Today’s problems

October 12, 2021

Like many old people, I have difficulty understanding the world today. We seem to have developed a “me” culture: “I want”, “It’s my right”, “I’m special”…Maybe it’s social media, the selfie, which has exacerbated this. Remember, a selfie is not a picture of someone else, it’s a picture of you with someone else.
One thing I have difficulty with is how our society works today. We agree we live in a democracy, but that’s not what I observe. To me, a democracy is the will of the majority enabled by a representative government. Minorities have the right of equitable, but not necessarily special, treatment and freedom from persecution. But minorities have the responsibility, and it is a responsibility, to “go along” and make sacrifices for the benefit of all and for tranquillity. To me, we’ve lost sight of those obligations and our society is filled with shrill “me” demands from all sides. This makes for chaos and conflict.
So how does the me culture deal with Covid? Well, since everyone has their own opinion, there is a spectrum of groups with beliefs ranging from Covid is a heinous plot of an evil government, all the way to vaccines are miracles of modern medicine.  Social media, the internet, and other media take pieces of this spectrum and bombard us with a flood of sound/word bites that just confuse everyone. This breaks down the consensus to go along.  Also, since people are focused on “me”, there is often little concern for the plight of others.
So are there hard facts here? Well, yes and no. We have to deal with probabilities and unknowns, and the me culture has great problems with that. In real life, nothing is certain. So the vaccines are very effective, but some people still have reactions and some die. The me culture has a tendency to take one individual and focus only on them (going viral). Yes, the suffering of one person is heart-wrenching, but we lose sight of the big picture.    
So the “me” culture is working as it should, vaccinated people get protection at perhaps an unknown cost and the unvaccinated get to risk the full force of the virus.  The problem is that during a medical crisis, the healthcare system gets overloaded, as it will. Does the government, the majority, want to do anything about that?
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

Huge mistake

October 12, 2021

My senior friends and I, including our retired doctor and nurse friends, think Albertans have made a huge mistake. For years, we have listened to retired doctors and nurses over coffee tell us their stories of how Canadian-trained doctors and nurses are some of most highly respected in the world, and can work wherever they please. In other words, we need them a lot more than they need us. They have also pointed out that their worst enemies have been these reformers pretending to be conservatives, starting with Ralph Klein.
So why did Albertans try to elect Reformer Erin O’Toole, who has been promising to gut our public healthcare system and has had nothing but praise for how his Reform Party pal Jason Kenney has handled this pandemic? Neither Kenney or O’Toole have shown any concern for how our doctors and nurses have been treated, or who has lost their lives because of how this pandemic has been handled.
One of the nine doctors I helped relocate out of this province when Klein was kicking them around said it best: “Why should I stay in Alberta and support my patients, when my patients refuse to support me against this tyrant Ralph Klein?”
A good question. Why should any of these doctors and nurses stay in Alberta, when Albertans have sided with their enemy reformers pretending they are conservatives. Let’s hope we are wrong.
Alan Spiller,
Formerly of Camrose

Support local

October 5, 2021

This is a call to all my fellow vaccinated, who have done the right thing to protect themselves and those around them; it is time to do the right thing again.
Our restaurants and recreational outlets have taken a real beating during the pandemic, and the ones who have chosen the responsible approach now to stay open need our help. If you were like me, I was nervous even thinking about dining in at a restaurant during those times we were allowed during the past 19 months. I only did it once, constantly fretting–wasn’t an enjoyable time, wondering if anyone around my table had COVID-19. Now it’s our turn to enjoy this privilege.
There are several restaurants within Camrose requiring proof of vaccination (sadly, there are some flaunting public health restrictions regarding dine-in guests) and it has been reported some are receiving harassment, protests, and even threats. Seriously, what is wrong with people? These places need our support now, moving forward.
Now is the time for those of us who are fully vaccinated to exercise our rights and freedoms. Let’s dine out, shall we?
Lori L. Blades,
Camrose

Free exchange

October 5, 2021

Most of us would agree that The Booster makes a valuable contribution to our community. A free exchange of ideas is important in a democracy, so I am grateful for the Letters page. But “The Fine Print” exists for a reason. Just because it is someone’s opinion doesn’t make a letter fit to print.
These days, we are inundated with false information and it is not in the public interest for the Letters page to spread misinformation.
In the September 21 edition, a letter referred to our COVID-19 vaccines as “experimental”. That is false. The vaccines we use in Canada ceased to be experimental when Health Canada analyzed the scientific data and approved them for use. The letter states that “more people have died or have had adverse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than all other vaccines in the last 30 years”.
That is a shocking statement that I have not seen from any credible source. The letter goes on to state that vaccine passports are a “clear violation of human and civil rights, according to Section 7 under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.  That is the opposite of what I have heard constitutional lawyers say, so I asked a lawyer to read the sentence and he said it was unequivocally false. Stating that a vaccine passport gives a business access to our private health records is also false.
The letter writer is entitled to her opinion and many people will consider that opinion to be selfish, inconsiderate and uninformed. But she should not have the right to use The Booster to spread false information.
Our public health experts continuously tell us that vaccines are the best tool we have for keeping us healthy, keeping our healthcare system from being overwhelmed and getting our economy back on its feet. False information spreads doubts, divides society and is prolonging the pandemic. False information is causing people to die. The Booster states that letters must be in the public interest. Surely it is not in the public’s interest to be misinformed. The Booster usually does a good job, but needs to ensure that the information on its pages is accurate.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

New experts

October 5, 2021

It’s truly amazing how many parents went from “I don’t understand my kid’s sixth grade math homework” to an infectious disease control expert in six months due to Dr. Google…and in the words of Forrest Gump…“That’s all I have to say about that.”
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Biological weapons

September 28, 2021

Dr. Francis Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Dr. Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Act, has given a detailed statement admitting that the 2019 Wuhan coronavirus is an offensive biological warfare weapon and that the World Health Organization already knew about it.
Boyle drafted the United States domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Anti-terrorism Act of 1989 that was approved unanimously by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by the President George H. W. Bush. This legislation was passed by the house and by the Senate. If this virus was just a natural virus, then why did the Americans come up with this legislation if biological weapons are just a conspiracy theory?
About 17 countries do have these weapons and these weapons are more effective than any other form of warfare. This virus is real. There is no fake news on this, so in my opinion, the vaccines are the only defense against this weapon.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Not inclusive

September 28, 2021

We hear so much about being inclusive, because everyone wants to be valued and appreciated. The definition of inclusive says, aiming to include and integrate all people and groups in activities, organizations and political processes, especially those who are disadvantaged, have suffered discrimination or are living with disabilities.
Those who are developmentally challenged have no voice, but for the people who love and protect them. Two years ago, two twin brothers were not included in their Grade 12 graduation ceremony. Their pictures were included in the ones who graduated, but they were not included. Now they may not know the significance, but their mom and grandparents did. Arrangements could have been made that would cause less distraction. They were hurt because the boys were treated less than what was acceptable and they were excluded. They would have been quite fine on Mom’s arm to receive their certificates. She was crushed, and spoke to various people in charge. Well, now her third boy, who is also developmentally challenged, graduated in August and his picture was on the program, but he had been left out of the ceremony. Mom didn’t find out until a friend whose daughter graduated asked why she and her son were not there. Now he had not been in school all year because of the virus, and the inability to wear a mask, but books were brought to the house for the aides to teach him. No one checked in throughout the year. Mom had talked with the teacher, and specifically asked that he be included and that she would call her if there was something in which he could participate. This parent has very few important milestones to celebrate with three challenged children.
She has been so faithful in her care for these boys, when many would have given up. I feel these children can teach us a lot about ourselves, and our own hearts. Can we include them and their parents? If there would be a bit of distraction because of their disability, is that okay? We are teaching the next generation, and some important lessons can be learned when we recognize that this world is not perfect, but it can be better when we learn to value one another and the people who sacrifice for those who are unable to speak for themselves. Graduation came for three young men and they were not included.
Harvey Benke,
Camrose

