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

Café patios

May 4, 2021

I want to express my excitement and support of the City looking into permanent sidewalk cafés and patios downtown. Camrose has a beautiful downtown area, and I am lucky to live within walking distance.
Having more outdoor spaces available for business would be an excellent way to liven up the street and bring in more people throughout the summer. I realize that parking will be on many people’s minds as patios will remove some parking spots. Our downtown area has many parking spaces available just off Main Street, including Founders’ Park and the public parking behind the post office, and the two expansive lots at the north end. For myself, an able-bodied young man, parking in these areas and walking are very feasible.
To compensate for the loss of closer parking spots that are critical for people with mobility issues, there could be a certain number of parking spots converted into handicap spots for every regular parking spot lost to a patio. It should also be kept in mind that most Main Street businesses are narrow and would likely only remove four or five parking spots for a patio. In the end, patios on Main Street will offer businesses new ways to increase their capacity during COVID, and draw in more people in the future when restrictions are lifted. This new flexibility with Downtown’s social spaces will create a space that reflects the kinds of business in the area and adds to Downtown’s beauty. For those still concerned about parking, if we lose more Downtown businesses, what will the ample parking be good for? Keeping business on Main Street should be our first concern.    
Chad O. Mailer,
Camrose

Be safe

May 4, 2021

There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to this virus. First of all, this virus is real. It is highly infectious, and it seems to have a mortality rate of around three or four per cent.  Now this may have increased over the past year, however, I am not a medical expert, so I am not too sure on that at all.  Second of all, there seems to be confusion with it’s name. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that includes the common cold, seasonal flu, MERS and SARS. WHO has given this strain of coronavirus the acronym COVID-19 for “coronavirus disease 2019”. The actual name is really SARS-Cov-2, although that is seldom used by the press.
Millions of people around the world are dying and will die from this strain. Pandemics are not a new thing to this planet. In the 14th century, the black plague killed 30 to 60 per cent of the population of Europe. In 1918, the Spanish Flu, which was another coronavirus, killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide.
We do have a better understanding on how diseases operate. Way back in the early 1900s, doctors were not aware of what germs were. So, I do encourage everyone to hang on and work on keeping everyone safe. Wearing masks and getting your vaccine are just a few of the ways we can beat this awful disease together. I do encourage everyone to just hang in there just a little bit longer. Together, we can win this fight.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Wake up

May 4, 2021

Nero danced and played his violin while Rome was burning down. So get out your violins and start playing. The United States is on fire and burning down with riots, looting and burning of stores in a lot of their cities.
Crime and shootings are on the rise, their answer is to defund the police? Hundreds of thousands of people are crossing its southern border in the middle of COVID, with Americans out of work and living on the streets.
Prime Minister Trudeau is dancing and going down the same road. The Washington Post and Fox News have reported that tens of thousands of these people have been moved by plane to border processing points on the Canadian border, so they can cross into Canada. Trudeau has said in the next eight months, he would like to bring 400,000 new immigrants into Canada.
We already have 37,000, who jumped the border before COVID. The US is not a third world country yet. They have them, they can keep them.
That is their problem, not ours.
There is a proper way to come to Canada, and some have waited for years. We are in the middle of COVID. Unemployment is high; companies, business, restaurants and stores are closing.
We have Canadians living in parks and on the street. We cannot look after our own people. Racism is a word that has lost its power. When you heard it being used, you listened. Now it is used way too often, and for anything without any proof.
It is like the boy who was always crying wolf, and when the wolf came, no one would listen.
Cancel culture, dangerous awakening, political correctness. You are witnessing a growing movement in America to silence opposing majority voices by social media mobs.
Inflation is on the rise, carbon tax, high fuel costs and all costs are going up. Everything you buy is covered in throw-away plastic. Trudeau’s answer is to ban bags and straws.
He should have put higher tariffs on any imports into Canada that have plastic. Cell phones and computers are the biggest polluters now.
Camrose property taxes are too high, and they tell us they didn’t raise taxes in 2020 and 2021. But, they raise the cost of all services, so what is the difference? We are still paying more.
Glenn Dunn,
Camrose

Save nature

April 27, 2021

In the past several months, I’ve been terribly consumed by the pending devastation in the eastern slopes of our gorgeous Rocky Mountains.
I’ve been so consumed that I have neglected to tell Camrosians how lucky I feel to be living here in Camrose for my 10th year now. How many times have I stopped in wonder of the beauty and serenity of the paths in our marvellous little valley. In winter, stopping on the concrete path to watch deer lock horns on the slopes below the cemetery. Or, while on a backpacking training walk on the now snow-free trails, I stop and let my eye graze along the creek…opposite slope and trail…and hear the voices of others walking these trails. How lucky am I…are we. So, thank you Camrose City council, and thank you, Camrosians, for the privilege of touching nature so close to home.
Marv Miniely,
Camrose

Great city

April 27, 2021

Preserving and promoting the uniqueness of our city is important. We enjoyed the efforts put into ice sculptures and beautifying trees this past winter. For the summer months, we’d like to see the rejuvenation of the downtown core to promote vitality and tourism–much like a mini Jaywalkers’.
By temporarily closing a block or two to cars, people would be drawn to the core to go for a stroll, while shopping and allowing for social distancing, supporting businesses with low capacity limits due to restrictions, and following public health measures to allow for outside cafés and vendors.
Canmore had a trial run like this last summer with great success. Having heard on a radio station that the Camrose Regional Exhibition is willing to provide support with materials and personnel, this would be a great way of bridging the challenging period in which we find ourselves, supporting each other and encouraging in-street patio infrastructure.
Verna Hinch,
Camrose

