Rural crime

August 1, 2020

Where is MLA Lovely getting her information re “Combating rural crime...?” Certainly not from her constituents. Nor from the local RCMP Detachments. If, as claimed, she is relying on the information from the Minister/Solicitor General, Sweitzer, he too is not listening to Albertans, and is also misinforming others.
We have attended three meetings regarding the rampant rural crime in rural Alberta, where the overwhelming feedback (even from the RCMP) was consistently that Rural Alberta needs stringent enforcement of the current arrests, not as Lovely states “more boots on the ground.” Police officers are frustrated by the current “catch and release” policies. When a criminal is apprehended, s(he) is released within 24 hours, if the offender promises to show-up in court, even when still facing up to 26 offences.
Rural Alberta does not need more “boots on the ground,” or more money! We need judges who will hand-down stiff sentences, for first offences, with seriously enforced consequences…thereby preventing reoffenders. Otherwise, these professional crooks are caught and released, simply to reoffend, be caught, and released in a vicious cycle!.
It’s not “rocket science.” If this government truly wants to “target and reduce” rural crime, the incumbent rhetoric is useless. Rural Alberta needs meaningful action. Strictly enforced consequences would deter the current repeat crimes. The proposed (December 2019) funding model solutions are a total waste of tax dollars.
Moreover, that message was loud and clear at every rural crime meeting. We do not need “more boots on the ground.” We need arrests that have serious consequences, stiff and enforced sentences, that send the clear message that committing crime in rural Alberta does not pay.
Contrary to MLA Lovely’s stated misconceptions, and this government’s inaction, this is how this government can successfully “combat” crime in rural Alberta, how it can “best serve” rural Albertans and make “rural communities again feel safe.
I’m Baffled by MLA Lovely’s statements on Alberta’s rural crime.

M. R. Leithead,
Bawlf

Lakefront mowing

August 1, 2020

I would like to comment on the mowing that is taking place along the shore of the Valleyview West Pond. I am saddened to see that individuals have taken it upon themselves to mow right to the lake shore. The need for natural vegetation on the lake shore is only partly aesthetic. The grasses,  trees and native plants that grow along a lake act as natural buffers to catch run off that may contain sediments, weed sprays, commercial fertilizers or other pollutants from reaching the lake and eventually into our water system. Leaving lake shores in a natural environment will encourage a succession of native plants, shrubs and trees to evolve which will encourage nesting birds, beneficial insects and native wild life. A mowed landscape may look nice to some of us but will provide none of these benefits to either the lake or to our natural surroundings.
I would agree with councillor Throndson when he says the City needs to make it clear that mowing should not be happening next to the lake. I applaud the residents for keeping the area between the path and their properties clean and mowed. However the lake front is public property and as such should be left alone. We all enjoy the sounds of the song birds, the sight of broods of ducks and geese and the colorful wild flowers that add to a walk around Valley View West lake.  Mowing will destroy the habitat necessary to support these things.  Please leave the lake shore as natural habitat.
If residents feel the need to do something on the lake shore perhaps they could be encouraged to plant trees or shrubs and tend to those. In that way they would be enhancing the natural environment instead of destroying it.

Bill Sears,
Camrose

 Swan relocation

July 28, 2020

I am writing in response to the invitation extended by Neil Leeson to give my perspective on why the “swan relocation is justified and honourable.”  Yes, the swans were beautiful to see on our waterways – so iconic, so lovely. However, most people have not witnessed their behavior, year after year. I live on Duggan Pond, so I had  the opportunity to observe them in their habitat, which is not their true, organic habitat.  
Swans in their natural environment,  are not normally fiercely aggressive, but every summer we were horrified to see the swans viciously attacking and killing ducklings and goslings on our pond.  They were relentless, like an armada trolling every wild bird that visited or attempted to settle on the pond. Wild swans, pelicans, blue herons and lake birds were chased off by the swans. Even people had to be extremely careful that they, or their pets, were not attacked. Then, in the fall, when the adult geese practiced their flying formations to head south for the winter, it was heartbreaking to see the swans furiously flapping their clipped wings, but  failing to be airborne. Because these swans could not fly and therefore get out of harm’s way, they were often attacked and killed by coyotes. And then to confine them to a “swan house’ for the long winter is  certainly not in alignment with their basic instincts. It is no wonder that the swans’ behavior becomes erratic and contrary to their true nature. This procedure of clipping the swan’s wings to make them captive is neither humane nor honourable.
There was definitely a small  savings for the City to relocate the swans, but I believe it was done for the good of the swans.  We, located on Duggan Pond, are already seeing the effects of the swans departure–families of ducks and geese harmoniously raising their young with no fear from the regal predators; flocks of pelicans and a few new species of lake birds already arriving. I am convinced that our waterways will host a treasure of new and wondrous bird species, which will benefit all Camrose residents, guests and visitors with pride, notoriety and serenity. Naturally, as it was intended to be.
Judy McLean,
Camrose