Okay enough

Okay enough
September 21, 2021

Okay enough…to all the anti-maskers and anti-vaxers out there, that’s enough. Since the pandemic started, I and other people I know have been patient and accommodating to your point of view.
At the start of this novel virus, we knew very little about its behaviour or how to mitigate it, so we cut you some slack. Since that time, we have been given the tools we need to stop this pandemic– rules and isolation and a miraculous vaccine that is proven effective and safe, despite what the noted self-appointed epidemiological expert Joe Rogan says.
Libertarians, including our hapless premier, are so intent to selfishly flaunt the public weal over a perceived personal affront to freedom, they forget that their personal freedoms are provided by society at large. No man is an island, in fact, our species cannot thrive without each other. It is one thing to demand liberty (in this case, from common sense), but to actively impair healthcare workers, who, given your trajectory, will be there to help you regardless of your views when you get sick; but to obstruct the care of others is beyond the pale and the extent of my tolerance of your willful ignorance.
My wife and many others have had procedures cancelled or postponed and that’s on you. People are suffering needlessly and that’s on you. Your own cohort is plugging up the ICUs, when a simple act of selflessness could have avoided that, and that’s on you. People will die, and that’s on you. The economy will continue to suffer, and that’s on you. Our unvaccinated children will continue to be at risk, and that’s on you.
Listen to the experts, talk to your doctors, consult the huge volume of verified information available from sources like AHS. If that doesn’t convince you, or if you are too blinded by your ignorance, then grab your ivermectin and hole up in a cave somewhere.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Sad day

September 21, 2021

It truly is a sad day when government, businesses, sport and recreation facilities or ordinary citizens dictate what health measures are best for their citizens, paying customers, friends or extended family. Though I do not agree with mask policies, I understand wanting to enforce such measures to conduct your business and keep your doors open.
However, forcing an experimental and highly controversial “vaccine” upon your patrons is absolutely atrocious. Moreover, the personal health records of anyone other than yourselves is none of your business. If you feel the vaccine and masking are right for you then great–do those things. But you have no place or right to decide what is best for me, my family or anyone else.
Maybe you actually believe that you are doing a good thing, enforcing this ridiculous vaccine passport, but you are in fact doing the opposite. Besides this system being a complete violation of human and civil rights, according the Section 7 under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (The right to life, liberty and security–autonomy over one’s body), you may recall and compare it’s parallels to certain events from 1939-45. Aside from that, from December 14, 2020 to July 30, 2021, more people have died or had adverse effects and injuries from the covid vaccine than all other vaccines combined in the last 30 years.
By agreeing to enforce an agenda created by a power hungry, self-serving and untrustable government, you have proven that money means more to you than human life and freedom. I cannot in good conscience support a business like that, and my family will not be returning nor would I ever recommend your company to anyone I care about. You should also be aware that the number of people on the same page as me are growing by the day. As such, I hope you are prepared to live with the consequences of your decisions and actions.
Please do yourself a favour and use an uncensored web browser like duckduckgo to fact check my claims for yourself. There are many like-minded groups on Facebook and other platforms that can help you look beyond the propaganda and fear mongering of the mainstream media to determine what is right for yourself.
God bless.
Tamara Morris,
Hay Lakes

Wind turbines

September 21, 2021

Rebuttal to Tina Kawalilak: I would like to question some of the facts in your letter to the editor. You say that wind turbines kill so many birds, but according to Nature Canada, approximately 54,000 birds are killed by turbines, but between 100 and 300 million birds are killed by domestic cats in Canada. And who is trying to control the cat population?
I am not sure what you mean by solar not being reliable. Based on annual production over the last five years I have been using solar, I cannot see a significant difference in production from year to year. Now I do see differences from day to day, but that is why I am still hooked to the grid. It seems to me that the most significant change in production is caused by smoke in the air.
You say that solar panels are creating massive amounts of waste, but almost 95 per cent of the panels are recyclable, not like common batteries, of which only about eight per cent are recyclable.
I am speaking as a solar producer and would like to know where you get the information that solar panels need to be replaced every 10 years; mine are guaranteed by the manufacturer for 25 years, and many studies show that they can be in use for more than 30 years. With 21 panels on my roof, I produce more power in a year than I use, so I don’t even care if from November until March, they are snow covered. It is not worth the effort when the daily sunshine is so short.
I consider myself a person who is just trying to do my part; I do believe the science behind humans contributing to climate change, and I would like to leave something for my kids and grandkids. I know that, especially in this climate, we are going to need fossil fuels for a long time to come, but if we can cut back, that would be great.
Mike Dunnigan,
Camrose

Great event

September 14, 2021

Thank you for Kick it to the Curb.
A belated thank you for putting on Kick it to the Curb–such a good way to make sure things get used instead of being thrown away. Please continue twice a year as you have been doing, as it gives a chance to put out things you forgot to put out the first time.
Margaret Elizabeth Bagdan, Camrose

Second class

September 14, 2021

This federal election, some men are telling women how to contribute by doing paid work. That still devalues the role at home.
Women’s liberation is not supposed to do that.  To liberate slaves, we took them from the position of unpaid abused servant. However, farm work itself was not the enemy and can be a noble career. Ending discrimination based on colour, nationality or sexual orientation does not require people stop being that color, nationality or sexual orientation. They are not liberated from it, but from our bias against it. When we treat taking care of children as lesser, we are not really liberating women. The role has dignity whoever does it. It is important in the economy. Any plan for women to all leave home and put children in daycare is no liberation—the care role was  never the enemy. A national childcare plan should value care of a child period, even when done at home.
Beverley Smith,
Calgary

Remember Lougheed

September 14, 2021

Tim Belec’s letter of August 24, “Remembering Lougheed” also brought back memories for me. My late parents and two sisters spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments.  A brother-in-law, in his spare time, voluntarily flew the government plane for them and Tim may have been on some of his flights. Lougheed’s energy minister, Bill Dickie, was a brother-in-law of one of my uncles. Our family and friends proudly supported them for collecting proper royalties, taxes, and healthcare premiums and running this province properly. Looking after the well-being of all Albertans was their mandate.
Then along came Ralph Klein, whose family our family had known since the early 1960s, bringing with him Reform Party polices  of privatization, slashing taxes and royalties, while looking after their rich friends, and it’s been one disaster after another. The MLAs whom I had gotten to know were furious with Klein for destroying what they stood for. Even his father Phil and daughter Angie tried to help us vote him out. Ignorant Albertans wouldn’t let us.
Former premier Don Getty told me in 2003, that inviting Liberal Ralph Klein into the conservative party was the dumbest thing he had ever done, and I certainly agreed.
Like Klein, Jason Kenney, another Liberal turned Reformer, was never a true conservative and Albertan have seen what a disaster he is. Albertans want him gone and Rachel Notley reinstated, and those of us from the world of finance agree knowing that we have got to get back to the Lougheed levels of collecting proper corporate taxes and royalties, and that’s exactly what Notley was trying to do.
Let’s hope Albertans have seen enough of these phony conservatives, Reformers and won’t elect Jason Kenney’s buddy Erin O’Toole, who in true Reform Party fashion, has promised to gut our public healthcare system to force Canadians into an American-style healthcare system. One of my American cousins says it best: “For God’s sake, don’t let anyone destroy your public healthcare system. Trust me, you don’t want ours.”
Alan K. Spiller,
formerly of Camrose  