Coal mines

April 27, 2021

I would like to express my profound disappointment with regards to the terms of reference for the Coal Consultation Committee as stated here: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/coal-policy-committee-terms-of-reference.pdf.
To limit the committee’s discussion and fact finding to concerns under the ministry of energy means that nothing from the Land Stewardship Act and the Water Act will be on the table for consideration. To exclude the issue of water, to exclude the issue of biodiversity, to exclude the issue of land use, limits the perspective and the view the committee will be able to take.
There is a majority of Albertans from all political stripes, walks of life, both urban and rural, age, gender, religion, and ethnic background who are against coal mining in the Rockies for the simple fact that it endangers the clean water supply for Albertans, and for people across the Prairies, not to mention Montana.
Alberta is in cycles of drought, and to use our water to clean coal not only threatens the quality of water, but also the quantity available. There is no known process that can filter the water from heavy metal contamination.
The water in all the major rivers in Alberta will be polluted for centuries. And once the coal companies close the mines, Albertans will be left with the mess. Like the orphan wells, we will be faced with orphan mines. The waste piles that are left at the mine sites will also be a source of constant water and air pollution. Human life (including ranchers, farmers, tourism economy, and anyone who depends on water and air–all Albertans) as well as wildlife and flora will suffer.
Alberta has so little to gain (jobs for a short limited time) and much to lose (clean water and air, biodiversity, jobs in ranching/agriculture, tourism/ecotourism...)
Also, why allow continued mining exploration in the Eastern Slopes when consultation has barely started? Exploration activities have disrupted forest environments with the road building, clearing, drilling and introduction of all the heavy machinery involved.
I am at a loss as to how and why this government and this ministry can departmentalize the coal discussion without discussing water issues and land stewardship issues. I am disappointed in the minister of environment and parks that he has not pushed that his portfolio also be represented in this discussion. I have very little faith in the AER’s ability to determine what is safe for Alberta’s environment.
Donna Hackborn,
Camrose

Dream police

April 27, 2021

Police in Ontario say they won’t conduct random spot checks despite new powers.
Jackie Lovely, I read with great interest the concern being expressed by various police forces in Ontario regarding the latest COVID enforcement orders given to the various police forces of that province.
Fortunately, the response has been very negative. The president of the Peel Regional Police Association also took to Twitter to urge the government, “Don’t make cops the bad guys here.” The London Police Services board says it has “serious concerns” about whether the provincial government’s expanded police powers are even constitutional.
As you are aware the Alberta government/federal government is making the RCMP and other cops the bad guys when it comes to enforcing AHS directed closures of various facilities? The above quotes indicate boundaries that are being extended in Ontario contrary to police opinion. I believe the same concerns are being spoken of by many citizens of Alberta.
Further, I was very disappointed to read your government propaganda letter against the decision of BRSD to walk back from the revised education curriculum. Going up against locally elected officials (BRSD) so directly and publicly indicates to me your utter disregard for local political leaders and their locally informed professionals, both of whom have the interests of the children under their jurisdiction at heart.
Brian McGaffigan,
Strome

Inappropriate teaching

April 20, 2021

As I write this letter on Friday morning, April 16, I am relieved to know that 24 school boards across our province have announced they are not proceeding with the latest draft curriculum. While some of them have used the very reasonable explanation that piloting anything next year is too much to ask of teachers right now, many have also pointed to serious flaws throughout the whole document.
As well, the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Alberta Music Advocacy Alliance, (a group of 10 professional music and music teaching organizations) have both just released statements stating that the curriculum is inappropriate, insufficient, too biased and filled with errors.
I am glad to see this public outcry is having some impact, and I see the same is happening regarding coal mining in the Eastern Slopes: Albertans are rightly pointing out to the Alberta government that they have not consulted either Albertans nor experts. The way in which they reinstated the former Coal Policy (also after public outcry) was insufficient; exploration continues to damage the mountainsides and potentially the watersheds, and implies that companies expect to proceed. I only hope a private member’s bill put forth to halt all exploration until proper consultation is completed can be successful in this sitting of the legislature.
Given some of her published articles and received email responses, I am concerned that our local MLA is focussed on cheerleading her government and perhaps not listening to or advocating for the concerns of her constituents and all Albertans. I also feel disheartened that letters directed to her and to ministers are often responded to with cut-and-paste replies that repeat the party line verbatim. Is that because so many people are writing in with the same concern?
Today I am feeling grateful for the many Albertans, of all political stripes, who have decided they want a government that makes decisions based on feedback and best practice, full information and competent research. There are ways to implement policy changes with wisdom and empathy no matter which side of the political spectrum a government is on. Let’s hope this government can make a u-turn and start standing up for the best interests of all of us who call Alberta home.
Joy-Anne Murphy,
Camrose

Community support

April 20, 2021

I just wanted to say thank you for the front page exposure. I had no idea where that picture was going to end up. Thank you to The Camrose Booster for supporting our community and all the small businesses. It is so greatly appreciated.
Also, you totally got me on the April Fool’s edition.  I had my kids so excited for ice fishing and boating. My daughter, who is a fan of pranks, thought it was hilarious that the newspaper would pull a massive prank on the whole city.  Good job.
 Jane Beck,
Camrose

UCP economics

April 20, 2021

A bear is only worth something after it’s turned into a rug.
A tree is only worth something once logged.
A landscape…mined.
There is no such thing as the value of a functioning ecosystem in a UCP mindset. One wonders if they realize that water comes from the environment and not out of a tap.
It’s not we don’t need resources, we do–however, politicians need to understand there are things that once lost, can never return. When that happens, the cost is too high. If we give up water quality for people, farmers, ranchers, and wildlife, will the revenues from coal mining make up for the loss? Not a chance.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Volunteer week

