Richard Husfloen

February 2, 2021

Recently I received a copy of Circle, an Augustana alumni magazine. My first impression was positive, but that impression soon turned to a sense of repugnance.
In outlining the history of Augustana, the writers mentioned each president from the formation until the present dean of the campus excepting one.
They did salute the new buildings, including the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre, and the security of the campus under the umbrella of the University of Alberta.
They also gave credit to the Augustana board for the transformation of Augustana to a campus of the University of Alberta.
They failed miserably by omitting the single person who was the driver in bringing about that transformative status of the campus, Richard Husfloen. Without the tireless work of Husfloen, it is doubtful that Augustana would even exist today.
Upon his arrival, president Husfloen inherited an institution that had a history of accumulated deficits and a debt of $5,000,000. Through difficult budgeting, he reduced the deficit by half across five years. Nevertheless, he was convinced that the church, the government and the community were unable to sustain the capital required to maintain and enhance the university.
It was he who started the negotiations with the University of Alberta to take on the Augustana campus as a satellite of the University of Alberta. It was a thoughtful board that accepted reality, and the board approved his perspective.
Having mentioned every leader of the Augustana Campus except the most impacting leader in Augustana’s history gives rise to the suspicion that it was not an oversight, but an attempt to erase an extraordinary leader from the history of the campus.
In many ways, Husfloen was similar to Lee Iacocca, president of Chrysler Corporation. Both, unhappily, had to destroy a management culture and then rebuild a new vision. Both leaders were maligned by the old guard, but both avoided bankruptcy and both have a record of ongoing success. Husfloen ought to be saluted and recognized, but never forgot. The current Augustana Campus is a monument to his management experience, his vision, and his extraordinary efforts on behalf of students, staff and community. Circle magazine owes both an explanation and a correction.
Arnold Malone,
formerly of Camrose

 

Cleaner future

February 2, 2021

There has been a lot of talk about the executive order signed by Joe Biden to cancel the KXL pipeline, but what many missed is that the same executive order committed the US to converting the entire US federal fleet of 645,000 vehicles and 500,000 school buses to electric within five years. It also commits the US to installing 500,000 EV charging points by 2030. This is a clear statement that the US plans to switch from oil to electric. That means that our future Alberta prosperity will be less based on selling oil to the US.
This is not a negative letter. This change doesn’t mean that our prosperity will not come from selling energy–just that energy will not be oil. As Tim Belec’s excellent letter of Jan. 26 points out, Alberta has tremendous potential for geothermal energy. The temperature at the bottom of many of our oil wells is over 120 degrees, and the oil wells give us access to that heat. The heat can be used to generate inexpensive abundant electricity and many jobs come with it. Alberta is also an excellent place for wind generated electricity.
Wind power is now by far the least expensive source of electricity in Alberta. Many wind generators are being installed, and with them come more jobs. Modern wind generators are made from carbon fibre, which is lighter and stronger than steel and made from petroleum.  The US will need a huge amount of electricity and we could supply it. The economic prospects here for Alberta are wonderful.
Alberta is also a fine place to generate solar electricity.  The company Canadian Solar based in Guelph, is now a world leader in producing high efficiency solar panels. Community-based and home-based solar systems will soon be common. As we move to electric vehicles, having solar panels at home to charge your EV will be like having a gas station in your garage where the gas is free.
The world is on the verge of rapid change.  The only negative is the people who continue to say that our prosperity is dependent on selling oil to the US. Our future is bright if we are willing to take the emerging opportunities right in front of us. But if we don’t want to take these opportunities, we had better get out of the way so we don’t get run over as the world passes us by.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Punching bag

January 26, 2021

Our MLA Jackie Lovely must be feeling like a piñata or a punching bag these days, as a small but very vocal and never happy group of NDP supporters constantly attack her in print when they’re not “busy” marching around in front of her office or trying to harass her on the telephone. Now I’m sure Ms. Lovely realizes that she is “fair game” as an elected representative, but that doesn’t likely make it any easier.
Apparently, these people object to being referred to as “socialists” even though that is the commonly accepted term for those who believe government spending is the only solution to society’s problems. Has it now become a dirty word?
Our provincial government has the very difficult task of trying to help our economy survive, as well as protect our health during the worst pandemic of our lifetime, and do it without laying an insufferable burden of debt on future generations. This is not an easy task. It would be much easier to take the NDP (and federal Liberal) approach of just spending enormous amounts of money with little or no accountability and letting the chips fall where they may.
One of the recurring complaints seems to be the “massive cuts” to government funding, in particular, post-secondary education. While it is unfortunate anytime jobs are lost, the fact is the impact of the pandemic and economic downturn has been far more devastating to the private sector. Small business owners and employees have real “survival” concerns, but they are not the ones hounding their MLA.
Larry Lewsaw,
Camrose

Our paper

January 26, 2021

Being the Third Best Independent Newspaper in North America is an outstanding accomplishment!
Kudos to The Camrose Booster staff/crew who so diligently creates this paper every week. You do Camrose proud! Congratulations on being recognized for this accomplishment.
Your readers are so grateful to you for keeping us informed and up to date regarding all that transpires in our community and Alberta in general.
You have focused on community interests (e.g. antique/old automobiles), and raised awareness regarding community needs (e.g. County/City fire, recreation and recycling costs), providing details your readers need to use when making decisions.
You have also covered political nuances, zeroing in on what needs to be said with tactful confidence and verbal poise.
The detailed article on fitness served as a reminder to get me moving again. I first met Connie in the Bethany warm pool exercise classes. The article, with its clear 15-point “Tips to get there” (and the clincher, “never give up!”) made me dig out my exercise sheets, my mat, the big ball and my walking poles, again, and renewed my resolve to try to get moving.
We don’t know who to thank for the Booster Banter, but we thank them for infusing a little levity into a rather grim COVID-19 existence. Know that we have shared some of those chuckles with Edmontonians and a shut-in octogenarian UK friend.
The Booster is so relevant to many aspects of our lives.
For this, and much more, we thank you!
Marion and Bill
Leithead, Bawlf

Pipelines

January 26, 2021

The cancellation of the TC XL pipeline was not inevitable, but a fair bet for anyone paying attention. Jason Kenny risked dumping $1.5 billion into XL and providing another $6 billion in loan guarantees on what many anticipated would become a white elephant. Add into the mix the $1.3 billion in losses when he nixed the oil-by-rail program with his incompetent and myopic push to bring back Alberta oil’s glory days, he has cost Albertans dearly. Now he is falling back on an easy and familiar target, the federal government. Somehow, they didn’t do enough to compel the new president to ignore America’s own Paris commitments.
What could Alberta have done with the $8.8 billion? According to the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, the technical potential of generating electricity from deep well geothermal in Alberta is 555,800 MW. The theoretical potential, that is drilling deeper and working to mature the technology, is almost 8.2 TW. Deep well geothermal uses exactly the same technology we use to drill oil wells. It uses the same personnel, engineering, drillers, suppliers and down hole tooling. One pilot in southern Saskatchewan has cost $10 million to produce the needed heat. These geothermal installations have a generating capacity of five to 20 MW. Camrose uses close to 20 MW of electricity. The estimated employment requirement is about four FTE per MW to operate each plant.
Once upon a time in Alberta, a man named Lougheed had a vision for something called the Alberta Tar Sands. He was told that it was not economically viable, but he committed Alberta to research and develop the technology needed to make what was to become the economic lifeblood of Alberta a reality.
In Alberta, we have thousands of orphan wells. Potentially, we could be providing cities and towns with renewable, carbon-free electricity. We could easily become a net exporter of power. The big question is, with low oil prices, increasing GHG emissions, rising unemployment and an expert, ready-made work force, why are we not fully embracing the ultimate potential of deep well geothermal?
We could be a world leader in geothermal generation, an exporter of green electricity, we could meet our Paris commitments and beyond, and Kenny could leave a legacy that would give our children a livable planet. But I guess it’s easier and more in character to pick fights with the feds.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Drama continues

January 26, 2021

The COVID-19 drama continues on and on, flowing right into 2021. The numbers in Quebec and Ontario are climbing higher and higher. Now there seems to be a complete lockdown, with people required to be at home at a certain time. Here in our community, our numbers are at an acceptable rate. For most of us who have been obeying all of recommendations by our government, there is only one question on most of our minds. When will this all end?
This seems to be the nightmare which never has an ending. Most of us did not have a normal Christmas. We were all looking forward to Jan. 11 when the restaurants were all going to reopen for indoor dining. Now this will not happen until Jan. 21. Now, please do not get me wrong; this is a very serious disease. We all need to do our part to stop this virus from spreading. I just wonder, will there be an end to this nightmare or will this be the new norm?
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Many changes

