Rich west

May 10, 2022

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

Salute to volunteers

April 26, 2022

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

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

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

Colleen Nelson,
Volunteer Coordinator,
Bailey Theatre

Auto insurance

April 26, 2022

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

Jim Orr,
Camrose

Vaccinated juries

April 12, 2022

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

Plentiful, pitiful

April 12, 2022

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

Well done

April 12, 2022

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

Better education

April 5, 2022

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

Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Soft stance

April 5, 2022

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

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Democracy sham

March 29, 2022

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

Ukrainian War

March 29, 2022

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

Draft curriculum

March 22, 2022

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

Growing violence

March 22, 2022

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

Stressful lives

March 22, 2022

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

Leadership questioned

March 15, 2022

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

Better opinions

March 15, 2022

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

Trucker’s protest

February 22, 2022

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

Freedom Convoy

February 22, 2022

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

Power corrupts

February 22, 2022

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

Gas and oil

February 15, 2022

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

Truckers or protesters

February 15, 2022

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

Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

No leader

February 8, 2022

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

World tension

February 8, 2022

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

History repeats

February 8, 2022

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

Know risks

February 1, 2022

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

Limit growth

February 1, 2022

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

Build trust

February 1, 2022

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

Trust experts

January 18, 2022

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

Rural Alberta

January 18, 2022

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

Accepting vaccines

January 11, 2022

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

We need better

January 11, 2022

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

Different opinions

January 11, 2022

The past two years have convinced me that there are a few people who think they have a right to belittle others who think differently from themselves (and this is after a 10-year campaign to fight bullying). I just want to say that I think they are wrong, and that intelligent and free-thinking people will allow others to think freely for themselves.
Regrettably, it could be said that many freedom lovers have allowed a belittling, self-righteous attitude to interfere with their free-thought process, under the fake fear or pandemic propagated by adults acting like spoiled children, in my opinion, and these adults seem unable to decipher truth from lies, yet willingly agree with lockdowns, support vaccine test-trials that showed 80 per cent side effects, even death, and wear an impractical face covering, which limits one’s ability to breath fresh air and be healthy.
My hope is that people will not live in fear, but be able to reevaluate whether their position has merit or excellence and is not just repeating a false view spouted by self-righteous puffs of smoke. It is also nonsensical to wear a face-rag and hope to not spread a virus. In any case, I and others have the right before God and man to have our opinions regarding our lawful freedoms and health treatments.
Many reputable doctors like Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Tom Cowan, and Dr. Vladimir Zelenkow believe COVID-19 and most viruses can be cured if given proper treatment, along with vitamins that increase one’s immune vitality. Many hospitals putting people on respirators and giving them remdesivir (a high-priced drug treatment) has been somewhat proven to decrease their chance of survival.
Furthermore, what the government spokespeople have called a “safe vaccine” is better called “inoculation”, for the germs put into these inoculations (being graphite and other ills) can change daily because they are under an emergency mandate and not subject to the safety trials used in years gone by.
Also, millions will die due to these emergency approved inoculations called vaccines–possibly a million have already died.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Wake up

December 28, 2021

One should never confuse common sense with plain ignorance. By any reasonable measure of public opinion applied to anyone who isn’t wearing a tinfoil hat, our premier is at it again. What’s next, is he going to declare this is the best winter ever?
Once again, I ask our MLA Jackie Lovely to do something. Anything. To stand up to her leader and fellow MLAs in the UCP caucus and demand Jason Kenny step down. His approval rating is at 22 per cent with good reason. He’s alienated not only the progressives of every political stripe, but he’s once again flip-flopping and pandering to the lowest common denominator of his not so United Conservative Party. The rabid anti-vaxxers. This at a time when we see infection rates in the UK and US rise dramatically.
He is damaging our province and turning it into an international laughingstock. He says that he’s pro-business and pro-investment. He isn’t or he has a childlike grasp of economic issues affecting business. What business can operate when people don’t want to live in the province because they can’t access health care? How are those businesses going to staff their companies? It’s not only health care. The government is picking fights with unions, teachers, EMS dispatch, municipalities, the tech sector (oh wait, they decided they actually like them now…oh and they want the film industry back too, after eliminating tax incentives, but that is a whole other letter), and the UCP literally spends millions on a very public witch hunt to weed out people the premier and his cronies call “un-Albertan”? Oh, and he spent even more money on a couple of referendum questions that didn’t amount to a hill of beans. Yeah, and don’t forget about the UCP promising foreign coal companies a green light to mine in protected areas without public consultation…oh and straight up giving away billions in loans and tax breaks to profitable oil companies.
Yet, we hear time and again that “good old conservatives” are the best of all options. Perhaps it’s not just our premier who shouldn’t confuse common sense with plain ignorance. It’s the blind followers of a broken party who need to wake up as well.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Grateful senior

