Carter decision, he again feels abandoned and has lost confidence in the institutions meant to protect him – the Canadian Supreme Court, the Canadian Government, Canadian Law, the Canadian Medical Association, the Church, and the Canadian media.
As he says, “I want to live, even though some people may not find my life worth living. I am grateful to all of the key sectors that I mentioned for the life I have. But, when the law allows physicians to kill patients and those with consciences are forced to kill or pressured out of medicine, when people who want to kill themselves are exulted in the media to the point where the law is changed and the voice of those of us who wish to live is disregarded and silenced – what am I to think?”
He continues, “People like me have always known that we were just tolerated, not really accepted, had no value and no equality in the eyes of many Canadians. Society built us ramps to buildings but not to Canadian hearts...the Carter decision provides I have no equality, no value or acceptance. If my choice to live can be circumvented, in my best interests, of course, where is my autonomy? Choices are made for me every day: where  I may live, how much money I receive, and now, finally, with these changes, when I will die.
“It is said that how a nation treats its most vulnerable is the measure of that nation. Please speak up for my right to live. Our future as Canadians must include the vulnerable and marginalized. As a man living with disabilities, I have no voice and unless I want to kill myself I am closed out of Canadian media. Please ensure that all Canadians have a future. Protect us from those doctors who will kill us. Protect us from the media which asks you who would want to live like me. Defend us from the law which has been turned upside down and from government, which refuses to protect our lives.
“Whatever happened to Canada the good? I am on a ledge right now. Will Canada pull me back or push me off?”
Physician-assisted suicide is coming. The Canadian government has until June 6, to enact a law. If you have concerns about safeguarding the lives of the disabled, the elderly, and those with psychiatric disorders as well as the conscience rights of health professionals and health care institutions, please write to the Prime Minister, Health Minister Jane Philipott, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. Do we really want to go down the same road as the Netherlands, Belgium, and the states of Washington and Oregon?
Dora Grettum,
Bittern Lake

President needs support

April 19, 2016

I recently became a widow and a friend of mine urged me to join the Senior Society at the Mirror Lake Centre. I did buy a membership, thinking that this would give me a chance to meet new people. I have attended a few meetings and the Morning Coffee Clatch. A new president was elected and has expressed great visions for the Society. After only one day as president it came to my attention that he has no support from the executive. They are already campaigning to have him removed. A petition is circulating, claiming that he is a bully and does not deserve to hold the position of president.
I know that I am new to the Society but it sickens me that this three-person executive can run roughshod over someone who hasn’t had a chance to prove to the membership what he can do for them. The members should show them what he can do. These are volunteer positions and should be appreciated for the time and effort put into them. I hope that the new president stands his ground and does the best of his ability. He has my support.
Ellen Kerr,


Look at new technology

April 12, 2016

Recently, the neighbourhood near two residential lots at 4823 and 4825-54 Street received letters from the City regarding an application by a Fieldstone to rezone these lots from R2 Medium Density use to R4 High Density. Last year, the developer proposed to build a four-storey condo complex that would tower over the one- and two-storey character homes surrounding it. When the City council meeting filled with residents and other Camrosians opposed to the rezoning, the project and its impact on the area and the Mirror Lake Park, the developer abruptly announced that he was withdrawing his application and putting it on hold for a year.  Well, that year is up and he has resubmitted the application, but now is withholding his development plans. No contact has been made by the developer with the surrounding property owners for their input or support on this resubmission.
Our concerns are several. First, why would this property be “spot-zoned” differently than the lots around it? All lots directly north of it have been zoned SRD – Special Residential (Historical) or R2 Medium Density Mixed Residential.  Spot zoning is a dangerous precedent to set and, if allowed, could be implemented anywhere else in the city by developers who could potentially choose to build “to the max” in order to reap the greatest dollar value instead of neighbourhood value.
Second, while the developer has yet to submit a development proposal, we believe that, based on all other projects Fieldstone has built in our area to date, they will go the maximum limit of the bylaw, going as high and as wide and as deep as rezoning to R4 would allow. According to the proposed new zoning bylaws, this means they could go up to 75 feet high (23 meters or approximately eight stories), less than 10 feet (three metres) of the front sidewalk, and only five feet (1.5 metres) of the neighbouring yards. R4 presents a potential for up to 35 units within these two lots. That could mean approximately 70 people (and 70 vehicles) in the same space where two single family homes once were.
Third, while we have already addressed these concerns with both the developer and the City when this proposal was made last year, we still believe these would be of concern if the rezoning is allowed:
Decrease in value of homes. Who wants to live in a house where a condo balcony could potentially hang over your backyard?
Traffic increase. The parking bylaw provides 1.25 spaces per average unit. Many couples/families have more than one vehicle. Where are the additional vehicles and/or visitors supposed to park? Several homes in the neighbourhood are already parking one or more vehicles on the street. Even with underground parking, that’s a huge increase in traffic and parking needs.
Water Pressure and Sewer Lines. Homes in older, established neighborhoods may have updated water and sewer lines at the street level, but the ones running from the street to homes are the originals in almost all cases, and not designed to deal with the increased demand a large project such as the potential R4 zoning could impose. And it’s the homeowner that bears the brunt and cost of upgrading.
Bethany Group built Faith House in a manner that complemented the classic character homes of this neighbourhood. It’s a beautiful place. Even the triplex at the end of the street overlooking the lake was built in a manner that complements the area and doesn’t impede the view of the area. But precedents set so far would lead us to believe that would likely not be the case for this property if rezoning is allowed.  It could also open the door for more “spot rezoning” requests in other areas of Camrose.
We are not against seeing new construction on these lots but we would ask the City to deny the R4 rezoning and instead keep it as is at R2 (allowing a triplex or sixplex), or else rezone  it SRD to match the rest of the home lots on that street, keeping the integrity, charm and character of the area in mind. We would like to see Camrose preserve the Mirror Lake Park’s view of a stage set with forested yards and picturesque, character-style homes.  We can still do density but let’s do it thoughtfully, with a neighborhood in mind, not a pocketbook.
If you support our request to reject R4 High Density rezoning of these lots, we would ask you to call or write any or all of the City councilors and/or staff. Attend the Monday, April 18 meeting of City council at 5 p.m.
Barry Green,
Linda Rolleston,
Peter and
Twylene Hicks,

Camrose Now App

April 12, 2016

First I would like to tell you how much I like this app. I can’t wait until some of the stores advertise their specials on the “Deals” page. We live on an acreage near Meeting Creek and don’t always get the Booster (and all the yummy flyers) in time to take advantage of sales.
I was happy to see the notice about the community garage sale in May. My question is: is it possible to rent a space somewhere in Camrose? I would be so happy to have a garage sale, but it is pretty difficult to get people to come way out here. If I knew someone with a house in Camrose I would ask them, but I don’t. An empty lot or building maybe? It could provide a little income for someone.
Anyway if you could let me know if this is possible, that would be great.
And keep going with this app, it is wonderful. I mention it to the businesses I use in Camrose, so maybe they will be taking advantage of this most timely sales app.
Thanks for going the extra mile; that is what the Booster has always done.
Diane Conibear,
Meeting Creek


Camrose Now App

April 5, 2016

First I would like to tell you how much I like this app. I can’t wait until some of the stores advertise their specials on the “Deals” page. We live on an acreage near Meeting Creek and don’t always get the Booster (and all the yummy flyers) in time to take advantage of sales.
I was happy to see the notice about the community garage sale in May. My question is: is it possible to rent a space somewhere in Camrose? I would be so happy to have a garage sale, but it is pretty difficult to get people to come way out here. If I knew someone with a house in Camrose I would ask them, but I don’t. An empty lot or building maybe? It could provide a little income for someone.
Anyway if you could let me know if this is possible, that would be great.
And keep going with this app, it is wonderful. I mention it to the businesses I use in Camrose, so maybe they will be taking advantage of this most timely sales app.
Thanks for going the extra mile, that is what the Booster has always done.
Diane Conibear,
Meeting Creek

Not all bad

April 5, 2016

It’s a good thing there was an April Fool’s joke on the front page of the March 29 edition of the Booster because the letters to the editor and Mr. Sorenson’s article were more than gloomy.
It appears some folks think the new provincial government should have built the promised and not yet built schools, roads and hospitals, lowered taxes, enhanced the Heritage Trust Fund, raised the price of oil and streamlined the bureaucracy within four months of being elected. After 40 years of another party it can be assumed that there needs to be some reorganization in that area.
Mr. Sorenson has been expressing concerns about the current federal government’s activities with regard to the deficit and the proposed but not yet published changes to the electoral act. After six or seven deficit budgets by the previous government a peek in a mirror might be in order. With regard to electoral changes I would suggest it might be an idea to await this proposal before criticizing it. I do understand why conventional politicians are worried about this direction. Imagine MPs being accountable to their constituents and representing them. For folks used to hiding behind Party ideology and bureaucracy, being permanently in opposition, or voted out is a scary proposition. After almost 10 years of a Harper Government which acted like a tyrant with 39 per cent of the vote, having to negotiate and compromise is a fearful situation. From the voter’s point of view, imagine every vote counting and your MP being accountable to you and not the Party or its leader.
If the gentlemen writing the letters know of a country with a perfect government I would be interested in hearing about it. Since governments are made up of imperfect people, I would suggest that our new governments be given a chance.
In case it has not been known, the first quarter of 2016 showed a “much better than expected” growth of the GDP of Canada.
Things are not all bad!
Horst Schreiber,

Make your bed, now lay in it

March 29, 2016

Now I am hearing from social media that a lot of Albertans want to remove Notley from power. In letters I have written in the past I did warn you of what would happen if a New Democratic Party government got in. It seems to me that not a lot of people agreed with me. This I will say to all Albertans: the majority of you voted her in.  So to you I will say:  you made your bed, you can just lay in it.  To the rest of you, I will say: in four years you can then kick her out. Let us hope there is a province left to kick her out of. Time will tell if Albertans have learned their lesson or not.
Lorne Vanderwoude

Democracy threatened

March 29, 2016

It is now more than obvious that many of us citizens/taxpayers on the Canadian prairies sense that some things are going terribly wrong – and quickly.
I admire what many dedicated volunteers are doing in Alberta to try to stop the insanity by getting as many names as possible on petitions, asking our provincial leaders to hold a plebiscite (a direct vote of the electorate) regarding Bills passed and Bills proposed that are known to be very concerning to a large numbers of folks. At the very least, let’s sign these petitions, and if time can be found, let’s also write letters to certain politicians, asking for a return to common sense (respect for the sense/wisdom of the common people).
In fairness to our politicians, some of whom are sincere and dedicated, I wish to point out that the battle is not against them personally, but against the evil influences that have permeated the thinking of many politicians, educators, and social engineers. This is why I like the way the Albertans First Plebiscite Warriors movement is based on love for our fellow citizens, rather than just angry irrational protest.
In my view, the present attacks that are being launched against our society can be summarized in this way: promotion of false ideology (promoting false ideas and ideals that form the basis of political policy); disregard for democracy (disregard for the common people’s view); disregard for financial accountability (spending money that we do not have and borrowing large sums).
Of the three above, I think the pushing of destructive ideology onto the people is the most damaging.  Recent blatant examples in Alberta are the proposals to soon shut down the coal fired electricity generators (our reliable source of electricity), forcing Bill 6 into law in full knowledge that a large number of rural people and many others were opposed, and the most blatant of all, the new gender policy for Alberta schools promoting a completely disproportionate agenda for trans gender people at the expense of everyone. If there were awards for throwing young people into utter confusion, and ensuring that they stay confused, our present government would have just won the gold medal in this category. If you are a parent or grandparent or anyone who cares about children you must at least skim this most bizarre document, introduced recently by Education Minister David Eggen, and I hope you will be motivated to notify him and Premier Notley immediately of your opinion. You can find it quickly by Googling Alberta Guidelines for Best Practices; Sexual Orientations,  or             
It seems both Alberta and federal governments are operating on similar ideologies, which in my view are destructive, and not held by most citizens on the prairies. As a Christian (meaning I trust that Christ paid the death penalty for my sins and faults), I see things from my Christian viewpoint, but I believe my fellow citizens, Christian or not, can equally see the destructive nature of the policies and regulations being forced onto us by some of our current law makers and policy makers.
I am interested to see if the views I am expressing are common sense (held by most of the common people.  Maybe a powerful common sense movement, larger than just Alberta, can be organized to make a big difference in our future.
Jim Blair,


Bad driving habits

March 22, 2016

Since I moved to Camrose some years back, I have always been amazed and completely ticked off by the driving habits of people in this city, especially the seniors. On Tuesday, March 8, I witnessed something that completely outshone anything previous.
I was walking east on the service road just before the police station where 65  Street meets 48 Avenue. A car driven by an elderly lady started what I thought was a left turn onto 48 Avenue. Instead, she just missed the light pole with the walk signal switch, jumped the curb and proceeded down the service road toward the parking lot.
The license plate was too dirty to read accurately and I can’t tell one car from another these days, so there was nothing I could report. Unless she was practicing for the Darwin Award I don’t know what her problem was. I do know something has to be done to test people to see if they should be on the road.
Driving is not cheap fun anymore, it’s expensive to keep a car on the road when things go okay. This woman is just an accident looking for a place to happen. I know that when it comes to western Canada, rapid transit is a joke, but for the public good and safety at some point these people have to be taken off the road.
John Parry,


March 22, 2016

My hat is off to all of you for an incredible accomplishment. I finally got around to downloading Camrose Now! on my phone and I am absolutely in awe. Like you say in your own advertising – it is truly appmazing! In all my years being in business and living in Camrose, never before have I seen such a complete product. I am proud and excited to now have your one-stop-shop on my phone for anything and anybody I will ever need to source in the city. I cannot imagine how handy this app is going to be for me as well as for all other business people and consumers in the months and years ahead. For anyone new to the market, Camrose Now! will be magic in their hands.
As a realtor, (40 years of service to the community as of June) having a complete residential and business phone book in my pocket at all times is going to be absolutely invaluable. I only wish I could have used something this good during my entire career! Going forward, I will use it to source and call appraisers, lawyers, utility companies and other “partners” whom I need to count on during the course of a typical business day. In reality, the product you have designed for this market has eliminated my need to have numerous other publications and product in my car, home and office. I applaud you on your vision and bringing this vision into the market. It’s crazy-good.
Dale Bowal,
Re/Max, Camrose