January 26, 2021

Thank you to our friends and family and all residents who showed a conscience and did the right thing by staying home this Christmas. We were supposed to have 12 at our place, but scaled it back to just the two of us. Our parents, brother and family, and daughter all cancelled flights from BC.  They stayed home to flatten the curve. Same with our kids who live in Edmonton. We missed being together this year, but we did this because it was the right thing to do.
For all of us, it meant we couldn’t be close to many of our loved ones during a special time of the year.  You showed a conscience and did your part to flatten the curve. You also showed more leadership than many of our Elected Officials, who chose to ignore the advice to avoid nonessential travel, advice from Dr. Hinshaw and the provincial government.
Albertans deserve and expect better from those in leadership roles. Thank you for doing your part during this pandemic.
Kevin Smook,
Beaver County

Freedom for security

January 26, 2021

I believe it was it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
I’m not sure I totally agree with the last part of his quote, but I do agree that it is extremely unwise to trade our freedom for security.
In “Just Sayin’”, in the Dec. 29th issue of The Camrose Booster, I appreciated what Bryan Hookenson had to say in his letter, “Stole Christmas”, and I encourage everyone to read it.
I agree 100 per cent with him. I applaud him for speaking the truth. And I hear countless people, including myself, voicing the same opinions as this man.
So now I ask everyone, what are we going to do about this? Are we going to stand together and say “enough”, or are we going to silently let these restrictions and lockdowns continue?
It causes me to constantly read our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is what we stand on, and no one can take that away from us, no matter how intimidating they try to be.
To back us up and reinforce our knowledge of our rights and freedoms, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) out of Calgary, work tirelessly and pro bono for our rights and freedoms. Thank God for those amazing men and women.
One thing they encourage us to do is to email our government officials constantly, overwhelming them with our emails, telling them we want these restrictions and lockdowns to stop.
We now have an obligation to fight for our freedoms within our own country, for those who fought for our freedoms in another country.
Let us all stand together as Albertans to help make Canada the True North, Strong and Free we are supposed to be.
We are Alberta. We are the West. We are Free.
Amie N. Kozmeniuk,
Camrose

Travel violations

January 19, 2021

Just want to thank M.R. Leithead of Bawlf, Sharon MacFayden of Daysland, and Marvin Miniely of Camrose for expressing so eloquently what most of us are thinking. Thank you!
Nicole Silver,
Camrose

Best newspaper

January 19, 2021

Congratulations to The Camrose Booster for being named Third Best Independent Newspaper in North America! That is no small feat.
I loved the cover of the May 19 edition, and the Bailey Theatre so appreciates the support we have received from The Camrose Booster. You really helped capture a very special moment in 2020 for the Bailey.
I also want to pass on my compliments on the cover photos for these last two weeks. They were clever and beautiful. Hats off to Murray and Lori.
In closing, I want to let you know how much I have appreciated reading The Camrose Booster, especially this past year. It has kept us connected, been a source of news and also lifted my spirits. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.
Colleen Nelson,
Camrose County

Control measures

January 19, 2021

I cannot believe the selfishness displayed in recent letters to The Booster, advocating that control measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing to control COVID-19 virus is just something dreamed up by the government to take away our freedoms.
How selfish, considering how doctors and nurses have risked their lives, working long shifts to care for sick people.
We think also of other frontline workers, such as cashiers, who deal with the public every day.
Who are these supposed “doctors around the world” who have said these measures don’t work?
Do you not know the definition of “pandemic” – a disease prevalent universally with huge numbers of people dying, and those who do recover, recounting terrible painful experiences and possible lasting side effects.
It is surprising how one missed Christmas can throw those with no fortitude or backbone into such a “tizzy”, probably because they have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas in the first place.
Yvonne Wagar,
Camrose

Coal mines

January 19, 2021

MLA Jackie Lovely, I just read your interview in The Booster and was sorry to hear that some of the public have used foul language in your office.
I have read recently in the Edmonton Journal and on the internet that your government has quietly changed the 1976 coal policy. Peter Lougheed’s government put a lot of research into this and the result was that under this law, no one could get a permit for open pit mining in the foothills. Your government changed this law in 2020 without public consultation and now permits are going ahead.
I believe this is wrong for several reasons. We don’t need more coal mines, this is not where the future is. (I am not against oil production and hope we get those pipelines built.)
This will hurt Alberta’s image and will hurt our efforts in being good stewards of the environment. Open pit mines in the pristine foothills, really?
The source of water for the Oldman, the Red Deer, and Saskatchewan rivers all flow through this area. We can’t do anything to risk the water that most Albertans drink, is used for irrigation in southern Alberta, and is important for wildlife, etc.
In BC, coal mining by Elk Valley, on the other side of the mountains, has led to selenium pollution, poisoning fish, and resulting in undrinkable water. Did the Alberta government look into this–is money more important than clean water?
And Alberta won’t make much money from this, Australian companies are largely behind this. They were just turned down by their own country for a mine due to environmental reasons.
I believe your government should put a stop to this and should be more open to the public about important issues like this.
Alvin Eyolfson,
Camrose

Questionable response

January 19, 2021

It seems that the heat is beginning to get to Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely. And not because she took a vacation to Hawaii. The Camrose Booster’s recent article about people picketing in front of her office has drawn a questionable response from Lovely.
She states that picketers were “socialists”. This dog-whistle Trumpist language seeks to belittle anyone who holds views opposing UCP ideology. Protestors are concerned for the well-being of average Albertans and resist cuts to health care and other social programs. She then states that the UCP is focused on legislation that will allow industry to thrive. The $4.7 billion in tax breaks were given so that private industry could thrive and promptly tens of thousands of private industry jobs disappeared.
During a pandemic, when thousands are seeing their jobs reduced or terminated, people need help from their government and it is not reasonable to rely on private industry to bail out the average Albertan. Government helping its citizens doesn’t need to be labeled “socialist”, but merely an expectation of citizens that the government will have their backs when times are tough.
MLA Lovely is offended by “foul language” used by visitors to her office. While I don’t condone abusive language, I can certainly understand that some people may resort to such language when they are struggling for survival. People tend to get emotional when their means of securing the necessities of life are at stake. Surely she knew that MLAs face criticism for their party’s policies and that she has a duty to represent all of her constituents, even if they offend delicate sensibilities.
Cuts to health care and insufficient funding for schools during a pandemic seem rather disruptive to every Albertan. She also complains that she wants to have “civil and constructive conversations”. This presents a difficulty when it seems to be UCP policy to resist engagement with anyone critical of their ideologically-driven agenda. One of the most common complaints about UCP MLAs is their unwillingness to respond to their constituents’ concerns.
If MLA Jackie Lovely is finding there’s too much heat, perhaps she and the UCP should consider getting out of the kitchen.
Dave McDougall,
Camrose

Travel violations

January 12, 2021

After much push-back from angry Albertans, Premier Jason Kenney is trying to reverse his original reactions to municipal affairs minister and his chief of staff Huckabay’s nonessential holiday travels, with some token “sops”, hoping to pacify his critics. His total lack of judgment makes him unfit to govern.
Allard was the vice-chair of the Cabinet Emergency Management Committee and her portfolio included facilitating free self-isolation hotel spaces and COVID-19 care packages for communities in the province hardest-hit by the pandemic (Jan. 1; Calgary Herald). So, in the first place, Kenney should never have allowed her holiday travels during the COVID pandemic! And, as a consequence, she should have been completely turfed out. Gone. Never mind, just asking for her “resignation”. Totally inadequate, considering her abdication of her ministerial responsibilities.
Allard’s apologetic emotional travel-justification of it being a “long-standing family tradition…” and that she did it “in order to help the airline industry” is (laughably) pathetic. There is no excuse for Allard’s travels. Albertans had been told for months not to travel. And, even the house whip reminded MLAs not to travel over the holidays. Yet, as Alberta’s more stringent public health (lockdown) measures were introduced (Dec. 13) amid the punishing second wave of COVID-19 infections…with serious fines and penalties for noncompliance…minister Allard continued her travel plans.
Hence, not only should Allard have resigned (which she and Huckabay now have), they, plus Nixon, Stephan, Fir, Yao, Rhen (…and any others, who ignored the Alberta AHS COVID-19 health orders, which Kenney insisted have “binding legal force”) should have been terminated, not as Kenney so belatedly decided, merely demoted. (If  Kenney doesn’t enforce those AHS orders, who will?)
Kenney’s claims that he didn’t have a list of everybody who may have traveled abroad are (again) disingenuous. Kenney was merely afraid to do what needs doing, because there are so many miscreants. Therefore, he did nothing. Yet, Premier Kenney recently claimed the AHS COVID-19 public health orders have “binding legal force”…so why does he not enforce those orders?
Furthermore, Kenney’s (initial) defence of these miscreant government officials and his claiming to “taking the blame” for his “instructions” that he claimed lacked clarity, makes him fully complicit (an accomplice) in these numerous travel violations/crimes…he, thereby, along with his poor decision-making, should be declared “unfit to govern”.
Premier Kenney and many of his cabinet members’ credibility, especially now, after all his vacillating, contradictory rhetoric, is zero.
Keenly disappointed.
M. R. Leithead,
Bawlf