December 28, 2021

Recently, I had the misfortune of falling and found myself in need of medical help. My husband called the ambulance and within 10 minutes, it arrived.
Two young paramedics assessed the situation and very quickly and efficiently had me on my way.
Upon arrival at St. Mary’s Hospital, I was taken into the emergency section, where I received excellent care from the nurse and the doctor on call.
The same efficient care was received in x-ray. It was determined that I would need surgery, but it would not happen that day. My arm was wrapped and put in a sling and I was sent home.
About 8:30 a.m. the next day, I got a call from the clinic to tell me to be at St. Mary’s Hospital by 10:30 a.m. That afternoon, I had my surgery at about 2 p.m. I received such good care during my stay. I wish to thank the emergency staff, Unit 1 staff, OR staff and Unit 5 staff.
These days, the news is filled with “bad news” stories. I wanted to share a good news story: how lucky we are in Canada to have such a good healthcare system.
Gladys Kupka,
Camrose

Face masks

December 28, 2021

Thank you Tim Belec for your letter debunking the nonsense in recent letters to The Booster: nonsense that included calling masks “face rags” which is uncouth; degrading the polio vaccine, how unconscionable; equating COVID to the common cold.
In the words of the greatest philosopher who ever lived, “There ain’t no cure for stupid.”
Yvonne Wagar,
Camrose

Lending Place

December 14, 2021

Thank you very much (to The Booster) for the fine job in writing up the early story about Lending Place for The Christmas Super Booster: Lending Place breaking down barriers (November 23, 2021).
The article was very generous in information and the concept was well illustrated with the photograph about the beginning inventory with Erhard Pinno, Julie Girard and Glenys Smith, and also reference to how Janet Enns is finding new methods for appropriate technology in health (PATH).
We have received several calls of interest and donations as well as promise of some financial support– all good news and a wonderful prelude to Christmas!
We appreciate what you do for community well-being through your many good news stories.
With Season’s Best,
Jane Ross,
Camrose County

Seek truth

December 14, 2021

The so-called debate over COVID-19 has ranged from the irritating to the bizarre. Recently, thousands of people in the US and Canada are buying dirt from a bog in Ontario and are ingesting it, bathing their children in it and rubbing it all over their bodies because it claims to be a natural cure. The dirt was found to have high levels of lead and arsenic. An opinion in “Letters” recently follows some of the same crazy. Claims that Italy, one of the worst stricken jurisdictions in the early days of COVID-19, has changed it’s mortality down from 33,000 deaths to 3,000 are false. The official pandemic death toll in Italy is over 132,000 souls. The Italian National Institute of Health calls this downgraded claim “completely wrong”. Go to their website and see for yourself, or see Reuters Fact Check, USA Today, or Italy’s National Statistic Institute or read the Politifact interview with Mirella Taranto from Italy’s National Health Institute. Also, India has had 34.6 million cases of COVID-19 with 470,000 deaths.
This number may actually be as high as four million. This under-reporting is attributed to administrative chaos caused by the overwhelming amplitude of the second wave they experienced. Analysis by the Centre for Global Development and researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found the numbers could be as much as 3.4 to 4.7 million COVID attributed deaths. As for vaccines, there was too much misinformation listed in Just Sayin’ to know where to start. Polio is caused by the polio virus. Menengitis is caused primarily by a number of bacterial infections including Haemophilus influenza type b, Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These can be very serious and can lead to brain damage or death. There is also viral meningitis, or aseptic meningitis. This is usually mild and clears up on it own in a week or so. Vaccines against bacterial meningitis are highly effective and very safe. As for masks, they are a simple and effective precaution against infection. Stop getting your information from Facebook and certainly not from the people giving opinions in the newspaper, including mine. Seek out multiple reputable sources, trust the scientific method and review process, and lastly, use your common sense. Certainly, people who cherry pick facts to fit their silly narrative can not be trusted.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Bright lights