Learning Centre

March 22, 2016

To say I was disappointed when I heard of the closing of Learning Together Early Childhood Development Centre is an understatement. As the previous director, an early childhood educator and a parent who still utilizes the services, the loss to me personally and the community will be devastating.
Since opening their doors in 2005, Learning Together has seen 187 children and 27 staff pass through their doors. Of these 187 children, 38 of them were referred to other community resources such as Camrose Family Resource Centre – A Parent Link Centre, Alberta Health Services – Children Rehabilitation Services, Camrose Family Literacy, Camrose Public Library, and other medical services to receive additional support with either developmental delays, health concerns, or family and parenting support.
The 27 Learning Together staff, of which 86 per cent of them had post secondary credentials in early childhood development, were more to those 187 children and their families than merely daycare staff-filling ratio. Every single one of those staff went above and beyond their minimum job requirements to ensure each child had a rich, nurturing, developmentally appropriate, and supportive experience when they entered the doors of the program.
The Learning Together staff, past and present, have set the bar of what high quality childcare looks like. Their knowledge of developmental milestones and community resources, along with their ability to ensure each child has the materials, experiences, and environment to reach their potential, is not something you can teach someone in a classroom. Their experiences, their passion, and their nurturing characters have created an environment that can be neither easily replicated nor replaced.
Though the population who utilized the program was small, I truly feel the whole community will feel the loss of this program. High quality child care increases a child’s school readiness by introducing him or her to literacy, promoting positive social interactions, refining fine motor skills such as letter writing and scissor cutting, exploring creativity, and having a better understanding of our community. According to the positive relation between child care quality and virtually every facet of children’s development that has been studied is one of the most consistent findings in developmental science.
Having a child enter the school system with these skills, and possibly any delays already flagged with the proper supports in place, increases a child’s success in school and our community. It is truly unfortunate that our community has lost such a terrific opportunity for children to flourish and families to grow.
Jolene Doig

Residential parking

March 15, 2016

The community housing developers have reduced the size of our residential lot sizes to accommodate an extra home or two in each block. This has caused quite a concern for area residences as far as allotted parking on the residence frontage. We have minimal parking spaces in front of our residences provided by the developers of the communities.
I have continually noticed when there are two parking spaces available an inconsiderate driver will park in the middle of the parking spaces allotted, not allowing parking space for another vehicle.
A little consideration and common sense would go a long way to solve this situation. This also applies to the local residence owner. If your guest has parked their vehicle in this manner, approach them and inform them that they have taken up two spaces and ask them to move their vehicle to allow an additional vehicle to park. Show a little consideration to your neighbour as they may have guests arriving.
We have community mailboxes in our communities. We have noticed on many occasions a considerable number of vehicles parked in front of the mailboxes, which causes concerns for the postal employees delivering the mail and for local residents picking up their mail.
The extra few feet they would have to walk to get to their destination probably would not hurt their health, probably the fresh air might help them clear their heads, so they can think  more clearly.
The local resident should be paying attention to their parking as well and ask them to move their vehicle away from the postal drop zone. I would like to see the city councillors place a restricted parking zone in front of these residential mailboxes with a tag and tow situation for those who do not respect these restricted parking zones.
Rodger Banack,

Hospice home

March 15, 2016

As chairperson of the Hospice Society of Camrose and District (HSCD), on behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank everyone that attended our town hall meeting on March 1 at the Norsemen Inn to hear and talk more about our Hospice Home project.
As you may know, the HSCD is a registered charity (#839859709RR0001) established in November 2011.  Our vision is to provide compassionate, holistic care to those who are dying and to their loved ones. Our mission is to enable our community to support those individuals facing advancing illness, death and bereavement with dignity through education and compassionate care.
To date the HSCD has coordinated and facilitated a number of education opportunities within our catchment area in hopes of affirming the dying process as a natural and dignified part of life. In October 2015, the society organized a one day conference for caregivers, family members, professionals, and anyone interested in care for the dying. The conference was well attended with over 100 participants from across central Alberta.
In cooperation with health care professionals in our catchment area, the HSCD has also established a robust volunteer program for those who wish to provide support to those who are dying and their loved ones. Volunteers are currently in Covenant Health St. Mary’s Hospital and Bethany Camrose.  Other society sponsored activities occurring throughout the year include the Hike for Hospice and Lights to Remember. In 2016, the HSCD will commence a Grief and Bereavement Support Program.
In addition to supporting and enhancing quality palliative and end of life care throughout Camrose and area, a long term goal of the HSCD has been to construct and operate a hospice home for people who wish to die in a comfortable, peaceful and supportive setting.
During our town meeting the board was excited to announce the society’s intentions to move forward in building a six-bed hospice home and the board was so grateful and appreciative of the support and enthusiasm from those that attended the meeting regarding the project.
The HSCD is so proud of the charitable services we have been able to provide to date and is eager to begin the work of constructing a six-bed hospice home. We know in order for our hospice home to be successful, community engagement, consultation and support is vital.
Your support for our hospice home, would be helping the residents of Camrose and area during one of life’s most difficult journeys. For more information regarding the society or the hospice home project feel free to contact me at or 780-281-0921.
Stacey L. Strilchuk, chairperson, Hospice Society of Camrose and District

Elk Island

March 15, 2016

So the EICS is rejecting the city’s proposal to build a Catholic high school on the CCHS grounds because it contradicts their fundamental principles for building Catholic schools. Has there ever been a more blatant example of a holier than thou attitude? Are we to understand that they don’t want the students of Catholic schools to intermix with public school students?  Honestly, what an insult! Time for a reality check.
Landon Lewsaw,

A letter of Appreciation

March 8, 2016

To the several hundred people who enjoyed the Rosalind Agricultural Society Dinner Theatre and play which was held the last week in January, we would like to offer our thanks for your support.  The gales of laughter that could be heard throughout the performance confirm that you enjoyed yourselves immensely. The compliments heard about the meal tell us that the roast beef supper was superb.
Many of you may not be aware that this bi-annual play is produced and the meal supplied totally by community volunteers.  Uncountable hours are donated by the cast and crew as they begin their work in the fall, memorizing lines and creating the set.  The time commitment increases as they practice more often in the last month before production, and the set, sound and lighting are constructed.
The meal is prepared and served by community members; shifts of people doing prep work like peeling carrots and potatoes in the morning and more cooking, serving, and cleaning at the end of the day.  These are all local Rosalind people volunteering their time to make the play such a resounding success.
The strength of Rosalind lies in its community members. People enjoy the opportunity to work together in events such as this, and the proceeds support local initiatives, improving the quality of life for all.  On behalf of the Rosalind Agricultural Society, I would like to sincerely thank all of you who had a part in the dinner theatre production of Never Kiss a Naughty Nanny this year.
Dorothy Marshall,

Photo and ski hill

March 8, 2016

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ron Pilger for his fine photography (Camrose Booster Feb. 16). I too recently viewed the ski lift remains from a distance  and am still convinced that an idea I have would be more attractive. My suggestion is to take down that structure and replace it with an all weather white fence with a three  to four foot high railing around the cement base that is there, leaving a small gate on one side. In the centre of the cement pad build either a  flat or five to six foot formed figure of a skier holding a pair of skis and a plaque with a short history of the ski hill. This could be made from material of the ski lift, as much as possible. Then fasten benches to the side of the fence for sitting on to view our beautiful city and surroundings. Graduated steps down to meet the trail, four solar lights on the fence corners, and four to six perennial roses a distance from the fence. This shouldn’t be too expensive and a  larger swimming pool would be needed more for friendly users than skiers.
Thank you.
Alice Hill,

Proposed Bill 6

March 1, 2016

The proposed Bill 6 “consultation” sessions are not adequate for the following reasons:
1. A farmer/rancher has to be “nominated” to even possibly make it to one of the twelve “technical working group” (TWG) Consultation Tables.
2. Those nominations get “vetted” (apparently already in progress) by both the Agriculture and Labour departments, which further diminishes the chances of that nominated person getting to the TWG Consultation Tables.
3. The government “has control over the tone and outcomes” based on who they allow to represent it for this “consultation” process. So how “fair” will the subsequent “report” be? (...just another pre-determined outcome, much like the recent Royalty Review).
4. The proposed sites for these six consultation sessions are being held in Alberta’s major big inconvenient, and far-removed from, Alberta’s rural communities as possible.
5. The consultation sessions are scheduled from March through August. Poor timing, because farmers/ ranchers are busy calving (lambing), and haying (“making hay while the sun shines”), and this year, due to the dry mild winter, seeding (early) and harvesting (in late August).
6. There will only be six TWG consultation groups, with 12 people at each table.
7. That means if one of Alberta’s 614,855 farming/ranching population (2011 census) is lucky enough to be nominated in the first place, fills out a six-page government form, and then passes AB Ag’s and Labour’s vetting tests, that person MIGHT qualify to be one of the 72 people sitting at the six TWG Consultation Tables. That does not sound very “accessible” does it? About as likely as winning a lottery!
This after-the-fact Bill 6 “sop” (under the guise of “consultation”), intended to pacify/placate and/or appease Alberta’s farmers/ranchers, is not the change Albertans expect from this new NDP Government.
Albertans’ voices are still not being heard.
Marion Leithead,

Scam warning

March 1, 2016

Recently we received a very believable telephone call, supposedly from Canadian Revenue Agency. The person said that he was with the investigation branch of CRA. Listening closely he introduced himself as Sean White but had a telltale far east accent. There was a telephone number very close to some of the numbers that CRA uses. Please be cautious. This is a scam to extract money, or at least, personal information from you.
Lew Goddard,

48th Avenue bridge

February 9, 2016

(This letter was originally published in the Feb. 2 issue of The Camrose Booster. It is being printed again to include new information).
The 48th avenue bridge replacement is a project that is needed sooner than later as this infrastructure asset is nearing the end of its life. The extension of the merge lane going west from 51 Street is also much needed as it currently creates a bottle neck during peak traffic times. All of these are necessary capital expenditures and, of course, come at a cost.
The cost of $5 million to replace the bridge and increase the traffic lanes is substantial in itself. Is it prudent to add $2 million to this project for a pedestrian underpass? Will the 50 people that will use this underpass a day justify this cost just to save some steps to the traffic lights? Some would say yes we do need to have the pedestrian underpass, it is safer for crossing 48 Avenue as the traffic in the city of Camrose appears to be increasing year over year. I argue that these are not major issues in this city. A comment heard at a City council meeting in the past is very relevant: “we have rush minutes, not rush hours.”
In addition to the incremental cost, what will this addition of the underpass mean to the construction completion timeline? Will it mean that traffic will have to be completely diverted from going past the downtown district for an extended period of time? Will it mean 100 per cent closure of this main thoroughfare through our city for months versus weeks? What will the impact on business be? These are questions that bear asking and reviewing.
Nice-to-have – but is it really necessary based on these price tags? After driving around the city for the past months I honestly believe that the $7 million could be better spent fixing or repaving a lot of streets or avenues, or even the ring road in the city of Camrose.
Louis Hagel,

Want not a need

February 9, 2016

I refer to Louis Hagel’s letter regarding this project, and would suggest that the pedestrian underpass is most definitely a want that we can not afford, and definitely not a need. Regardless of where one approaches 48 Avenue on the pathway system, there is a point where one  can cross 48 Avenue protected by traffic signals within 50 to 75 metres. When I am out walking for exercise that is of no consequence!
The usage of the underpass cannot possibly justify the extra cost in my mind, when considering all our other municipal problems that urgently need fixing.
However, there is one issue that does not appear to have been aired in public. That is the paramount issue of public safety.
The underpass will become a hangout for all the druggies in town to use or to deal drugs in relative safety. It will also become a haven for muggers and unsavoury gangs of ruffians, and anyone entering the “tunnel” has only one choice – give us your money or swim for your life!
The bridge and road improvements are warranted but the pedestrian underpass is a gross waste of money. Spend the extra $2 million where it will benefit more than just a few pleasure walkers.
W. Smith,

Time is everything

February 2, 2016

In response to Ron Pilger’s letter to the editor in the Jan. 26 Booster, I will keep this short. I’m happy to see that we actually agree on a few points. For example, the fact that EMS should not have been moved off-site, that there was a lack of foresight when St. Mary’s and surrounding area was developed, and now, apparently, that the STARS helipad should indeed be on hospital property. Although I find Mr. Pilger’s dollar and time allotments far from realistic.
As to the matter of the times I listed for the trip to the airport, I’m sure many people were confused as The Booster did not print my entire letter. However, I will just focus on the trip to the airport. I took that trip from St. Mary’s to the airport terminal four times in order to verify my figures: two non-peak times (10 a.m. – five minutes, 20 seconds); (8 p.m. – four minutes, 15 seconds); and two rush hour times (12:10 p.m. – seven minutes, 50 seconds; 3:35 p.m. – seven minutes, 10 seconds). Now, of course, an ambulance will have lights and sirens running, and will be using higher speeds than Mr. Pilger and I did. Once again, though, we have other mitigating factors at play that may impede their trip. I travel the main routes in Camrose on a daily basis in the course of my job, and have to comment on the atrocious behaviour of a great many of the drivers in this city. Some of these drivers either do not know or do not care that the law requires vehicles to pull over and stop as soon as safely possible to allow emergency vehicles to pass. I have witnessed some very creative driving on the part of some of our EMS personnel in order to get through intersections.
Back to the issue of the train – yes, there is a protocol in place for clearing crossings in emergencies. Protocols look very pretty on paper, but not always feasible in practice. I have lived next to the tracks most of my life. Getting a stopped train moving or, in the case of the super train, splitting them at the crossings, takes time. There’s nothing “immediate” about it. Then there is the issue of congestion once the train clears the crossing: traffic in both directions starts moving and the ambulance is stuck wherever it is in the lineup until the traffic clears.
I am an optimist/pessimist: I hope for the best and plan for the worst. When we are dealing with matters of life and death, and destruction of property, minutes and seconds count. I think planning for worse case scenarios is the only way to look at the issues faced by those who live and work on the north side of Camrose. Getting emergency services north of the train tracks in a timely manner could very easily become an issue.
Lori Blades,

48th Avenue bridge

February 2, 2016

The 48th Avenue bridge replacement is a project that is needed sooner than later as this infrastructure asset is nearing the end of its life. The extension of the merge lane going west from 51 Street is also much needed as it currently creates a bottle neck during peak traffic times. All of these are necessary capital expenditures and, of course, come at a cost.
The cost of $5 million to replace the bridge and increase the traffic lanes is substantial in itself. Is it prudent to add $2 million dollars to this project for a pedestrian underpass? Will the 50 people that will use this underpass a year justify this cost just to save some steps to the traffic lights? Some would say yes we do need to have the pedestrian underpass, it is safer for crossing 48 Avenue as the traffic in the city of Camrose appears to be increasing year over year. I argue that these are not major issues in this city. A comment heard at a council meeting in the past is very relevant: “we have rush minutes, not rush hours.”
In addition to the incremental cost, what will this addition of the underpass mean to the construction completion timeline? Will it mean that traffic will have to be completely diverted from going past the downtown district for an extended period of time? Will it mean 100 per cent closure of this main thoroughfare through our city for months versus weeks? What will the impact on business be? These are questions that bear asking and reviewing.
Nice-to-have – but it is it really necessary based on these price tags? After driving around the city for the past months I honestly believe the $7 million could be better spent fixing or repaving a lot of streets or avenues, or even the ring road in the city of Camrose.
Louis Hagel,

Question for voters

February 2, 2016

The economy is very front and centered in our lives here in Alberta. A lot of people have lost their jobs due to how the economy has taken a turn for the worse over the past year.  We all had to tighten up our belts and trim our budgets here at home and at work.
But how is our government doing in how they are spending our money or the lack of our money?  How are they handling the provincial money bags?
Wildrose shadow finance minister Derek Fildebrandt stated in an article which was released Jan. 21 that “Ceci needs to get serious about the debt ceiling.” According to his article, the credit rating agency DBRS sounded the alarm that the Alberta government will exceed the recent passed debt limit. Finance minister Joe Ceci told reporters that the government will stay below the debt ceiling, but he gave no details on where the provincial finances were at. Fildebrandt also stated that “We’ve seen the minister ignore one major credit downgrade and multiple warnings from multiple International credit agencies already.”
As the rest of Albertans suffer without jobs, one would have to ask this question. Is this government still interested in fixing our economic situation or are they going to ruin the province like other NDP governments have done in other provinces in the past? I guess that is the question our voters will have to answer in 2019 when they go back to the polls to chose again another government. Time will tell what their answer will be.
Lorne W.P.