Climate change

August 31, 2021

Whether we want it or not, we are in the midst of an election campaign.
Canada, the whole world really, faces many challenges. The biggest are the social and economic challenges being brought about by the growing climate crisis. These challenges cannot be avoided. We must act and Canada can no longer afford to be held back by the deflect, delay and deny crowd.
No, its not someone else’s responsibility. No we cannot wait and do it later. And no, it is not a hoax.  The human caused climate crisis is a real threat to our children’s future that won’t just disappear if we ignore it. Doing nothing is not an option.
If we had heeded the scientists’ warnings and acted 30 years ago, we would be fine now, but we didn’t. So there will be economic costs, but there are also economic opportunities if we are willing to take them. Other countries are far ahead of us.
The longer we wait, the greater the costs to us and the more the opportunities are taken by other countries.
So when we go to vote, we have to choose a political party that is serious about climate change. Our politicians are letting us down. Our federal Liberal government gave the oil industry $18 billion in subsidies last year, even though that sector amounted to only 0.4 per cent of jobs in Canada. It makes no sense.
Solar and wind are now the cheapest forms of energy and transitioning to green energy would stimulate our economy and create many jobs.
We should all ask our MP why his Conservative party, after years of saying that a carbon tax is bad, is now proposing a carbon tax that will cost us a lot of money, but accomplish nothing, and why their greenhouse gas commitments are so low that they are effectively useless.
For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we have to vote like climate change is the most important issue—because it is. Our children and grandchildren can have a healthy and prosperous future if Canada transitions to renewable energy and takes advantage of emerging opportunities.
Otherwise we’d better step aside or we’ll get run over as the world passes us by.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Costly election

August 31, 2021

This federal election, which will cost our Canadian economy over $65 million, is a total waste of time and money.  This was called during a pandemic which is so very thoughtless. I am so tired of how the Liberals have wasted money and made many useless promises that they do not think they can achieve or even tackle. I am so sick of these Liberals, so I believe it is time to have another Conservative government.
They can not mess up any more than how the Liberals have messed up for the past eight years. I would vote for the Social Credit Party of Canada, however, this party no longer exists. So, I will vote for the next best, which is the Conservatives. This is my opinion.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Remembering Lougheed

August 24, 2021

Some of us could do well to remember the thoughtful and considerable legacy of the leadership of Peter Lougheed.
In 1980, I started working for the Public Affairs Bureau as a photographer, and as such, was constantly in the company of ministers and MLAs and the Premier, providing documentary photographs of many of the operations of the government of the time. Many a time, I would sit in the tail seat of a King Air airplane,, listening to the conversations of cabinet members and high-level bureaucrats. There was an optimism in the air that is lacking in our discourse now. There was never a hint of arrogance in the tone of things that I can recall, but a real effort to make Alberta a place for everyone. This tone would later change when then Premier Ralph Klein and his executive assistant Rod Love changed the Public Affairs Bureau from a disseminator of information on the workings of government to the public, to the propaganda wing of the government that sought to control the messages the public would receive.
In my time in the back of boardrooms, lurking on the sidelines of public events, following the Premier and government officials around and documenting and supporting them and government ministries, it would have been easy for Mr. Lougheed to ignore me as just another underling. But, eventually, he would call me by name when he saw me in he corridors of the Legislature, and acknowledge me with a hello. The man I saw lacked pretention and expressed warmth, unlike what we currently see in leadership. He wanted an Alberta that was not totally reliant on fossil fuels, that had a diverse economy. He brought labour and social reforms, including AISH for the disabled. He believed in the good of the commons, in making Albertans the owners of their resources, and gave us, as a gift to the people, Kananskis Country, for which we now have to pay. He brought forward coal policy that stopped strip mining on the Eastern slopes. He increased royalties on oil and gas, and started the Heritage Fund for the future. He limited the expansion of the tar sands so that they would be manageable, unlike the laissez-faire approach of Klein. If anyone is pining for the good old days, don’t think of the Social Credit, but consider when we had a progressive conservative party.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Social credit

August 17, 2021

The good old days of Alberta having the Social Credit Party of Alberta to me, personally, seem to be a distant memory. I was a member of the Social Credit Party in the 1990s, when this party attempted to make a comeback. King Ralph Klein was running the province at the time and, in my opinion, we did not have the right leader to lead us to victory. So we lost once again, which was the result of not being able to get the Social Credit message out to Albertans. When we suffered this defeat, I then joined the Alberta Alliance Party simply because they had one seat, which was way more than what the Social Credit Party had. Then we merged with the Wildrose Conservatives, which made us the Wildrose Alliance Party. Then 17 members crossed the floor, which was a huge betrayal of those whom we trusted. When it came to merging with the Progressive Conservatives, I personally voted for Brian Jean, however, Jason Kenny won the leadership race. We need a true blue leader like we had when we had Ernest C. Manning. Ever since he retired in 1968, we have not found another leader who had the influence which he had on the radio. Jason Kenny was never my first choice, however, all the right leaders for the job are either dead or retired. Now, I am aware that the Social Credit Party is dead in the water. However, I refuse to vote for the NDP Party or the  Liberals, because these parties will destroy this great province. This is my opinion and all of you can take it or leave it. It is too bad that we cannot find another Manning type to run a similar party to the Social Credit Party of Alberta. We need another repeat of 1935. The stage is similar, but instead of a market crash, we have a pandemic which never seems to have an ending. This is just something for all of you to think about.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Share stories

August 17, 2021

I would like to hear from the people who had COVID-19 and were hospitalized the same time I had COVID and was in the hospital from April 19 to May 13. Phone me at 780-855-2286.
Robert Snider,
New Norway

Health care

August 17, 2021

The last year-and-a-half of pandemic has really highlighted some of the weaknesses and strengths of our healthcare system.  In the thick of the battle on the front line are the many unsung heroes who deliver home care services as part of AHS. These compassionate and kind individuals take on the personal care of our elderly, disabled and handicapped. Most are women and many are immigrants, but all are beautiful and warm people doing a tough job in rough times. At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, my mother, 93 and suffering from dementia, came to live with me and my wife, herself a woman with severe disabilities. I could not have made it through this time on my own and I owe a debt of gratitude, heartfelt and sincere, to those wonderful people from Camrose Home Care who brought a smile to my door every day. Now that my mother is moving on to long-term care, I want to say thank you to the people who gave of themselves so I could endure. Thanks to Tammy, mom’s care coordinator, thanks to the physios and dieticians and occupational therapists who gave my family the best of their considerable knowledge. And an especially big thanks to the care givers. Here are some of the names, but they number about 70, so I cannot name them all, but they are all in my thoughts. Thank you Angela, Bernice, Joy (she’s like her name), Cen, Karl, Judy, Leah, Lorraine (best laugh, hands down), Serena, Olga, Daniel, Karren, Jessica, Josie, Carol-Anne, Tracy, Eli, Keri, Shauna, Shelly, Pam, Jaycell and the scores of others whose names I can’t remember.
This is what public health care looks like, it’s in all those faces I saw everyday in the pandemic. We all need to support them, to keep them employed and to keep them doing their very important good work. God bless you all.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Forest fires

August 10, 2021

I lived in 100 Mile House, BC from 1980 to 2000 and never experienced any wild fires.
We were always worried about a cigarette off Highway 97, because we were always dry in the summer.
Now, in five years, they have had two major fires–that’s what happens when you have no logging–forestry.
You have to manage the forests so you don’t have runaway fires; you have to cut lines to stop it.
All you hear about is climate change. It has gone from global warming that didn’t say enough. Climate change still doesn’t say enough. Now, this year, it is climate crisis. That is all they have to say. Say it louder. Say it all the time.
Where are the forestry companies, why don’t they speak up?
Do the right management and at least people and animals have a chance.
Also, why is our military not trained and deployed at the first sign of fires, not a month into the season?
Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda,