December 7, 2021

I am not the only one who complains about lights that are too bright while driving and the problem is much simpler than most people believe. It is simply a matter of aiming the lights properly. If the light, no matter how bright, is aimed to strike the road as it was intended, then it won’t bother other drivers.
President Ronald Reagan listened to the auto manufacturers lobbying about headlight regulations. The manufacturers then put all kinds of expensive crazy shaped lights on cars and convinced people they could see better with brighter lights, which was all hogwash.
Up until that time, all autos sold in the US and Canada, by regulation, used the standard simple sealed beam lamps that came into use in the 1930s. These headlight lamps used two simple screws on the front of the holder to adjust them up and down and to the side. These simple lamps were nearly always adjusted properly, so driving at night was a pleasure.
 The 25-watt bulbs gave off plenty of light and used about a quarter per cent of the power needed to drive the car, so there was no need to improve on them. Now they are difficult to adjust and nobody knows that the problem is in the headlight aiming. It is not caused by the height or size of the vehicle. It is not caused by the amount of lumens, as the eye can adapt from starlight to sunlight, so 10-times brighter lights look no brighter than the old lights. It is only the aiming.
The government does not check lights like they used to. It would not be difficult to organize roadside checkpoints. I was checked several times before, during my three million kilometres of driving over the years before Reagan. If enough people complained, the government could easily have lights checked and aimed. I suppose the government is afraid of the anti people, those who are anti this and anti that, etc.
I had friends who were shocked by how much better their lights were after they were aimed properly. One thought that if Volvo had aimed the lights that way, they must be okay. Manufacturers don’t aim lights, they assemble them. Later, he went through a checkpoint and apologized to me. I had to aim the lights for another friend, who thought people flipped their brights at her because of her poor lights.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

Lake decorations

December 7, 2021

Once again, decorations have been put up along the walking path to brighten up the scenery, cute and cheery.
My concern is with the Christmas balls. If they fall off and break, the small shards of plastic or glass are a hazard for the dogs and people who enjoy walking here and leaves pieces that stay on the ground looking messy.
 It also is extra work for the City parks staff, who work hard to maintain our wonderful walking paths.
Consider using wood or cloth decorations that are easier to clean up.
Enjoy these free walking paths all year, even winter.
Sandra Nelson,
Camrose

Valid concerns

November 30, 2021

Karen Green’s letter to The Camrose Booster raises some valid concerns regarding the new proposed K to 6 curricula.
Perhaps, in the interest of transparency and to address legitimate concerns about the validity of the curriculum reforms, our MLA, Ms. Jackie Lovely, could lead the way and disclose the names and qualifications of all working committee members and consultants who contributed. Further transparency would be complemented by a detailed synopsis of the process and how the curriculum content was validated and by whom. Ms. Lovely, the ball is in your court.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

No trust

November 30, 2021

Albertans are finally realizing that our former Conservative MLAs were right, you can’t trust a Reformer and Jason Kenney has certainly proven it. Maybe he should have remained a Liberal in Regina instead of trying to deceive Conservatives in Alberta.
From trying to fool Albertans with lies that our oil industry was under attack, when oil executives knew it wasn’t; by ignoring the advice of our doctors, he created the worse mess possible during the covid pandemic, costing Albertans their lives; and after hurling sarcastic comments at Justin Trudeau, found it necessary to run to Trudeau for help to help fix the mess he created.
After realizing that Albertans aren’t dumb enough to accept his plan to cut 11,000 healthcare positions; cut wages for doctors, nurses and teachers; and after slashing $9.4 billion off our corporate taxes  to benefit his rich friends tricks Albertans into believing that Canadians should bale us out with equalization payments. How stupid does he think Canadians are?
While we watch all this infighting in his party, reformer Brian Jean is back and wants a chance to get even with Kenney for defeating him. Kenney wants to kick out the RCMP at a huge cost to taxpayers, for daring to investigate his party. If that isn’t enough, defeated reformer Paul Hinman wants us to believe the lie that we would be a lot better off by separating from the rest of Canada, ignoring the fact that seniors would be giving up their Old Age Security payments, Canada Pension payments, and our public healthcare benefits.
The point is we are tired of these gong show performances.
Alan K. Spiller,
Formerly of Camrose