Health regulations

January 12, 2021

As an Albertan who has followed health regulations and recommendations related to Covid since last March, I am incensed by the cavalier dismissal of the irresponsible and arrogant travel undertaken by elected officials and public servants over the holiday season.
I have not attended public gatherings, not gone out in public without a mask, not socialized with neighbours, friends or relatives in weeks. I have not visited my grandchildren nor my mother-in-law, who lives alone, in months. I go out only when necessary.
I am sick of being home and sick of my own company. In spite of that, I will continue to follow the regulations and recommendations set out for my own safety and, more importantly, for safety of my family, my friends and my community–not just because it is the law, but because it is what is morally right.
By their own actions, minister Tracy Allard, MLA Jeremy Nixon, MLA Tanya Fir, MLA Pat Rehn, MLA Jason Stephan, Jamie Huckabay, Michael Forian and Eliza Snider have all not only endangered the health and lives of Albertans by the possibility that they have contracted Covid in the course of their travels, but they have sent two very strong messages.
The first is that our health and well-being is less important than their vacations. The second message is that rules do not apply to members of your government and validates the actions of those people who are wilfully not following the regulations.
Let’s be perfectly clear, there was no “rule” governing travel, but the guidelines were clear that travel was allowed for essential purposes only. None of these trips were essential by any stretch of the imagination. That you accepted as a defence “incredible lapse of judgement” is actually incredible. A lapse, by definition, is “a temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgement”. Each of these vacations took time to plan, book and reserve. This was done by people who were fully aware of the intent and purpose of Covid health regulations and recommendations. There is nothing temporary about any of that. This was clearly people doing what they wanted, regardless of what was right, because they thought they could get away with it.
As Rachel Notley said, “This is... the UCP government lacking moral judgement, lacking any compassion for the four million people in Alberta who were told they couldn’t see their parents and grandparents at Christmas.” I would add that through your inaction, you are also lacking accountability to the people of this province.
Sharon MacFadyen,
Daysland

 

Holiday travel

January 12, 2021

The holiday travel adventures of members of the UCP and senior government staff show a complete disrespect for all Albertans. A senior cabinet minister had the gall to say visiting Hawaii was a family tradition.
Of course Albertans were requested not to visit parents, grandparents, extended family and friends even in their close communities. The fact of there being no resignations or dismissals (at the time of the writing of Miniely’s letter) confirms the disrespect held for Albertans that borders on contempt. It’s like saying “we get to do what we want unlike you ordinary lesser beings.”
I find myself enraged.
Marvin Miniely,
Camrose

Carbons

January 5, 2021

Carbon: a nonmetallic element (symbol C) found in all organic substances and in some inorganic substances such as diamonds, graphite, coal, charcoal, lampblack and bitumen pitch including crude oil.
Charcoal: a black porous substance obtained by the imperfect combustion of organic matter such as wood. Used as a fuel, an absorbent, a filter, a pencil or crayon.
Cardon Dioxide: a heavier than air odorless incombustible gas (symbol CO2) used in fire extinguishers and carbonated beverages. Also in solid forms, can be used as a refrigerant.
It is taken from the atmosphere in the photosynthesis of all plants or vegetation, and returned to the atmosphere as oxygen. However, when all mammals or animals breath, they expel carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, along with a small portion of unused oxygen.
Hydro-carbon: one of a large and important group of organic compounds that contain hydrogen and carbon only including, but not limited to, benzene, ethylene and methane. Also present in the exhaust during the imperfect burning of all fossil-based fuels.
The killer. Carbon Monoxide (symbol CO): a colourless, odorless gas formed by the incomplete oxidation of carbon and the imperfect burning of all fossil-based fuels.
These imperfections are caused by a lack of oxygen or hydrogen gas at the point of combustion, and real scientists have stated for hundreds of years that the most proficient way to help the atmosphere and slow the consumption of all fuels is to reach and maintain the perfect burn of combustion, eliminating the detrimental substances created by the practices of greed and ignorance revealed by governance and the extremely wealthy.
For those who did or did not know: Gasoline vapour is approximately 1,000 times more volatile than its liquid counterpart, and when this vapour is ignited, the detrimental substances are virtually eliminated, creating an extremely clean fossil-based fuel with the ability to propel heavy objects great distances with very little consumption.
Look around folks, we have been manipulated and lied to for too long and I, for one, have had enough. It is time for us to all stand together before we are all crushed together as one by the greed and ignorance of the governance and extreme wealth who wish for control of the population.
The people should not fear its government, however, the government should fear its people.
Darwin B. Willett,
Wainwright

Harming people

January 5, 2021

Last time I wrote to you, Premier Jason Kenney, I used the title “honourable” in keeping with the status of your position. Not this time.
The result of the performance put on by you, your ministers and chief medical tyrant on Dec. 8, purposely does harm to the people you have sworn to represent and were elected to serve and protect. This last event disqualifies you from honourable; you’ve now graduated to criminal.  All your colleagues are just as guilty.
Thankfully, you dropped any pretense of “following the science” and are now sticking to the “narrative”, the real purpose we were informed by Mr. Shandro: to change people’s behavior and keep them isolated.
As you so eloquently expressed, Canada has a constitution and charter that protects our God-given rights and freedoms. Yet you trampled all over those rights with this latest set of restrictions. Shame on you and all who are going along with this horrid psychological warfare against the citizens of the world.
Do you really believe that the globalists have the best interest of Canadians, let alone Albertans, in mind? You say the right words, that you have their best interest in your decisions, but you act differently. There will be a day of reckoning for this evil, there always is. You’ve already stepped over the line, however, it’s not too late to rectify the situation.
Our neighbors to the south have two heroes who have actually followed the science and set their States free. Ron DeSantis gave a factual presentation when he opened up Florida. Perhaps you can view it and learn. Kristi Noem simply did what was right from the beginning and never locked up.
A virus infection with a recovery rate of 99.97 (less dangerous than the average flu) does not qualify as a pandemic. You know it,  Hinshaw knows it, Tam knows it, Trudeau knows it, as does anyone with their eyes open. This is not a medical issue…it is a political issue.
You can be Canada’s hero. You’ve already said the right things; it’s time to do the right thing. This charade has gone on long enough. Dig deep and see if you still have a conscience.
You know what is right;  question is, will you actually stand up for it?
Marc Presseau,
Forestburg

Good care

December 29, 2020

I am writing to commend Camrose on the excellent facility they have in St. Mary’s Hospital. I had a severe stroke on March 2. I was bed ridden and fed by a tube. The nursing staff were very kind and compassionate. Because the physiotherapist assistants massaged and moved my left hand which had absolutely no movement, it remained flexible. I now have limited movement in it. Thanks so much to them for all their help.
The doctors were all great. When no rehab hospital would take me because of the care I needed, or perhaps because they felt I would not progress, Dr. Minders persisted and thanks to his efforts, Ponoka gave me a two-week trial. I was later moved to Red Deer. With determination and a fantastic rehab team, in four months, I progressed from being able to sit by myself for only two minutes, to walking with a walker and one assistant
At the end of September, I was discharged to the Tofield Hospital so they could evaluate my home. I went home to stay a week later, and because I had no physio during this time, I regressed. Fortunately the occupational therapist submitted an application to ESD (Early Stroke Discharge) in Camrose. This is a great group of individuals who all work together with care and compassion. With their help, I regained the ground I had lost, and then progressed to walking alone with the walker and with a cane, as well as navigating the one step into the kitchen. I commend the entire group for their dedication. You will always have a place in my heart.
Joslien Wannechko,
Ryley

