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

Voice opinions

October 6, 2020

Thank you to Sheidi deJong and Tina Kawalilak (Booster, Sept. 22) for presenting a contrasting view in the current COVID discussion, particularly in the wearing of masks. We are fortunate to live in a democracy where people can voice their opinions; we need to cherish and protect this privilege and treat others with respect.
Concerning the COVID epidemic, is the cure worse than the disease? How does it compare with heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, substance abuse, etc.?
How has COVID impacted education, tourism, the arts, athletics, businesses, employment, physical and mental health? Will we ever recover financially?
We have been told from the beginning: wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, stay home if you are sick. This is not original to this infection. It is standard procedure at any time. Let’s add to this: exercise and fresh air, a healthy diet, proper rest, social connections.
We do well to do our own research. The “experts” cannot know all the answers–they are human. Nor does their education guarantee a crystal ball. And if we disagree with them, then we need to speak up and act on our convictions.
Carolyn Olson,
Camrose

Rebuke facts

October 6, 2020

(Local government) Using the term “lawful freedoms” to try and evoke emotional fervour, while not really holding to the facts is a stretch. Did the Camrose City councillors say why they voted to not mandate face covering use at this time? I believe a reasonable position is that they consulted health services personnel and looked at the current situation in Camrose and made a ruling. Nothing to do with lawful freedoms.
(Local, provincial and federal government) As a veteran, I get testy with the term freedom being used as a stand-in for personal privilege. Any legally constituted legislative body is there to set limits on personal privilege. Making laws is by it’s very nature curbing freedoms. That’s how members of a society have decided to allow the compromising of freedoms to benefit the majority, while trying to not trample on individual freedom. Even the mandating of masks would not be trampling freedom. I would think that the mandate would allow for medical issues and if someone really needs something from a business, there are other methods of procurement/service that do not involve entering said business.
(National news agency and the WHO) General statements like “our CBC reports the same coronavirus news as China” leaves out what news and actually says more about the author of the letter than actual fact. A quick check on the internet confirms that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is indeed entitled to use the Dr. in front of his name (doctor of philosophy) and so I am unsure why the quoted use of fake is used when referring to him.
(Provincial government) Saying that the letter from SickKids doctors was “ignored” seems to say the author knows how the Ontario government treated the information. It is more likely that the information was taken into consideration. Using “dirty masks” and “extended periods” is just an attempt to conflate bad practice with good practice.
(National and international) Use of the terms plandemic, scamdemic and aborted baby tissue is an obfuscating fear tactic. Saying “check the sources,” while using sources like Friends of Science (not climate scientists) betrays a notable bias. Check what sources? Who goes after Antifa, climate change science, Justin Trudeau, communism and “the devil” in the same letter? The Liberal Party of Canada is not the Communist Party of Canada.
Kevin L. McManus,
Camrose

Proud achievements

September 29, 2020

I am writing a reply to the letter “Our Country” in the Sept. 8 edition of The Booster.
I will state that Canada has many proud achievements in its history.
Unfortunately, the treatment of racially diverse groups is not one of them.
The history of our country Canada that many of us were taught in school did not and still does not examine the adversities that many of these racial minority groups have experienced and are still facing as they strive to take their equal place in Canadian society.
To understand this part of our history, I suggest that my fellow citizens read the book They Call Me George by Cecil Foster, which is available at the Camrose Public Library.
Keith Elliott Sr.,
Camrose

Wearing masks

September 29, 2020

In the last Booster, letter writers went off against the need to wear masks. Usually misinformation and conspiracy theories are an attempt to simplify a complex issue with, at best, cherry picking of the facts to suit a belief or narrative or, at worse, the ramblings of a someone with profound paranoia or delusions.
Wearing a mask to protect your fellow citizens, your vulnerable family members and yourself is literally the least you can do. It’s a selfless act of concern for your neighbours. Recent WHO studies have again shown that mask wearing slows the spread of COVID-19. If you have any doubt, go ask your family doctor. This pseudo-libertarian ranting we hear now and again is just an individual’s selfish and self-centered  world view, one of entitlement and somewhat narcissistic.
Public health officials are educated and expert in ensuring that the spread of communicable diseases is kept in check. There is no conspiracy beyond keeping the public as healthy as possible, especially against a novel virus to which many are vulnerable. To try to make the link to communism, or the climate change bogeyman, or Antifa onto measures meant to protect the most vulnerable in our society, is obtuse in the extreme. Stop getting your news from Facebook, perhaps put your face in a real book. Whether it’s Covid or climate change or black lives matter or…pick your issue, I am so done with people deflecting their own inability to deal with the world and projecting their ignorance onto the trusted public institutions that have given us peace and security and health for many, many years. The more I hear these kinds of views expressed, the more I realize that there are indeed actors out there who mean to divide us. The only real response is to shed light on the lies and half-truths.  Peer reviewed science, not opinion, should rule the day. Even just use some common sense or critical thinking and the absurdity of these arguments just fall apart.
Tim Belec
Camrose