Bad research

November 30, 2021

Because most people who get COVID-19 recover, it seems wide of the mark for Lorne Vanderwoude to say “It [COVID-19] is so very deadly” and that “vaccines will be the only defense.” Do you know that last month, Italy changed its COVID-19 death count from 33,000 to 3,000–that’s 30,000 COVID-19 lies from the medical world; or that, India has almost no COVID-19 and they gave minimal vaccine shots; or that Israel, the most vaccinated place on earth, has the most COVID-19.
I believe vaccines are overused today, even abusive, especially on children. Beginning with the polio vaccine, those in charge of research have been changing the meaning of diseases or inventing new diseases, and viruses, e.g. what was polio, has in part become meningitis, among other problems with changes to the vaccine. In January 2020, the definition of vaccine was changed, and recently CDC changed the meaning of gain-of-function research; then we have been told to both wear and not wear a rag on our face–governments not speaking truth are using government-funded media to spread lies.
I strongly believe we do not need a vaccine that requires a booster shot every six months for a virus that acts like the cold (some still die from it, as in pneumonia); also, we should research to see if the protocols used in the hospitals are proper treatment, for many doctors are advising us to strengthen our immune system with vitamins and have been far more successful with curing patients with covid-19 using other protocols.
Covering our face impairs everyone’s own immune system.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Curriculum fails

November 23, 2021

“Who wrote the Alberta Government’s new curriculum?” asks a recent ad from the ATA.
I have been adamant that teachers did not write the K-6 draft curriculum. It is an inadequate, cobbled-together disaster. If teachers had been collaboratively involved, there would be clearly communicated outcomes and engaging sequences of learning, where each new skill builds on the ones before. There would be recognition that young children move from concrete to abstract thinking and learn new things by connecting to their own experiences and prior knowledge. There would be recognition of how much can be “covered” in the instructional minutes for each subject. The draft curriculum fails on all these counts.
I have a theory that some of the curriculum was written by a cut-rate curriculum company in the States. That would explain the references to “reservations” instead of “reserves,” the reference to “Canadian units of measurement” and the Social Studies task where students originally were told to take out a map of Alberta and calculate the distance from Regina to Duck Lake (both in Saskatchewan).
When the UCP came to power, they tore up the memorandum of understanding with the ATA that had teachers working collaboratively with Alberta Education to create curriculum. Yet the UCP continues to maintain that teachers were involved in the “development” of the curriculum during the seven months (Source: Alberta Education) that it took to completely rewrite every subject in Grades K-6. What might that teacher involvement have looked like?
During a Have Your Say session, when I asked about teacher input, the presenter referenced 102 selected teachers, labelled a “working group”, who got two days (minus time lost to technical difficulties) on Zoom to give (easily ignored) feedback after the draft was completed. When I asked who wrote the curriculum, I was referred to a webpage that said nothing except that the much-publicized, seriously under-qualified “advisors” did not write the curriculum.
Perhaps some of the draft curriculum was written by teachers seconded to Alberta Education? An anonymous post in the Facebook group Albertans Reject Curriculum Draft described a seconded teacher working in isolation from home and being told, “Write this. Like this.” Little input. No collaboration. That teacher was stressing about returning to school in the fall and having to explain his/her part in the failed curriculum.
Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Mutations

November 23, 2021

I do believe in researching everything instead of accepting anything and everything which is broadcast on our media.
The Delta variable of COVID-19 is 133 per cent more deadly than the original COVID-19 strain.  There is another offshoot from the original Delta variant, which contains two mutations in it’s spike protein, which allows the virus to penetrate human blood cells. These mutations are known as Y145H and A 222V, which have been found in other variants dating back to the earliest stages of the pandemic.  Francois Balloux, the director of the University College London’s genetics institute, has estimated AY.4.2 could be up to 10 per cent more transmissible than the original Delta variant.
Now, the average Camrose person may not have understood all of this, just as long as they know that a mutation happens when there are changes to the original virus code. Spike proteins are what keep the virus alive. The vaccine can better defend and stop people from dying. This is not a 100 per cent guarantee that you will not get this virus. It just makes your chances of survival a lot better than if you do nothing.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Higher fees