Stole Christmas

December 29, 2020

For some time now, I have wondered that even after social distancing, sanitizing, compulsory masks, the closing of schools, businesses, and the destruction of our economy, that the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.
Does this mean that the present plan has not and is not working? The definition of insanity is to keep doing something over and over again, expecting a different result; we are most certainly there.
Even though thousands of doctors around the world have said that these measures don’t work, and have suggested that the social, health and economic consequences of the cure will be far more lethal than the actual virus, our governments continue down this path of destruction on the advice, usually of nonviral experts.
These doctors’ warnings are completely ignored by our governments.
My father-in-law just spent two weeks in a room by himself because one worker tested positive for Covid, a test that we know can be up to 90 per cent inaccurate. For years, various groups have fought against solitary confinement in jails as “cruel and unusual punishment”. If it is unacceptable for people like Clifford Olsen who killed over 100 children, why is it acceptable to lock up a 90-year-old man in a room by himself for two weeks?
The government has spent our CPP, our OAS, and our EI. The country that has been so concerned for our seniors has now put them in a position where their investments will be worthless, our money devalued, perhaps hyperinflation of goods and services. Our youth face years of joblessness for what? To stop the spread of a virus that has far less consequences than those listed above.
Over the last year, we have lost the right to congregate as a family or with friends, the right to practise religious freedoms, the right to travel, the right to question or challenge the views or laws of a government gone insane with power.
The second greatest mass extermination of people in the last century started not with concentration camps and ghettos, but with confinement and segregation. Number one was when a Russian dictator chose to implement the communist system in a nation to improve life, which accounted for somewhere between 50 and 80 million executions. Those that are ignorant of their past are doomed to repeat it.
Bryan Hookenson,
Kingman

Second wave

December 29, 2020

We are now in a second wave of another COVID-19 shutdown. I do agree that we, as a province and as a country, do need to get this under control. However, by allowing the airports and another bubble city to be allowed, it seems very unfair that this is allowed, while a family get-together is totally off the table.
The family members have to live in the same home. Fines could be handed out if a family does not comply to these requirements not to allow families not to have Christmas.   Yet these social gatherings are allowed to happen in these so-called bubbles.  Could this be the start of the government regulating people’s private lives?  This is just something for all of you to ponder during this very lonely Christmas.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

A joke

December 29, 2020

I thought maybe the April Fool’s edition of The Booster had come out early, but no, it was Dec. 15, and I was reading that MLA Jackie Lovely was recognized by her peers in the legislature for “Best Community Outreach”. It appears her peers didn’t peer very deeply into the Camrose riding; had they done so, they would have discovered that Ms. Lovely’s “community outreach” consists mainly of photo ops so that she can bulk up her social media accounts. Had Ms. Lovely really wanted to reach out to the community, one thing she could have done was simply step out of her office to meet with some of her constituents who have been peacefully “protesting” on Friday afternoons.  Another thing she could have done was actually answer an email.  I am not alone in waiting for responses; I was even in her office a few weeks ago, and although there was no sign of Ms. Lovely, I was assured by the constituency assistant/office manager that Ms. Lovely would receive my messages (and, I assume, respond).
My suspicion–and conclusion–is that Ms. Lovely is unable to provide any believable rationale for the UCP government’s actions.
I would like to nominate our MLA for “Best Constituent Avoidance”.
John Olson,
Camrose

Hat tip

December 22, 2020

To everyone in our city who expends time, energy and resources (especially monetary) on outdoor lighting, yard décor and even some melodic sounds this season, we salute you and with a deep bow, give a tip of our hats. It is an act of giving to others (strangers) a great deal of pleasure that you (the creators and givers) cannot see and enjoy or, at best, from a lesser view point.
We have just done a cruise of the City. We recall many, many years ago that 46th Street (south of 48th Avenue) was known for being the longest continuous light show in Camrose with practically every resident putting up a display, large and small. Marler Drive is emerging as Camrose’s  “Candy Cane Lane” of today. We encountered several other stretches of multiple block long shows. Unfortunately, the captain of the ship and his navigator didn’t chart all the coordinates. We appreciate every last  contribution, of any size,  to our itinerary of  delight across a sea of reflective snow white on a crisp, cold December night –with windows down and heater up. To the home that simply changed their front porch light bulb to one that alternately flashed red and green, you have made and given “joy to the world”,  Thank you.
 Steve and
Peggy Shuman,
Camrose

Coal dust

December 22, 2020

Mountaintop mining looks “neat” in the schematic drawings, but in real life when it’s done, the mountains are gone, the water flowing from them is polluted (with selenium, for example) and the wilderness is cut up with roads.
And while it’s being done, there is noise and traffic, and coal dust carried for miles eastward by the prevailing winds.  When the UCP government rescinded the 1976 Coal Policy effective this past June, I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I didn’t know much about it and it didn’t seem to affect me here in Camrose.
Recently, I’ve been learning a little bit more about what’s involved (see for example ab4coalfreesw.ca). I would think that minister of environment and parks Jason Nixon would often be waking up suddenly in the night in a cold sweat as he realizes he may well have authorized the destruction of the headwaters of the Oldman River (which ultimately flows into Hudson Bay, via the South Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg and the Nelson River). What was he thinking? That money is more important than water?
If some health and environmental catastrophe were to be inflicted upon Camrose, I would greatly appreciate the help and support of “outsiders”. I feel, as an Albertan, a sense of solidarity with the folks most directly and adversely affected by mountaintop mining on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. I urge others to learn about this assault on what used to be a protected area and take whatever action is possible (spread the word, write to our MLA and minister Nixon, support the Livingstone Landowners Group).
John Olson,
    Camrose

Unsung heroes

December 22, 2020

Unsung heroes, the ones who dig the trenches, standing tall, anticipating the attack. Those with no medical training, only willingness, and heart. The others decide for them what to carry out. With no ado, they strive to follow through. We pile more and more onto this weary group of heroes. Still keeping a smile on their faces, they forge through.
Every precautionary measure is taken, yet covid relentlessly attacks. It weasels in to take its foe. Five deaths bring a flow of tears to this worthy troop. Many residents and staff fall crippled in distress, captured by covid’s invisible army. Yes, I was one whom covid claimed amongst so many during this pandemic. Now, I am recuperating, my strength is coming back. Blessings for those who made their journey home, in our hearts and minds they will always remain.
With hearts aglow, yet saddened, our unsung heroes keep up the pace. Weary from the many hours and being short-staffed, their pace has slowed, yet their spirit soars on. They have fought a grand fight since March, not missing a step.
We are now pleased to report no new positive cases amongst residents or staff. As well, there are no recent cases of residents with symptoms. Three residents remain in isolation in their rooms, being reassessed to have precautions removed when appropriate. Two residents are in hospital, our thoughts and prayers to them and their families.
We are still on outbreak status, quarantine, which means many rules and regulations to follow.  There are meetings scheduled with Alberta Health Services to review the outbreak status; hopefully they will lift it early in January. If all goes well, sometime next week we will have meals in the main dining room. Residents have been restricted to their suites since mid-November. Seeing everyone together will be so exciting.
This means Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be held here at Rosealta Lodge without family or friends because of the quarantine. Residents and staff will follow regulations while celebrating this festive season. Our hearts saddened, yet full of love as we approach Christmas Day. There is going to be merriment throughout the lodge as everyone steps out of their suites. We are a big family identity who has mustered a lot because of the pandemic.
Who are the unsung heroes that I speak of? Staff and residents of Rosealta Lodge, that’s who. We have marched to the sound of the drum and survived.
Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas.
Lynda Broz,
Camrose

No room

Dec. 15, 2020

In the spring of 1973, I visited the Slavey settlement of Fort Norman. The Catholic priest, a mainstay of every northern town, met us at the grass strip that acted as runway, and gave us a tour. It took five minutes to cover the three short streets, ending at the rectory, where he invited us in for tea. We sat talking, eating homemade biscuits, and admiring the watercolour paintings arranged on the walls.
“Those are the work of Peter McKenzie,” said the priest with great pride. “Aren’t they wonderful?”
“Yes,” we agreed. And they were.
“I’ve encouraged him for years,” said Father Frontenac. “I bought him art supplies and convinced him to send his work outside”–“outside” being the name northerners use for lands and people south of the 60th parallel.
As he warmed to his topic, a look of sadness mixed with humour crossed his face. “I always wanted him to paint the nativity,” he said. “Every year, I would think of it just before Christmas. Every year, I’d ask him, and every year he’d say yes. But he never painted me a picture of the birth of Christ.
“Last year, I decided to find out why.  So I cornered him in November–not waiting until the last minute as usual–and asked him if he would paint Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the manger this year.”
“Oh,” he smiled. “Every year, you ask me. Every year, I sit down to paint. And every year, I give up.”
“And why is that?” asked the priest.
“Because Christ would never be born in a manger in Fort Norman,” he said. “If Joseph brought Mary here, someone would give them a room.”
I’ve changed the names, but the story is true, just the same.
Deanne Morrow,
Camrose