Health contract

September 29, 2020

Will our MLA/health minister explain to citizens the economic and social benefits of the UPC contract with Telus Health in March 2020?
UPC contract with Telus Health pays for physician virtual consult at a rate of $38 per consult.
The UPC contract with Alberta doctors virtual consult is $20 per consult. Who are these Telus physicians? Are they Canadian?
Is this one more UPC health scheme to Americanize our Canadian health care system?
Where is list from the Alberta government of all contracts with mega-corporations?
E. Wetheral,
Camrose

Bawlf history

September 22

Many thanks to those who worked on the new Bawlf and area history book, Today’s Memories, Tomorrow’s Treasures.
This updated version, following the publishing of We Came and We Stayed in 1980, is wonderful!.
The idea for a second book began with Ron Pederson and Kathleen Tennant. In the spring of 2017, they began to plan and gather together a committee to work on the project. The final result shows so much thought, effort and attention to detail.
I know a lot of hard work went into the collecting of all those family stories and memories.
I was personally pleased to see parts of the book dedicated to the early history of Bawlf and area, the farmers, businesspeople and all those whose efforts helped create a vibrant community.
Thanks to all who worked so hard on this project.
Lanis McClarty,
Camrose

AISH funding

September 22

I’ve just read about thoughts of further cuts to AISH. It actually made my stomach hurt. It hurts to become aware that most of my fellow Albertans apparently feel that, during economic hard times, it is preferable to take money away from the most profoundly vulnerable, by cutting AISH, rather than to take money away from the most financially blessed through perhaps a more progressive taxation system.
Most of us in Alberta grew up in an atmosphere of Christian charity. Whatever one’s religious persuasion, all would support charitable behaviour. Can we Albertans not do better than save money by cutting AISH?
Marvin Miniely,
Camrose

Wearing masks

September 22

I am writing this in hopes that the people of this community are made aware of the facts surrounding the wearing of masks and what protection they do and do not offer against the spread of infectious diseases.
I welcome anyone to check the facts I present for themselves by visiting the OHS website that defines mask use protocols for various situations.
Vented masks: these are designed for use in an environment that is contaminated. They filter the air you breath in and the exhale is not filtered on the way out, it passes directly through the vent port upon exhale. According to health officials, asymptomatic spread of the virus is not uncommon. These are therefore insufficient to contain the virus.
Non-vented surgical masks: these are designed for use in a sterile environment, to prevent contaminants from exhaled breath from entering the environment; they do not filter the air being inhaled. They work much like a vacuum bag, which allows air to pass through unfiltered one way, but not the other. This type of mask will not protect you from inhaling the virus from a contaminated environment. These masks also are required to be discarded after a period of 20 to 30 minutes as they are rendered useless by the accumulation of moisture and contaminants. That being said, if you think you may have the virus, you should be staying home. If you are wearing these in public to protect others in case you are asymptomatic, they must be changed regularly and discarded properly in a biohazardous waste control bin.
Cloth masks: Cloth masks do neither of these things and provide no help whatsoever. They become contaminated with many types of harmful molds and bacteria due to the moisture accumulation and frequent touching while donning and removing the mask. They are not sufficient to stop the inhale or the exhale of a microbe the size of COVID-19.
Taking these facts into account, making it mandatory to wear a mask in public and burdening the community with fines for non-compliance with arbitrary laws is the wrong thing to do. May our elected leaders lead with facts. And may we, the citizens of our community, educate ourselves with more sources than the mainstream news. In times like these, we need to be caring, support each other and stand together. Let us not allow this horrible situation to create more division among us.
Sheisi deJong,
Camrose