November 23, 2021

I attended the Camrose City council committee of the whole meeting on Monday, just to get a feel for the new mayor and council in action. I was more than surprised that on the agenda was a missive from City administration that there needs to be a five per cent across the board increase in all fees. There was little information as to why this increase was so urgently needed other than it was to provide for “potential inflationary increases” in 2022. Yes, taxpayers, council has been charged by City administration to cause inflation of five per cent to all its ratepayers by increasing user fees to provide money to pay for inflation?
This five per cent increase is in all user fees, utility rates, permits and nearly all of the other fees that the taxpayer has levied upon them by the City of Camrose. Yes, families, more for swimming, hockey, golf, etc. Seniors–your walking passes are going up. Homeowners and businesses–beware of increases in water and sewer as well as some additional franchise fees that will mean higher gas and electrical bills.
I followed up with administration as to how much more revenue the five per cent in fees would provide and what costs it was intended to cover. I did receive a very timely response, but was not provided that information.
Let me put this in perspective. Last year, the previous council put in place a budget for year 2022, largely to provide the opportunity for the new council to get on its feet and get some understanding on municipal operations and financing prior to having to deal with a budget. Now the first item brought to the agenda by City administration, to a new and very inexperienced Council, is to increase the costs to all its residents by five per cent.
Let me also convey that the operating surplus for the year 2020 was $6,792,366. There is no urgency or emergency for funding. So why is a new council being charged with making decisions on items it has little knowledge or exposure to when there is no need?
Did I mention that the five per cent increase will affect all residents and businesses?
The bylaw is scheduled to come to council for approval on December 6. I would hope that council, and all us taxpayers, would put a total hold on this silliness until the next full budget wherein all factors could be considered other than “inflationary increases”.
 David W. Kotyk,
Camrose

Other systems

November 16, 2021

Arnold Malone’s piece on Proportional Representation (PR) raises some interesting dilemmas (mostly in countries that have a very large number of political parties); the limitations of the First Past the Post (FPP) system coupled with divisive partisan politicos has created a deeply divided, disillusioned and disenfranchised (DDDD) electorate.
The good news is that there are other options; it is unfortunate that Justin Trudeau’s unfulfilled electoral promise of voting reform ignored the New Zealand system which is Mixed-Member Proportional representation (MMP). In NZ, every person gets two votes; one for a representative of their electoral district and one vote for a party. This has the effect of producing progressive bipartisan and tripartisan sponsored legislation developed cooperatively by committee. Power in the Prime Minister’s office and in the hands of party whips is substantially reduced. Of additional benefit, NZ has no Senate.
Many independent candidates are elected in the districts while the party elected candidates are chosen from a prioritized list of candidates chosen for their “real world” expertise and educational background. Several seats are reserved for Maori and only Maori voters can vote for these candidates. The resulting parliament is characterized by exemplary representatives, who have a consensus to work together, who are very highly qualified in terms of education and experience, and who are less influenced by partisanship.
My travels over the past 40 years in more than 75 countries have observed the complete spectrum of governments from dictatorships to democracies. Canada lags very far behind other developed nations in Europe and Asia in terms of good legislation, policies, technology and best practices. In addition, COVID-19 has exposed Canada’s vulnerability in terms of supply chain issues, self sufficiency in many economic sectors (energy, pharmaceutics, manufacturing, steel production, rare earth metals and others) plus our dependence upon foreign imports.
It is unrealistic to believe that a single party can solve our long-standing problems; a collaborative, non-ideological approach is required with a collective vision to add value to our raw exports and develop Canadian self sufficiency. This post COVID-19 era requires highly qualified politicos willing to put aside their regional differences, their hunger for power, and promote more private members bills and more free votes.
Our recovery is contingent upon independent thinking representatives, who are immune to the power centralised in the Prime Minister’s office and the dictates of party whips.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Need help

November 16, 2021

This is a scream for help from an old man who has lived a wonderful and easy life and can now see that humanity is rushing to a precipice. I feel desperate for humanity and life now, and I would like to help, but I am 88 years old and have discovered in the last few weeks that I have cancer that could result in my living only a short time longer. Why might this old guy in the twilight of his life be so worried about humanity, when he should relax and enjoy his remaining years?
I grew up on my parents’ quarter-section farm during the Great Depression. We had no money, but grew plenty of our own food in our garden. As soon as the war started, my dad had lots of money. My younger brother and I wandered the fields and bushes, the creeks ran clear and the ponds were filled with interesting life. Now if I go back to look at the countryside, I am saddened by the destruction caused in only a few decades by the huge industrial farms. The creeks are dry, the ponds are drained and the bushes are bulldozed to allow the huge fields needed for the million-dollar machines that are considered necessary for so-called efficient farming. In my childhood, the social connection of the people on the small farms was great. There were the churches, the dance hall, and everyone went to the local town on Saturday afternoon. Then the irrefutable power of money drove most of the people to the city, where everyone is a stranger.
The power of money and property and our present economic system are causing the destruction of life. Even if we can convert all energy use to renewable electric, will it happen soon enough to save us? Even if we have an energy system that does not create CO2, will that stop the cancerous growth of our disastrous economic system?
We must immediately stop this foolish concern only for ourselves. We are obsessed by our own greed, but far more important is the mass extinction of species, destruction of nature and accelerating climate change. How can we sit by while most of humanity struggles in despair and a small number are ridiculously wealthy? This cannot continue. Surely most of us do not wish to see life, including humanity, fail and go out of existence.
Arnold Baker,
Camrose