No secrets

Dec. 15, 2020

 The recent “leak” of the secret recordings of conversations between the chief medical officer of health and politicians brings to the forefront the fundamental question of why there is any secrecy around any taxpayer-funded work that is completed by civil servants.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw is a civil servant, her $330,000 per year (2019 number) salary is paid by the citizens of Alberta. By default, the work that she does belongs to the citizens of Alberta, not the premier, Cabinet, or party insiders. That great efforts are being taken to keep the work of a publicly-paid scientist from being seen by the citizens who pay for that work should be of grave concern.
In an open, accountable democracy that functions for the public good, it is the duty of the decision makers to have the best information possible to guide decisions. That typically means that experts–paid by the taxpayer–provide information.  That this provincial government or, for that matter, any government takes these extraordinary maneuvers to keep public information a secret should be very concerning.
Mathew Banack,
Round Hill

Not listening

Dec. 15, 2020

 For the past six Fridays, concerned citizens have gathered outside MLA Jackie Lovely’s Camrose office. We believe the UCP has failed to listen to the people most affected by UCP policies and budget cuts. We are concerned about how poorly they have chosen to implement many of their policies and practices, including their timing, long-term management, fiscal management, standards and consultation.
Here are some of our experiences thus far:
Despite multiple invitations, our MLA has chosen not to engage with us in any meaningful, mutual way. Aside from one online session with the minister for advanced education in November, there have been no UCP responses that directly address any of our concerns, nor any other opportunity for dialogue.
We care deeply about how current political decisions in Alberta are affecting all kinds of people, from K-12 students to healthcare workers, Indigenous Peoples, small business owners, AISH recipients, seniors, university students, campers and hunters. We care about our future, our social safety net, and our environment. Our government should listen to and advocate on behalf of all constituents, not just the ones who voted for or donated to them.
We are not alone in feeling frustrated by our current government’s style and policies; we have been pleasantly surprised by how many Camrosians are showing they support and appreciate us. Interactions have, for the most part, been respectful. We’ve heard from a few who don’t agree with us, but primarily people negatively impacted by multiple government policies. They feel ignored, betrayed, or forgotten in this government’s rush to cut and save, while favouring a select few. We’ve had adjacent businesses express some frustration with our presence –which ended up being loud from unexpected honks! We have made every effort to be respectful and accommodate concerns.
With updated AHS COVID protocols (finally), we cannot come together to physically protest. We will resume when it is safe to do so. If you also feel the UCP has prioritized large business interests over those of everyday Albertans, and that they are damaging our province’s current and future health and well-being, we invite you to join us in carrying on our protest online. Whatever issue(s) you feel are a priority, whoever you feel is being neglected or harmed by current policies, please take the time to call, write, or email Ms. Lovely or a UCP minister to detail your concerns.

Yvonne Becker, Rayleigh Conley, Nancy Goebel, Katelyn Kelly, Anne McIntosh, Marv Miniely, Joy-Anne Murphy, Marilyn Murray, John Olson, Ellen Parker, Don Ruzicka, Pam Stacey, Wyatt Tanton
Camrose

Under pressure

December 8, 2020

People are under a lot of pressure these days.  You know what happens when you squeeze an orange? Orange juice comes out. It is the same with people–when a person is under pressure, what is inside of them comes out.
For some people, love and the need to create more love emerges from the core of them. In these turbulent awfully insane times, some express an urgent need for more sanity and justice to make their inner sense able to fit in and work with what is out in the world.  Some, with a sense of how “it takes a village to raise a child”, are committed to creating community. And, believe it or not, there are people who think of and care about others and so desire the people of their family, region, country, and/or the world to work together democratically in the best interests of all, and while doing that, be  especially aware of and considering those who lack the ability and power to provide for their special needs–even though it angers some people when everybody is included in collective decision making.
Of course, we can’t ignore the loud, belligerent, violent, dysfunctional portion of the population which exhibits awfully ugly and ignorant views of life. But do we really want to be governed by bullies who appear to have the maturity of six-year-old boys, angry at their mothers, needing guns to feel powerful, rebelling against rules designed to keep them safe and healthy, lusting after the power to be omnipotent, above all laws and others, so making laws that only make sense to and serve the ego of other six-year-old boys?
Evone Monteith,
Camrose

Need leadership

December 8, 2020

My father is no longer with us, but if he was, I’d say, “Dad, it took real courage and determination for you and the other Canadian soldiers to push the Nazis out of the Netherlands during the Second World War. How do you feel about people who complain about their freedom when they are asked to put on a mask to protect others?” I’m pretty sure he would say they should stop being selfish and irresponsible and just put on a mask.
But my father would be most disgusted with Jason Kenney. Mr. Kenney says he wants to protect the economy, but won’t take the actions needed to get COVID-19 under control.  So the pandemic will drag on and on, making it much worse for the economy. Yes, we have new measures, but so many of them don’t make sense. For example, you can’t have your parents over for Christmas dinner, but you can meet with them at the casino.  If rules don’t make sense, people will ignore them.
Our MLA should tell Mr. Kenney that other provinces are not “indiscriminately violating people’s rights and destroying livelihoods” because they are trying to control Covid-19. And our MLA should tell Mr. Kenney that other provinces are not a “police state” because they are enforcing health restrictions. We know Mr. Kenney likes to pick fights, but our MLA should tell him that fighting with our own health care system during a pandemic is a terrible idea. Instead, she should tell him to listen to the doctors and nurses, because if we don’t get this pandemic under control, our economy can’t recover. Australia and New Zealand have shown that with good leadership and strong action, COVID-19 can be defeated. We know Mr. Kenney likes to talk tough, but so far, he hasn’t shown the courage to lead. Until he finds some courage and determination, Albertans will continue to get sick and our economy won’t recover.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Second wave

Now our country has entered into a second wave, just as bad as we were warned that it was going to be. Where I work, I have read all about the state of emergency which our premier has felt compelled to place us under. Most of the increase has happened because of people’s entitlement attitudes.
There is a group of people in this province who feel that their rights should be placed ahead of the most vulnerable. These people include the very young and the very old. I am a little disappointed at this small population of people. I do feel that our death rate has gone up because of their selfish actions. So, again to these people, I say, “Knock it off. Please.” You may not be affected, but some older person or young person may be. This is just something for all of you to think about as you live in your very disrupted lives. Actions have consequences. It is too bad that the warnings were not heeded.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

No room

December 8, 2020

In the spring of 1973, I visited the Slavey settlement of Fort Norman. The Catholic priest, a mainstay of every northern town, met us at the grass strip that acted as runway, and gave us a tour. It took five minutes to cover the three short streets, ending at the rectory, where he invited us in for tea. We sat talking, eating home-made biscuits, and admiring the water-colour paintings arranged on the walls.
“Those are the work of Peter McKenzie,” said the priest with great pride. “Aren’t they wonderful?”
“Yes,” we agreed. And they were.
“I’ve encouraged him for years,” said Father Frontenac. “I bought him art supplies and convinced him to send his work outside—“outside” being the name northerners use for lands and people south of the 60th parallel.
As he warmed to his topic, a look of sadness mixed with humour crossed his face. “I always wanted him to paint the nativity,” he said. “Every year, I would think of it just before Christmas. Every year I’d ask him, and every year he’d say yes.   But he never painted me a picture of the birth of Christ.”
“Last year, I decided to find out why.  So I cornered him in November—not waiting until the last minute as usual—and asked him if he would paint Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the manger this year.
“Oh,” he smiled. “Every year you ask me. Every year I sit down to paint.  And every year I give up.”
“And why is that?” asked the priest.
“Because Christ would never be born in a manger in Fort Norman,” he said.  “If Joseph brought Mary here, someone would give them a room.”
I’ve changed the names, but the story is true, just the same.
Deanne Morrow,
Camrose