April 20, 2021

April 18 to 24 is National Volunteer Week with the theme “The Value of One, the Power of Many”. Volunteers are key to so many organizations in our community. I’m glad that we can take time to focus on them and show them our appreciation.
There are over 100 volunteers associated with The Bailey Theatre. They are a committed bunch of people, with a wide variety of skills. One thing they have in common is their devotion to the theatre.
We’re so grateful for the group of volunteers who cleaned the theatre and did maintenance jobs while we were closed. Thank you to all the volunteers who were involved with our fundraisers: the Bottle Drive and the Flea Market. We’re also thankful to volunteers who worked behind the scenes maintaining our scrapbook of Bailey News, who decorated the theatre, who kept our books and who did our marketing. Thank you to volunteers who helped with events during the two months when we were able to have live events at the theatre.
The Bailey Theatre Society has a hard working, dedicated board of directors. The hours that they worked this year increased considerably from past years, as they made difficult decisions and were creative with plans for a new future. Thank you for your commitment, grant writing, and vision.
The Bailey Theatre could not have made it through this year without our volunteers. They are the lifeblood of our organization. Thank you for keeping yourselves healthy and safe so that you will be able to be involved again. We need to care for ourselves before we can care for others. We salute our volunteers this week. We aren’t able to bring in “stars”, but “You are the Stars.” Thank you all for volunteering with the Bailey Theatre.
Colleen Nelson,
Volunteer Coordinator
Bailey Theatre Society

April Fool’s

April 13, 2021

Compliments to The Camrose Booster staff and reporters for the great job you are doing. The April Fool’s article on draining Mirror Lake and the Wetaskiwin Water Tower removal a couple of years back were bang-up jobs and sucked many of us in.
Booster Banter is always a fun read, and the column by Arnold Malone on Toes this week was both educational and hilarious–been there, done that. Great job everyone.
Glen Winder,
Camrose County

Waste management

April 13, 2021

It seems to me the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is the operating mantra for too many businesses.
Corporations get the apparent unfettered right to produce disposable items that ultimately end up in landfills, or walk away from well sites. Stuff like plastic that isn’t going to break down for hundreds of years. The cry of businesses is they are “supplying demand” or “providing jobs”, when what they really mean is “look the other way”. They don’t think they need to be accountable for the impact to the environment. All that waste that leeches into the water we drink becomes the problem of municipalities, though we don’t yet know the true cost of plastic contamination in drinking water to human and ecological health. They tritely say, “That’s the cost of business.”
It appears the UCP is in lock step with this mindset. Presently, the UCP is trying to sneak through six mining projects approved in between the elimination of the 1976 Coal Agreement and its recent reinstatement of that policy. The UCP is hoping no one notices. Not only does this not make environmental sense, it doesn’t make economic sense either. Everyone is going to pay for this pollution and destruction: the tourism industry, forestry, hunters, farmers, ranchers, fishers, and each one of us through higher municipal costs of securing fresh water, all at a time when the UCP is cutting tax revenues to municipalities.
The UCP wants to check a box by saying, “We created more jobs”, but they’ve failed to do any real cost-benefit analysis as they blindly adhere to cutting red tape. They won’t create good jobs, and the damage will last past our children’s lifetimes. They just figure we’re going to say, “Oh, you created jobs”, and leave it at that. Out of sight, out of mind…it’s just the cost of business, so look the other way. Again.
Mark Lindberg,
Camrose

Bad dream

April 13, 2021

Is this province really going to proceed with mining in the eastern slopes? Is it really happening, or am I having a bad dream?
Let’s set aside most of the concerns, like visually destroying the beauty of the mountains, destruction of endangered tree species, loss of diversity of other plants and vegetation, destruction of habitat for several animal species, loss of insect and bird populations, air pollution, loss of jobs in general tourism and ecotourism, destructive impact on agriculture, use of huge amounts of water, sacrificing the eastern slopes for a dying industry, and more. Let’s think only about poisoning our water.
We will be pouring deadly amounts of selenium, arsenic, various nitrates and radon into the water that flows into all of the major river systems on the prairies. There is no point in blaming the mining companies or our present government. The people of Alberta are collectively responsible for what is happening.
If someone dumped 10,000 or 100,000 litres of a mixture of the chemicals noted above into Dried Meat Lake, would that be okay with Camrosians? Would we just sit by and say nothing or do nothing?
It is hard to believe that our elected representatives so arrogantly dismiss the scientific evidence as “misinformation”. They seem to believe that the majority they received in the last election entitles them to make decisions without consulting the people. We need to write to our MLAs and cabinet ministers. We need to sign petitions. We might need to take up peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience. If Albertans allow mining in the eastern slopes, I have to wonder about our sanity.
Marvin Miniely, Camrose

Huge impact

April 13, 2021

COVID has had a disastrous impact on our economy, community health, increased death rates, compromised public education and our collective mental health. It has also exposed Canadians’ vulnerability in supply chain management and our self reliance for essential materiel like food, drugs, and other essential commodities.
As I started my career in pharmacology in the 1960s, Canada was a world leader in research and production of pharmaceuticals and biologicals. Over the last five decades, our pharmaceutical industry, functionally, has gone AWOL. Connaught Labs, established in 1914, was one of three global leaders for biologicals research, along with the Pasteur Institutes (France) and the Lister Institute (UK). So…what happened?
PM Brian Mulroney privatized Connaught Labs in the 1980s, which stripped Canada of its ability to produce its own vaccines. PM Mulroney (Bills C91, C22), coupled with signing NAFTA, prompted Canada’s ethical pharmaceutical industry (20-plus drug companies) to abandon Canada as a center of excellence for pharmaceutical R&D. The abandonment led to a loss of self reliance in drug supply, plus the loss of tens of thousands of high-tech jobs. The exodus was complete when PM Harper signed the CETA (EU) agreement. Hmmm!
Some select anecdotes to consider: (i) 0 per cent of our drugs are produced in China or offshore, (ii) the cost of insulin (original Connaught patent) has skyrocketed over the past two decades, (iii) he cost of drugs in Canada is the third highest of all OECD countries, (iv) anadian expenditures in R&D (all sciences) is the lowest of all G20 countries, (v) eneric drug use accounted for 76 per cent of the volume of drugs in the Canadian pharmaceutical market in 2018, the third highest retail market share among the OECD countries after US and Germany.
Christine Legard, president of the European Central Bank, has written extensively on the need for countries to develop post-COVID strategic plans. To date, no Canadian political leaders have revealed a platform to Make Canada Great Again with regard to production of drugs. Isn’t it timely for our political leaders to put aside their ideological partisanship, cooperate across the aisles of Parliament, and resurrect our generic and ethical pharmaceutical industry to serve our collective national best interests? Let your MP know your thoughts.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Need carbon 