Many thanks

July 28, 2020

I would like to send a big thank you to the city for allowing non-motorized watercraft on our beautiful Mirror Lake. I have been out numerous times kayak paddling and not to have to travel hours to enjoy some water time is wonderful.
I have also noticed that since the territorial swans are gone, more native waterfowl are starting to return.
Also thank you to the city for the bike pedestrian underpass; for those of us who travel by bike or foot with families it has made crossing 48th Avenue a lot safer.
Keep up the good work!
Carol Haugen,
Camrose

Deer concern

July 28, 2020

Without even mentioning how destructive deer can be. Without mentioning how hard it is to beautify your yard; Communities in Bloom and all. Without mentioning the expense of having a deer destroy or stunt plants. Let’s talk about the real danger involved with having wild animals living in our communities. They are wild, no matter how cute and doing what nature intended of them.
On Friday morning, July 17, I heard a sound that would alarm anyone. An animal, a dog no doubt, screaming in pain and fear. It’s not a sound you forget easy.
As it turns out, my neighbour took her little Dachshund out to do it’s business. Unfortunately a mother doe happened to be in the yard. She and her two fawns had been in the neighbourhood since she gave birth to them. Understandably, she was immediately on the defensive. And the little dog bore the brunt of it. The result, a $4,000 vet bill.
The city, although allowing these animals to breed and wander unchecked, they take no responsibility.  Not for people spending money trying to beautify their yards, and certainly not for a vet bill. I’ve often seen my neighbor’s seven-year-old daughter taking their dog out. She (daughter) weighs as much as a postage stamp. A panicked deer running over her would be like getting hit by a middle linebacker. Suddenly a vet bill seems secondary. Does the city have any responsibility for that, because the possibility is very real. If you invite an accident, I can guarantee, eventually one will accept the invitation.
This isn’t nature. Go out into the country and try to get close to mule deer. Good luck. The fact is the city has allowed them over the years to breed, give birth and raise generation after generation in a predator free zone. Why? The last time I checked, these animals aren’t on the endangered list. You’re not looking out your window and seeing a unicorn. It’s a deer. On a farm, by the time you are 10 years old, you’ve probably seen many. Here in town, they are as common as a crow.
If a another dog would have attacked my neighbour’s dog, there would almost certaintly be litigation and possibly the dog being put down. But it’s a deer. Nature. Right.
And the city gets to walk away without any responsibility. How about the responsibility of keeping your citizens safe?
Miles Degenstein,
Camrose