Show some respect

January 26, 2016

The use of loud leaf blowers for removing snow should not be allowed before 8 a.m. It is appalling the disrespect that is shown to neighbors when someone is using these machines so early and disrupts sleep, therefore violating the right to quiet peaceful enjoyment of your property. More people must stand up for this right! It’s not like a regular snow shovel isn’t noisy, but far less noisy than a loud machine. I for one will not tolerate this type of disturbance again, and I believe that no one should have to tolerate this type of abuse and utter disrespect, especially when a little more effort of using a shovel or even a broom for so little snow is much more acceptable and reasonable.
Kathy Michelucci,

Race-based “disconnect”

January 26, 2016

Clay Stacey of Kelowna put forth a challenge about “Bridging the disconnect” (Jan. 12) between Indians and the rest of society. He claims we should become “familiar with aboriginal history, culture and traditions,” which is the last thing we should do. To emphasize the differences between the races, contrary to what he says, is not likely to help much to “bridge the disconnect.” We should never promote racism, and all his recommendations are for doing things based on race.
He points to negative stories, disturbing stories, and success stories. All these stories are history and the basis of whatever stereotypes exist. And the basis of the divide he bemoans. This history is probably half stupid and to none of it should any attention be paid.
He claims “attitudes need to change,” and indeed they do. The basic attitude that must change before there will be any real solution is to recognize that no one should be identified on the basis of race. Racial and ethnic differences are precisely what must not be noticed so much – surely the people of our area get along well because differences of ancestral origin are not emphasized, and especially are they not the basis of special privileges, like not paying certain taxes.
Unless they are, as in the case of the Indians. Only when this racism is overcome, only when there is one law for all, no government actions on the basis of race, will there be full equality and acceptance of the other.
Notice that an immense lawyer industry is based on the present racist setup.
Douglas Hendrickson,
Bittern Lake

Educate yourself

January 26, 2016

A letter to the editor in the Jan. 12 Booster, “Bridging the Disconnect,” from Clay Stacey, of Kelowna, B.C., was completely in agreement with my opinion. I would like to meet him and shake his hand.
I have resided in the Camrose region for 38 years, but was born and grew up in Fort McMurray. I went to school with First Nations people, played with and admired many.
I have heard many put-down comments against the indigenous people since leaving the home of my birth, but I never stand quietly by and not speak up. I always state my point of view on this subject and defend my First Nations friends.
My grandchildren call me Kokum, which means grandma in the Cree language. This is not because I have any Cree blood flowing in my veins, but because my daughter liked the sound of this title better than grandma. She taught her children to call me Kokum. All grandchildren born following have done the same. I enjoy the tradition because I feel I am honouring all the warm-hearted gentle Kokums I remember from my past.
So take up the challenge that Clay Stacey brought forward. Educate yourself, become aware of the many successful First Nations people in our great country.
Lois J. Trottier,

Final thoughts on Helipad

January 26, 2016

It’s clear some in the “system” find the more than $2 million tax money now invested in the SMH helipad to be money very well invested. Call me stupid, stubborn or scatter-brained, but I continue to maintain emergency medical evacuations by a high-lift helicopter could have effectively happened from a few inches of plain-Jane concrete in a relocated, ground-level area at St. Mary’s Hospital. (We wouldn’t have needed the mountain of concrete to be thermostatically heated or the safety netting.)   The simple, enlarged slab could have been sized to accommodate the latest impressive version of flying ER owned and operated by STARS. The “stupid” part of me believes a couple of our best local concrete men with a bobcat, dump truck, power trowel and a broom, plus the services of a local journeyman electrician to install the perimeter landing assist lights, could have had STARS back running invaluable regular, fair-weather, medivac trips from the hospital after a couple of dedicated weeks. I’m wondering if $80,000 would have got the job done. 
My plan B: The concern expressed by Ms. Blades about a train impacting an emergency services vehicle to get to the Camrose Airport in a timely fashion is valid. I wonder if the numbers she conveyed last issue are reasonable. I went back to the original project press release, supplied by Covenant Health on Aug. 27, which announced the helipad construction was underway and temporary STARS service from the Camrose Airport being available. The release stated: This will only add approximately five minutes of travel time. Work is expected to be complete in December 2015. ‘Guess they hadn’t considered the train, either. However – it is also my understanding that there is a protocol in place between Camrose Emergency Services and the rail line that in the event of an emergency situation on the north side, instruction can be relayed to the conductor to immediately clear crossings. 
The stubborn part of me had my brain wondering how long it would actually take me to navigate a ground ambulance from the ER. doors of SMH to the airport. The goal would be to effectively time my arrival with the touchdown of a STARS chopper. (The scatter-brain in me thought about duplicating the efforts of the Royal Alex Hospital patient who took a real AHS ambulance for a lights and siren enhanced ride last week, but I resisted!) Regardless, in my car, in reasonably busy traffic during lunch hour, following the rules of the road, it took me four minutes and 39 seconds to get a four door sedan from the ambulance bay to the gate outside the terminal building. No train (this time)!  However, I did lose 39 seconds at a red light. 
Yes, now for the moot points part: Ground ambulances were moved away from SMH a few years ago.  A strategical error, in my opinion. Mistake #2 - Your tax money now rests in nine feet high concrete, versus new surgical tools, much needed new diagnostic equipment and other pressing needs at what often seemed to be an under-funded facility.  (I will never forget that I and other local citizens personally “pleaded and pan-handled” our service clubs and corporate community for thousands of collective hours” for a CT Scanner for our St. Mary’s Hospital, while other facilities in the province managed to buy theirs with a purchase order).
Suddenly, I feel relief.    Sometimes laughter is best, perhaps the only medicine.  Or, in this case a $2 million chuckle.
Ron Pilger,

Customer service

January 26, 2016

We live 15 minutes east of Camrose. On the afternoon of Dec. 21 our furnace stopped working and we called Camrose Sheet Metal. That evening they came to our house with several packages of parts that they thought might solve the problem – none of them worked as the motor had died. They ordered a new motor, which was expected to arrive the next day. In the meantime they loaned us two heaters to keep us warm until the motor was replaced. It arrived on the 23rd. They came out in the evening and installed the motor and we had heat again. They also indicated that the motor might still be under warranty and they would check for us. I suspect the motor is very expensive and thankful that they offered this information for us.
In this day and age it is refreshing to find a contractor who takes pride in their work, offers great service, is reliable and committed to customer satisfaction. We have found all these qualities in Camrose Sheet Metal. Our appreciative thanks to them.
Linda and
Wayne Sampson

Camrose heliport important to patient care

January 19, 2016

The community of Camrose is fortunate it has been identified as a priority by Alberta Health Services for an upgrade to its heliport. The investment will provide better access to emergency care for patients in the community and area. The ability to have specialty trained medical personnel from STARS on site in the emergency department at St. Mary’s to work with the Camrose team will help improve patient care outcomes.
The new heliport will allow for larger AW139 helicopters to land. The AW139 medically-equipped helicopters can provide an advanced level of medivac care to a wider area. These helicopters have a larger medical interior with the ability to accommodate more than one patient at a time, more powerful lift capacity, and can fly better in adverse weather conditions where ground ambulance and longer transport times would have been required in the past.
A thorough evaluation was done by specialists in the field to determine the best heliport location for the site. They considered helicopter flight patterns, impact on nearby residents (including noise) and off-site obstructions, proximity to the emergency department, security and maintenance and operational requirements. The conclusion in Camrose was to keep the heliport next to the hospital. 
Camrose’s upgrades are considered a priority because of high volume. Last year, St. Mary’s received 31 STARS air ambulance transfers and with the new heliport that number is expected to increase slightly.
When the new heliport opens in spring 2016 we hope Camrose residents will take comfort knowing they will have improved access to air ambulance service and it will be seamlessly connected to their hospital.
Cindy Mulherin,
senior director,
operations – rural acute
care, Covenant Health,
Steve Rees, senior
program officer,
capital management,
Alberta Health Services

Clock is ticking

January 19, 2016

I am writing in response to Ron Pilger’s letter of Jan. 5. Moot point at this stage, as the money has already been spent. For argument’s sake let’s do a reality check on Mr. Pilger’s idea of leaving STARS at the airport. Trust me, it’s not a simple three to five minute trip.
Start the clock on this trip from St. Mary’s. First, EMS has to come from the station in the east end – five to seven minutes depending on how much medical paraphernalia is being loaded. Then we leave for the airport. On a good day it is a seven minute trip. The clock is running – we are now between 17 and 29 minutes.
However, there is a wildcard aspect to this trip. It is called the train. There are four crossings in Camrose on the tracks running east and west between 51 and 52 Avenue. We are seeing “super trains” on a more frequent basis. These super trains can be crossing all four at one, and, God help you if it stops. Happens fairly often. Then you are looking at an additional five minutes (if it is moving) to 30 minutes (if stopped). Add into the equation the traffic congestion once the train has moved off. Tack on five more minutes. Are you keeping track of the clock? We are now looking at a 27 to 65 minute trip to the airport. And guess what Mr. Pilger? That patient is still going to have to be transferred to the helicopter out in the elements.
A three to five minute transfer from St. Mary’s directly to the helipad is starting to look real good right about now. The patient would already be well on the way to Edmonton. Well worth the $2 million to have it on site, in my opinion.
Now if you want to sink your teeth into a waste of money, look at what is going to be spent to raise the elevation of the highway over Mirror Lake under the guise of replacing the bridge. Personally, I think that money would be better spent building an overpass or underpass on at least one of the above mentioned rail crossings. That way those citizens who live and/or work on the north side of Camrose don’t need to live in fear when they call for EMS or fire, wondering how long it is going to take emergency services to get to them. Remember, there are two schools north of the tracks. The clock is ticking.
Just something to think about.
Lori Blades,

Star Trek landing pad

January 12, 2016

Your letter was so well articulated Ron, and expresses exactly what I have been thinking every time I drive by the hospital.
I don’t have your level of knowledge regarding future needs of our hospital, but when I read your letter it just reinforces my feeling that somewhere in this whole process common sense flew out the window and was buried by truckloads of cement.
Perhaps if we still had our Local Authority Health Board in place, there might have been some real discussions regarding the spending of $2 million and less costly alternatives to keep STARS landing safely in Camrose might have been considered.
Centralizing Alberta Health Care has not been a success on any level I am aware of, and this Star Trek landing pad just confirms that for me every time I drive by.
Lee Kroeger

Bridging the disconnect

January 12, 2016

I spent 50 years in the newspaper business as a reporter, editor, and publisher at weeklies and dailies in all four western provinces.
Throughout my career I witnessed up close the disconnect between aboriginal people and the non-native society.
Becoming familiar with aboriginal history, culture and traditions will surely go a long way in helping to bridge the disconnect.
There has been mistrust, anger, suspicion, frustration and fear from both sides toward the other. Positive steps are being taken to narrow the gap but much more needs to be done.
For too long the aboriginal community has been stereotyped by negative stories carried in newspapers, TV, and social media. The stories often focus on protests, confrontations, alcohol and drug abuse, financial scandals, fires, gun violence, murders, thefts, assaults, and missing persons on First Nations’ reserves.
Other disturbing stories include poverty, unemployment, poor drinking water, dilapidated housing, terrible roads, lack of educational opportunities, truancy, child runaways, etc.
But it hasn’t all been negative. There are many aboriginal success stories. Among them: pow wows, rodeo cowboys, accomplished athletes, entrepreneurs, business ventures, artists, lawyers, judges, journalists, musicians, craft makers, politicians, etc.
To improve the relationship between aboriginal people and non-natives, attitudes need to change.
Perry Bellgarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, called in June 2015 for people to “make room in your hearts and minds and your spirits. Rid yourself of those racial stereotypes of Indians and indigenous people being dumb and lazy and drunk on welfare. Rid yourself of those things, so new things can come in.”
Chief Bellegarde made the statement in response to the final report and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The challenge is ours to take.
Clay Stacey
Kelowna, B.C.


Not impressed

January 12, 2016

Over five months, I’ve gone from surprised to bewildered to appalled watching government remove and replace the helipad at St. Mary’s Hospital. 
Admittedly, when it comes to landing a medivac helicopter nothing is more important than the safety of the flight crew, medical personnel, patient and equipment.    I recognize that STARS is using larger rotor-span, heavier choppers than in years gone by. To this end it is understandable that towering spruce trees from the hospital grounds had to be removed. It is also completely logical to me that the former ground level cement pad needed to be relocated a few feet farther from the Providence building.   However, I have a great deal of difficulty accepting the logic of the engineering and construction of the elevated landing facility which will soon open. It’s worth noting the price tag of this design achievement – over $2 million.
It’s way too late to argue this project but, in frustration, I put this point on the table regardless – wouldn’t it have been wiser to simply have used a ground ambulance to transport the patient to the Camrose airport, where STARS could take over service? This method would have added only three to five minutes to the stabilized patient’s journey.  This method also would have meant no lengthy outdoor stretcher walk from the hospital to the pad.  It just seems safer, more efficient and more fiscally responsible to all involved in the process.
I am grateful for today’s flying acute care emergency rooms. The twelve air ambulance trips to St. Mary’s Hospital in 2015 were assuredly a godsend to patients, their families and probably to the medical staff of SMH.   But, it begs the question: was this the best place for a more than $2 million  investment in Camrose health care?  I would argue that “we” have missed more pressing demands.    Case in point is the CT Scanner at SMH, which is now at, or at least rapidly approaching, the end of its’ design life.  It is important for me to state that local decision-makers did not ask for this new helipad design. As often is the case, this brain-child came from those much higher in the chain of command at Alberta Health Services.
As a one-time board member and former chair of St. Mary’s Hospital and an original member of the Hospital Foundation, I offer other repercussions of this helipad project. At some point soon, I anticipate, St. Mary’s Hospital will be in line for a much needed expansion. In fact, as early as 2005, or 2006, preliminary plans were already in place for an expanded hospital necessary to serve the health care needs of the population of our expansive geographic trading area. The Providence building, in an awkward spot on the property, has a very limited shelf life.   In retrospect, it probably should have been demolished years ago. When the time is right for this tired old structure to come down and St. Mary’s expansion to ultimately take place, what impediment will muddy the plan? You guessed it– dozens of truckloads of hardened cement in the form of a Star Trek-like helipad, right smack in the middle of future health care progress. I can almost hear the government jackhammers warming up.
I think there is a repeat lesson for government to learn from what I deem to be yet another fiasco in health care in Alberta (Canada’s health care costs per person are amongst the highest in the world). Get proper input from the people who will be most affected by your decisions. In this era of a six month or more wait time to have a publicly funded CT scan or MRI, or six to eight months of patiently waiting to visit your surgeon for a consultation, which in turn causes up to 26 per cent of people electing to pay for service rather than use the public system, I highly doubt local health care leaders would have poured a cool two million into this helipad. Was it really necessary? 
Ron Pilger,