Canadian facts

September 22

A big thank you to our Camrose City councillors who voted in favour of our lawful freedoms–to choose ourselves whether we wear a face covering or not.
We live in Canada, yet our CBC reports the same coronavirus news as China or the UN using unscientific and “fake” doctor sources (Dr. Tedros Adhanom).
When the “real” doctors from Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital wrote a letter to the health ministers concerning the irreversible “social” damage of mask wearing for children who learn social skills through facial expression, it was ignored; not to mention the physical harm, for it is increasingly dangerous to wear a “dirty” mask, or even wearing one for prolonged periods of time can be fatal.
The real doctors say that neither “social distancing” (germs can be airborne for 20 feet) or “mask wearing” or a “vaccine” are a medical remedy, for there are too many different strands for a vaccine to be effective for everyone; maybe it’s like trying to get rid of the common cold, and the world seems to be making it worse with all their “fear” tactics.
This whole plandemic (Event 201) has made the rich richer–it is most likely a scamdemic (Bill Gates’ billion dollar vaccine, using aborted baby tissue); in all likelihood, it will give people the coronavirus.
It’s time for people to check the resources for themselves, and wake up to the truth of the spread of communism in all of its forms: through Antifa and climate change (see Friends of Science).
Canada does not want “Socialist Marxist Communism”, yet it seems Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing everything to destroy Canada into a communist dictatorship, like China (China Communist Party CCP), whom he admittedly admires.
I suppose our choice in this era is: Communism or Christianity? For 2,000 years, it has been Christianity or “Whatever Evil Work” the devil is able to infiltrate.
Tina Kawalilak,
Camrose County

Booster banter

September 15, 2020

Thank you very much for your Booster Banter. Very funny and uplifting. Especially at this time of a very adverse situation. Many people have been affected and your timely jokes are helping.
They have helped me immensely, as I lost my husband of 58 years on April 10.
For this time, I thought I would help out with some jokes that I have picked up through my extensive novel reading. Keep it up!
Sophie Maglione,
Killam
Editor’s note: Thank you for the positive letter and your appreciated submissions.

Canadian facts

September 15, 2020

I don’t agree with burning and looting, nor do I want to make any other political statement, but I do want to offer some facts.
Canada has developed a reputation as a friendly and welcoming place for other cultures, but Canada has its own history of slavery. In the 1600s, Canada had over 4,000 slaves, approximately two-thirds of whom were indigenous, while the other third were black. This was not new, because the First Nations had their own indigenous slaves well before Europeans settled here.  And, there was, as you say, an underground railroad carrying black slaves north from the US to Canada, but there was also an underground railroad taking slaves out of Canada to safety in the North Eastern states.
Canada had fewer slaves than the southern states for many reasons, including the fact that our climate and terrain does not lend itself to plantation-style farming, but we appear to have offered them the same range of treatment from kindness to brutality that they received south of the border.
We do have many things to be proud of as Canadians–but our behaviour during the days of slavery is probably not one of them. If you doubt this, feel free to read Policing Black Lives in Canada by Robyn Maynard.
Deanne Morrow,
Camrose

Safe community

September 15, 2020

Does Mr. Fournier of Sherwood Park really think that the Camrose community is not concerned or cares about COVID-19, or that we believe we are immune to the crisis? May we remind him that no one in our seniors’ homes has died of COVID-19–to the credit of the staff and residents of those homes who tolerated a lengthy lockdown and only recently admitted visitors.
Unlike the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton, our mayor has not mandated the use of masks in public indoor spaces, but many shoppers in Camrose are voluntarily wearing masks. I doubt that Mr. Fournier was shopping at 7:30 a.m. when many Camrose residents, wearing masks, choose to shop, spending as little time in the stores as possible. He probably did not attend a church service here either, where we are seated two metres apart, wear masks, are prohibited from singing, and enter and exit drenched in hand sanitizer.
At a time when all of us are feeling somewhat vulnerable, we could be adopting a more charitable attitude towards others, rather than criticizing one another.
Gail Schulte,
Camrose

Thanks, Camrose

September 15, 2020

For over a quarter of a century, our team of security professionals has been attending to Camrose every summer to help contribute to the success of the Big Valley Jamboree. We were commonly known as “the red coats” and were largely composed of active and retired law enforcement professionals. We started out in Craven, Saskatchewan, doing security consulting for a local country music festival there.  We were asked to become involved in the BVJ when it relocated to Camrose and have never regretted accepting this invitation.
I am sad to say that once BVJ resumes, our security team will likely not be involved any longer. After spending every August long weekend in Camrose since 1993, it’s finally time for a change. I will truly miss the many friends I have made during this time. Both the City and the people of Camrose are incredible.
The festival and its security requirements have changed considerably during the past 25 years.  However, what remained constant was the exceptional hospitality and assistance from the numerous individuals and businesses that we became reliant upon.   My gratitude towards you is endless.  To the countless people and businesses who assisted us, I truly want to offer my thanks.
I especially want to thank Camrose’s emergency service teams for their unbelievable professionalism, dedication and support. Having personally spent 40 years working with emergency service teams from across Canada, I can unequivocally state that your local police, fire and EMS professionals are among the best I’ve ever worked with. They are an incredible group of professionals and serve your community exceedingly well.
To the many emergency service professionals I have had the pleasure to meet and work with, I want to say thank you for your friendships and support. (Even though most of you were not Rider fans, I soon learned to overlook this character flaw.)
Camrose, good luck with continuing to host this world class event in your beautiful city. BVJ is known internationally as a leader in outdoor music festivals and you should all be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Tom Fulcher,
Regina, Saskatchewan