Swans gone

July 21, 2020

RE: Duggan Park Lake and Mirror Lake Wildlife.
I’ve been asked repeatedly where swans, geese and ducks have disappeared to this year. To my knowledge, our four iconic swans were relocated to British Columbia to avoid maintenance costs. The absence of geese and ducks remains a mystery (shipped out too?).
Should we applaud the courage of administrators for eliminating Camrose’s decades-long swan legacy to ease spending burdens? Given expenditures of more than $1,500,000 to add a bike/pedestrian underpass (tunnel) during the recent 48th Street Bridge construction, budget prioritizing seems a special skill.
Our swans didn’t speak up…so I will.
Last summer, I monitored tunnel traffic over a few days while reading on a nearby park bench. Results were: users=zero. Now we know this observation is not scientific and will challenge readers who claim to use the tunnel. Great. Let’s collect a list to allocate user pay tolls to recover what us other taxpayers have shelled out on their behalf; i.e. never before have so many paid so much for so few. Sorry, Sir Winston Churchill, just had to borrow context of your historic 1940 Battle of Britain manifesto. It so fits.
Could City council still do the right thing and return our iconic swans? If accomplished, I will be the first supporter to donate $1,000 to the Camrose Save Our Swans Fund. Talk can be cheap…except when documented. If there are two sides to every story, perhaps we can hear from those convinced our swan relocation is justified and honourable.
The tunnel may be eventually blocked up for misuse, much as was a similar one in Calgary at Macleod and Glenmore Trail intersection in December 2018 at great public cost. Feel free to Google verify. As you see, tunnels come and go, but the presence of our swans was priceless. More so now, with COVID-19 woes. They benefited all Camrose residents, guests and visitors with pride, notoriety and serenity, and we gave it all away. Pity.
Neil Leeson,
Camrose

Not educating

July 21, 2020

I would like to thank Don Hutchinson, Dr. Charley Boyd and Lynn Clark for their insightful letters in the July 14th Camrose Booster, addressing the article by Jackie Lovely in the July 7th edition.
I was very concerned by Lovely’s article and her justification for not educating Albertans. Education is so important, especially during times of economic hardships. I feel passionately that the Augustana Campus has added so much to our community; if you agree please let your MLA know.
Carol Haugen,
Camrose

Your government

July 21, 2020

I again need to ask if the 1,000,040 voters who supported the UCP’s coming to power are getting the Alberta they want.
The recent move by our health minister, increasing the conflict with Alberta doctors, seems to be another UCP step in the escalating destruction of our publicly funded health care system. It seems clear that bringing about the downfall of the health care system will pave the way for movement to establish ultimately a complete private, for profit, health care system like the one that exists south of the border. This is consistent with the actions on the parks services, education funding for secondary and post-secondary programs in the province and a host of other publicly funded individual and family support services.
The actions of the UCP in cutting funding for every department of government over the past year and a half are based in a commitment to a particular set of priorities, which have as their goal, cutting taxes or holding them at present levels regardless of what the needs really are. It is a commitment, firstly to a particular set of economic strategies. It is not a commitment, firstly to the welfare of the people.
The UCP actions are based on a belief that private for profit funded services are better than government not for profit funded services. If the majority of Alberta’s voters agree with that way of life, then we are getting what the majority wants.
The UCP believes that they are doing what you wanted them to do when you elected them. If you do not want the program cuts which have evolved from the priorities of the present UCP government and/or you do not want increasing private for profit services, then you need to let your MLA and premier know that.
Marvin Miniely,
Camrose

MacKinnon Panel

July 14, 2020

Why do I get nervous when an MLA states…”I want to present you with the facts?”
Ms. Lovely’s referral to the simplistic “bean counter” analyses and conclusions put forth by the MacKinnon Panel fail to recognize and understand the accrued history, including mistakes, of the last 30 years of postsecondary education and training in Alberta.
Politicos are notorious for cherry picking data to support ideologue driven, preconceived conclusions. The comparative, interprovincial definitions of students, expenditures, operating and capital grants in your assertions are so wide and cavalier, can we be certain you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges?
Your assertions are very disingenuous, especially in light of the UCP’s contention they purport to prioritize education and training to promote growth of the economy. Recent drastic cuts in science, technology and trades programs have the direct effect of undermining Alberta’s economic development; unexplainedly, colleges with religious affiliations received no cuts to their operating grants. Help me understand how graduates of religious programs will facilitate the wealth generating sectors of our economy.
The “super analysis” also fails to “fess up” that, historically, Alberta’s post secondary institutions are substantively overbuilt. It was a costly and shortsighted decision to award degree granting status to polytechnics like NAIT and SAIT and to community colleges like Mount Royal and Grant MacEwan. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is difficult to put her back in.
European institutions typically encompass a two plus two model that facilitate two-year college graduates’ ability to take advantage of flexible articulation agreements with degree granting institutions and places of employment. The college graduates “top up” natural attrition from the first two years of university study and while earning a degree in the process; it provides a fiscally responsible “win-win” situation for students, colleges and universities.
At a macro level, Ontario has 24 colleges and 21 universities serving a population of 14.6 million. By comparison, Alberta has 14 colleges and 11 universities serving 4.4 million. Comparatively, each institution in Alberta serves 175,000 population approximately while each institution in Ontario serves approximately 325,000; double the efficiency of Alberta.
Ms. Lovely…it is timely to support the rationalization of Alberta’s postsecondary offerings based upon consultation and listening to all stakeholders, and consider rescinding the funding of religious colleges to provide more support for business and industry training.