April 6, 2021

Science has proven that plants need carbon dioxide to transfer nitrogen, oxygen and sun energy through photosynthesis to soil microbes that break down minerals and nutrients to feed plants.
The atmosphere contains about 78 per cent nitrogen by weight. An unhealthy plant has a problem trying to use this free nitrogen.
Are the chemical and fertilizer corporations pushing the carbon scare so they can sell more products to protect and feed unhealthy plants?
Why do we now have so many crop diseases and evergreens dying?
Is China purchasing our coal to burn and provide ample carbon for healthy plants?
Robert Snider,
New Norway

Good ship

April 6, 2021

Aboard the good ship HMS Canada, ship log 1955: Wonderful ship, state-of-the-art, world-leading scientists on board; leaders in agricultural research, plant genetics, biochemists, immunologists in cancer research centers, communications, pure/applied physics, rocketry, aviation, fisheries, pharmaceutics. HMS Canada is a land of plenty, agricultural crops, fisheries, mineral wealth, oil-gas-coal, forests.
Scientists are supported by a dedicated, hardworking and educated crew on board. Periodically, captains have been ably supported by competent first mates Lougheed, Romanow, Wells and others.
Ship is sailing smoothly and “on course” to a far-off destination.
Ship log: second decade of 21st century…ship is rudderless and adrift, lost power, winds and seas are threatening. Most scientists have “jumped ship” or been “thrown overboard” as unwanted ballast.
The bridge continues to argue whether the “pointy part” goes first or the “flat part” goes first. There is no agreement what the destination is or the best way to get there, and everyone is trying to get their hands on the tiller. The bridge has not mastered reading charts or compass or using GPS, or checking weather conditions for impending gales, etc. Collectively, they have sailed into the Bermuda Triangle.
Fiscally mismanaged sister ships like HMS Greece and Italy have veered off course, while others like HMS USSR have sunk. Newly launched ships HMS Israel, Jordan and India, using modern technology, have overtaken us.
The “wannabe” captains have not served an apprenticeship on modern, progressive ships like HMS Norway, Germany, Denmark, Suisse, Sweden, Kiwi, etc., nor have they visited progressive ports in Europe and Asia.
Simultaneously, they have not noticed that the aforementioned ships have adjusted their sails and altered course and have quietly sailed away.
Meanwhile, on the sun desk, thousands of complacent sunbathers, basking in the glow of self aggrandizement, not realizing the relatively small size of HMS Canada, and that it is adrift (and the hull is rusting).
It is time to stop blaming the current captain solely: several previous captains have had a very large hand sailing us into this Bermuda Triangle. At the next scheduled vote to change the bridge (2021? 2022?), make sure the new captain has the capability and the vision to get HMS Canada back on a charted course. Tell your local deckhand (MP, MLA) to share his/her vision to convince you.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Service clubs 

April 6, 2021

I am writing this letter in regards to the front page of The Camrose Booster on March 23 on Empathy for the Elks.
Does Mr. Czapp realize that they are not the only service club who has lost major revenue due to COVID-19? The Legion, Moose Lodge, Rotary, Swans and Roses Lions, Knights of Columbus, just to name a few.
These service clubs have all had their fundraisers cancelled. These service clubs have bills to pay too!
A service club has no greater joy than to give back to the community! This is no longer possible due to COVID-19.
In the picture, there should of been representatives for the many service clubs in Camrose standing on the steps with Mr. Czapp. We are all in this together. Service clubs included.
Judy Sturek,
Camrose

Editor’s note: This Camrose Booster photo/cover copy was not intended to raise the profile, or the serious repercussions of this pandemic, of any particular club, organization or business over the similar plight of another.
Over several publishing weeks, The Booster has profiled a variety of entities negatively affected by the COVID-19 era. We simply do not have the time or resources to tell the story of each and all. We sincerely believe most readers will understand that the goal of our reporting is to provide an overview of the entire business community, not specifically single out a single club such as the Elks Club featured on our March 23rd cover.