Fall sounds

September 15, 2020

The sounds of fall are coming all around us in our community here in Camrose. COVID-19 sure has changed how we as people carry out the activities in our lives. Churches, as well as other places, are limited when it comes to getting together. There is also fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to universities and public schools reopening this month. I do encourage everyone to wear a mask if you cannot keep six feet apart from people, wash your hands often, and make sure we all support our small businesses here in our fine city.  This is not a time to shop at the online stores like Amazon. So, please shop local and always keep safe as you go about your daily activities.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Concerns about Camrose County’s press release on Oil and Gas Assessment Model

September 15, 2020

I have concerns about the current Camrose County press release on oil and gas assessment. What concerns me is the tone and direction the County has positioned itself in with regards to the changes in assessments. Showing pictures of unplowed roads and road closures due to holes in them unless taxes go up is a very exaggerated example of an, at most, nine per cent budget cut. Why cut the most important services? Instead of trying to scare people into raising residential taxes, the county would better serve their constituents by using their time developing ways they are going to cut excesses and potentially downsize departments that are not vitally essential. Maintaining roads is most important, based on a survey conducted by the County.
Camrose County has increased taxes every year by two or three per cent on average since 2014, while our economy has been in a very bad recession. The County has also increased the number of employees during this time. In the private sector, many have lost their jobs and others have taken pay cuts. Shouldn’t Camrose County be able to cut back and not constantly raise taxes? What concerns me is that the size of government continues to grow, spends more money, and takes a higher percentage from the private sector. Simple math proves that this will lead to greater economic stagnation. By cutting some services, the private sector will grow to fill any void if the service was actually needed.
Alberta has been in recession since 2014 and our unemployment rate in July was at 13.7 per cent. The energy industry is a major economic driver in our province. When it struggles, everyone else feels it. The County has stated that oil and gas companies will not reinvest their money back into the communities if taxes are reduced. This statement is misleading for a number of reasons.
Many of these companies are losing money, some are now bankrupt and when companies shut down, it not only affects the local jobs that are lost, but all the other businesses that service and provide for that company and the workers…that affects the entire economy. It’s not like they are in any position to buy back their own stock. They are fighting to survive. When they thrive, our entire economy thrives. Would the County rather they disappear and get no taxes?
Alberta’s municipal assessments on energy companies are four or five times higher than Saskatchewan and British Columbia. This has been stated by the provincial government and they are mandating municipalities lower rates on energy companies to a more competitive level. Energy companies are to fix the roads that they damage and get no extra services from the County. Ember Resources paid around $1.4 million in County taxes in 2019 and run mainly a dry field, meaning there is very little truck traffic on the roads. So little that the average-sized farmer puts more large vehicle pressure on the roads than they do. How were the high taxes justified? Shouldn’t taxation represent something provided in return?
The County suggests companies will take the money elsewhere. In response to this, I would ask how does the County know this? Forcing high taxes on a company because the County thinks it is better at reallocating the company’s money discourages business growth. A company located in our County invests heavily through infrastructure, job creation and community facilities. How did Encana get its name on one of our ice arenas in Camrose…they donated a lot of money! Ember Resources also donates money to local fire departments. Our municipal, provincial and federal governments have done a really good job at encouraging energy companies to leave to greener pastures since 2014 (Encana moved its head office to the US). When the bad times came, governments milked companies too hard through taxation and regulation that they moved to other places out of necessity because it was becoming too hard to do business.
Let’s not forget that all government pensions are reliant on a strong economy. With the low interest rates, the only way pensions will be viable is if they invest in stocks, real estate, or the government bails them out with taxpayer money. Stable pensions cannot have a political environment that stifles business because the private sector is what funds them all. It concerns me when governments do things that hurt the very companies and economies that support their wages and pensions. The companies in government employees’ pension funds need to make profits to grow and pay dividends, which will hopefully provide them a stable retirement. I would highly suggest that the County stop raising taxes and cut spending. Being more in line with the economic realities in our province for the past seven years would be the responsible thing to do.
In my conversations with the County, I have been told that they are unable or unwilling to not raise residential taxes. How is it that businesses and households can cut spending, in many cases much more than nine per cent, and still get the most essential things done, but the County cannot, even though taxes have been raised every year throughout a recession?
Tyrel Herder,
Camrose County