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Not addressed

July 14, 2020

Jackie Lovely’s letter regarding “Budget to be balanced in future” on July 7 has done nothing to address cuts at Augustana Campus. MLA Lovely should be explaining to us, as Camrose constituents, what she is doing to help return the physiotherapy or nursing programs to our campus. We need her to stand up for our concerns, not educate us on why we should be quiet.
As we have seen before, apparently our concerns are misplaced and require a lecture on the cost of Alberta’s universities. We live here, we understand the economic challenges currently, and we have concerns with UCP decisions in spite of this evidence. Investment in rural-based post secondary education is an investment in rural economies. Clearly, MLA Lovely does not know Camrose. She does not know Augustana. She does not know that we have recruited back many graduates of Augustana who now work in our area as veterinarians, nurses, physicians, small business owners, engineers, OTs, PTs, SLPs and more.
Augustana is an unparalleled university community built on diversity of academic programs, culture, and sport. The UCP needs to shift to measurement metrics that matter. Sweeping statements such as “our schools have below-average completion rates” pale in comparison to retention of a university educated workforce choosing careers in rural Alberta. Some of us, like myself, didn’t graduate from Augustana because we were accepted into professional programs early, went on to complete further education, and returned as trained professionals.
If a (rural) Alberta Advantage is truly part of the UCP plan, they must start looking beyond solely balancing a budget. These massive cuts to Augustana are yet another example of  a devastating loss to both rural healthcare and the broader vitality of our rural communities. Join me in speaking out against these changes and write to our MLA.

Dr. Charley Boyd,
Camrose

Augustana's Future

July 14, 2020

I’d like to add my thoughts to the current community discussion concerning Augustana Campus and in particular Jackie Lovely’s presentation of “the facts” in her column appearing in the July 7 edition of The Camrose Booster.
She cites several statistics that show per student spending in Alberta universities is considerably higher than in other provinces. As with many statistics, context is important.
For example, in 2017 (the most recent year I was able to locate statistics) median household incomes were $99,700 in Ontario, $94,200 in British Columbia and $78,300 in Quebec. The comparable median household income in Alberta for that same year was $113,700 which is 14 per cent higher than Ontario, 20 per cent higher than British Columbia and 45 per cent higher than Quebec.
A university takes many people to run. It stands to reason that to attract the brightest minds to provide direction, teach in, and administer our universities that we need to pay wages that are competitive with those that are being paid in the private sector, which if median household incomes are an indication, are significantly higher in Alberta than the rest of Canada.
Ms. Lovely points out that the administration costs for our universities are especially high per student compared to other provinces. I don’t want to dismiss her comment, as the discrepancy is significant. However, when per student spending is taken as a whole, and considering the different provincial median household incomes (and hence expected wages), the differences are much less severe.
Do I think we should continue operating our universities with the status quo? Of course not. We should always be looking at ways we can deliver our programs more efficiently.
In her column, Ms. Lovely states “Ensuring access to high-quality adult learning opportunities for all Albertans is a key priority for the Alberta government. Our rural institutions are incredibly important to the overall fabric of our post-secondary system.” What’s missing from this statement is the unequivocal assurance from the Alberta government that the Augustana Campus will continue to be a part of this “key priority.”
Augustana and other rural post-secondary institutions are absolutely vital to the well-being and overall diversity of the communities they serve. I would add that in a time of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it has brought to our energy sector, our investment in rural post-secondary institutions such as Augustana is also a vital contributor to the economic diversity.