Fooled again

April 6, 2021

Curses. Foiled (I mean fooled) again. Why do I get sucked in every year by the plausibility of your front page year after year? Because they are so cleverly done. And this year’s was particularly sly. I know you will never divulge the brains behind the April foolery–it was surely a group effort. But you must submit it for a community newspaper publishing award. We are proud of our Camrose Booster.
Peter LeBlanc,
Camrose

April fool’s 

April 6, 2021

Well, you got me again.
Every year, when I read your April Fool’s column, I wonder at the level of foolish government waste. Within a day or two, when I realize that it’s near April Fool’s Day, I shake my head and have a good laugh at how gullible I am. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
It takes a special turn of mind to think of all the great stories. Keep up the good work and thanks for the fun.
Pat Westergard,
Camrose

Treaty 6

March 30, 2021

Several recent Camrose Booster issues included memories from Camrose residents of the 100th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 6.
Of course, a treaty is not a single moment in time, but rather an ongoing relationship negotiated in good faith. This year will mark the 145th year of Treaty 6, and we (as a Canadian settler society) have not followed through on our commitments. While we can’t change history, we can learn from it and use those lessons to shape our common future.
Unfortunately, an opportunity to take a small step toward the ongoing act of reconciliation by acknowledging that the City of Camrose is located on Treaty 6 land was rejected by our City council at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 16. At this meeting, a proposal was brought forward to allow City staff to include a land acknowledgement in their email signatures and, more importantly, to have members of council make a public land acknowledgment prior to council meetings and other City events. This is increasingly common in municipalities and other institutions across Canada.
This decision is extremely disappointing. After all, municipal governments are specifically identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action as having a role to play in recognizing Indigenous peoples and contributing toward public education about treaty rights and responsibilities. I welcome more information from our elected council members as to why this decision was made.
Greg King,
Camrose

Changing world

March 30, 2021

The 20th century brought us unparalleled prosperity because of abundant inexpensive energy in the form of petroleum and rapid social and industrial change, especially after the First World War and Second World War. Change over the next decade will be faster still and we should not fear it, because it can bring us even greater prosperity.
The International Energy Agency last year declared that solar and wind now provide the least expensive energy the world has ever seen and their price is dropping quickly. Alberta is well placed to generate unlimited inexpensive energy from solar, wind and geothermal. Energy storage problems are being solved. Last summer, TransAlta installed a battery system at its wind farm at Pincher Creek that can power 3,000 homes. Britain is building an amazing liquid air battery system to store energy from its offshore wind generators that uses no toxic compounds, makes no pollution and requires only the technology of a refrigerator. Britain expects wind to power the entire country with no pollution by 2030.  Contrary to what you might have read, there is no need to burn oil or coal for wind or solar. Yes, birds do sometimes fly into wind turbines and die, but nothing compared to the number of birds that fly into buildings, and no one is saying that we should ban buildings.
We can and we will stop burning fossil fuels and that is a good thing. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels, kills seven million people each year. We can expect the incidence of asthma to drop in Alberta when we stop burning coal for electricity just as it did when Ontario stopped burning coal. We will be healthier. We will think back to lines of cars idling outside of schools and wonder how we could have done that to our children’s health.
We are faced with opportunities for a better life if we would just stop listening to all the negativity. If we choose not to seize those opportunities, we’d better step aside, or we’ll be run over as the world passes us by.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Church visits

March 30, 2021

I wish to address the one criticizing Vern Peterson’s letter.
Foremost, Scripture deals with pastors and those who are responding to the call of God on their life, of whom the pastor is called to be “shepherd of their soul”. You wrote that Scripture is credible–I trust you are one of these sheep who should know that Romans 8:33 and Canada’s Constitution agree that one shall not lay any charge on pastors for proclaiming God’s Word. Your quote from Romans 13 is God’s advice to obey magistrates–and why? Because God is the One who ultimately rules over every higher authority that is set over us “to do us good…and execute wrath (capital punishment) upon him that doeth evil” vs. 4.
Be aware that in Pastor Coates’ case, the rulers or authorities were not obeying Canada’s Rule of Law. Our governments have been implementing “mandates” that are meant for “emergency measures” (e.g. 30 days) for these measures are “unconstitutional” according to our actual laws (see JCCF.ca).
Peterson claimed to be speaking from his spirit, which is associated with one’s “matters of the heart”,  and we all have a right to speak and be heard, whether we agree or not. I happen to agree with Vern’s spirit or heart; furthermore, he spoke of how he lived as a County councilor with the people, and still defends his past position.
May we all grow in grace and faith in the things of Salvation, and be people of God’s Way–people previously known as “People of the Way”.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Recall legislation

March 23, 2021

The new legislation of the UCP’s MLA recall is not that new. I do wonder if this piece of legislation could backfire like it did on Aberhart in the summer of 1937. The world was at war and the economy was rather in a slump. The government’s back benchers were not very happy with the leadership of Alberta.
In the premier’s riding, the members of that riding had two-thirds of those who could vote sign a petition to remove the premier from office. The government rushed back to reverse the member recall legislation to avoid having their leader removed from his position. This caused a revolt by these back benchers who threatened to defeat the government in a nonconfidence vote. Instead, the government struck a deal with the back benchers, which seemed to bring down the revolt. Kenney seems to have back benchers not very happy with his leadership. We do not have a war, but we have COVID-19. Can this be a repeat of history in the not too distant future? Can the member recall legislation backfire like it did back in 1937?
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Great community

March 23, 2021

Why is Camrose such a great community?
I suggest that Camrose has an incredible history of community service organizations that reinforce a community spirit above and beyond what is found in many other communities. The proof of this can be seen in the number of people who have moved to Camrose for temporary job postings, like RCMP or bankers, but have stayed or come back to Camrose because of its community spirit.
I suggest that a main reason is the number of organizations Camrose has that encourage community participation. People join to do what cannot be done alone. There is strength in numbers. This increases exponentially. A group of 10 members is not just 10 times more powerful than one member, but perhaps 50 to 100 times more powerful.
I came to Camrose with my family in 1970 after living most of my life in the big city. I was invited to participate in many community organizations, and I did join various groups, such as Kinsmen and Rotary. They taught me the importance of organizations such as service clubs, in building community.
I have been a member of Rotary for more than 45 years. I can safely assert that Camrose would not be the same kind of community without clubs like Rotary. I’m sure most of you have benefited from the community work done by service clubs, although you might not be aware of it.
The Battle River Community Foundation, which now has a major impact on this and our surrounding area, received a donation from the Rotary Club of Camrose for $100,000 when it was just beginning. Camrose Rotary Club supplied a bus full of wheelchairs to Puerto Vallarta, a city of over one million people, making a major impact on the disabled of that community which continues to this day. There are literally hundreds of other examples of how Camrosians have impacted our whole world, batting way above its weight.
COVID-19 has punched a big hole in all communities.  We cannot get together like we used to. Membership in our community organizations, churches and sports and arts groups has been severely impacted. If you want the community you once had, you and I must rebuild community organizations by joining them and re-establishing new ways of doing things. The first thing required is to join. We must now meet online, which we do weekly.
We have two Rotary clubs in Camrose. Our community is Camrose first and the world first as well. If you are interested in joining us to build community, call me or any other Rotarian.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Coal facts