Great reset

December 1, 2020

In 2005, Canada set a 2020 target of reducing GHG emissions by 124 million tonnes per year. Well it’s 2020, and in 15 years, we have reduced emissions by one million tonnes per year. So we have missed our target by 99.2 per cent. Should we celebrate making 0.8 per cent of our target?
What went wrong? To reduce emissions is hard because, in our energy-driven economy, it means a reduction in our standard of living. Politicians know that, so they make empty promises beyond their elected terms. In other words, they lie about what they will do because they’ll never be there to do it. If they just lie, that would be okay, but they waste money on preparing for their imagined future, while easy and immediate results are ignored.
Rather than gradually transitioning to a low carbon economy, politicians keep saying they’ll do it 15 years from now. For 30 years, politicians have flown to exotic locations, had sumptuous dinners and issued statements about how, in the future, they would be carbon-neutral–whatever that means. The annual Climate Change Performance Index report (CCPI) assesses national contributions and targets for 2030 from 56 countries, and it suggests that none of the 56 countries assessed were on target. So why do we persist with this farce?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now promising the “Great Reset”. That is, when COVID-19 is over, we will magically go directly to a carbon-neutral economy. Ya sure. When COVID-19 is over, we will have unimaginable debts and a society that is focused on health care and welfare. Yes, we will use less energy and produce less GHGs because more of us will be poor, but an unemployed family that can’t buy groceries is not going to reinsulate their house or buy an electric vehicle as a priority.
So politicians lie by promising the future because it’s an easy way to get re-elected. To see it from the other side, remember Emma in the TV show Corner Gas, who was elected Mayor of Dog River by “running on a platform which she openly did not support and the people voted for her because they knew what they would not get.” Trudeau is trying to sell us something in the long term that he himself will never deliver.
Just ignore him and go on with your lives–but use some decency and restraint.
This too shall pass.
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

Part two

December 1, 2020

My previous letter pointed out that populism (popular democracy) is regularly denounced as a threat to democracy. Yet if populism and democracy are the same thing, why is democracy threatened by populism? Perhaps it is because the democracy they are protecting isn’t very democratic. There is a word to describe this political variant, “electocracy.”
An electocracy is a political system where citizens may vote for their government, but cannot affect governmental decision making. In contrast to democracy, where citizens may participate in the making of decisions that affect them, electo- cracy limits decisions to an elected individual or group who may then govern in an arbitrary and unaccountable manner until the next election.
We are all familiar with examples of political promises that are broken as soon as the party forms a government. Canadian courts have consistently ruled that political promises are not binding on candidates or the parties they represent.
In the 2003 Ontario provincial election, Dalton McGinty campaigned on not raising taxes, even going so far as to sign a Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) pledge reading, “I, Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, promise, if my party is elected as the next government, that I will not raise taxes or implement any new taxes without the consent of Ontario voters.”
This pledge also affirmed the Taxpayer Protection Act of 1999, which prevented the Ontario government from raising taxes without consulting the voters. Then, upon forming the government, Premier McGuinty released his first budget. It included the biggest tax increase in Ontario history.
The CTF went to court arguing that the new tax was illegal because it violated the Taxpayer Protection Act. They also asked that McGinty be held personally liable for breach of contract after violating his written pledge. The Ontario court rejected both arguments, ruling that Parliament is sovereign and its powers cannot be limited.
When candidates, and the parties they represent, can make and break promises with impunity, then the foundation of democracy (rule by the people) is destroyed. We no longer have democracy, but electo- cracy, rule by an elected individual or group who may then govern in an arbitrary and unaccountable manner until the next election.
Dave Gosse,
Camrose

COVID cases

December 1, 2020

As COVID cases surge around us, I continue to be amazed at the politicizing of fairly straight-forward guidelines from health authorities. Wash hands. Social distance. Wear a mask indoors in public places and in outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible (commercial sections of Connaught and Patricia Streets in the town of Jasper). Avoid crowds. These hardly pose a dramatic threat to our personal rights and freedoms. My mask protects you if I am an asymptomatic carrier of COVID.
Your mask protects me. If you don’t trust the health authorities or the science that informs their guidelines, just look at the anecdotal evidence. Where these guidelines are followed, infection rates stay down (New Zealand). Where they aren’t followed, they go up (over 40 infected at a wedding in Calgary).  As it turns out, following health guidelines enhances our personal freedom, since low infection rates eliminate the need for government lockdowns. Instead of using our energy fighting with one another in these all-too-divisive times, may we direct it to supporting, encouraging, and caring for one another so that we get through this pandemic with the fewest infections possible.
Stephen Kristenson,
Camrose   

Thankfulness

November 24, 2020

In the midst of the continuing COVID craziness, I needed to remind myself of all the things I’m thankful for. Maybe you can relate. So here goes, in no particular order:
Family and friends, Booster Banter, big black and green garbage bins, book boxes around town, skating on Mirror Lake, all the hike/bike/xc ski trails, line dancing on Wednesday mornings, Bible study on Tuesday mornings, friendly helpful staff in all the stores/businesses, spontaneous conversations with strangers, perfect reflections on the lake, view from the top of the ski hill, the hum of the furnace on a cold day, fresh clean untrodden sparkling snow, an outdoor clothesline, trees to contemplate, birds to observe, vast prairie sky with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, food in the fridge and water on tap, Augustana University College and St. Mary’s Hospital, Lougheed PAC and Bailey theatre, the many books available on the interlibrary loan system, clean streets, the spire and cross on the top of the Catholic church, the migration of geese overhead, Shane and Lucas, Reg and Lance, John (You know who you are. Thanks!), singing with my family for Messiah’s live stream church services during lockdown, Sunday afternoon jaunts, ever-present Orion and Ursa Major, hearty laughter, hoar frost, double rainbows and sundogs, Sudoku, garden produce, leftovers, thrift shops and recycling, snow crystals on my face, flannel sheets, cumulus clouds, the blue of September skies, Google and YouTube, a really good hamburger, and the list goes on and on and on…
Carolyn Olson,
Camrose

Too much

November 24, 2020

Too much government is bad. We all know that, or should know that “big government” will always destroy the freedoms in that country; therefore, they must be kept in check.
Our Alberta Health Services (AHS) is too big and expensive and ineffective–it may be killing as many as it cures–why would any thinking person want to pay for this?
I would like to see much of our AHS done by private companies, not government.  I am aware of many services within AHS that operate outside of acceptable behaviour, according to their own standards, including cover-ups. Let’s not forget that taxpayers pay for their scandals and lawyers, nor forget that “big unions”, too, are unnecessary.
This brings to mind the Notley NDP who brought fake charges against Rebel News and their reporter for writing a book; the UCP is still paying government lawyers to bring this action into court–why?
We have been witnessing the corruption and cover-up of evil deeds of federal government: SNC, WE, etc., scandal after scandal. The WE scandal goes back to goat sacrificing and drinking of blood.
It’s time to free the people to have a choice–thank you, Premier Jason Kenney, for following sound advice regarding health services. AHS has gotten too big for proper check and balances.
Tina Kawalilak,
Beaver County

Peaceful protest

November 24, 2020

Each Friday since Oct. 30, concerned Camrose residents have gathered outside the office of our MLA Jackie Lovely to display signs of concern. More than 40 people have met peacefully and respectfully, masked and distancing, to display signs expressing our concerns. In addition to those who’ve gathered, well over 100 more have honked in support on the way by.
Our causes are varied, but we share frustration around how our government is implementing harmful policies without respectful engagement, without proper expertise, and without sufficient concern for the most marginalized Albertans.
Efforts by our MLA to bring funding to the Camrose Rotary and Family Violence Action Society are warmly welcomed. However, this does not make up for cuts to per-capita funding for First Nations, K-12 education, post-secondary education, AISH, health care, childcare and the arts. We remain concerned that pensions, public land, environmental oversight, worker’s rights and public health care are at risk.
On Nov. 20, our focus was on the Grassy Mountain Coal Project. This project by an Australia-based coal company will remove mountaintops in the Crowsnest Pass; it threatens our headwaters and the treaty rights of Indigenous peoples.
We will continue gathering until we see tangible, meaningful effort made to protect Albertans in these troubling times.
All are welcome to join us each Friday at 3 p.m., outside our MLA’s office (information available through the Alberta Government website).
Rayleigh Conley,
Camrose