Sunshine list

August 10, 2021

Education, the 14th on Sievers Jan. 14 top expense-claimers, claimed $74,188.62 (a relatively low claim). But Alberta Education also has 148 on Alberta’s Sunshine List, costing Alberta taxpayers roughly $16 million. But those salaries of over $109,000 often come with additional non-cash and cash benefits.
For example, deputy Clarke’s $286,900 salary comes with $8,000 cash and $63,600 non-cash benefits (plus his roughly $9,000 in expense claims), leaving Alberta taxpayers with a tab of just under $400,000 for this one deputy minister. (See “Alberta paid out $2.3 million in expenses…”, Sievers, Jan. 14). And, that’s just under $12 million/year for Alberta’s current 28 deputy/assistant deputy ministers.
That makes it totally unjustifiable to cut to education or nurses’ salaries, which would only save this government a couple of million dollars.  
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf

Driverless taxis

August 10, 2021

I have been a taxi driver for 27 years. I do remember the long hours and the abysmal pay which most taxi drivers all receive. Most taxi companies are short drivers which brings to my mind this one question. What about driverless taxis?
China is planning on putting one thousand driverless taxis on the road. There will be one significant change in how people interact with their taxi drivers.
What happens if your address is not on the GPS? What happens if you were a customer who did not bring any money? What happens if you try to run instead of paying for your taxi fare?
Well, you might have to prepay your ride, so this might not be too much of a problem. Would the driverless taxi take cash, or will it all be collected from your credit card?
This could solve the problem of a lack of drivers and stop people from ripping off this poor underpaid taxi driver. This is just something for all of you to ponder as you all try to survive the extreme heat.
Lorne Vanderwoude, Camrose

Not educated

August 3, 2021

How about Premier Jason Kenney’s idea to disenfranchise some taxpayers and just let the constituents who are currently policed by the RCMP vote on whether to keep the RCMP? By that logic, only parents would have a say on whether to proceed with the 2021 Draft Curriculum. Instead, minister LaGrange is trying to silence and disenfranchise the parents.
Education minister LaGrange has announced that she is accepting applications for a new Parent Advisory Council. The definition, from the government’s web page, is: “The Minister’s Parent Advisory Council is the voice of parents in Alberta.” The voice of parents in Alberta.  Alarm bells are ringing in all the other groups who thought they were the voice of at least some of the parents in Alberta.
The Alberta School Councils Association (ASCA) has democratically elected leadership representing over 1,300 school councils in Alberta. Their policy positions have been communicated to the minister, but there has been no response.
 It appears the minister is replacing a democratically elected body with one of 40 hand-picked, well-vetted members, whose input will be limited to responding as individuals three or four times a year during Zoom meetings…and whose input may then quite possibly be ignored.
Certainly ASCA and other groups and individuals are feeling ignored. Parents concerned about the draft curriculum swamped the minister’s office with so many phone calls and emails that they brought in staff from other departments. For example, the government is still insisting that the draft curriculum, is age appropriate. At a recent “Have Your Say” information session, parents were told that age-appropriateness was, in fact, “top of mind” during curriculum development.
Let’s look at the Social Studies curriculum for Grade 2 (think seven-year-olds, and about 120 instructional minutes per week for SS): Explain belief systems associated with Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Create a timeline for the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Distinguish between Roman and Greek contributions to modern life. Explain the significance of Charlemagne’s rule in the medieval era. Explain the changes in the law in medieval England. Ask questions: Was the Magna Carta the beginning of English democracy?
This is just a fraction of what appears in the skills section for SS in Grade 2 and it all sounds like essay questions for university courses. The minister insists this curriculum is age appropriate. It is not. It is dangerously inappropriate and will lead to stress and failure.
Karen Green,
Sherwood Park

Top heavy

August 3, 2021

In addition to Lindberg’s notation re: Kenney’s cavalier waste of roughly $1.3 plus billion on the Keystone X Pipeline, and his $4.5 billion oil company tax cut, your readers need to know that Alberta’s UCP’s ministers and staffers got $2.3 million of our hard-earned tax dollars last year, via just their Expense Claims (Siever; Jan. 14; “Expenses paid out to ministers and staffers...).
Kenney also forgave oil and gas companies roughly $245 million that counties/rural Albertans have to make up. Plus, Albertans are also burdened with the estimated $269 billion needed to clean-up Alberta’s 91,000 inactive wells and 2,992 orphaned wells.(Oct. 16, 2020; The Canadian Press).
What about dealing with and recouping these billions first, and cutting MLAs’, ministers’ and staffers’ salaries till they are equivalent to the lower standards in other provinces...before badgering the nurses for that three to five per cent cut to their salaries?
As Lindberg previously noted this UCP crew is a “baffling group.” A baffling and unscrupulously greedy cadre.
Marion Leithead,
Bawlf

Medical services

July 27, 2021

A few weeks ago, my granddaughter required the services of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the emergency department at St. Mary’s Hospital. The people of Camrose and surrounding area are extremely fortunate to have the services of such dedicated individuals.
The ambulance attendants were the most knowledgeable, caring young women. Not only to my granddaughter, but to me as I waited for updates to her condition.   The doctors and nurses in the emergency department were also the most caring people.
They kept us informed at every step of medical procedures. When the decision was made that there needed to be a transfer to intensive care at the U of A hospital, again the ambulance attendants, doctors and nurses were wonderful. They made sure the family knew exactly where to go at the U of A Hospital.  The medical staff at the U of A Hospital were provided with the phone number of my daughter and son-in-law to keep them informed until they arrived at the hospital.
Many many thanks to EMS and St. Mary’s Hospital emergency doctors and nurses. You are sincerely appreciated.
A big thanks to the off-duty Camrose Police officer who saw my granddaughter fall. He quickly went over to her and called 911. A big thanks to my granddaughter’s co-worker Garth who came looking for her when she didn’t arrive at work like she normally did. He saw what had happened and quickly called her dad.  Camrose is full of great people.
Thankfully, my granddaughter is now home recuperating.
Penny D. Fox,
Camrose

Give them knowledge

July 27, 2021

I would like to say that I agree with the education insight of David Livingstone, PhD, writer of an Epoch Times article where he concludes NDP critic Sarah “Hoffman is wrong…it [our soon new K-6 curriculum] brings knowledge back into the curriculum.” The theory of Discovery Learning (DL) that Hoffman and now Karen Green of Sherwood Park support has been a failure in the classroom over the past few decades. I found DL actually means to dumb-down our children (teachers know that what they were teaching to a Grade 3 class in the ’70s was being taught to a Grade 5 class in the ’90s) plus all advanced classes for the early grades were removed; today, they are removing advanced programs from high schools in the name of “inclusion”. I withdrew my children from the public school system in the ’90s because of this mediocrity in education with no celebration of diversity or interests and abilities of the students.
Shame on the mindless adults who pick and choose at: diversity, inclusion, equity (DIE) and do so on the backs and minds of our children and their future.
Our children need the opportunity to think from a mindset of knowledge that they have been able to accumulate year upon year–this is what the new curriculum is designed to do, without controlling the method teachers choose to implement it. I’m quite tired of hearing about the lies that the UN Agenda, some politicians and others want taught in our classrooms: e.g. that socialism is good when all socialist countries fail (even Sweden is changing its socialist policies); the latest lie of DIE education is: white settlers were evil and Aboriginals honourable.
Why are the governments pushing to give all land to Aboriginals? (It doesn’t make sense, considering that the tribes of Aboriginals were actually killing each other off to the point of maybe 8,000 living in North America at the time the white man arrived.) Is it because the UN globalists want the land and it would be easier to confiscate it from five per cent of the population–the Aboriginals–than to confiscate it from the white and black population that own it today?
Be awake to the lies that the UN (globalists) pass down to our governments, similar to how WHO (globalists) has passed lies to our medical people about the China-covid-19 virus, who in turn have passed it on to us.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Top heavy