March 23, 2021

We concur with Lindberg’s conclusions re: CoalHardFacts.ca (Camrose Booster, Feb. 28). Previous claims that water in the Athabasca River downstream Ft. McMurray, and now UCP claims that  waters downstream from strip-coal mine leases are safe to drink read much like a preschooler’s sandbox argument over the safety of drinking the water in the (contaminated) stream trickling past their sandbox, which sits just a few metres from an old abandoned outhouse.
Facts reported by Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program (AEMP) for the tests downstream from Tech coal mines in BC (Lethbridge Herald, Oct. 23/20) disprove the UCP’s purported “Facts” (Get the Facts on Coal in Alberta). AEMP test results verify the disingenuity of the UCP claims. After the NDP government dissolved Alberta’s (independent) Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting  Agency, Bill Donahue, a former government official, left that position (2018) and used unpublished government (1998-2016) data to analyze selenium levels for The Canadian Press, thereby also verifying the rising selenium levels.
The selenium levels downstream from Teck’s (southwestern Alberta) Cheviot metallurgical coal mine averaged almost six times higher in the McLeod River), nearly nine times in the Gregg River and 11 times higher in the Luscar Creek. All exceeded the levels considered safe for aquatic life (four times in the Gregg River and nearly nine times in Luscar Creek).
In fish, selenium damages the liver, kidney and heart, reduces the number of “viable” eggs a fish can produce, and leads to deformed spine, head, mouth, and fins. In humans, selenium can cause nausea, vomiting, hair loss and fatigue. Yet, UCP documents would have Albertans believe that current assessments indicate there is no risk to humans who drink water or eat fish  containing excessive  amounts of selenium. However, the last time Alberta Environment reported on selenium in the three waterways mentioned above, was 2006 (Bob Webber, Canadian Press, Jan 25, “Contaminant from coal mines already high in some Alberta rivers: unreported data”). John Muir, Alberta Environment and Parks spokesman, stated the department “routinely monitors selenium at 89 waterways…” and “will make those finding publicly available” (but, he did not indicate when).
Our then MLA clarified landowners by informing a group of landowners, “The government (i.e. any minister) can do whatever it wants with your land.”
That makes the UCP’s outright denials regarding selenium risks irrelevant.
M. R. Leithead,
 Bawlf

Abolish trapping

March 16, 2021

I am happy that Lori Larsen wrote the article regarding traps and keeping pets safe. A dog was recently killed by a snare in Camrose County. My heart is filled with sadness and horror for that dog and its family. I would like to be able to say I am shocked by this event, but I am not, as it is not uncommon and happens all over Canada.
It is a horrible tragedy when a pet is caught in a trap. It is just as much of a horrible tragedy when a wild animal is caught in a trap. No animal, regardless of its species, should be subjected to the injuries traps cause, and no animal should die in a trap.
Though trapping is legal, it is far from humane, despite what one trapper told me (and what many others claim). There is no glossing over the cruelty of traps. All types cause extreme amounts of pain, fear, panic, and distress to the helpless animals caught. Some cause drowning, some strangulation, and others cause broken bones among various other injuries. When caught, animals can’t care for their babies, eat, take shelter from the elements, or fend off predators. They often die from dehydration, blood loss, hypothermia, or by being clubbed, etc. to death by the trapper (so as not to damage the pelt in the case of animals who are being killed for their fur). The Alberta regulations state that traps that are not killing devices must be checked at least once every 24 to 48 hours. That is a HUGE time frame, and therefore, animals suffer immensely for hours and hours.
I have seen the suffering caused by traps. For a decade, I worked at a wildlife hospital in Alberta, and two patients in particular come to mind, an eagle who had been caught in a snare, and a baby skunk who had one of her legs severed in a leghold trap.
Other problems include that traps catch non-target species, endangered species, and even people (documented cases in BC and Newfoundland); when animals are killed, babies are orphaned (and often die); ecosystems are negatively affected (for example, beavers are a keystone species); and warning signs do not have to be posted.
Let’s abolish trapping. People don’t need fur trim on their coat and there are more humane (including non lethal) means of protecting livestock from predators. Visit  www.projectcoyote.org/programs/ranching_with_wildlife/nonlethal-solutions-reduce-conflicts or www.projectcoyote.org/programs/ranching_with_wildlife/nonlethal-solutions-reduce-conflicts and https://thefurbearers.com for more info. 
Leah Daoust-Hoskins, Round Hill