Take survey

November 24, 2020

It was heartening to be invited to participate in a democratic process that I much admired in the US; namely, a town hall meeting (modified to an audio conference call due to COVID). The town hall meeting was convened by the Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee (AFAC) whose mandate is to hear concerns about the federal firearms legislation and provide recommendations on how provincial policies can best support law-abiding gun owners while keeping Albertans safe.
Having been an avid hunter and a competitive target shooter for more than 60 years, I had a great deal of interest in having my opinion(s) expressed (and heard?).
The Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (CFAC) membership represents law enforcement officers, public health advocates, women’s groups, civilian firearms users, gun control advocates and members of the legal community. Recent CFAC recommendations have been to reclassify assault style semi-automatic rifles from the current “restricted” status to “prohibited” status. Safety minister Blaney, while in PM Harper’s cabinet, overruled every RCMP recommendation to that effect.
My intended town hall input was to support the notion making assault rifles “prohibited weapons” (as in most other countries except the US) since (i) they are not legal for hunting and (ii) their design is for killing humans in military or police work.
Since, firearms registry is a federal responsibility, why, in times of fiscal restraint, would a parallel, and very costly, AFAC be struck when its output is entirely irrelevant to federal legislation?
Constitutionally, provincial legislation regarding firearms is restricted to hunting regulations and regulations regarding discharge of firearms in municipalities.
In contrast to the broad cross section of society represented in the CFAC, introductions of AFAC members revealed that membership was composed entirely of the retail firearms sector, hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts. Hmmm!
The chairperson repeatedly invited call-ins by pressing *3…after many attempts of *3-receiver click, *3-receiver click, *3-receiver click, it appeared futile to attempt to call in. Meanwhile…selected call-ins lobbed softball questions to the panel, allowing panel members to promote their vested interest narrative. This town hall meeting was nothing more than a UCP-orchestrated charade.
Albertans can fill out an online survey regarding firearms legislation; however, results submitted by self selecting respondents have zero statistical validity, except for the additional charade of validating AFAC/UCP preconceived opinions.
Voice your opinion, take the survey…invalid as it is; knowing that your opinion(s) will be selectively cherry picked.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Populism and democracy

November 17, 2020

There has been an interesting development in the war of words occurring within the corporate media.  This is the idea that democracy is good but ‘populism’ is a dangerous or evil thing that will lead us to dictatorship or something worse. If you understand what democracy is, even superficially, I think you will find this idea at least a little incoherent.
Populism (from dictionary dot com): grass-roots democracy; working-class activism; egalitarianism. representation or extolling of the common person, the working class, the underdog, etc. So ask yourself this, if ‘populism’ is grass-roots democracy why do the corporate media think it is dangerous?
Well, dictionary dot com offers a hint. Another of the definitions of ‘populism’ is “any of various, often antiestablishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.”
In other words, populism threatens the business, bureaucratic, and educational elites who desire to control the country.  Populism presents ideas and policies which are popular with the people rather than regurgitating the usual prevarications and platitudes.  And that is what is dangerous about populism.  “In an age of deception telling the truth is a subversive act.”
Lest you think this is a so-called *conspiracy theory*, let me clarify.  It is not necessary for these institutions to “conspire” together.  They share a common point of view, that it is necessary for them to *fool* voters because voters are too stupid to know what is good for them.  These elites believe that only they understand what is best for [the country; business; education; people; government; etc.] and rather than waste time trying to educate the obtuse voter it is more expedient to manipulate the voter.
In a perverse sense, their competing interests and contradictory narratives tend to further the ambitions of each by sowing confusion and fear.  The plethora of false and contradictory information prevents the average voter from making a rational decision and forces him to act on emotion or instinct.
The “populist” threatens this by offering up “unorthodox solutions or policies [solutions and policies outside the rules established by the various elites]  and appeal to the common person [that the average voter can understand and support]”.  Populism is democracy.
Dave Gosse,
Camrose

Lest we not forget

November 17, 2020

On a recent drive through Saskatchewan, Alberta and lower B.C., I noticed the cancellation of many Remembrance Day Services. Tonight, on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Second World War I am moved to write this letter.
I am not a veteran, but I respect and admire and thank them for the supreme sacrifice they made for our freedom. Freedom is not free by any means.
With that said I have plenty of ancestors and relatives that are veterans.
My five-time great grandfather fought beside Wolfe at the Battle of Quebec and at the Plains of Abraham.
Many ancestors fought in First World War and Second World War and the American Civil War with great distinction.
My dad is a surviving veteran of the Second World War, 100 years young. His brother and brother-in-law also served in Second World War.
Here we are facing a pandemic which has a death rate in Canada of 0.00054795  per cent.
I wonder if our brave young men would have gladly accepted these odds-on D Day and the other great battles of past wars. Compared to their sacrifice what we face seems small by comparison.
They would have gladly, I am sure, accepted odds like this. Instead they sacrificed their lives so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have now. Freedoms that are being eroded every day by a nation’s panic over a thing that these brave young men would have found insignificant to what they endured.
Did they give their lives so we could wear masks all day every day, be banned from associating with family and friends, give up the right to free speech and expression because our federal government and the opposition in this province think that these are not important in the time we are in.
These are the rights our service men and women fought for; they did not fight for the right of others to inflict their panic agenda on the rest of society.
What in the heavens name do we as seniors have to fear from this? We have lived longer and better, than any generation before and this was entirely due to the sacrifices made by those young men and women. A panic over a virus should not diminish our duty to honour their sacrifice.
Bryan Hookenson,
Kingman

No sense

November 10, 2020

Help me understand why Mr. Jason Kenney and crew have chosen the middle of a pandemic to butt heads with critically needed doctors, nurses and other health care workers to impose anachronistic business practices.
Hopefully, Mr. Shandro (or Ms. Lovely) will respond to Mr. Leithead’s challenge, in a recent letter to the editor in The Camrose Booster, to “show us the numbers” of how UCP policies/doctrine will save Albertans $600 million by outsourcing select services from Alberta Health Services.
It seems incomprehensible to me to think that UCP policy of outsourcing services is a viable alternative in 2020, given the corporate sector abandoned the practice more than a decade ago. Are UCP special advisors Manning and Harper and UCP acolytes aware of current (and cost-efficient) business practices?
While serving as a consultant to national and international businesses over the past 15 years, a senior executive explained it to me this way…our company abandoned outsourcing because…not only did it not save money, it cost our corporation a great deal more when a holistic, analytical cost-effective model was employed.
Our corporation lost control of quality assurance/quality assurance measures, quality of service decreased, and we had to perform a great deal of rework. Secondly, failure to comply with occupational health and safety regulations led to shutdowns and costly litigation. Thirdly, shutdowns resulting from non-compliance with environmental legislation, ground disturbance violations, pollution issues, and the like affected our bottom line.  We had to employ more contract administrators and increase the size of our legal department. Need I say more?
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s comment in a recent speech to the Canadian Club Toronto defended unionization and slammed corporate outsourcing, (Edmonton Journal, Oct. 31). His comment…“But this was an essential balance between what was good for business and what was good for employees” speaks volumes for the possibility of a renewed and better relationship between business (and government?) and labor with the charge being led by a conservative political leader. Great job, Mr. O’Toole.
Hopefully, O’Toole’s updated vision of the importance of this employer-employee relationship will be shared by Conservatives and Conservative parties alike and will prove to be infectious.
Remember when Ralph Klein abolished infection control nurses because they “weren’t necessary?” Remember when, shortly after that, hospitals had to close because of a spate of hospital-induced infections? An important lesson here.
Are you listening, Mr. Kenney?
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Mandatory masks

November 10, 2020

Last week,  Nov. 2, City council passed a bylaw for mandatory mask use inside of all public buildings.  I do know that there are many people who feel that this is just another way the government is taking away our freedoms.
I do have this to say to these people. Please keep in mind that this virus may not affect you, but it will affect the very old and the very young. So, please put aside your rights and keep the very vulnerable population in mind as you live your life.
So, just please knock off your attitude of entitlement and remember what you do can affect the lives of others. Death can be the result of your careless actions.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Eliminate waste