Re: Dec. 1 Camrose Booster Reflections article, “Another Black Friday”

December 29, 2016

I moved to Calgary from Nova Scotia in 1969 to attend college.
Upon graduation I spent five years in Winnipeg; otherwise a Calgarian ever since until retiring to Camrose last December (and loving it).
As an avid reader and current events enthusiast, rarely a day went by without reading Calgary newspapers front to back.
I must say, to my recollection, Bonnie Hutchinson’s column stands out as the all-time most enlightening and thought provoking ‘reflection.’
Makes one wonder.
Could these bank and/or other Canada Revenue Agency representatives face a mirror back then and declare, “I am proud of my contributions to Canada and my fellow Canadians.”
Fellow Booster neighbours and business owners sure could.
Obviously, the Booster summoned a wealth of courage to persevere in the face of unrelenting adversity (which any bank or government should consider embarrassing and a learning experience).
Confronted with similar mindsets during my career, I often reflected on an infamous phrase from an Edmonton author’s book, “The Joy of Not Knowing it All.” Ultimately, nothing matters, and so what if it did?
Since there are times when a sense of values appears absent, perhaps this cathartic phrase is able to offer us some peace of mind in spite of it all.
Neil Leeson,

Bill 6

It is with interest we read Minister Sigurdson's statement on Bill 6 (Camrose Booster; Dec. 3), in which she insisted she has "been listening to Albertans," and "assured" farm/ranch families that "Bill 6 does nothing, line with every other province in Canada." Not quite. For example, in Saskatchewan, WCB fees/adherence are optional, not mandatory. Nor do I share Premier's Notley's confidence that the farmers/ranchers will "come on board," especially since Bill 6 was introduced in such a top-down manner, with no opportunity for negotiations or compromises.
If Minister Sigurdson were indeed "listening," as she claims, she would have heard the large crowds (as well as numerous emails/phonecalls) telling her to "Kill Bill 6"! Obviously neither she, nor Minister Carlier, were listening. Premier Notley, having been in Paris, missed some of the protest demonstrations and Albertans yelling "Kill Bill 6." But surely she has heard, second-hand, farmers'/ranchers' demands.
Alberta farmers/ranchers are justified in being skeptical of both Sigurdon's and Notley's "assurances" that "there will be no changes in neighbours and family "helping-out." Until/unless that assurance message is concretely enshrined in legislation, with the necessary regulations clearly stipulated, Albertans are rightly dubious. Promises and trust are (and have been) easily broken and/or betrayed.
"Trust" is a scarce commodity in Alberta politics, and has been for over four decades! Trust has to be "earned" and the top-down passing of Bill 6, despite thousands of protesters, is not the way to earn "trust." Albertans quite understandably insist on seeing exactly what is being "passed" in the current Bill 6 legislation instead of just hoping that, after "further consultation," the binding accompanying regulations will reflect what farmers/ranchers are demanding.
Promises are easily broken with the stroke of a politician's pen! When a politician "assures" his electorate, that is political rhetoric for "trust me; stop complaining/worrying," and it cannot be possibly be construed as reliable, concrete fact. Farmers and ranchers are to be commended for standing up to government, which seemingly continues to be intent on stripping Albertans of their "rights" and "freedoms." Alberta landowners are still waiting for this new NDP government to repeal the former right-violating PC bills such as ALSA (Land Stewardship Act, which still "prevails over all other legislation"), the Land Assembly Project Area Act, and Prentice's Bill 1 ... and matter of fact, Dirks' [Inspiring Education-fixated] 2015 Education Amendment Act as well). These are "changes" which many Albertans "trusted" the NDPs to enact.
Actions always "speak louder than words" so Albertans do well to insist on action, not only in "Killing Bill 6," but also in the repealing all of the above-mentioned violating legislation that the PCs foisted on Albertans.
Still skeptical.
Marion Leithead,


Food bank

December 22, 2015

Something happened on the way to the Holiday Train in Camrose.
We aren’t really certain just what happened when the famous Canadian Pacific Holiday Train arrived in Camrose to collect food and money for the “local food bank”, as is their stated aim for the past 17 years. This was the train’s first stop in Camrose, so it was a big deal. In fact, the train was scheduled to make its next stop down the road in Wetaskiwin.
Why then was the Wetaskiwin Salvation Army/food bank organization allowed to set up with a truck at the train stop near the Brick building to collect donations of both food and cash, in direct competition with our own Food Bank (Neighbor Aid), which had instead opted to organize a collection point at the Moose Hall? Why indeed was a Wetaskiwin representative allowed to jump up on stage to accept the very generous $5,000 cheque from CP?
We have subsequently discovered that the Salvation Army head office will instruct the Wetaskiwin office to return any donated food items/cash to the Camrose Neighbor Aid Center and also that CP will ensure that the real cheque is indeed mailed to the food bank in town. Good, but how did this happen in the first place?
We find it worrisome that both the organizers of the Camrose ceremony and the Neighbor Aid organization were not better prepared to ensure liaison before the event, so that such unsettling things did not happen. This was very evident in the mangled public address pronunciation of Camrose Neighbor Aid by the emcee as Camrose Neighborhood Aid). And who was this unknown representative in a Salvation Army jacket (who it turns out was from Wetaskiwin and who accepted the cheque), and how did she get on stage representing Camrose?
Why weren’t our own food bank staff (or a board member) involved? We get the feeling that, despite the large amount of publicity around this event, little was done by Neighbor Aid to properly prepare to receive donations or to have a visible presence right at the train stop (i.e. signs, banners)? This was most distressing. This could have been a unique public relations opportunity to better advertise our food bank’s Christian mission, needs and focus, supported by more than 15 of our local churches.
Ray and Elaine Hook,


Holiday train

December 22, 2015

I helped organize last week’s amazing CP Holiday Train visit to Camrose and I appreciate having the opportunity to address the concerns in the above letter. Before that, I would like to thank the Camrose community for the enormous support they rallied for our local Neighbor Aid Center and food bank, and the amazingly large crowd that came out to welcome the CP Holiday Train.
When I was asked just a couple of weeks ago to help organize and market the celebrations surrounding the train, it was suggested that we greet people with a hotdog and hot chocolate.
The Women of the Moose jumped at the opportunity to get involved, and when I called owners of OPT to ask if they would underwrite the cost, they did not even hesitate. What this did was create a second fundraising opportunity, piggy backing on the Holiday Train visit. We served 525 hotdogs in just over one hour – what a terrific response! The lunch helped us collect a mountain of food and almost $3,000 for our local food bank!
A comment in the above letter “This was the train’s first stop in Camrose...” hopefully helps citizens understand that we didn’t quite know what to expect. All correspondence from CP indicated that the train would stop in front of the Moose Hall. I envisioned that the stage would come to a rest in front of the Moose Hall, so that seemed the logical place to set up the food bank donations.
The Wetaskiwin Salvation Army/food bank organization wasn’t allowed to set up a truck on site. I was completely unaware of their intention and I did not anticipate this. I have no explanation to offer as to why they were there other than speculating that they were contacted to be at the Wetaskiwin Holiday Train event and assumed that since there was no Salvation Army outlet in Camrose that they could cover it as well. And I assume that is why a woman from the Wetaskiwin group approached the CP stage staff indicating that she represented the food bank.
Details were in place and confirmed that morning to have our mayor and our food bank representative on stage during a short welcoming ceremony. Both were in the right place at the right time, but were not called. Likely the plans were disrupted by the appearance of the woman representing what we now know was the Wetaskiwin food bank. Her acceptance of the $5,500 was very concerning, but I am assured by CP that this will be mailed correctly to our Neighbor Aid.
In subsequent discussions with the Salvation Army, I was assured that all food and cash donations will be redirected to our local food bank.
We cannot, unfortunately, go back and anticipate these bizarre circumstances. I have created detailed notes for the next time Camrose hosts the CP Holiday Train, including better placed donation stations, being at the stage to ensure that carefully laid plans are carried through, and hopefully even making sure that the emcee practices saying Camrose Neighbor Aid Center.
I feel badly for the possible backlash against our local food bank and the extraordinary woman who manages it. Instead of letters written about the amazing event – the incredible community support and huge, supportive crowd – we are reading negative comments. We should be revelling in the incredible success of the day, talking about the exceptional generosity and the heroes at OPT and the Moose Hall who contributed enormously and selflessly. We should be thanking CP for making Camrose part of its North American Holiday Train tour and recognizing its commitment to community.
I am glad for this opportunity to let community members know that things have been made right. I hope Camrose gets another opportunity to host the CP Holiday Train (hopefully after sunset) and I hope that I again have the good fortune to be part of it.
Yours truly and Merry Christmas!
Janine Carroll,


Peace, not terror is abnormal

Dec. 15, 2016

I am more than a little bemused by Jérôme Melançon’s Second Thought essay. Like Mr. Melançon, I watched the attack unfold in Paris but, unlike Mr. Melançon, was not at all surprised that it happened.  As I write, the US is suffering a similar, if smaller, attack.  I too was aware of the attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and Egypt.
I am aware of the stream of migrants entering Europe. I am aware of the riots, killings, and rapes which accompany them. I am also aware of the motive for the attacks. Unlike Mr. Melançon, I am not trying “to understand how and why the city was being attacked.” I’m just surprised it took so long.
Mr. Melançon thinks “terror is entirely abnormal: there is no possibility of getting used to eruptions of violence.” How delightfully naïve. A brief look at world history will prove it is peace that is abnormal; terror and war are the norm, not just in the Middle East, but around the world. We are all too “used to eruptions of violence.”
Canadians have been blessed with an abnormal country. We have not had a domestic war since 1812 and our brief bouts with rebellion have been mild and short-lived. Even our foreign wars are engaged to stop aggression and protect the innocent, not for conquest or profit. We are a peaceful people and this exceptional nation is worth preserving.
I do agree with Mr. Melançon on one point, we are all human. We are all capable of terrible violence. When roused to anger, the ‘peaceful’ Canadian has exhibited such ferocious resolve that battle-hardened troops quaked with fear. I would not wish to arouse that sleeping tiger. But I look on Europe and I wonder. How long until the next outbreak, when the fighting is not sporadic terror attacks, but bloody civil war.
“One winter a Farmer found a Viper frozen and numb with cold, and out of pity picked it up and placed it in his bosom. The Viper was no sooner revived by the warmth than it turned upon its benefactor and inflicted a fatal bite upon him; and as the poor man lay dying, he cried, ‘I have only got what I deserved, for taking compassion on so villainous a creature.’” (Aesop)
Dave Gosse,

Remove the barricades

December 1, 2015

I agree with Mike Enright’s letter. I am wondering about the survey the City had regarding the barriers on Grand Avenue. I would have responded that I want them removed if I’d known about the survey. Maybe the City should ask for citizens’ input again on this issue and this time, put the site on the front page of The Booster so people are aware of it.
I do not want my taxes to fund the Lougheed Centre – I never supported that project to begin with. We definitely need an overpass as Mike suggests – I would rather my tax dollars go toward something that is needed rather than a “nice to have” project, which is what I think of the Lougheed Centre.
Cheryl Grundberg,


The Notley Crew

November 24, 2015

Have written three letters to MLA Hinkley with no reply. One thank you note.
We have lived in Saskatchewan, B.C. and Alberta with the NDP government and all seemed to get in trouble. Surely Notley could hire some business folks, rather than the same old NDP hacks to advise her.
Some questions and observations.
We need right to work legislation as is the case (in some parts of) the United States.
Why are government labour unions advertising on prime time television?
Recent school caretakers’ strike: standing around chanting their childish rant while parents were doing their work.
No budget until after the federal election.
Prentice brought in a budget, asked the people for their opinion, and was turfed. He was honest.
Shell Oil cancelled a project with 1,450 jobs. Notley seemed not to care.
Make essential jobs essential.
TransAlta Sundance $1.6 billion power plant put off until next election.
Minimum wage an actual concern or a ploy to get more money for the unions.
Raise taxes on those that work the hardest: “a little more won’t hurt.”
Why has Moody dropped the Alberta credit rating to a negative?
Raymond Burd,


Family Doctor Week

November 17, 2015

 The Camrose Primary Care Network (PCN) once again celebrated Family Doctor Week in Canada (Nov. 9 to 14).  This was the 12th annual Family Doctor Week in Canada – acknowledging the outstanding contributions of Canadian family doctors for their dedication to their patients and the delivery of high-quality health care.
This year I would like to recognize the hard work and efforts of Dr. Letley, Dr. Bick and Dr. Jorgensen in support of rural placement opportunities for medical students and physician attraction and retention.
Dr. Jorgensen has been instrumental in promoting and coordinating opportunities for third year medical students interested in being placed in a rural community for approximately 36 weeks.  During this time students are provided with continuous patient care, preceptor supervision and learning experiences.
Over the past six months Dr. Letley and Dr. Bick have taken more of a leadership role in physician attraction and retention efforts for Camrose.  In addition to screening interested physician recruits, both Dr. Letley and Dr. Bick have coordinated and participated in pre-recruitment visits, as well as opened their home to Canadian and foreign trained physicians interested in practicing and relocating to this community.
As a result of these efforts, I believe the City of Camrose and Camrose County are well positioned to not only recruit physicians seeking current practice opportunities but also attract future physicians once their training is complete.
At this time, I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Valerie Smith, who was recently nominated for the 2015 Alberta Rural Physician Award of Distinction sponsored by the Rural Physician Action Plan (RPAP). As a finalist for this award, Dr. Smith certainly emulates the award profile of a physician practicing in an Alberta rural community offering outstanding medical services and making huge contributions to medical practice and her community.  Congratulations Dr. Smith on being a finalist for this award.        
In closing, I encourage you to please take a moment to acknowledge and thank your family doctor.  A listing of all our Camrose PCN family doctors can be found at
Stacey L. Strilchuk,
executive director,
Camrose Primary Care Network

Overpass needed

November 17, 2015

Thank you Mike Enright for bringing very important info to the foreground.
As a resident of the west end (north), I had a hard time understanding how a limited few people could have the city block off access to Cornerstone  for many people from 53 Street west. Now those people must use Highway 13, which is busy and scary for elderly drivers.
The overpass is a no-brainer and should have been done long ago for medical and fire reasons alone. Now, of course, we have longer trains and more rail traffic, which can only get worse. Let the people that use the arts centre raise the money needed and put the taxpayers’ money to a better use.
Thomas Wilson,

Lougheed Centre

November 10, 2015

So the Lougheed Arts Centre is in need of more funding to the tune of over $2 million? What Camrose really needs is a north south underpass so that the city isn’t cut in half when there is a train. When that happens, the north side has no emergency services. Can anyone say lawsuit? I think we may have our priorities wrong. We do have the Bailey which is a state of the art facility. Just my opinion. Oh, and public transit and removing the barriers from the Grande Drive area too, since the majority want them gone – this is a democracy right? Out of 78 return responses on the city’s survey on the Grandview area barriers. 71 came back to remove them. What part of that doesn’t the City understand? I guess it must be “who you know” in our fine city.
Mike Enright,