Moral support

March 16, 2021

I read with interest Vern Petersen’s open letter to Premier Kenney offering biblical and moral support to pastor James Coates and the people of the Grace Life Church. I think it is reasonable to propose supporting directives to Premier Kenney from other credible sources.
Romans 13:1-2 says, “Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.”
Further support can be found in Titus 3:1-2, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
Hebrews 13:17 suggests, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
In Islam, obedience to the law of the land is a religious duty. The Qur’an commands Muslims to remain faithful to not only Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, but also the authority they live under: “O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you” (Qur’an, Ch. 4: V.60).
Under Jewish Law, the principle of dina d’malchuta means that, for Jews, obedience to the civil law of the country in which they live is viewed as a religiously mandated obligation and disobedience is a transgression.
The Sutta Pitaka section of the Buddhist canon contains discourses of the Buddha on kingship that praise the election of leaders who then rule through compassion, morality and social justice.
Perhaps Mr. Petersen would find greater comfort in the writings of Confucius, whose teachings support the individual’s natural and inherent right and responsibility to oppose legitimate governmental authority when the governmental authority is out of harmony with the moral sense of the individual.
Premier Kenney, in accordance with your background in religious studies…stay the course and hold those who break the law equally responsible for their actions, whether they be churchgoers or partiers at a rave in a rented facility.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Go-green

March 16, 2021

These “go-green” (money and environment), “build back better” slogan people most often do not know what they are even talking about.  The word “sustainable” from go-green actually means “unprofitable” and “unsustainable” (as in misinformation).
Energy cannot even be produced from solar panels and wind turbines without the use of coal, oil, natural gas and wood–their very existence is dependent upon these more reliable natural resources. Solar and wind are not reliable and are very costly to the environment and the taxpayer.
If they continue pushing for the wind turbines, we may lose both the trees nearby the coal mines and the birds, because the blades on the wind turbines are killing thousands of birds daily. Also, the solar panels are extremely toxic on disposal (every 10 years and not recycled), whereas coal contains selenium–a healthy antioxidant that I use daily.
All 100 per cent of Albertans need coal to survive–we don’t have the climate of Texas, but they at least didn’t all die when their wind and solar energy failed to operate in an ice storm when the temperature dropped to just below freezing.
If I could choose between “the birds” and all this misinformation coming from the go-green people, I would choose the birds.
Check out friendsofscience.org for healthy information, and working to protect our environment in every way.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Rural business

March 9, 2021

The year 2020 has indubitably been a quagmire of  health, economic, political, logistical and financial chaos for Canadian governments. Here in the forgotten hinterland of Alberta, with an economy that stands sui generis in nature and stature, we are truly abandoned within our own Dominion of Canada.
According to the CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business), Alberta is facing an existential financial crisis of historical proportions. CFIB reports while Canada and Alberta ratchet up debt at blinding speed, the number of small businesses teetering on the cusp of insolvency grows at an alarming rate. CFIB asserts that 20 per cent of Alberta’s small businesses, with a combined work force over 624,000, are considering the possibility their businesses will not be here if it takes much longer to open up.
Logistically speaking, those businesses are much more likely to be located in the UCP held ridings of rural Alberta like Camrose. Where a single job loss can be seen and felt; while no amount of COVID diatribe from our political leaders is going to change the blow. My heart goes out to those business people who see the sweat and sacrifice invested in their businesses evaporated, along with their dreams, by our response to the virus. All the small business community demand is a homogeneous equitable response, one granting to them the same rules and opportunities afforded the large businesses. Unfortunately, too many Albertans are finding out how tenuous our freedoms and how undemocratic our politics.
To all those business people struggling to survive the lockdown, I salute you. Know that our province was founded by men and women like you. To all those who have lost their jobs or cannot find work, I know there is no greater a trial, and I pray our economy will change for you. In this time of COVID, may you find support, joy, and happiness in your family and friends, with true meaning not in the temporal, but in the eternal. You do not stand alone.
Robert Johnson,
Daysland

Need libraries

March 9, 2021

An elementary student in need of one-on-one tutoring to succeed in the interrupted and uncertain school year.
An unemployed father unable to complete online job applications and remote interviews.
A solitary senior citizen, isolated and missing social connection.
A post-secondary student already struggling with distance education, unable to find an approved examination supervisor.
A teen struggling with gender identity issues in need of a safe, warm place with information and connection to social services.
A parent uncertain about misinformation in media, trying to understand more about the conditions of the pandemic.
What do all these people have in common? They need a library. Today’s libraries are so much more than just a repository for works of fiction. They are a public location to allow students and tutors to meet, providing public computer workstations and free internet access.
Socialization and attentive care of patrons’ well-being are an important part of a librarian’s job. Proctoring exams is a valuable service the public libraries provide at little to no cost. Provision of social services information and resources as well as connections to those services are a necessary part of library service. And what better place to fight misinformation than a library?
I am all for following health regulations and bending the curve of the pandemic. However, I believe that libraries are an essential service and should be reopened to the public. Dine-in restaurants were able to seat customers in Step One of the reopening for the purpose of feeding people’s bodies. Is not the invaluable service that public libraries provide, in feeding people’s minds and hearts, just as important?
Libraries should be opened in Step Two of the path forward. Libraries have pre-established health measures, such as scheduled cleaning, disinfecting work stations after use, quarantining library materials, mask-wearing and social distancing protocol. Please allow us to provide the services that the citizens in our communities need.
Kait Davies,
David Knipe Memorial Library, Bawlf

Environmental plan

March 9, 2021

Kudos to chair Rob Hill and the Camrose Green Action Committee for their work in presenting the case for a Camrose Environmental Master Plan to City council at a recent meeting. I appreciate council’s decision to have City administrators review the feasibility of this proposal with the intention, I understand, to follow up shortly with the Green Action Committee.
If council gives this initiative the green light, as other municipalities have done, we can feel confident that our community will be more prepared for the inevitable changes arising from climate mitigation efforts.  The Environmental Master Plan would enable Camrose to build on existing environmental stewardship achievements and to be proactive in determining future priorities and actions not only for City operations, but for the healthy growth of our local economy.
I agree with Hill that community engagement needs to happen. If the public are invited to participate early on, if they are given meaningful ways to contribute to the development and ongoing work of the Environmental Master Plan, they are more likely be supportive of it in the long run. 
An Environmental Master Plan is the equivalent of saying we have our climate mitigation ducks in a row, which will work in our favour come time for project funding applications. The federal government is one source of such funding. Minister of environment and climate change, Jonathan Wilkinson, speaking at a recent town hall, outlined the updated, two-pronged federal approach to climate change–one being climate action and clean growth, the second being nature–based solutions addressing biodiversity and wildlife habitat loss. He made specific reference to restoration of wetlands and grasslands, as well as strategies to create new urban parks and ecological corridors that would enable nature and humans alike to thrive in shared spaces. I would suggest that both climate mitigation initiatives and nature-based projects be included in the Camrose Environmental Master Plan from the start.                 
June A. Osborne,
Camrose