November 3, 2020

First of all, if AHS/Minister Shandro claims to be looking for “efficiencies” by eliminating waste, duplication and non-essential spending to fund government’s key priorities, while ensuring high quality, frontline services for Albertans,” as per the MacKinnon Report (2019), which cost Alberta taxpayers millions, this must start at the top of the salary pyramid in all ministries (please take note, Premier Kenney), not just the bottom echelon of Alberta Health staff, which supports the whole frontline system (especially housekeeping staff who scrupulously protect patients, nurses, doctors and support medical staff during this COVID-19 pandemic).
CTV News tells Albertans that there are 900 bureaucrats on the Health Sunshine List (11 vice presidents, 571 directors, 204 managers and many other leadership-type positions), which is where Shandro must start (i.e. AHS president and CEO’s annual $677,785). And, it won’t take long to rack up the “efficiencies” recommended by the MacKinnon Report up there at the top.
Plus, minister Shandro’s AHS cut of 11,000 AHS staff (supposedly to save $600 million) does not add up. The Blue Ribbon Panel’s specified $600 million cut to annual spending was not specifically in health, but the whole Alberta budget, with the rejoinder that there be no new spending increases in order to eradicate Alberta’s deficit.
The proposed $600 million health cut equates to an annual salary of $54,549 per person including EI, pensions and benefits. According to Shandro’s numbers, the current employees must be earning in excess of $100,000 each, per year. That is hard to believe.
Transferring this to private industry means that those 11,000 workers cut would have to work for free, if the private companies would even hire them, and the companies/contractors hiring staff to do these jobs would have to forego overheads and profits. That is not likely to happen either.
Assuming that the private companies pay $17 per hour for each these same 11,000 staff and assuming fixed cost of 30 per cent to cover overheads, WCB and EI, this amounts roughly to about a $5 million cost to the private contractors. So where are the savings/efficiencies? Shandro’s 11,000 cut  looks like a hidden way to generate revenue (aka “rents”) from the taxpayer?
Show me the numbers, because Mr. Shandro’s numbers and his statements do not make sense.
Franco Terrazzano, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, tells us that a 20 per cent cut to those salaries on the Sunshine List would recoup $36 million for AHS.
T. W. Leithead,
Bawlf

No urgency

October 27, 2020

A deep dive into the proposed UCP policy resolutions for 2020 is revealing.  As the world faces the looming climate crisis, it appears that the UCP is determined to double down on trying to resurrect an extraction industry that is seeing global disinvestment. The resolutions, not short on dog-whistle politics, seek to further hobble collective bargaining, further disenfranchise municipal governments, privatize public services, create a two-tiered health system, absorb your Canada Pension, deregulate, and gut environmental and water laws and to inject an oil and gas curriculum into schools.
With Alberta contributing 40 per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions, there is not one reference in the policy platform to climate or any urgency to address this runaway problem. Most of what I read was regressive and self-serving and, in my view, will not serve Albertans moving into the next decade.
There is mention of a referendum on transfer payments. This is a subject that most Albertans are woefully ignorant on, but one that Jason Kenny knows all too well. He helped author the transfer current scheme as a member of the Harper cabinet.
Real leadership would address the climate crisis.  In can be done in a way that can benefit Albertans and ready the workforce for the new reality. Over the decades of oil and gas, Alberta has contributed massive amounts to the Federal GDP and all Canadians have benefited.  Smart leadership would bank this social capital and, instead of pushing for a renewed transfer system, one that is working as it was designed, and use this opportunity to push for the creation of  a new Climate Emergency Just Transfer. This could be structured such that those provinces most effected in any transition away from fossil fuels would benefit proportionally.  This would be especially important to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland. With 40 per cent of the country’s GHGs, Alberta would get 40 per cent of the fund, which would be targeted specifically to making the transition through green infrastructure investments, research, and job training. This approach has been articulated by many public interest groups and other political parties and is worth consideration. Anything is better than the UCP neo-liberal approach that has been proven to divide community and create such wide income disparity all over the world.
One UCP platform resolution is to advance the development of artificial intelligence. I would be happy if the policies displayed more environmental intelligence.
Tim Belec,
Camrose

Recycling realignment

October 27, 2020

Members of Camrose County council, I have to ask–what were you thinking?
We teach our children from a very young age to reduce, reuse and recycle, and you have decided to stop funding Centra Cam, making the recycling facility unavailable for County residents. Your reasoning, according to the Booster article on Sept. 22, is that “you have heard that only 12 County residents use Centra Cam.” It seems obvious that none of the councillors use the facility, or you would be aware that there is no way of knowing how many rural residents make use of this great facility. I have used it for years and have never been asked where I live. You drive in, unload your products in the appropriate bins, and leave–no questions asked. Over the winter, when Centra Cam was closed because of COVID-19, the people I asked have simply stored their recyclables at home.
Discontinuing the recycling trailer at the transfer sights makes sense.  County residents go to Camrose to shop and could certainly take their recycling there, like the many who already do. Redirecting people to the West Dried Meat Landfill is shortsighted, a drive of many miles out of the way for most residents, and is not recycling.
I feel that your decision is out of touch with the current reality. It is not a “realignment”, but rather an “abandonment” of recycling in the County.  Citizens are more aware of environmental sustainability and the generation that is now young adults grew up in our schools where active recycling programs were a reality. This is important. It is a way of life. It is about the future of our environment.
I hope you will reconsider this decision and, as councilor Doug Lyseng suggested, revisit the issue at budget time when you have had time to consider the ramifications of this ridiculous decision.
     Dorothy Marshall,                                                                   
Camrose County

Health borders

October 27, 2020

One obvious conclusion arising from this pandemic is that health issues don’t recognize borders. But despite the massive consequences of Covid-19, our political leaders still haven’t grasped it. Rich nations like ours are now paying enormous funds to get to the front of the vaccine line, as if treating the pandemic here, but not elsewhere, will end the problem.
Aside from the moral and ethical problems with this, the pandemic itself has proven we can’t wall disease away: as long as it circulates anywhere, it remains a grave threat.
Health organizations are calling for international funding to provide global accessibility to treatment. So far, our government has offered a tiny amount, nowhere near our fair share.
The lesson was simple: we’re all in this together. But it’s a lesson the Justin Trudeau Liberals still don’t seem have learned.
Nathaniel Poole,
Victoria, BC

Trail walking

October 27, 2020

This is just a friendly reminder to the many people who utilize our City’s wonderful walking trails. Signs have been put up at the entrance to the trails asking us to keep our six-feet social distance.
Because our trails are two-way, we are bound to pass people going the other way. In order to keep our distance, it is necessary for groups of walkers to form single file. Especially now with the snow, it’s not easy for individuals to step off the trail when groups of people (and even couples) take up a large width of the path.
Thanks, everyone, for giving your fellow walkers space, and helping to keep each other safe.
Cathy F. Johnson,
 Camrose

No jobs

October 6, 2020

I’m just catching up on my Booster reading and came across MLA Jackie Lovely’s column of Sept. 1. A sentence there jumped out at me: “Alberta’s Recovery Plan…is a…long-term strategy to…create tens of thousands of jobs now.”  The exact same sentence appears in a reply I received from minister of advanced education Nicolaides at the end of July. What is the UCP’s definition of now?  Minister Nicolaides’ letter is two months old and MLA Lovely’s is a month old and I haven’t heard of these thousands of jobs being created yet. But what really confuses me is that UCP-imposed budget cuts have caused the loss of thousands of jobs in education and health care (and elsewhere). Why couldn’t those people have kept their jobs? It would have meant fewer jobs that the UCP needs to create.
 John Olson,
   Camrose

Local landmark

October 6, 2020

Another landmark has come down in Camrose. While it is hard to see something that has been around for a long time razed to the ground, I was sad for another reason–all the evergreens around the old St. Francis Catholic Church were also taken out. So many of these gentle giants have been coming down this year and it is painful to me. Let me explain why.
Evergreens are the condominiums of the bird world. The birds that stay here year-round (blue jays, siskins, chickadees, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and house finches) and those that spend winters here (redpolls and waxwings) live together in these trees. They act as shelter from the elements, especially when the boughs are weighed down with snow. Each bird species gathers together to conserve their body heat within these conifers.
I get it–when evergreens get old, they become misshapen and unstable. They get too large for the space. So we take them down and replace them with ornamentals, which have a season and are finished for the year once autumn comes around. As we take out these birds’ habitat, they leave our area and we are poorer for it.
I am putting a call out to homeowners and business owners alike to consider replacing that evergreen with another, so we can maintain that habitat for generations to come. Planting trees that are five or six feet tall make them viable for birds from the moment of planting as you landscape. There are many varieties that do well in Alberta, so consult professionals for choices, planting and maintenance advice. Keep them away from buildings, giving them room to grow. Always make your first calls before you dig.
Remember to feed the birds (black oil sunflower seeds are best for winter birds), but make sure your feeders are high up or fenced to keep the deer away–they love these seeds as well.
Our winters are typically long and harsh. I don’t know about you, but I love seeing something that is living and colourful in the dead of winter–birds and trees alike.
Lori Blades,
Camrose