No answers

November 16, 2021

I would like to respond to Mr. Kurek’s article in the November 9 edition of The Booster.
Judging by the tone of this article, it appears Mr. Kurek has had a bad day or has been exposed to some conspiracy stories. The entire article is about how those evil Liberals are trying to destroy Alberta’s economy. I note that there is not a single example of how Conservatives would do things differently and a question of differing opinions is not considered at all.
The change of energy from hydrocarbons to something else is going to be long and will incur some false starts and errors. The 3300 acres of the latest-technology solar panel farm in Vulcan County along with 83 new windmills is expected to supply fewer than 200,000 houses with energy; basically a drop in the bucket as far as energy required to serve the Province.
By comparison, the switch from whale oil to petroleum was simple and easy. The switch to another source of energy from hydrocarbons is going to take a while and oil and gas will be needed for the transition.
Since Mr. Kurek does not supply any alternative to the Liberal proposal, I suspect the Conservative plan is to wait until the last barrel of oil is extracted and then look for alternatives. The side issue of climate change is obviously a non issue for Mr. Kurek and the Conservatives.
Horst Schreiber,
Ohaton

Anti-Albertan

November 9, 2021

So the Steve Allan public inquiry is out and energy minister Sonya Savage says it shows that some Alberta charities are engaging in anti-Albertan activities.
But according to Steve Allan himself: “To be very clear, I have not found any suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of any individual or organization. No individual or organization, in my view, has done anything illegal. Indeed, they have exercised their rights of free speech.”
So what did we learn for the $3.5 million tax money we spent on the public inquiry that never held any public hearings? We learned that some environmental groups who are concerned about climate change and our health have spent time and money legally exercising their right of free speech to campaign against the oilsands and pipelines.
According to the Pembina Institute, one of the charities targeted by the Allan Inquiry: “Since oilsands mining operations started in 1967, 1.3 trillion litres of fluid tailings has accumulated in these open ponds on the Northern Alberta landscape. This is enough toxic waste to fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.” Why is caring about our health and the health of our environment considered anti-Albertan?
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Small towns

November 9, 2021

It’s no news that, sadly, many small towns are dying. But perhaps it should be news to them that the majority of Alberta’s population lives in the two big urban centres and those municipalities have just rejected dysfunctional conservative politicians in favor of those with more progressive collaborative attitudes.
If you are born in a stubbornly conservative-voting rural area, you are probably accustomed to backwards belligerent small-minded politics.  That is why so many move away from small centres, and few are drawn to deliberately move to a backwards-thinking place if they don’t have to.
In other words, it is conservative politics that are killing rural areas, and I am suggesting that, before rural folks whine about their dwindling populations, whether they like it or not, they need to address the reality of how dysfunctional and unproductive conservative politics are in this modern world. And perhaps open their minds to the possibility that there are better ways to be governed.
Evone Monteith,
Camrose

Different stories

November 9, 2021

Sometimes you hear two different stories that seem to have nothing in common, but then something clicks and you get that “ah” moment.
This happened to me recently while listening to an interview with a woman celebrating her 80th birthday. She was asked a series of questions, one of which was, “Name something you still have from your childhood.” Without missing a beat, she answered, “My memories.” I loved that.
Then the news came on with yet another story about supply chain challenges, and warnings to get our Christmas shopping done early to avoid disappointment. That’s when the click came. This year, I am not going to worry about empty shelves and delayed shipments. This year, I am going to give the gift of experiences and I encourage others to do the same.
We are so fortunate here in Camrose to have the Bailey Theatre and the Lougheed Theatre, both with excellent live events. There are also wonderful local restaurants, salons and other service providers. The hospitality and service sectors have been hit so hard by the pandemic and they really need the support, especially if we want them to survive. Picking up tickets to a show, a gift of dinner out or a spa day is so easy and can be one of the most thoughtful gifts, especially when shared with a loved one. And the best part? It is a gift that creates memories that can be kept forever without ever having to dust it, move it or replace the batteries.
Celia M. Leathwood,
Camrose