Better is always possible

November 3, 2015

The election is over. The Liberals won; the Conservatives lost. Judging from comments by candidates and letters in the press, the Conservatives find this fact very difficult to accept.
Mr. Sorenson, in his acceptance of his seat after a definite win, indicated that he would continue the Conservative campaign of division and fear.
According to Sorenson, we should be concerned about the Liberal plans to invest in needed projects in infrastructure. While we should be concerned about deficits incurred to invest in public works and give a boost to the economy, the $140 billion added to the national debt by Mr. Harper is ignored! There appears to be something wrong with this story.
The election is over. We need to work together to build a better Canada. Canada is a great nation, but the key to democracy is the belief that better is always possible. So let’s move forward to that better future and not concentrate on divisions and fears of the fiscal situation, refugees and ladies in head scarves.
The rest of Canada voted for change; is Alberta to remain stuck in the past of Conservative divisions and fears?
Ron Williams,


Political “Scientists”

October 27, 2015

Tim Parker (Oct. 13) continues on about “scientists,” people hired by the federal government to do research, and whose political activism has been dampened.
He asks the Conservative candidate, “Why is this deliberate muzzling of scientists in the best interest of Canada?” Our representative in Ottawa has already responded to him, “I reject the premise that our government is muzzling scientists.”
Parker talks about “shutting down science,” as if to put restraints on the political activism of some is to eliminate all science. To restrain activism is not to restrain science, if there ever was any.
He smears Harper’s Conservatives with “...had anyone told me that a Canadian government would purposefully shut down science ...,” yah, there is no science left! In reality, priorities change from time to time and choices are made by our leaders on what to spend our money on, what to research.
“Some scientists have been required to change their results because the results are politically inconvenient,” Parker claims. Probably their “results” were very “politically correct,” i.e. liberal garbage. “Others” are (were) complaining about “they can’t voice an opinion even when they are willing to identify it as their own opinion”; for how many was it an auxiliary aim if not their major concern to “get Harper out!”?
Supposedly 15,000 federal scientists were surveyed; he says they were “invited to participate” (in an online survey yet!). So perhaps a hundred or two actually did participate? And “90 per cent of scientists” said this or said that. Wow!
Can faux science be more obvious than that? “Here is what they found,” he says, speaking like a lot of science, speaking as though true facts were being presented.
Note that the “findings” were about feelings: “90 per cent...don’t feel they can speak freely to the media,” “37 per cent report...” (we should believe their self-interested “report”?) Did even one object to being questioned about their feelings, did even one suggest scientists should be about objectivity, not subjective opinion?
By the way, why should we pay big salaries to 15,000 to fantasize about, to make models about things like “climate change”? They didn’t save the cod fishery, so what good are they? A thousand or two would probably be plenty.
Douglas Hendrickson,
Bittern Lake

Sign vandalism
October 27, 2015

It is “interesting” to see the “blue-wave” blanketing see how entrenched Alberta is in its “Conservatism,” and see the evidence of Albertans’ blind support of the Federal Conservative status quo.
It was, however, distressing to see how Albertans defaced numerous NDP (Ms. Swampy) election signs in the Heisler-Forestburg area, the incumbent Conservative candidate’s place of residence. These actions reflect poorly, and perhaps unjustly, on Battle River-Crowfoot residents.
What do these defaced signs say about Battle River-Crowfoot’s respect for diversity? And the right to express democratic change during an election?
What does that vandalism say about respect for property and the democratic process?
Is this vandalism an adult version of the Daysland Grads’ defacing of the Wild Rose Candidate’s signs during the provincial election (on Highway #13 at the entrance to Daysland)? That vandalism was just brushed-off as being a “typical teen-age grad thing,” instead of requiring the culprits to make restitution by doing community clean-up, to teach them responsibility for their actions and respect for the democratic process.
How do we explain the sign-defacement during the federal election campaign? And how do we improve respect for diversity?
How do we build a “better” Alberta?
Marion Leithead,

Election comments
October 27, 2015

To add to von Tettenborn’s (Oct. 20) list, here are several more things MP Sorenson said during the Augustana forum, that also need to be refuted/corrected.
1. Youth employment “increased” under Harper. Correction: youth employment was negative, down 1.1 per cent from PM Martin’s era (Stanford and Brennan; 2015).
2. Our universities are at the top globally. He lauded them as “innovative.” Correction: Reuters Top 100 World’s Most Innovative Universities lists only U. of T (#38) and U. BC (#67) in Canada. U. of Alberta ranked #96 in the QS University (Top 100) World Rankings. We are not “at the top”!
3. Praised Prime Minister Harper’s strong “leadership.” Correction: When comparing Canada’s nine Prime Ministers (1946-2014) using 16 criteria (Stats Canada data; Stanford and Brennan 2015) Harper ranked “worst” of the nine. Harper ranked last (or tied for last) in seven categories. In six more categories Harper ranked (or tied for) second last. This data contradicts Sorenson’s claims of Harper’s “leadership” skills.
4. PM Harper has a strong “economic record.” Correction: As Minister of State Finance, Sorenson should be aware that Harper, within two years, turned a surplus of $13.8 billion into a $5.8 billion deficit, and gave Canadians at least seven consecutive deficit budgets (Clark and DeVries; April 2015). Under Harper, real GDP growth fell 1.3 per cent; GDP per capita fell 1.5 per cent; exports fell 2.7 per cent; average growth in personal income fell 2.1 per cent. Stanford and Brennan’s (July 2015) list is extensive. Additionally the CIBC “Job Quality Index” indicates the quality of jobs deteriorated 2.5 per cent. “Invest in Canada” (2014; Fig 4-10) shows Agriculture as “NA,” thereby indicating agriculture’s lack of importance in Harper’s Canada.
Sorenson was very fortunate the moderator chose not to read questions that might embarrass Sorenson, such as the one regarding the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board, dismantled under Harper’s watch. Sorenson was also lucky to avoid having to justify Harper’s “Old Stock Canadians” comment, explain the Senate and robo call scandals, defend the despicable Omnibus Bill, Bills C-23, C-24 and C-51. All in all (aside from some booing) Mr. Sorenson’s Conservative audience let him off pretty easy.
Harper’s biographer, Ibbitson, says Harper “does not like to take directions,” and that he thought he at last had “a job where no one could tell him what to do.” The majority of Canadians, however, thought otherwise, and clearly told Harper he can no longer be Prime Minister. One can only assume the 81 per cent voting for Sorenson are content with Harper’s poor fiscal record. Why are Albertans okay with Harper’s refusal to hold an enquiry into the murdered and missing Indigenous women? And his pitting “Old Stock Canadians” against more recent immigrants (despite the fact that we’re all “immigrants,” except perhaps the aboriginals)? His disregard for Syrian refugees? Why did Albertans condone Harper’s secrecy surrounding the signing of the TPP, which will cost taxpayers multi-billions in “protection” money to farmers, seafood and auto industries, while adding a mere three per cent increase to Canada’s already existing NAFTA agreements (and CETA, if/when CETA is ratified)? NAFTA already costs Canadians millions in ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement Clauses), which allow foreign investors to sue Canada if they feel their expected future profits threatened.
Despite the long list that supports the logic of removing Harper, Albertans supported him...and we are left with the consequences of that Alberta blue wave.
T. W. Leithead,

Wheat Board notes

October 20, 2015

By the time this letter appears in the paper the election will be over and we will know who is the new government. But I want to refute some of the statements made by MP Kevin Sorenson at the all candidates’ forum as quoted in the Oct. 13 issue of The Camrose Booster.
He is using the mantra that his party is using to get the farmers to vote for the Conservatives.
1. He states farmers had to sell to the Canadian Wheat Board and buy their own wheat back. This was only the few who sought niche markets and felt they could do better themselves. They had to buy it back at the suggested PRO (projected total price for that year). The CWB returned approximately 80 per cent of the selling price to the farmer; it took a year to get fully paid for our crop, but after the first year we were getting paid for a crop every year, whereas in 2012, when the old CWB was disbanded, the multinationals have been using a basis (tookage) of $3 to $4 per bushel. A professor at the University of Saskatchewan calculated that the prairie farm economy has lost from $4 to $5 billion since the CWB demise. This has gone to off shore shareholders instead of to the farming community.
2. He stated that pasta plants, malsters and others popping up. In fact, there hasn’t been one new facility established.
3. The central agency that kept the shipping of the right grade at the right time for ships coming to port (the CWB) was dismantled and not replaced by another entity to direct the shipping of prairie grain. Each grain company wanted to ship their own grain and we saw the mix up that produced in ships being lined up at port waiting for the right grain to get loaded, with much demmurage being charged back to the farmers.
4. The federal agriculture minister promised a farmer vote on the CWB question, but after the last election where the Conservative Party received a majority, they reneged and unilaterally dissolved the CWB as we knew it.
Bernie von Tettenborn,

What’s the alternative?

October 13, 2015

Messrs. Schreiber and Vandewoude, it seems, are less than thrilled with the current federal government. Mr. Schreiber wants a government that spends less and Mr. Vandwoude wants one that spends more. Leaving aside the questions of where this money should (or should not) be spent, why don’t we look at the alternative?
Both the Liberals and the NDP are committed to cutting oil production and pipeline construction. They would rather spend billions, if not trillions, pursuing the failed ‘renewable energy’ initiatives that broke Ontario. Not only would this decimate the Alberta economy which relies heavily on oil production, it would double the price of electricity. This isn’t speculation, look at Ontario which, under successive NDP and Liberal governments, went from a ‘have’ to a ‘have not’ province in 12 short years.
I came to Alberta nearly 40 years ago to escape the havoc wrought by the NDP in B.C. I arrived in Alberta as it was recovering from the havoc wrought by the national Energy Program of Mr. Trudeau the Elder. If past behavior is the best indicator of future action then I see nothing good coming from Mr. Mulcair, who wants to give Mr. Vandewoude his government funded daycare (despite numerous studies that show public daycare has a disastrous negative impact on child development) or Mr. Trudeau.
Mr. Harper, whatever his flaws, has kept us afloat (the Canadian ‘middle class’ is better off than the US ‘middle class’ for the first time under Mr. Harper) while the rest of the world is sinking under the combined weight of foolish spending and debt. And he accomplished this while successive Liberal and NDP government wrecked the economy of the wealthiest province in Canada.
Look around you.  Look at what is happening in the US, in Europe, and the Far East. Most of their economies are on the verge of collapse. There are wars and rumours of wars. We have a safe and stable country (for now). Despite pressure from Mssres. Mulcair, Trudeau and their surrogates in the media, Mr. Harper has kept us secure. The Liberals and NDP will not. Mr. Harper may not be perfect (who is?) but he is far better than the alternative.
Dave Gosse,

Muzzling scientists

October 13, 2015

Let me begin by stating that I do not in any way endorse the title of this letter. In fact, growing up in Canada, had anyone told me that a Canadian government would purposefully shut down science and muzzle scientists, I would have never imagined it.
You may recall that back in 2013 I wrote a Second Thought column in which I made the claim that the Canadian government was muzzling scientists and in many cases preventing them from publishing their findings. In this column I indicated that I had received a reply from our Member of Parliament when I sent him a letter on this issue. Here is the key sentence in his reply: “First of all, I reject the premise that our government is muzzling scientists.”
I am taking this opportunity, in light of the MacLean’s article and the Day of Protest held on May 19 this year by federal scientists themselves, to ask once more for the Conservative candidate in this riding to provide his constituents with a reasoned explanation for why muzzling scientists and shutting down science is good for Canada.
Just to remind him of what has been happening, at the day of protest these are some of the examples that were described. Some scientists have been required to change their results because the results are politically inconvenient. Others have said they can’t voice an opinion even when they are willing to identify it as their own opinion. Others have reported that the government sends minders to conferences to monitor and control what our Canadian scientists are saying.
Further to this, over 15,000 federal scientists were invited to participate in an online survey conducted by Environics.
Here is what they found: 90 per cent of scientists don’t feel they can speak freely to the media; 37 per cent report they were prevented from responding to questions from the public and media by public relations staff or management over the past five years; 24 per cent report being directly asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons; 48 per cent are aware of actual cases in which their department or agency suppressed information;
62 per cent feel the best climate change science is not used in policy.
In light of the above, I would like to ask our Conservative candidate to state publicly whether he continues to hold his position of denial with respect to this problem. If he is persuaded that “there may be something to this after all,” I would like to hear his response to the question I originally asked him. Why is this deliberate muzzling of scientists in the best interests of Canada? Now would be a good time to respond to this issue.
To other readers. If this issue has you as outraged as I am, I encourage you to contact the Conservative candidate’s office to request a cogent, reasoned defense of the federal government’s active suppression of the communication of scientific findings. So far, I haven’t seen one.
Tim Parker,

John Howard column

October 13, 2015

I just read John Howard’s column on de-cluttering!  My husband and I have just completed a large portion of de-cluttering our basement/garage after being in our home for just 10 years! I could totally relate to how he felt!  We felt like we were throwing away a part of our past. I finally parted with my wedding dress after 43 years of marriage! Ouch!
John wrote it so well that I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read it! AND I am, like him, in no way OCD! My husband would probably disagree!
Thanks for the great read!
Val Chelmick,


Staying the Course?

October 6, 2015

It seems this needlessly long and expensive election call has already made me tired of politician’s repeated talking point answers to any question by journalists or the public. One has to admit that all are very skilled at avoiding real answers to real questions. With more time I expect there will be more of the same with each group focusing on making the others look incompetent rather than telling us what, and how, they would govern better.
The present governing party continues to insist that the economy is the main concern and they are best at providing continued growth and prosperity. Their record, however, is less than stellar and their priorities beg for an explanation. The recent cut of $ 1.8 million to a medical research program is a point in question. Firstly, this amount of money is peanuts compared to other spending and, secondly, the proud record of Canada’s contribution to medical research seem to be forgotten. Recall the doctors Banting and Best? How about the transplant developments in Toronto and Edmonton as well as the advancements in heart disease treatments at the Edmonton Heart Institute?
This governing party did find $12 million to send observers to the Ukrainian election and $28 million to celebrate the war of 1812. The “crowning achievement” had to be the G20 summit where over $1 billion was spent on security. To be fair, this included the construction of “Fake Lake” and a few “Gazebos” in Tony Clements’ riding to help his re-election campaign. There are a host of other issues such as the “unaccountable $3.1 billion” that we were assured was “certainly well spent.” A smaller item might be the slimy method used to disassemble the former CWB with the assets given to a couple of needy global grain companies. The list can go on and on but it needs to be remembered that all of these “accomplishments” were provided by a party that promised “clean and competent” governance “free of scandals” and “no appointments of political hacks and hangers on to the Senate.” Some of these folks are now in jail.
“Staying the course” will mean much more of the same. Do we really want, need or can afford this?
Horst Schreiber,

Tough decision

October 6, 2015

I have voted for the Conservatives ever since they merged with the Canadian Alliance and the PC Party.  Kevin Sorenson has done a great job since he first started running in 1993. He is a great friend and a great MP.
Then my door bell rang.   Katherine Swampy was standing at my door. She is a proud mother of five children, she was a student from Augusta, and a First Nation leader. She worked very hard to ensure fair elections for the Samson Cree Nation.
Now, I am at a crossroad.  I want a government who puts the middle class first.  I desire a government that builds one million high quality child care spaces. I also desire a government that helps local businesses grow by reducing the small business tax. I desire to help give seniors and loved ones access to the care they need with better long term care and home care. I am a nurse’s aide.  This does matter to me.
I am at a crossroad.  I will have to decide to vote for my friend Kevin or someone who I do not know making promises which I am not sure whether he or she will keep.
This is the first time in 15 years that I have questioned my vote. On October 19 I sure hope that I make the right choice. I sure hope all of you will make the right choice on October 19.  Time will tell what the voter will choose. I sure hope that it will be the right choice.