July 27, 2021

I would like to comment on the letter which Mark Lindberg wrote in the July 20 Camrose Booster.  I agree with him that these oil companies should not spend so much money on the top management of their company.  Now, this is my opinion only and all of you can take this or leave this.
I work for a private company and I am proud to stand behind what our company has done in the health care field. Our company is a non profit organization which is the model which all health organizations should follow. Our company cut from the top and added to the bottom.  From what I see is that these places are cutting from the bottom in order to protect the wages of those in the top of the company. I believe that, in my opinion, every health care company should be a non profit.
This means that the boards are volunteering their time. Government money should all go to the bottom to fund where the help is needed the most. Now, cutting the wages of nurses and doctors is the wrong way to go. Why not cut the unnecessary positions in the top management while adding to the bottom so that Albertans will be looked after? This is just something for all of you to ponder. This is my opinion only and like I have stated, take it or leave it.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Residential schools

July 13, 2021

When it comes to residential schools here in Canada, I do not remember hearing about such an event when I was going to school in my little town of Sedgewick. I went to school from 1974-87. As I think about these special schools, what happened when the federal and provincial government taught them to be Europeans and stop being savages? This was an attitude of the time here in our history. As I read books from this time period, I remember how these wild savages needed to be taught to be proper citizens of this new country called Canada. Now, people are waking up to realize that when these poor people complained about the treatment which they were receiving were really making a good point of the mistreatment their people were receiving. It is too bad that it took this long to understand that over one hundred years ago, our ancestors took away many different culture groups–their language and culture–without even making waves in the European immigrants who came to this new country, unless this was the main attitude of the majority of those who travelled here to this new country which was owned by a group of people who did not believe that they truly owned the land on which they roamed. Is it really too late to make these wrongs right?  It is too bad that it has taken this long to understand which wrongs were done against these people. However, the past cannot be reversed; returning these people their rights to have their language and culture is a good start in this healing process.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

New normality

July 13, 2021

Let’s compare Premier Kenney’s claims re: Crushing COVID-19 and its variants’ risks (Returning to a sense of normality, Camrose Booster, July 6) with what Dr. Deena Henshaw stated.
Kenney claims, “We have crushed COVID-19 and with cases plummeting and vaccine uptake climbing, we are Open for Summer.” Misleading, to say the least, when the (July 6) Calgary Zone has 374 active cases, with 69 still in hospital (…and 140 hospitalized province-wide). Plus, Kenney’s attempts to promote the “safety” of the Calgary Stampede, also totally ignore the increasing (Delta) “variant” cases (i.e. 21 new variant cases, July 6).
Dr. Henshaw (in that same article) remarked, “We are entering a new phase in our fight against this virus…I encourage every Albertan to continue to get their vaccines, make safe choices…,” which in plain English, contradicts Kenney’s claim.
Before making his declaration, Kenney should also have checked The Economist (July 3: “Back to the Future”…and below the 66 average of the 50 countries used in this “Normalcy” Index (economist.com/normalcytracker).
The Economist’s Normalcy Index “tracks three types of activity: 1. ravel, split between roads, flights and public transport; 2. eisure time, divided among hours spent outside of homes, cinema revenues and attendance at sporting events; 3. ommercial activity, measured by footfall in shops and offices.” The Index uses data of 50 countries (which account for 76 per cent of the world’s population and 90 per cent of its GDP) and measures the change in each factor from pre-covid levels, averaging the changes in each category; and then averaging the grouped results together.
The Index relative to a pre-covid norm of 100 was calculated…most Western countries ranked near the 66 average (America at 73, the EU 71, Australia 70 and Britain 62). “Both Hong Kong and New Zealand, the leaders at 96 and 88, enjoy nearly full normalcy…”, whereas Canada sits at just under 60, a long ways from Kenney’s declared having “crushed COVID”. And, a long way below Hong Kong’s 96 and New Zealand’s 88.
Of the eight activities used in The Economist’s Index, three were subject to legal orders: cinemas, sporting events, and flights. “All three remain 70 to 85 per cent below the pre-covid baseline today.” That defies Kenney’s claim of “having crushed Covid-19.” And, should clearly indicate the risks the Stampede poses during this pandemic.
Food for thought: What is normalcy/normality right now anyway?
M.R. Leithead,
Bawlf

 

Rude protestors

July 13, 2021

You are not going to find a bigger critic of the UCP than me. For the record, I think Tylor Shandro is doing a terrible job as health minister. In fact, I think he’s the worst health minister this province has ever had.
However, what happened to him and his family on Canada Day was completely unacceptable. Anti-maskers crowded around him and his wife and children, yelling obscenities and threatening all of them. This mob went after his children. To illustrate their complete lack of knowledge, one of these so-called protestors yelled at one of his kids, “Sorry, bud, but your dad is a war criminal.”
What war? What crimes? These people are delusional hooligans just like their internet “heroes”.
Is this what we are devolving into? What is behind it? It seems that thugs are inspiring far too many willfully ignorant people. In turn, these folks feel the rule of law and the pursuit of civil society doesn’t apply to them. If you turn to aggression and threats, where do you think this is going end?
We all need to demand a higher level of accountability and integrity from ourselves and others.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Learn facts

June 22, 2021

Thank you, Ed Rostaing, for your letter in the June 15 edition of The Booster. Finally some light on an issue which, so far, has generated mostly heat.  Your calm, measured voice is a welcome addition to the discussion of a horrible event which has gripped us all. You have reminded us to learn the facts before we draw conclusions and demonize everyone in sight. Let’s not get mired in blame instead of doing something about the inequities which still exist.  Thank you for calling upon our better selves to take over the process of healing our nation.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

Technology challenges

June 22, 2021

Thank you, Arnold Malone, for your guest editorial on June 8 about technology. I recently tried to contact Service Canada regarding the tax withholding from my CCP.
After several phone calls where my wait time of 30 minutes extended to about 45 to 50 minutes (including one made at 8:30 a.m. when the office opened), I decided to go to the Service Canada office in Camrose.
The staff there was very helpful and, after watching them inputting my request for several minutes, I understood why I wasn’t able to do it online.
When the task was completed, I was informed that it would take three months for the changes to be reflected, but I could try calling!
Got to love technology.
Maralyn Shepley,
Camrose

Moving care

June 22, 2021

The moving of Galahad Care Centre residents to other area facilities in early June because of staff shortages came as a big shock to me. This facility has cared for many of our area’s residents, including some of my own family. These seniors have lived full lives and have contributed much to our communities. To move them out of their home with short notice and little explanation was devastating for residents and families.
Why did Alberta Health Services not inform the families and community of these staff shortages, which had apparently been ongoing for months, until the decision had already been made to move residents? Galahad Care Centre is located in a caring rural community. If people in the community had been made aware of the problem, they might have been able to help with finding a solution before it came to the crisis point of having to relocate residents. For example, I saw many of the positions available shared on Facebook after the moving of residents had been announced. Perhaps community organizations would have stepped up to offer recruitment incentives, like housing or transportation assistance.
It appears to me that perhaps the problem in finding staff is that many of the positions offered are part-time and with few benefits. To recruit and maintain a good core of staff, full-time permanent positions with benefits need to be available. Our residents deserve that.
Galahad Care Centre has consistently been one of the best continuing care facilities in the province. The family atmosphere created by caring staff, Auxiliary members and community volunteers is second to none. Alberta Health Services needs to give residents, their families, and the community a firm date as to when residents can move back home to Galahad Care Centre.
If you are concerned about this issue, I urge you to contact Leanne Grant, Alberta Health Services area director (Leanne.Grant@ahs.ca); Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health (healthminister@gov.ab.ca); Ms. Jackie Lovely, MLA Camrose (camrose@assembly.ab.ca).
John Oberg,
Forestburg