Recent visit

September 8, 2020

On a recent visit to Camrose to visit my parents in one of the senior homes, I was shocked and dismayed at the apparent lack of concern and precaution to keep this pandemic at bay. At the home, they only recently allowed visitors, they were good taking temps and having visitors fill out questionnaires. Yet I go out into the community and no one seems to be concerned or care.
I was in Superstore, Home Hardware, Peavey Mart and Save-On, no one was wearing a mask or social distancing – neither staff nor customers. When I stated my concern to one staff member, I was told she had heard that Walmart was trying to, but they really were not enforcing it.
In Edmonton and Sherwood Park, there is a 95 per cent compliance rate. I don’t understand why the Camrose community believes they are immune to this crisis. In a community that has such a large portion of elderly residents, you could have so much to lose. I think about my parents’ caregivers out and about in this environment and it scares me.
It only takes one small match to start a wildfire and it might only take a cashier or clerk to start a COVID wildfire to race through your community. I will not be doing any more shopping on my trips into town anymore. Time to wake up, Camrose.
Dale Fournier,
Sherwood Park

Leadership race

September 8, 2020

Way back when I was filling out my mail-in Conservative leadership race, I just had received a friendly call from Erin O’Toole’s campaign office by this very friendly young lady.
She took the time to listen to my concerns for over 15 minutes. I was clueless who I should vote for, so I put Erin O’Toole for my first selection, thinking this underdog should at least get one vote.
I placed Peter MacKay as second, which at first was my first selection. After the vote, I was really impressed with who this guy really was. I had no idea that this man had a seat and he was in one of the ridings in Ontario where the party needs to win seats in.
I thought Peter MacKay still had a seat in Parliament. Now that I found out that O’Toole came first in Alberta, I am beginning to see why our Premier endorsed this candidate. It is a good sign when my friends who are NDP supporters tell me that they are not too pleased that this man won.  They want a leader whom their party could defeat in the next election. If there is a man who could lead a majority Conservative government, he is the one. Canadians go back to the voting booths in our next election, which will be held by the spring of 2023.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Our country

September 8, 2020

When traveling in the United States, you cannot find news or weather for Canada on US television. In Canada, half of the news and weather is American. I am Canadian, not American. Their problems are not my problems.
We did not have a civil war over slavery and had hundreds of slaves escape the US and come to Canada to be free people through the underground railroad. We accepted them here.
During the war between native Americans and the US Army, hundreds of native Americans escaped to Canada. We accepted them here.
During the Vietnam War, hundreds of Americans came to Canada as draft dodgers. We accepted them here. Americans want to destroy its history, riot, loot and burn cities–let them. Do not let this stupidity come to Canada. We are Canadians, not Americans.
Statues are part of our history. They are put up for the good things the person has done for the country. We cannot judge them for things that are not acceptable at this time today.
Show me a person who has not done something wrong in their lifetime and  learned it was wrong. This is called growth and history. No person is perfect.
There was a slave ship captain that dealt in the slave trade for years. One day, he realized slavery was wrong and the things he had done were wrong. He changed his life.
He was the one to write the song “Amazing Grace”. That is part of history. If you have no history, there is nothing to improve, correct or learn from.
You cannot change or hide history. To change the names of cities, towns, buildings, streets, etc., would be non-ending. Next we will be burning books. Destroying the pyramids, Roman Colosseum and anything else slaves built would never end. In the end, we will have no history and nothing to improve. We will be perfect.
Crime, theft and shooting are on the rise in Canada. There are people who want to defund police. Are you out of your mind? This is Canada, not the United States.
Glenn Dunn,
Camrose

Right decision

September 8, 2020

Thank you to City councillors who declined a raise at this time. It’s heartening when people in power show more concern for the community than their own reward.
But, as often happens, there is another side to this decision. As long as we pay councillors less than a living wage, people who can’t afford to do this as a sideline can’t afford to run.
I believe City councillors made this choice out of generosity, but we also need to pave the way for council to represent the broader Camrose population.
  Deanne Morrow,
Camrose