Lorne Vandewoude,

Buyer’s remorse

September 22, 2015

On Sept. 3, within our province, the inhalation of the general populous’ breath sucked the wind out of the sails of the Notley NDP(s). While Calgarians demonstrated a flaming disregard for the withering PC dynasty as it slowly shifts into the ephemeral world and graveyard of past provincial political parties. This by-election appears as a seismic shift in the coming political spectrum as the populous adjusts its thoughts in search of the next government that will set the direction in the province for what may be the next several decades. Without even waiting for the very first NDP budget, Calgarians have turned away from the government with indifference and unbelief. Albertans are rousing to the futility of the NDP ideology to govern in a world of pragmatic reality, where families are raised and bills paid, where parents desire to give their children every opportunity they can afford. But these opportunities dwindle as jobs are cut and taxes are raised and families stretch to the breaking point.
The NDP currently have the economic acumen of a candy bar vending machine, handing out treats and sweets to their friends without regard nor understanding of the repercussion and devastation this will bring our province. These NDP MLAs for the most part have neither run a business of any kind nor do they have a rudimentary understanding of the dynamics it takes to make a business work. Thus, their fixation on their ideological mantra is understandable, for most of the ND caucus knows nothing else, and it is one way to keep the novelties from running loose.
This blind allegiance to NDP dogma demonstrates our need for the common sense policy of the Wildrose and will become increasingly apparent to even ardent NDP supporters over the next four years. The catch phrase “Buyer’s Remorse” is not just a political quip, but a growing fear within the economic heart of the province. The bright side in all this is that there are only 1,220 more sleeps till we can find satisfactory relief.   
Rob Johnson,

Misleading ads

September 22, 2015

I have just seen the latest attack ad unleashed by the Harper Conservatives. It begins with a smug individual explaining that “We came out of the last recession [2008] faster and stronger than other countries. That was no accident. That was leadership.”
Quite true, and imagine what would have happened had Canada’s banking system not been protected by regulations.
The ad claims that Prime Minister Harper was responsible for the strong regulation that characterized the Canadian banking system at the time of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that devastated the world’s financial system.  This is nonsense. If you Google “Harper” and “bank deregulation” you will see a large number of Canadian newspaper articles that reported that Prime Minister Harper was the strongest proponent of financial deregulation – precisely what fatally weakened the US financial system. It was only due to the fact that parliamentary committees were delaying passage of his legislation to remove these regulations that Canada was not equally impacted by the financial crisis. We are indeed lucky that he did not have time to dismantle the system before the crisis hit.
Of course, how convenient for the Prime Minister to change his tune in light of the world crisis and to announce that it was Canada’s, ergo his, strong financial regulation that protected the Canadian economy.
It is unfortunate that in their efforts to reduce the ease with which Canadians can vote, by imposing regulations that we have never needed before, the Conservatives saw no need to impose a certain level of regulation concerning truth and misleading statements in political advertising. I am no fan of attack ads in the first place, but there should at least be some regulation in place (ironically enough), that prevents ads from intending to mislead, to put it tactfully.
Tim Parker,

Range Road upgrade

September 15, 2015

I would like to voice my concerns over the County of Camrose proposed upgrade of Range Road 200, being the unused road allowance two miles east of Camrose and south of Highway 26 to Highway 13. This development would destroy over a mile of trees (one of the few remaining windbreaks to the east of Camrose) and wetlands. I feel strongly that it’s time the County recognizes that trees are an asset to our county and the environment. Instead of building a road we don’t need, why not save a million plus dollars and save an asset we already have instead of ripping it out? Local residents have enjoyed the wildlife in this area that rely on and need the cover and native habitat that these types of treed areas provide. Unfortunately this habitat is disappearing. As this area is so close to Camrose, it helps to beautify the entrance to the city as well.
It is estimated this road will cost taxpayers between one and two million dollars and not make trucking or transportation any more efficient than it already is. Could not this money be better spent on keeping up existing roads, providing water upgrades to the hamlets, and other needed projects in the county? The approach onto and across Highway 13 will need a significant amount of engineering and dirt work and will involve crossing another railway track. It will be difficult and dangerous for a large truck to pull across the highway from a standstill. There is already a very good route from the east on #26 via 56 to 13 which makes use of the large turning lanes and a controlled railway crossing. If a truck is coming from the west, it would be on Highway 13 already. There are already developed roads on both sides of RR 200 that can be used for light traffic.
We have enough roads in our county and very few trees left. In my opinion, this project would have a high environmental and economic cost, and would add a road that is not needed complete with a dangerous intersection.
Beverly Drever,


Minimum wage

September 8, 2015

I read with interest the articles regarding the Alberta Chamber of Commerce and the Camrose Chamber of Commerce expressing their concern about the proposed change in the minimum wage by the new NDP government. I had also emailed Mr. Hinkley and suggested he canvas local businesses and find out what there feelings were about it. I have done just that and find that it will have a very detrimental affect on businesses large and small in Camrose. Our local member of the legislature has a duty to take the feelings of his constituents to caucus and strongly put it forward. He represents us, the citizens of Camrose/Wetaskiwin and not unions and Ms. Notley. I received a somewhat cavalier reply that my email was not conducive to constructive dialogue which I strongly dispute. I also advised that I pray every night that the rest of Canada will not make the same mistake that happened in Alberta with an NDP government. Four years with a Prime Minister with a sickly, phony smile would be too much. Alberta will be in shambles at the end of the one term that the NDP  will enjoy.
Jim Orr,


Community mailboxes

September 1, 2015

The article last week about community mailboxes was very entertaining, although I don’t think that was the intention. The letter carrier quoted in the article foretold of all the horrific consequences that will come with CMBs including (according to her), a 20 per cent drop in property value should you be unlucky enough to have one in front of your house.  Furthermore, she claimed to have improved the quality of life for anyone lucky enough to live on her route; anything from shovelling little old ladies’ sidewalks to returning lost pets.  I can only speak for myself, but I for one think the horrors that she describes certainly justify our federal government continuing to bankroll Canada Post in perpetuity despite their annual losses of around a quarter of a billion dollars a year.
Landon Lewsaw,


September 1, 2015

I feel compelled to address some misconceptions of what a group of concerned citizens is attempting to accomplish by preservince a historical symbol of nordic sport in Camrose.
First and foremost, a moratorium on the fate of the ski jump is most important. This is a unique opportunity to create something meaningful for the city of Camrose. We are one of only three free standing “in runs” in all of Canada, namely Thunder Bay, Ontario, Can-Olympic Park in Calgary, and Camrose. I see no reason why a quick decision is scheduled for Sept. 8.
I can understand where some homeowners or would be owners may not find the scaffold in full view of their site desirable in its present condition. On the other hand, some people enjoy the view. I can only say, why locate in view of this landmark? I fail to understand why people build or buy adjacent to such areas as the golf course and then complain about golf balls in their yard. I guess you cannot satisfy all the people all the time. The ski scaffold, a “landmark,” certainly.
There was also a coal mine, “Stoney Creek Coal Mine,” close to the same location. As a small boy I walked that valley many times. One day I stopped at the mine and asked if I could see what it was all about. A kindly gentleman by the name of Bruce Munn agreed that I could ride in the coal car pulled by “Shorty” the horse. I rode into the mine shaft to see the miners digging coal. Historical, I guess. Slightly off subject? Consider it ramblings of an old senior.
We are only asking council to consider allowing us or a committee of competent, interested citizen, for time to fully research other alternatives for the ski scaffold. Time is required for that purpose.
With regard to the police officer: strange that since this controversy started an incident mysteriously appeared. Food for thought.
As a lad of 12 years, the year of my first jump, I made many trips up the scaffold with a gunny sack of snow over my shoulder. I don’t recall anyone being concerned for my safety. I sure wasn’t. Is the danger any worse than the two train tressles, one on either side of the scaffold? Maybe we should have the railroads remove them, or the bridge on the ring road. Or how about the liability concerns of the bodies of water in the city of Camrose. Nothing is totally safe.
As for the cost of demolition, no one has given a quote of the total cost for tearing down the scaffold, landscaping that would need to be done, and erecting a significant monument. We have heard a few different quotes for tear down only. Also, no one has an estimate on the cost of keeping the scaffold; we haven’t had time to research that.
I would encourage all interested people, yeas and nays to attend the council meeting on Sept. 8 at City Hall.
Bob Hurlburt,

Re-occurring issues

September 1, 2015

As a taxpayer I would like to address a couple of issues that seem to be re-occurring in our fine city.
We had an older ski jump structure that cannot be used again for various reasons. There is some controversy on what we should do with this structure. The landing field is not long enough to provide safe landing if rebuilt. It’s going to cost the taxpayers a considerable amount of money to have it refurbished and then sit there again without being used. I believe it was last week when a city police officer had to scale the hill and talk some of our city’s younger population down off the structure. I have seen this trespass incident more than once. This took a police officer away from his daily duties and could have possibly caused the City of Camrose to be sued if one of them had fallen and hurt themselves or worse. There have been provisions to try to stop this invasion of property trespass more than once, but they will always find a way to violate this. Lord knows why, I guess if there’s a mountain to climb someone will try it. I’m for taking it down, maybe keeping part of the structure with pictures and placing it in the museum as an exhibit. Our city residents have to travel to Rabbit Hill (Edmonton), Gwynne, Red Deer, in order to ski downhill. The hill could be converted to a downhill slope at minimum and would be used as such.
The second is we constantly see truckloads of rubbish being transported to the dump without a tarp or any coverage over the box. We do have a bylaw officer in the city that should be taking care of these situations as there is garbage flying off these trucks as they drive out to the dump. The City pays a lot of money to have this mess cleaned up on a regular basis and within a week later we find the garbage strewn along the roadside again. I believe there is a littering bylaw in Camrose. I would hope that a City council member would address the problems as we do want to keep our city clean and attractive. I believe the fine should be boosted to $500 for the first offence and raised to about $1,000 and so on in increments, with a court appearance each time. This would take the responsibility of keeping track of the number of offences committed off the officer issuing the ticket. There are dumps where the personnel operating the scale has the authority to issue tickets as they enter the dump area if not covered in some way or another. This action would cause the offender to think twice about using a $20 tarp. I would like to see something done about this as I’m sure other taxpayers would as well.
Rodger Banack,


Toastmasters Holds Open House

September 1, 2015

I want to thank the citizens of Camrose for the support shown to our Camrose Toastmasters club during this past year. Last September our club was in danger of folding due to low membership. We had two returning members and two new members. To remain a chartered club, we were required to have a minimum of eight members. We had until the end of March to achieve eight members or lose our charter. The club rallied and everyone became active recruiters, ending the year with sixteen members. Even more remarkable, our club achieved Presidents Distinguished status; a designation given to clubs that have achieved international goals for educational awards and membership building.
Toastmaster International is a recognized leader in both communication and leadership development, with many Fortune 500 companies setting up corporate clubs because they understand the value to their organization.
“The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.” (; Aug 2015)
The Camrose Toastmasters club is beginning the fall season with an Open House on September 9, at 6:45 p.m., in the Chuck McLean Art Centre (4809 – 52 Street, Camrose). If you are interested in improving your speaking and/or leadership skills, you may wish to observe the toastmaster program in action. We invite you to join us and see if this program might be useful to you. For more information call Joan at 780-781-9927.
Joan Petruk DTM
President, Camrose Toastmasters
Division H Director
District 42


Go for the gold

August 25, 2015

The “Superintendent’s Message” in the County Booster (Aug. 11/15) announced that BRSD is still making twenty-first century learning strategies a priority (i.e. will emphasize the following priorities) despite demonstrations against SLAs, letters, emails, and  phone calls from BRSD students, parents, residents/tax payers, calling for a return to “emphasis” on true excellent academic achievement.
Education Minister Eggen has done nothing to replace Johnson’s IE-fixated ministerial order, so nothing has changed for Alberta’s 600,000 students!
The BRSD announcement means that all our K-12 students are again being used as lab rats in AB Ed’s Inspiring Education/IE failed experiment. Plus, the Grade 3s will be repeating last year’s failed pilot project. Apparently the pilot project results (all reported as “NA” following a drop of 14 per cent in the Grade 3 math exams in 2013) were so abysmal that AB Ed plans to  repeat the project. So Grade 3s across the province will again “guess” (estimate) until they “discover” a “friendly” and/or “comfortable” number, instead of mastering their multiplication tables.
It makes one think of the definition of insanity... repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting different results.
The academic achievement results indicate this IE experiment is a failure. Ryley School had the highest BRSD class average (72.2 per cent) on last year’s provincial diploma exams. Not one Grade 12 class in BRSD attained the SLA “excellence” category of over 80 per cent. Bawlf School, which used to rank in the province’s top-10, ranked 196 out of 410, while Daysland ranked 239. Camrose Comp ranked 139th, and so on ( Yet the BRSD board would have us believe its “Every Student, Every Day, A Success” mantra! This BRSD mission/ mantra dooms our students to failure because no one is a “success” every day!
Most of us would quite frankly settle for each student doing his/her best, so that the end result after 12 years in our classrooms is a graduate who is ready for a “life after school.” Despite 83 per cent of education providers claiming that today’s graduates are adequately qualified for today’s workplace, only 44 per cent of our youth (ages 15 to 29) agree. And only 34 per cent of the employers polled by McKinsey and Co. say that today’s grads are adequately qualified.
Minister Eggen needs to stop the Inspiring Education experiment so that all Alberta students can again take their rightful place provincially, nationally, and globally.
Let’s “Go for Gold in education.”
Marion Leithead,

Volunteers important to train’s success

August 25, 2015

“It was great ... thanks for your patience and understanding with the kids ... a lot of kids will be dreaming about trains tonight.” – Wanda Hampton.
The above quote is from the “Morrin Homecoming 2015” Facebook page. The Mirror Lake Express Train was contracted to attend the homecoming on Saturday, Aug. 8. We asked people to comment on whether we met their expectations for the day.
The quote sums up what makes the volunteers who work the train year after year keep coming back.
Special thanks to these volunteers who helped us this year: Brian Lewis, Ken Morrison, Ken Aldridge, Kevin Hycha, Krista Hayduk, Shona Metivier, Ken and Shauna Feth, Jenny Routhier, Judy Bergstrom, Blake Feth, Nancy Greenside, Murray McLeod, Julie Girard, Florence Blanchette, Dawn Anderson, Allister MacMillan, Greg Chrabaszcz, Tony Metivier and Val Chelmick.
Also a thank you for the support of the Chamber staff, Sharon and Keiara, and the summer students, Brynn, Lauren and Val.
Tom Chelmick,
train committeee chair,