Working dinner

June 22, 2021

Shandro in obvious non-compliance with his own COVID-19 precaution rules.
Bravo! Hutchinson’s (June 8) Reflections nailed it when she wrote of minister Shandro’s non-compliance with the COVID-19 precautions, which he helped create…plus, he seems to feel he owes Albertans no apology.
Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt rightfully asks, “Why, if Kenney’s party can ignore restrictions, should restaurant owners not get more leeway as well?” She adds, “Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules.”
Minister Shandro (backed by Kenney) is violating the COVID-19 social-distancing rules and the fines they both helped establish. Surely the health minister should provide a role model for Albertans.
I applaud the teenager who contacted Alberta at Noon asking how much these political officials will be fined. I would add that it must be the maximum fine. Kenney was quick to assure Albertans that the diners had all paid for their own dinners…but, Albertans want to be sure that the tab for this “dinner and beverages” doesn’t show up on the various expense accounts. Taxpayers must not pay for this Sky Palace misadventure.
This dinner is not the real issue. This compliance-breaking dinner is simply a symbol of all that Shandro has done wrong from day one. That list of wrongs is endless, beginning back when minister Shandro publicly yelled at a fellow doctor who dared suggest a “conflict of interest” for a health minister to be co-owner with a wife running a private health care related business (i.e. Vital Partners). It runs the gamut from his February 2020 ripping-up of the seven-year Doctors’ Contract, which caused some doctors to leave Alberta (exact numbers are debatable), right through the inept handling of Covid’s tracing, testing and lame vaccination roll-outs. (i.e. Why were teachers, major frontline workers, not vaccinated right at the beginning?) The repeated closures and re-openings of schools (with no science-based evidence) created a risky environment for students/parents, teachers, school and custodial staff, bus drivers, etc.). And to cap it all off, Shandro is going along with the (insane) promotion of the Calgary Stampede, despite the risks of it being a super-spreader, as numerous variants (e.g. 60 per cent variants) are now responsible for new cases in parts of the UK.
After all these missteps, this Sky Palace dinner is just the “straw that broke the Shandro camel’s back”. Disappointed and appalled.
Marion Leithead, Bawlf

Fine dining

June 15, 2021

I was gob-stopped to read about our “Covid rule-breaking Premier” Jason Kenney apparently dining out on the patio of the Sky Palace with his team.
UCP MLA and deputy speaker Angela Pitt gets it right in her statement, “Legislature member says Alberta premier’s patio dinner clearly broke COVID-19 rules” (msn.com).
It seems obvious to me, and others, that Kenney broke Covid rules.
It is, in my opinion, a gross indicator of the entitlement and arrogance of this Premier and his team.
I agree wholeheartedly with Angela Pitt, “Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules.”
Brian McGaffigan,
Strome

No knowledge

June 15, 2021

I have just read Mark Lindberg and Lorne Vanderwoude’s comments in this past week’s Camrose Booster and I agree with every word. I graduated in 1980 from Hay Lakes High School, and throughout my high school years, not one word of abduction or kidnapping of Indigenous children was ever mentioned in any Social Studies class or any other class. We learned about Plains Indians, but that was it. I’m embarrassed by the lack of knowledge and information we as Canadians and Albertans have when it comes to the abduction and murder of so many Indigenous children. First to blame is the federal government. They built the schools and organized the abduction of the children. They needed someone to run the schools, so they recruited the all religious sects, but mainly the Catholic Church. I’m so embarrassed, and I actually feel stupid because none of us knew. Here is the kicker, the federal government knew, the provincial government, the municipal government knew and, most importantly, the Catholic Church knew. The government may have built these schools, but the Catholic Church ran them. The abuse and atrocities these kids faced at the hands of so-called religious teachers is…well I don’t have words for it. What I want from our Catholic and religious community right now, in these trying times, is to question your priests and religious leaders with extremely difficult and uncomfortable questions and don’t stop until you get the answers to everyone’s question…why?
Barry Tober,
Camrose

Not sure

June 15, 2021

I do not share the opinion Lorne Vanderwoude expressed in his letter to the editor in last week’s Booster. His Just Sayin’ letter alludes to a massive coverup of deaths of Indigenous children at the Kamloops Residential School. He suggests to Booster readers the likelihood of unmarked graves of native children at hundreds of other schools in Canada. He asks why these children’s deaths were not revealed years ago. Why such a massive cover up? He plants the seed of  widespread “foul play”.
Much work and money has already been invested in learning more about the benefits and atrocities of residential schools across Canada. Compensation for wrongdoings has been previously paid by government, on behalf of taxpayers.
I have employed a number of Indigenous people in my career, part of which was in Kamloops. I knew many other Indigenous people. Some told me they did not like the residential schools. Many had children attending from faraway places so that the children couldn’t run home. Most, however,  were grateful that their kids could get quality education.
Citizens of Kamloops were well aware of the massive unmarked cemetery containing bodies of children from the school. It operated from 1890 to 1960. At its peak in the ’50s, 500 students attended. Media is not currently reporting, with complete accuracy, the entire story of this site. It took some 50 to 70 years of burials in side-by-side graves to reach that 215 number now circulating world-wide. Conspiracy theories of priests and teachers murdering and secretly burying are rampant.
We mustn’t forget that tuberculosis was a major disease in the province, and it didn’t spare children. From the 1890s to the 1950s, it took many lives. The 1914-18 Spanish Flu killed a disproportionate number of Indigenous children. Even ordinary influenza was deadly for the Indigenous. Other diseases that aren’t common today–whooping cough, smallpox, meningitis and measles–took lives. It seems to me that Indigenous people didn’t have the immune system to fight off diseases well. Infected children entered schools and infected others. Many died.
I agree that there are many forgotten cemeteries in Canada. It’s likely that the reality of many diseases without cures of the day are responsible for countless deaths. Between Heisler and Strome, when there was an actual Spring Lake, Father Beillevaire and Father Lacombe are reported to have laid 74 Indigenous people to rest. 
The Kamloops discovery is a reflection of history. We have to be more cautious about turning this situation into something it may not actually be.

Mass grave

June 8, 2021

There is talk about finding a mass grave at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.  Around 215 decomposed bodies of native children were found in unmarked graves on this property.  This was after this school was closed down decades ago.
I find this cover-up to be very disturbing, because this brings to light one question which needs to be asked. How many of the hundreds of residential schools also have unmarked graves of native children?
The question is why was this not dealt with years ago? Why was this covered up?
I understand that due to the attitudes of that period, that these people needed to be made into proper European citizens. However, why were these children’s deaths covered up? Where they all murdered? Was there foul play? 
I understand that bad things happened to people who were looked down on by the invaders, who were the Europeans; however, why was there a cover up?  Why has it taken this long to find out what happened to these missing children?  From my perspective, were there enough complaints of children going missing? Why were these complaints ignored? This is just something for all of you to ponder.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Speaking plainly

June 8, 2021

On Monday, May 31, the City of Camrose Facebook page said, “The City of Camrose will be lowering its flags on Monday, May 31, 2021, to honour and recognize the passing of the 215 Indigenous children buried at the Kamloops Residential School.”
Using indirect language, when speaking about the legacy of residential schools in Canada, minimalizes what Indigenous people endured and still endure to this day. It makes it sound like these people may have died from illness.
The neglect and outright sadistic violence against these children is murder. These kids didn’t pass away, they were killed.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Recycling bottles