Free country

March 2, 2021

 I still believe I live in a free country that allows me to think differently than others, to come to different conclusions or favour different strategies and outcomes.
As a consequence, I read Shauna Wilton’s recent column in “Second Thought” and was troubled by a number of characterizations that are consistent with current left leaning thought. In one sentence, she suggested Trump supporters were “white, rural, non-college educated and evangelical”. I would suggest the left means white=white supremacist, rural=hicks from the sticks, non-college educated=non intelligent or unsophisticated, and evangelical=well, those people whom Barack Obama characterized as “clinging to their guns and Bibles”. This is the central problem I have with those on the left, they have no respect for anyone who holds a different opinion than their current dogma.
In addition, suggestions of election interference or fraud have been “proven to be false”. Perhaps, we should all read the Time magazine article “The Secret Shadow Campaign that saved the 2020 election”. The article describes the “collaboration between Big Tech, the charitable sector, academia and the mainstream media which justified, from their perspective, the need to change the rules of the game in order to ensure that Trump was denied a second term. Just allowing people to vote under the old rules was too much of a risk to take.” In other words, rules allowing mail-in ballots were created to allow the possibility of voter fraud were passed.  Time magazine is not a pillar of conservative thought.
Finally, she characterizes the actual rioters, as “Qanon supporters, white supremacists and Christian fundamentalists”. I must admit ignorance of Qanon, I don’t know any white supremacists, but I do know a few people who are often described as Christian fundamentalist. Wikipedia (the modern-day fount of all knowledge) suggests that “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” are often used interchangeably. Wikipedia further suggests that the two terms are defined by a literal interpretation of the Bible. I am thus reminded of a line in a song by Mercy Me, “One Trick Pony”: “If I hear just one more time that I should be more open-minded, I think I just might scream. The world says this is all there is, Yet I believe (a literal interpretation) the One who says there’s life after this, Now tell me how much more open can my mind be?”
Greg Ryan,
Camrose

Snaring dogs

March 2, 2021

I feel compelled to respond to the article by Lori Larsen entitled, “Keep pets safe from traps”. Thank you, Lori and Lorne Rinkel, for the crash course on the trapping regulations and the benefits of this barbaric activity to Camrose County residents.
What this article has missed, in my view, is that those people who set out snares and traps also have an obligation to help protect innocent pets, such as farm dogs, from their sets. Currently, there is no legal requirement in the Trapping Regulations or in County bylaws that would require this activity to be publicly posted or that neighbors in proximity to these sets be provided notice of this activity.
My neighbor drops his dead cattle carcasses off one-half mile from my doorstep. He permitted an individual to set up coyote snares. One of my dogs got caught recently, and had to have her hind foot amputated. Fortunately, she was not killed by strangulation. Had I known about this activity, I would gone out to check as soon as she was missing from my yard. This problem could have been averted. Instead, it was 24 hours later, and only as a result of my relentless diligence, that I discovered there were snares set out, and I was able to get the name of the individual who owned the snare sets.  Strangulation and frostbite injured the foot beyond saving. One more night and she would have frozen to death.
The reality of rural living and having farm dogs is that they can and sometimes do wonder off their property. I have no intention of putting my three Great Pyrenees on leashes, nor am I going to fence off 11 acres of land into a dog prison. But I do feel that there are reasonable measures that can be implemented either through amending the Trapper Regulations or by the County placing their own requirements through bylaws that might help avert these occurrences. This is a no brainer, and I don’t understand why this isn’t a mandatory (legal) requirement for anyone setting out snares and traps. I encourage those who share my views to contact their local and provincial elected representatives for changes. Furthermore, it is my view that this is unneeded and an unwanted activity in populated areas and should be outlawed.
Gene Leskiw,
Camrose County

Speeding vehicles

March 2, 2021

This writer is in total agreement with Mr. Hutchinson.
We knew when we came here that it was a truck route. However, the pipe trucks are not the problem.
The gravel trucks, and the three-quarter and one-ton pickup trucks are another matter.
Really, the truck route should be from 46 Street east, and going west, a residential street to 53 Street, which also includes two playgrounds and a school.
We have wondered why the City has not brought their radar truck over here.
Jas. W. Canfield,
Camrose

Slow pace

March 2, 2021

On Feb. 19, Premier Jason Kenney claimed that Alberta’s vaccine (Phase 2) roll-out “continues to lead the country!” Minister Shandro immediately parroted Kenney’s claim, with Alberta’s rollout “being one of the best in the country!”
The Covid-19 update map, however, indicated that Alberta’s 2.15 per cent was seven out of Canada’s 11 provinces and territories). Only four provinces scored lower than Alberta. All the others scored  at 0.15 to 30.07 per cent in their vaccine roll-outs. This cannot by any means be misconstrued as Alberta leading, nor as being one of the best.
Why has no one in the media corrected this misinformation? And, why is no one “fact-checking” all of the premier’s public announcements?
Albertans deserve to know the truth.
M.R. Leithead,
 Bawlf