Preserve the ski jump

August 18, 2015

What makes a community unique? What are the defining characteristics and features that set Camrose apart from other communities?
Camrose was settled by many people, including Scandinavians, whose influence and legacies are still in evidence even today. Among them are The Lefse House, a popular eatery featuring authentic Scandinavian fare; the Scandinavian art form rosemaling panels featured prominently on planters on Main Street; several Lutheran churches; Augustana Faculty offering Norwegian studies; the replica Ole Bakken sod-roofed house at the Camrose and District Museum; the more than 100-year-old Camrose Ski Club; and of course the iconic ski jump. The ski jump overlooking the valley reflects and honours our winter athletes, and the grim determination and fortitude of those hardy Scandinavian pioneers.
There are so many personal stories and memories of the ski jump, from students who attended what used to be Camrose Lutheran College, and other skiers in the community. The ski jumpers would draw huge crowds that lined the sides of the jump, and the valley was filled with spectators wrapped in blankets sitting in horse-drawn wagons.
Today, even though it is not used, the ski jump is a comforting presence when walking, running, biking and skiing on the trails.
In North America’s haste to destroy anything that is old, don’t we risk losing our heritage and history that has helped define who we are? Why would the City of Camrose even consider destroying this precious icon? Instead the city needs to preserve the ski jump to celebrate our rich Scandinavian heritage.
Instead of hasty decisions made without proper due diligence, a committee needs to be struck to present a proposal on how best to preserve the ski jump. Let’s be visionaries and not regret that we neglected this most precious symbol of Camrose.
Janice DePaoli,
just an ordinary
taxpaying Camrosian

Camrose ski jump

August 18, 2015

What’s the driving force for a quick decision on the fate of the ski jump? The negative faction has been the most vocal: where are the positive, progressive thinking majority? Speak up!
We know the historical, tourism value of the ski jump is there. Unfortunately, council has opted for a quick decision (Sept. 8); for what reason we can only imagine.
The ski scaffold has been in its present state for twenty-five years with little or no maintenance, forgotten or ignored. The thought of making it usable for other than what it was constructed has only recently surfaced. Surely there is enough merit in considering the possibilities to extend the time for a decision to be made. We need to pursue all avenues, historical societies, tourism departments, government grants, etc.
Money is squandered on projects with much less significance than our “icon.”
We extend an invitation to discuss the merits of saving the ski jump. If interested, please call.
Garry Gibson,
Peggy Shuman,
Bob Hurlburt,
789-672-4004 evenings


August 18, 2015

To the person or persons who left such a beautiful gift in my mailbox; you said it made you smile every time you drove by my yard. How can I ever thank you for the lift it gave me! I like to celebrate the seasons and to watch the windsocks fluttering in the wind. I hope it gives others as much pleasure as it does to you.
Thank you again, enjoy, and God bless!
Molly Rose,

The plight of the Camrose Ski Jump

August 11, 2015

I applaud the City of Camrose for organizing the meeting held July 29 to discuss the fate of the ski scaffold. The scaffold was erected in 1989 to accommodate the Nordic Combined Event of the Provincial Winter Games. This was the third scaffold built as the first one burned down and the second structure was substandard and needed to be upgraded in order to hold the winter games in Camrose.
I was pleased to see a variety of residents at the meeting, some with a passion for ski jumping and some with little or no connection to ski jumping. The opinions as to the future plans for the ski jump were varied; the old guard of ski members or jumpers were, of course, for maintaining the status quo with safety and maintenance being number one priority. At this time, costs are unknown or roughly estimated.
Why should we spend money on a facility that is no longer used? For those people who feel history has value, the answer is obvious. What is Camrose known for historically? A centre with both railways? A city with a generous amount of walking trails? A city with Mirror Lake strategically located in the centre of a beautiful place to live? A well planned city mainly dependent on agriculture? The “Rose City” of Alberta?
I would suggest we are also known as having a strong Nordic base, with a history of a successful skiing background. As history tells us, the first immigrants to the Camrose area were of Scandinavian descsent, hence the cabin of Ole Bakken at the museum. Along with their arrival, they brought the sport or mode of travel over the snow on long boards, or skis. Surely this is history in the making. Camrose was one of a handful of centres with a ski jump and a very active Nordic Ski Club. Did you know that in the 1930s and 1940s the Camrose Ski Club supplied the majority of ski jumpers that made the Banff Winter Carnival the success it was for many years? We were well known for producing Nordic skiers of Olympic calibre. I feel we should be proud of this accomplishment and have it recorded for future generations. I think the ski jump should be preserved so that it can become synonymous to the city of Camrose, as the Pysanka is to Vegreville, the Pierogi to Glendon or the Oil Derricks to Drayton Valley. If you look on the Alberta Tourism site on the internet, there are many cities, towns and villages that have a significant monument erected to honour their historic achievements. What better way than to use an existing structure to commemorate our historic accomplishments?
There are many ways to improve and utilize the existing ski jump. Some good ideas were voiced at the meeting. One in particular, I believe, has merit. Incorporate a spiral staircase in the structure to a substantial observation platform over the top of the scaffold. This would be a focal point for the various walking trails in the valley.
I would hope that City council will deliberate carefully and not rush to a decision that is not reversible.
Bob Hurlburt,

Spending money

August 4, 2015

If history does repeat itself we could be seeing the NDP for at least 16 years at the minimum. I do know that many in the Conservative camp believe that the NDP will be booted out in the next election. They are dreaming of the Conservatives once again ruling Alberta. I really do feel that the Wildrose has a better chance of beating the NDP than the PC Men’s Club. However, we will all have to wait and see what will happen on election day four years from now.
The NDP is doing what any decent NDP party does.  They borrow! If this is a surprise to you, then I would suggest you get your head out of the sand. I have read an article which informed the readers that the Moody’s Investors Service has warned Alberta of a possible down grade to our triple-A-credit rating.  The Wildrose Party’s shadow finance minister, Derek Fildebrandt, warned the NDP to stop ignoring Alberta’s debt.  Now that sort of behavior does sort of look like what the PC Men’s Club was doing before electing its last leader. Finance minister Joe Ceci, recently behind closed doors, authorized borrowing another six billion without the support of the legislature.
Now, Albertans have replaced the PC Party with another party which likes to spend. After running Alberta further into debt, is it possible for history to repeat itself? For many years, Albertans re-voted in a party which seemed to not really care about the average Albertan. They PCs over spent time and time again.  It was only Ralph who put Alberta in the black. After he left, the party seemed to spin out of control. Now, after four years of over spending, will the voters kick the NDP party, like the Conservative camp seems to think, or are they going to re-vote them in election after election until nobody wants to lend to us? Time will tell which the voters will chose. Let us hope the voters will make the right choice.
Lorne Vanderwoude,

Freedom of Speech

July 28, 2015

What happened to free speech?  Jerry Agar in his column in the June 20 edition of the Edmonton Sun asked just that. I always thought that we had a freedom to express ourselves. But in reality this is not true.
It seems to me and Jerry that freedom of speech and religion are under attack. Just see how many places will allow you to express your gay beliefs but how dare a Christian express (his/her) beliefs.  Praying in a public place is often looked down on. Yet, in the past years, I have seen from my taxi car very inappropriate words and actions that would make a nun blush.
So where is the fairness in all of this? If we do have free speech, I sure am missing it very badly. If I am missing something, please someone write and enlighten us all. I am waiting for your letter.
Lorne Vanderwoude,

Control your animals

July 28, 2015

In answer to the letter which was written to the editor in regards to people letting their pets use their property and the boulevard for their animals to pee and poop on. I am fairly certain that there is no point in complaining to your councillor or to the City of Camrose. Most pet owners have backyards; they should use that area for their dogs. If owners do not have a back yard there are off leash areas that the City has provided for the exercise of your dog. If pet owners would use these areas we would not have dog poop and pee in our parks, school grounds and private lawns. So come on Camrose pet owners, don’t be so lax; take your dog to the off leash area and be a friendly considerate neighbor.
Mary Caunt,


Magna Carta

June 30, 2015

Malone’s guest editorial (“800 Privileged Years”; June 9/15) begs a reflective response that challenges his premise that the Magna Carta has categorically, in Canada, provided the “finest political practice that exists in the world today.”
King John, in 1215, put his seal on the Magna Carta under duress, to avoid civil war. He later reneged on that agreement. Despite this, the Magna Carta survived and was subsequently respected throughout much of the world. The United States, for example, venerates and respects the Magna Carta, yet, that has not translated into Magna Carta rights for African Americans. Nor does the proposed Bill C-45 translate into Magna Carta rights for Canadians. Canada’s Aboriginals have not benefited from Canada’s interpretation of the Magna Carta either, as verified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.
The former PC government in Alberta has moreover created legislation (e.g. Carbon Capture and Storage Act; the Alberta Land Stewardship Act/ALSA, and the Land Assembly Project Area Act) that make a mockery of those hard-won rights of the English feudal barons. Alberta legislation actually obliterates, and violates, the democratic rights that this ancient harbinger guaranteed British citizens.
Even though this 800-year-old harbinger of democracy elsewhere has guaranteed those rights for centuries, Alberta’s recent legislation contradicts the Magna Carta rights and strips Albertans of both our democratic and property rights. Instead of guaranteeing Albertans those ancient charter rights that stipulated “no free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possession, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way… except by the lawful judgment of his equals,” under the PC’s Land Stewardship Act a Minister has the power to rescind/ extinguish property rights, acquire, and use private property for a “public project.” And in the case of a land ownership dispute and/or a disagreement, if in the minister’s “opinion” a landowner “is doing, or “is about to do any act or thing…directed toward committing an offense” to protect his/her rights and/or property, the minister has the power to “take whatever measure the minister considers necessary to carry out the terms of the enforcement order.
The Alberta landowner still has no recourse to an independent hearing, or “the lawful judgment of his equals” guaranteed by the Magna Carta, because the Alberta Land Stewardship Act prevents Albertans having recourse to the courts.
Under current legislation, the Magna Carta’s “privileges” do not exist for Albertans.

Marion Leithead,

Kind hearted actions

June 30, 2015

On June 8 Const. Woodall of the Edmonton Police Service was killed performing his duties as a police officer. This tragedy affects all front line responders. As an organization with close ties and strong relationships with the Edmonton Police Service, we at the Camrose Police Service were impacted as well. On the day of Const. Woodall’s funeral, police officers from Camrose were honoured to march in the procession and to take over traffic and security duties, thereby allowing Edmonton officers to attend the services.
On the days leading up to the funeral our organization was humbled by the outpouring of compassion we heard and saw from the citizens of Camrose. From the flags at half mast, to the flowers and treats dropped off, to the anonymous tearful phone call simply saying “thanks for doing what you do,” your compassion and empathy was truly felt and appreciated.
Please know that your kind hearted actions and support helped all of us through an emotional experience.

D.L. Kambeitz,
Chief of Police


Personal apology

June 30, 2015

I am writing this letter with the sincere hope that City councillor Sears and the rest of the council will accept my personal apology from the remarks made by me about the bus offered to the Rose City Handi-van Society.
I should have said the statement from Councillor Sears was an “offer” rather than a “bribe.”
I truly regret any hard feelings this may have caused.
The City of Camrose council works hard to provide services to its citizens as does the Rose City Handi-van Society with the help of the City.
Iris Baker, president,
Rose City
Handi-van Society


Stoney Creek Lodge

June 2, 2015

In reference to an article in the Booster dated May 12 regarding Stoney Creek Lodge closing. The Stoney Creek Lodge was built in 1960 and renovated in 1992. It could be home to 60 seniors.
In March, 2013, residents in the north wing were told they’d have to move to the other rooms as sprinklers were being installed. Then central wing was moved due to sprinklers being installed. To this day, sprinkers were never installed. Stoney Creek Lodge received a government grant for sprinklers.
On April 13, 2015, residents were told at a residents’ council meeting that the lodge would be closing permanently at the end of May.
On April 21, residents were told that you, you and you pack your boxes, the movers are coming on April 23 and 24 to move them to Bashaw Lodge. An incentive was given to these residents of free rent until the completion of the Rosealta addition.
This left four residents remaining. On April 23, two of those residents were told where they would be placed and not to tell anyone. On April 24, the remaining two were told one was going to Rosealta and one to Deer Meadows. Their incentive was rent, meals, laundry to remain the same as Stoney Creek Lodge.
The numbers have declined at Stoney Creek Lodge because no new applications have been accepted since March, 2013.
Why was this closure not done in conjunction with the opening of the Rosealta addition?
According to the Landlord and Tenants Act, a tenant must be given three months of written notice but this does not apply to lodges. These residents were given two days of notice.
Our seniors were not treated properly. They were uprooted several times in a short span. This is elder abuse and shame, shame on those people responsible for this closure.
Lorraine Oslanski,



May 19, 2015

As the Wildrose candidate for Battle River-Wainwright, and now as the MLA for our riding, I want to express my sincere gratitude to every person who exercised his or her right to vote in the recent election – regardless of the Party.
In a democracy, we all know the way a man or woman marks a ballot reflects what he or she is thinking. It’s an opportunity to say what we think, and to know what we say will be acted upon.
Thank you to the many volunteers, donors, and workers. It is your efforts that ensure a provincial election campaign can be filled with vibrant debate.
According to Elections Alberta, about one and one half million people cast ballots. A million more could have voted, but chose not to. That’s interesting because in most provincial elections, including this one, the margin of victory in many ridings is so narrow that province-wide, fewer than 10,000 additional votes going one way or another could easily shift more than a dozen ridings from one Party to another. Small numbers of voters can have a big impact!
The Wildrose Party had five seats when the last legislative session was dissolved. We will hold 21 seats in the upcoming session. You have decided that the Wildrose will be the Official Opposition. It’s an important and essential responsibility, and one that my Wildrose colleagues and I take seriously. I promise that we will discharge that duty with the utmost determination, always respecting your interests as a voter, and as a taxpayer.
My sincere best wishes to candidates Ron Williams, Blake Prior, and Gordon Naylor; to Rachel Notley, our new Premier; to Brian Jean, Leader of the Official Opposition; and to each and every MLA who will be part of the next session of the Alberta legislature.
Yours truly,
 Wes Taylor, MLA
Battle River-Wainwright

Three kinds of politicians

May 19, 2015

There are three kinds of politicians – conservatives, those who call themselves “Liberal” or “Progressive-Conservative” and pretend to be conservatives, and those who are obviously not conservatives, the outright socialists. Socialists (NDP) may appear more honest than the liberals who claim to be conservative (at least economically), yet historically have proven to be ultimately dishonest in that they cannot deliver the utopians they promise.
Basically, those who are conservative will allow nothing liberal. In the May 5 election we saw that nobody wants to vote for those espousing liberalism, especially if they are pretending to be conservative. The PCs have fooled the people with that pretense long enough; the people became fed up with and refused to vote for that outright lie. (And a few other things!)
The virtue of conservatism is that it recognizes that some government is necessary, yet refuses to take more out of people’s pockets more than the minimum required for safety and other basics like education and health care. What needs to be better recognized is that you do not “protect education and health care” by having many times the number and levels of bureaucrats required. The path our last government followed meant resources were mis-directed and did not reach the front lines of actually providing for the people.
If no one will vote for liberalism by name, it seems many can be convinced to try an ultra-liberalism called NDP. A lot of people will recognize it is socialism they opted for, yet may think “it might not be all that bad.” Or “it might not be that bad all,” that it is not really communism. Whereas we can now expect the waste to become mountainous and the economy to severely decline.
Douglas Hendrickson,