June 1, 2021

Being a volunteer at a recent bottle drive prompted me to write this letter.
On two occasions, we were asked where we were going to take the bottles and cans when our drive was over. Our reply was Camrose, of course.
The point being: they were not prepared to donate if we were not taking them to our Camrose venue.
This also brought to mind a couple of situations which are quite disturbing to me. Over the past few years, when the arena was fully operational, an out-of-town depot truck parked in the arena parking lot and collected bags and bags of bottles and cans. Living in the arena area, I witnessed this on a weekly basis for quite some time, especially during the winter months.
All milk products, including jugs, cartons, creamers and whipping cream, have a deposit on them and are therefore returnable to the bottle depot for cash.
As many families are struggling financially during this difficult time, I’m sure an additional revenue, whether it be large or small, would be welcome.
Unfortunately, any deposit items that are left at recycling depots have been rerouted out of our community.
The citizens of Camrose and many of the charitable organizations have donated to the operators of the recycling depot in many forms for many years and no doubt we will continue to do so.
We’ve heard on the news over and over again that we should support our local business. Local helps local!
Agnes Minnes,
Camrose

Little interest

June 1, 2021

​The latest issue of the Alberta Views magazine has a revealing statement about our MLA. In the article on Camrose, beginning on page 58, we learn of the protestors who have been outside our MLA’s office on Friday afternoons. The MLA’s choice of the word “picketers” is interesting, given that there is no sense in which a picket line exists that others would be ill-advised to cross. She also uses the dog whistle term “socialist” in her description, although I’m sure she’s aware that the protestors are asking about the social programs that her government is doing its best to decimate in this province.
Anyway, here is the problem. From the article:
“When asked by Alberta Views for a short interview about what she loves and is most concerned about in her constituency, MLA Lovely–who in December 2020 was given the Alberta Legislature award for “best community outreach,” as voted on by MLAs–did not respond (my italics).”
Apart from the major irony found in this quotation, I am dismayed that our MLA would not be willing to identify what she finds valuable and attractive about our community.
My own experience is relevant here. In an email, I asked our MLA what she felt about the fact that her government had made a drastically disproportionate reduction of funds to the University of Alberta, as compared to the other post-secondary institutions in the province. This was my question:
“Given that a vital part of your constituency, the Augustana Faculty, has been drastically affected, I’m wondering what you personally feel about these cuts? Do you feel they are fair? How do you justify the disproportionate nature of them? How also do you explain that so-called religious post-secondary institutions have received no, or virtually no, cuts?”
A month later, I received a reply that was filled with the usual UCP talking points, but had little to no personal response from our MLA. It contained the word “we” but nowhere did the word “I” appear. There was nothing in the way of a personal comment on the fact that people had been laid off at Augustana, nor any indication whether our MLA has any interest in advocating for Augustana’s best interests.
Others in the community have also reported a similar lack of engagement. The fact that our MLA ignored the request for an interview seems to speak volumes about our MLA’s priorities. Certainly, these do not appear to include engaging with those who might have hard questions, apart from responding with talking points.
Tim Parker,
Camrose

Folk myths

May 25, 2021

​Readers are probably tired of seeing my name on the Just Sayin’ page, so I will try to keep my comments brief. However, I do feel the need to challenge folk myths presented in public media as unquestioned truth. In her May 18, 2021 letter, Tina Kawalilak makes the following plea after proposing a list of unfounded claims: “Do people really not care, or why is it that they do not research things for themselves?”
I assume that Ms. Kawalilak did that research herself before writing her letter. So, if Ms. Kawalilak could assemble the research underlying just some of her claims, I am willing to pay for an ad to publish her evidence in The Booster. For example, some proofs for the following would be helpful: Melinda and Bill Gates have everything to do with eugenics. The reason we now see so many cases of autism and maybe asthma are from bad vaccines. Mainstream media is paid off. Climate change is a hoax. Millions disappear every year.
Etc. ad absurdum. Of course, if any other readers would care to join me in funding the ad, that would be most welcome  And, please, Ms. Kawalilak, don’t use this offer as proof that the mainstream media is paid off.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

Not clear

May 25, 2021

As an ardent follower of politics, I have (for the past 16 months) endured the never-ending COVID-19 updates on television, hoping for a clearer picture of where we are and what lies ahead in regard to solving the dilemma. It seems fair to say that no clear road-map has been established by our top medical and political authorities for us to follow.
Therefore, I can understand the frustration that many are feeling, (and some of us) expressing or venting in the Just Sayin’ section.
What I don’t understand is all the harsh criticisms directed at the UPC Premier, while none is directed at the federal Liberals for their late and misguided response. I have a thorough documentation of their numerous failings since the onset, which I may submit at another time for the benefit of those who haven’t had the time or the inclination to follow the saga.
If, as we were told, vaccinations are the only hope to eliminate the devastation caused by the virus(s), then the blame clearly belongs with the federal government for their late reaction and blind trust in the WHO recommendations, which proved unreliable. At the onset, Dr. Tam told us, “Canada was not in any danger…if we incur any infections…I assure you there will be very few.”
They were so certain of this, Canada shipped our supplies to China to aid them, leaving Canadians vulnerable, and failed to close the borders to foreign travellers, as urged by the Conservatives.
As for the missteps by the UCP, in hindsight, there were a few, perhaps many, but in a democracy, all voices should be heard in order to establish a consensus, and there was no clear one. Not within the ranks of the UCP, not within a polling of Albertans.
The bulk of criticisms against Alberta’s apparent attempt to follow (federal recommendations modified to suit Alberta situation) were inconsistent, much too restrictive, not restrictive enough, not enforced, too late, not equitably applied.
When some business can stay open and others can’t, there are resulting beneficiaries and losers. When we try to please everyone, often no one is pleased. Who of us would want to be shouldered with this responsibility?
We are told “we are all in this together”, but we are not. However, we could try to move forward supporting and understanding each other. We do have different needs.
Bill Mattinson,
Camrose

Volunteers

May 11, 2021

Nicely said, Colleen Nelson. A well-deserved tribute to all the volunteers who keep not only the Bailey Theatre open, but many other facilities and events throughout the community, and indeed the whole province. And that’s in addition to what they are contributing to our way of life through their full-time jobs. What a gift to us all.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

Goodbye Dad

May 11, 2021

Editor’s note: We normally do not publish letters from outside our coverage area, however, there is a good message here for all of us: all of us need to take this COVID-19 business very seriously.

Dear Blain and Ron:
You never dream this could happen to you…I am one of seven (six now) siblings and during COVID, we have a Sunday morning Zoom call for all the Prevost clan and we have a great time, teasing each other and connecting.
One of the comments we use to make is, “Thank God no one in our family got this disease.” It was always out there and didn’t affect us…it was someone else’s disease. My younger brother Ken succumbed to COVID-19.
He was living in Ottawa and he began exhibiting symptoms. He was tested, found out he had the virus, and so did my sister-in-law and my niece. For some reason, they had a milder version of the disease.
My brother began exhibiting symptoms of shortness of breath and was immediately hospitalized. He was also determined to have pneumonia.
Prior to this, he was in excellent health, he meditated regularly, did tai chi and walked an hour a day.
I am particularly sad and filled with grief because we chatted three to four times a week about his different projects since we were both speakers and trainers, often sharing ideas and concepts.
He and I began our entrepreneurial path together when we opened a retail store in Ottawa in the late ’70s. I never dreamt that our family would be touched by this scourge, and the unfairness of this is hard to comprehend.
Here we are, one year into this pandemic, and he had just got his first vaccine and this happens to him.
I leave you with this. Never assume anything. Life is fragile and, for Heaven’s sake, take this virus seriously, and abide by the rules. If you are an anti-vaxxer…need I say more. Here is the text sent by my niece (his daughter).
“We said goodbye to my dad today. It was so relaxing and peaceful to see him. I missed him so much. Seeing him was so, so good. I felt the most calm I have felt in days. Mom and I were called into the hospital urgently and we saw him for two hours. Which is unheard of. It was lovely. I said everything I could ever want to say. My brothers spoke to him over the phone and made their peace. He for sure had two big tears flowing down his face. We held his hands. Rubbed his head. Put my hand on his heart. We sang ‘You Are My Sunshine’, listened to music and sang along, just relaxed. There was a thunderstorm and then the sun came out. The doctors said, he will pass tonight. It was the most graceful exit we could have imagined.”
Hug your family.
Roy Prevost,
Burnaby, BC