History repeats itself

May 19, 2015

History does have a habit of repeating itself. The year 2015 is called the orange crush. As we are all aware, the PC Party was stomped out after 44 years of being in power.
In 1905, the Liberals were swept into power with Rutherford at the helm. On July 18, 1921, farmers and miners disenchanted by old line parties like the Liberals, voted in the United Farmers. In 1935, due to a sex scandal, Brownlee was voted out by a 81 per cent voter turnout. The Social Credit swept into power. On August 30, 1971, Lougheed, swept into power.  His party lasted 44 years.
Are you seeing a pattern?  If this pattern holds, we could be having the NDP for 16 to 44 years.  It depends on if the NDP messes up or not. If I have read the leader right, we will be seeing orange for a very long time.
History does repeat itself. So, make yourself comfortable. You will be waiting a very long time for the next change.
Lorne Vanderwoude


Speak out

May 5, 2015

Alberta Education’s Speak Out Conference scheduled to be held in Edmonton April 17 to 19 was cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Further comments from Alberta Education communications staff tie cancellation to the provincial election, yet this same conference occurred during the 2012 provincial election period.
The Speak Out Conference helps students to develop voice, leadership, volunteerism, initiative, critical thinking and citizenship. All of these are building blocks for thriving communities.
The student organizers, the 200 to 300 student registrants, and the families and school divisions supporting them deserve a more reasonable outcome. I encourage Alberta Education and student leaders to find a way forward for this spring’s conference. This is a poignant leadership opportunity.
Maureen Parker,

Important work

May 5, 2015

I am very grateful for the important work the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton does. I recently found an injured porcupine on my parent’s acreage south west of Tofield. Many people may wonder why I would help an injured porcupine, or even care about one. Porcupines are extremely gentle and shy animals who like to quietly go about their business. It is a myth that porcupines throw their quills. In order for a porcupine’s quills to come out, they must come into contact with something. The quills stick to the object/animal that touched them, and are pulled out. So, when people claim a porcupine “attacked my dog,”  it simply isn’t true.  What actually happened is their dog attacked the porcupine and the quills came out when the dog bit, therefore serving their purpose of protecting the porcupine and saving it’s life.  Porcupines are fascinating, absolutely adorable animals.  But even if they weren’t gentle or adorable, I still would have cared about and helped the injured one I found. No animal deserves to suffer, whether it is a domestic pet, a livestock animal, or a wild animal. Every animal deserves help and treatment when ill or injured, regardless of species. So, I attempted to very gently herd the porcupine into a storage bin (with air holes in it of course) with a shovel. When that plan failed (he wouldn’t go in), I moved to Plan B. Wearing thick gloves, I picked him up behind his armpits and simply lifted him into the bin and placed him on top of the comfortable blanket for the long car ride. I then drove him to WRSE for an exam and treatment/rehabilitation. Each year, WRSE takes in over 1,500 injured and orphaned wild animals for treatment. Some of these animals include deer, owls, ducks, hares, squirrels, woodpeckers, beavers, ravens, and many more. The majority of injuries obtained by wildlife are caused by humans or things built by humans. Unintentional injuries are caused by collisions with vehicles, electrocutions on power lines, attacks by off leash dogs and free roaming cats (in Canada alone, domestic cats kill approximately 140 million birds and mammals every year), barbed wire, and flying into windows. And, unfortunately, some causes of injuries are intentional, inhumane, and extremely cruel. These include leg hold traps, snares, poisoning (including when animals such as eagles feed on carcasses of animals who were shot with lead ammunition), drowning, and blunt force trauma. I am so happy that WRSE exists and helps wildlife in distress. My hope is that this letter will bring awareness of WRSE and wildlife rehabilitation to anyone who doesn’t know it exists.  In a world where our wild animals constantly battle loss of habitat, lack of legislation to protect them, and injuries caused by us, it is our responsibility and obligation to help them out when we find them in trouble.  For more info, or to make a donation, visit or call 780-914-4118.
Leah Daoust,


Supreme court ruling

April 28, 2015

I was amazed to hear on the TV news that the Supreme Court was against prayers being spoken before meetings of city councils and other governing bodies.
With the cases that come regularly before the courts and judges, I would have thought they would be very aware that our country needs help from a source outside ourselves that is a whole lot smarter than we are. Governing bodies, be they government, cities, towns or counties, need wisdom for the decisions that they must make that affect the lives of the rest of the people that live in this country. There is no other source of wisdom available so where are leaders to go if this source is ruled out of bounds for them?
I pray that this ruling will be reversed and that the Supreme Court would, itself, seek this same wisdom for the decisions they need to make.
I will no doubt be criticized for this stand but I believe what the bible says in Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” I love Canada, my country, and I want God to choose us for His inheritance.
Grace Kells

Camrose streets

April 28, 2015

One word describes most of the streets in Camrose: atrocious. Not much left but patches and most of those are bumps. How difficult is it to fill a pothole and have it reasonably level with the existing asphalt? Another thing: when new asphalt is placed should it not be in the contract that man hole covers be raised to the proper height?
 Walmart – why are people parking in the restricted fire lanes? Sitting behind the wheel doesn’t make it legal. Not enough parking space in a couple of acres? Too bloody lazy to walk? Maybe Mayor Mayer should find out why the bylaw officer isn’t doing his job, or whoever should be doing this. If not, take the signs down and let everyone have a go.
Concerning the handicapped parking spaces, it is time someone checked the validity of these permits. Ninety-nine per cent of people using them look okay to me. Does the permit belong to grandma and the whole family gets to use it? It must be nice to have your own private parking spot wherever you go, right?
P. Kelly,
Spruce Grove


The system is broken

April 28, 2015

As I talk with people about government and this upcoming election, it doesn’t take long to realize that this political system is broken and it cannot be fixed. People are tired of the promises to reset this political thing, which always ends up in utter disappointment, making the people realize the politicians are in this thing, only for the money. The last budget was nothing but a tax grab on the poor, while leaving corporations untouched. I’m very concerned about our young people, being that more and more are being laid off with no hope of finding jobs. Don’t blame the price of oil for this either, you have to point to mismanagement on the part of the government from a long way back. A good example of this is pensions: there are probably more people being paid after retirement than there are that work. This becomes dead money. The young have to work to pay the old. Health care is the same: it’s a dead horse that they keep on flogging. The bottom line is, this thing has come to an end. It just won’t work anymore.
But here is a light at the end of the tunnel: we are moving ahead with a New Republic under Common or Natural law. It’s called the Republic of Kanata, and we are moving ahead with this in May. We will be holding informational meetings in most places in Alberta. Everyone has a say, everyone is sovereign, everyone is invited.
Sitting on your hands and watching your government destroy us is not acceptable. If you would like to have info, be free to call me, Lloyd Albers, at 780-608-7511 or 780-877-2631 and let’s talk. You won’t be sorry, thanks for reading.
Lloyd Albers,

A few questions

April 14, 2015

Kingman REA is considering selling their assets to Fortis Alberta.                                                                                       I agree with the Board of Directors that it isn’t feasible to carry on in the current form.
While the REA volunteers have done an amazing job to this point, the complexities of today’s power line industry require professional management.                                                                                                                       The information meeting held at the Kingman Hall on March 28 left me with a few questions.
Questions that could have been asked at the meeting and information around statements made.
Fortis stated that they have many people (PLTs) I believe the number was thirty within a half an hour available to restore power.
How many customers do these PLTs look after?                                                                                                             There are some major industrial customers and more concentrated residential customer areas close to us that come into play.
Use of contractors to supplement Fortis staff if need was also mentioned.                                                                      I worked for various power line contractors in Alberta from 1971 until 2008 and we worked for whoever was prepared to pay us. Most utilities have mutual aid agreements in the event of catastrophic events.                                                                      In my mind contractors and mutual aid are nonissues.                                                                                                    Cost of pole change was also mentioned and the answer was that Fortis would be able to spread the cost over a wider customer base.                                                                                                           
My question for this is how many more poles and upgrades are planned in the Fortis system? More customers to share the cost as well as significantly more costs to share.
Alberta being the only place where REAs exist was mentioned.                                                                                      While Alberta may be only place in Canada where REAs exist, REAs in the United States are common. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has over nine hundred members serving forty two million people.                                                                                                          
REAs are a cooperative and there are many examples of successful cooperatives in Alberta and Canada. The major question in my mind is the REA is only accepting the potential purchaser’s value for the assets not pursuing other options or getting an independent assessment of the value of the system.                                        The Fortis representatives at the meeting were professional, pleasant and polite, remember they work for Fortis not the REA.
The decision regarding sale at the April 18 meeting will be made by majority of the members present, it is important that you attend.
Larry Flemming,
member of Kingman
REA for 32 years 

Cut some slack

April 14, 2015

Today, my daughter and I drove to Camrose for an appointment. On our way back out of the city, we were stopped by a red light on the hill heading east. We were a little slow pulling away from the light, a circumstance that appeared to be a problem for a lady in a black car who was behind us. She saw the need to pass on the inside and shout in through the open window, “Learn to drive!” She then moved into the lane to turn left, and graced us with an inappropriate hand gesture as we passed by. I would just like to clarify, for the benefit of that lady: that’s exactly what the driver of our yellow car was doing. My 15-year-old daughter was driving in heavy traffic for the first time.  She had never done a hill start before. She was driving a vehicle with a standard transmission.  Given the circumstances, I thought she did a pretty good job. What ever happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt? Would showing a little bit of patience really have been so hard? We don’t know anything about the strangers in the vehicles around us; maybe we should all cut each other just a little bit of slack.
Emma C Allen,

Unsatisfied Albertans

March 31, 2015

Already former Wildrose, Conservative, and Liberal voters have taken New Democrat signs, made donations to my campaign and said they are voting NDP because we have an excellent leader in Rachel Notley and a strong slate of candidates. Talking with people about the upcoming election I sense a lot of hostility and anger about the attempted tax grabs from low and middle income families while the Conservatives protect their wealthy friends and corporations with tax breaks.  Many have told me they feel this electoral district will be one changing its MLA. I am not totally surprised, judging from the results of the last election when the Conservatives received only 43 per cent of the popular vote. Almost 60 per cent of Albertans are not voting for other candidates.  People are fed up with the excuses for poor Conservative fiscal management.
Many are choosing Rachel Notley for Premier and you will want me as your MLA if “you” want: your property rights protected; education properly funded; efficient, comprehensive health care; fair progressive taxation; low municipal taxes; jobs and a diversified economy; fair oil royalties; lower electricity bills; responsible, sustainable economic development; balanced budgets; reinvestment in the Heritage Trust Fund and a government working for the benefit and prosperity of all Albertans.
Join the winning team by volunteering ( and donating (Box 6402, Wetaskiwin, AB, T9A 2G1).
Bruce Hinkley
New Democrats

Theatre shuttle bus

March 24, 2015

Driving to Camrose from Calgary on Saturday morning to see the The Wizard of Oz, I wondered why a connecting bus link hasn’t been established to convey theatre travellers from the major Greyhound points to one of the best theatre cities in the province – Camrose!
I drove this time but would love to take in more of the theatre events around the province and especially in Camrose now that the Bailey Theatre has been beautifully renovated and the new Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre has opened. I would love to let the knowledgeable and capable bus driver handle the winter roads so that I could just look forward to the enjoyment of phenomenal talent of our Alberta youth and adult performance groups and individuals.
Is a bus link possible? Can groups of seniors look forward to sharing the excitement of live theatre in Camrose?
Well done to all the Camrose citizens who have worked diligently to foster inclusive theatre excellence for interested Camrose performing art enthusiasts!
Kathy Newman,

Market surprise

March 24, 2015

Imagine our surprise when our vendors and customers read the article “Society proposes farmers’ market use for the old fire hall.” For the record, any rumours that the Camrose and District Farmers’ Market held on Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. is moving downtown to the old fire hall are at best premature, if not outright erroneous.
While it is an interesting notion, there have been no official discussions or presentations made to either the board or our membership, who will have the final say in any such an important decision.

John Girvan,
Camrose and District Farmers’ Market


Did you look in the mirror today?

March 17, 2015

Premier Jim Prentice blames Alberta’s sorry, slumping economy on you, your parents, your kids; in fact, on almost all Albertans. But the economic mess the Conservative government is in is not due, according to him, to Conservative fiscal mismanagement, Conservative poor economic decisions, failure to maintain the Heritage Trust Fund, collecting a fair share of oil royalties, collecting corporate taxes or the unfair flat tax, or the failure to diversify the economy.  Oh no!  It is the fault of Albertans, and if you are one of those responsible for Alberta’s worst economic circumstances in 50 years just look in the mirror, for that is the person Jim Prentice feels is responsible.
NDP leader Rachel Notley has responded that when Albertans look in the mirror they see someone who is working hard to make ends meet, someone who does not want their loved ones suffering as they wait to be seen for unending hours in an emergency room, someone who cares that his or her kids get a quality education and have a bright future in front of them. If rich Mr. Prentice looked in the mirror he would see a leader who is telling Albertans they will pay more to get less, while giving their money away in tax breaks to profitable foreign owned corporations and wealthy Albertans. He would see a leader who insists Albertans have enjoyed the “best of everything,” while turning a blind eye to our bursting emergency rooms, overcrowded schools and seniors waiting for a long-term bed. Notley thinks if Prentice was honest he would take a long look at the PC record and realize he cannot blame hard-working Albertans for PC mistakes and failures.
Prentice does blame Albertans and he will punish us with a possible provincial sales tax, bring back health care premiums, and add a five cent per litre tax on gasoline.  He will not tax the under taxed corporations or rich big shots.
It is time for a New Democrat government with new energy, new vision, fiscally responsible leadership for a prosperous Alberta. If we had a progressive tax we would garner $2 billion per year, if we raised corporate taxes the province would earn another $2 billion and even a slight increase to royalty rates would add $3 billion to the budget.
Bruce Hinkley
Wetaskiwin-Camrose New Democrat candidate


Answers for a Millionaire

March 17, 2015

So I thought I would write this little note with some practical suggestions for fixing the fiscal problems we find ourselves in.
1.    In “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” you can phone a friend to give you ideas so I have included my phone number because I have lots of ideas 780-374-2463.
2.    Or you could do the “Survivor” series and your plethora of executives/administrators could vote one of their own off the cruise ship PC each week until the budget is balanced.
3.    Or we could start our own version of the Trump series the “Apprentice.” Those in executive positions that don’t perform are out. I mean like only one at a time.
4.    The reduction of a bloated management level could be reduced to levels similar to those found in the private sector from their three  workers to every manager to more of a 12 workers for every manager.
5.    You could take and actually hold your management accountable; if they are not performing they are fired.  This would include their thoughtless roaming charges.
6.    Institute a closed design to build process for capital projects where any costs over runs are eaten by the company.
7.    Corporate welfare –  well your friends in the oil patch will love you, but picking losers is a known budget wrecker. So stop that! In Alberta we pay people to store carbon underground while in Saskatchewan they pay for the carbon. Why? 
Rob Johnson
Daysland AB