Flip-flops

May 11, 2021

On Wednesday, April 28, Premier Jason Kenney said that health measures don’t work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, April 29, the Premier instituted new health measures in closing schools. Yet another flip-flop from the Premier. Another feckless attempt to reduce infection rates. Yet we in Alberta had the highest per capita rate of active cases in Canada, and higher than every American state after Michigan.
No, I don’t think it’s because we need the government to lock us all in our homes and tell us when to come out. However, I do think we need responsible leadership, that acts quickly and decisively, to health care needs based on science. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. It appears that our Premier is trying to play both sides of this issue, so he can win–politically. He reacts timidly and slowly, because a third of his MLAs, people he picked for his team, feel even with the new COVID-19 variants, we should relax restrictions. We should ignore science. Insofar as I can tell, this is ideology founded on some notion of Libertarianism. He says he’s taking a measured approach, but isn’t he just making this all much worse? His weak-kneed measures don’t go far enough to curb the spread of the virus, but they do lead to more business strife, pandemic burnout, and infections. Ultimately, they lead to more sickness and deaths.
If we went into a strict lockdown and embraced vaccinations, we’d be well onto the other side of this by now. Look at the example of New Zealand. Instead, our Premier, frightened of the extremists in his own party, tries to play both sides of the issue. He creates confusion and we all suffer for it.
Kenney still thinks the conservatives in this province are “united”. They aren’t. They never were. This crisis shows everyone that, and it shows it clearly. Kenney somehow thinks he’ll appease both responsible Albertans and reckless anti-maskers in the political dreamland he’s living in. The trouble is he’s dragging this entire province down with him. It’s time we make it clear he needs to stand up and take restrictions seriously. No more flip-flops.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Selfish people

May 11, 2021

Something is really bothering me. I have sincere remorse for those who do not have jobs, the closed restaurants, the limited family togetherness. Those people are among the heroes of this unusual traumatic time.
This time, I am angry and also writing to those people who say that their rights have been infringed. As you continue to circumvent the COVID-19 protocols, you are taking and delaying my right of freedom.
You dare to spread the contagious virus with your continuous gatherings in the streets, in parks, at indoor parties, at church, and in any unnecessary close relationship with others. It causes more disease and possibly death. You are guilty of extending my loss of freedom.
On the subject of freedom, death takes away total freedom, it is absolute. Why do you complain about your living freedoms?
Lew Goddard,
Camrose

Out of Alberta

May 11, 2021

I can now state with conviction, and the passing of 30 days, the above three words soothe my mind.
My decision to leave Alberta, and the unimagined angst in doing so, was not an experience taken lightly nor soon to be forgotten. Although a decision in the making for at least two years, it was not an easy one. After all, Alberta has been “home” for 54 of my 75 years. A multitude of experiences contributed to my departure;  some weighed more heavily than others, some simply heartbreaking.
The COVID-19 situation shattered lives world-wide and what had been accepted as “normal life” became the “new reality”, drastically shifting with the dawning of each new day. Regretfully, I have left some amazing people behind: some dear friends and others, new acquaintances. This later-in-life event would have been even more difficult had it not been for the understanding and encouragement of so many individuals.  Each will remain close in mind and heart. I faced deteriorating health, and my lifetime with horses drew to an end. There was much to be done, little time to do such.
Thankfully, there were positives: one being that I was fortunate to connect with a Camrose business, Worthmore Trailers. Following a frantic search for a specific sized cargo trailer to transport my possessions, Wade Worthing came through with brilliance, enabling me to purchase the exact cargo trailer required. His sharp business sense, courtesy, timeliness and integrity are qualities I admire and will remember and appreciate. Thank you, Wade. I wish you continuing success.
My initial thought, and prime reason for vacating Alberta is attributed to the miserable misery of the UCP government and its self-absorbed, utterly pretentious and repetitious flip-flop gross failings, all at Albertans’ expense. I had recently noticed the increase in the number and tone of letters submitted by readers of and printed by The Booster. The very words of those intolerant of the constant overflow of UCP indiscretions, stupidity, waffling and back-peddling were gathering steam. Not only were there expressions of frustrations and disappointments, anger was evidently simmering. Justly so. It was time.
Lennie McKim,
formerly of Beaver County

Asian month

May 11, 2021

Happy Asian Heritage Month (AHM). This month highlights the contributions that Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders have made in Canada.
I’m third generation Chinese Canadian. I’ve lived in Camrose for over half my life, raised three amazing children, worked in education and as a therapy assistant. I’ve volunteered for many local organizations.
It’s sad, knowing that the incidence of hate crimes against Asians has increased 600 to 700 per cent in some Canadian urban areas since the beginning of the pandemic. Racism against Asian Canadians can be anything from refusing service, verbal abuse, being spit upon and physical violence. Victims have been from all ages. I’m fortunate that my experience of racism in Camrose has been minimal. Other Asians in our community have not been as lucky. My parents taught me, “Don’t make a fuss, walk away.”
But “keeping silent” isn’t helpful. It supports the illusion that there isn’t racism. When I don’t speak out, I give permission for racism to continue. Silence sets up Asians as easy targets, because they won’t do anything back. Instead, be informed about how to use helpful bystander intervention, https://www.ihollaback.org/bystander-resources/.
I encourage Camrose to think of Asians you know. See the similarities to yourselves, and celebrate the differences. The Asians in our community are from all walks of life, we are someone’s family member, colleague, and friend. If you witness racism, speak up, and stop it. Let’s work together during AHM to reduce racism and make Camrose safe for all.
Donna Hackborn, Camrose

Bad leaders

May 11, 2021

As a former resident of Camrose and longtime Conservative supporter of the Lougheed and Getty governments, I am sick and tired of watching the ignorance being displayed by these phoney Conservatives. Lougheed’s energy minister Bill Dickie was a brother-in-law of one of my uncles.
These are Reformers, trying to pretend they are Conservatives, and they don’t care who they hurt or what lives are lost.
While Jason Kenney is at least trying to get Albertans to obey the rules, his ignorant MLAs find it smart to ignore them, and he isn’t man enough to stop them.
While his health minister tries to run off our rural doctors so that they can close down your health care services, his energy minister is willing to allow our water supply to be polluted by coal production and they don’t care.
While these MLAs encourage businesses to remain open when our governments are supplying funding to assist them for being closed is just plain stupid. Are they just too lazy to apply, and why  aren’t these MLAs helping them?
Add that to their policy of slashing taxes to benefit their rich friends while they cut our children’s health care and education jobs is just one more example of ignorance they provide.
Their only mandate has been to finish off what Ralph Klein started by destroying everything Lougheed created.
The true Conservatives in my world aren’t surprised that Alberta is running one of the worse covid records per capita in North America and we know who to blame.
We also know none of this would be happening under the watch of our Conservative hero Peter Lougheed.
Alan K . Spiller,
formerly of Camrose