Don Hutchinson,
Camrose

Parks delisting

June 30, 2020

It was with some concern I read Jackie Lovely’s column titled, “Parks are not for sale”. For several weeks, I have tried contacting the MLA about my concerns about the closure of 20 Alberta parks and the de-listing of 164 parks across the province. I have yet to hear back from the MLA about my concerns.
The de-listing of parks means the parks will have their protected status removed. No longer will these gems, which belong to all Albertans, be protected from logging, mining, oil and gas development, or cultivation.
A recent study showed 70 per cent of Albertans, across all the province and political affiliation, were opposed to the government closing and de-listing these parks. Many families have precious memories of camping together with friends and families at these parks. Each year, thousands of visitors come to Alberta to experience the wilderness accessible from these parks.
The parks earmarked for closure seem to be chosen by throwing a dart at a map. There was no public consultation on the closure of these parks and no data is available on how the decisions were made to de-list these parks. I have asked for the consultation documents and none are available.
Albertans want to spend more time in the parks that belong to all Albertans. Closing provincial parks puts pressure on the national parks in the province and the nearby parks in British Columbia.
The closure of these parks is contrary to Travel Alberta’s long-term strategy of having a diversity of parks. Eliminating 40 per cent of the parks is not a good strategy to attract visitors and their dollars to our province. The outdoors is one of Alberta’s biggest draws.
It is not too late to phone the MLA, the minister of environment, or the premier to voice your opposition to the de-listing of parks and ensuring they retain their important park status.

Mary MacArthur,
Camrose

Curbside delivery

June 30, 2020

Thank you to the Camrose Public Library for being available Monday and Tuesday, 4 to 6 p.m., and Wednesday to Friday, 1 to 6 p.m., for someone to phone in for book titles wanted by “curbside” delivery.

Elizabeth Bagdan,
Camrose

Red tape

June 30, 2020

I was interested to read the article in the June 16 Booster “Cutting red tape ...economy.” The article presented the government side of the issue. It sounds good to cut red tape, and everyone wants more efficiency, but there are two sides to this issue. I’ll try to present another side. Cutting red tape simply means to remove or reduce government regulations. People should pay attention to this. Australia has strict government regulations that are strictly enforced for seniors’ nursing homes and, during this pandemic, 29 seniors have died in Australian nursing homes.  In Canada, we have weak regulations for nursing homes that are rarely enforced and we have had over 6,000 dead.
We don’t like the fact that around the world Alberta has a reputation for producing “dirty oil.” Mr. Kenney claims we have the highest environmental standards, but the truth is that our oil industry has weak government regulations that are weakly enforced. As a result in Norway, extracting a barrel of oil produces nine kg of CO2, but according to the global business information organization IHS Markit, in our oil sands,, getting a barrel of oil produces between 39 and 127 kg of CO2. The rest of the world knows this and knows that the Alberta government has recently further reduced the requirements for oil companies to do environmental monitoring. Our weak government regulations are bad for Alberta’s worldwide reputation and our economy has suffered as global investment firms have been abandoning our oil sector.
The stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent depression and the great recession of 2008, both happened after the US government reduced regulations on the financial sector, allowing unscrupulous individuals to play fast and loose with the system.
It should be worrying that at a press conference, the associate minister for red tape reduction Grant Hunter didn’t seem to know how the government’s cutting red tape would affect the oil sands, the environment or energy efficiency. We should be concerned about reducing government regulations. The truth is that our already weak government regulations have put our seniors’ lives at risk, harmed Alberta’s reputation and damaged our economy. We should all be asking for the real reason the government wants to reduce regulations even more.

Rob Hill,
Camrose

No parks

June 30, 2020

Is it just me, or are other readers infuriated by Jackie Lovely’s column in the June 16 Booster. I don’t know where to begin.
“The NDP anger machine.”  Aw, c’mon.  What’s that? “Misinformation?” Ms. Lovely may be forgetting that it was Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon’s own press release that ignited Albertans’ anger when he said, “Sites removed from the parks system allow a greater range of uses… Successful sale or transfer to a third party will enable these sites to continue to be part of the community …”  https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/corbella-alberta-parks-are-not-for-sale-not-one-centimeter/, but the Alberta Parks website appears to have been revised after the Calgary Herald article was published.
So let me get this straight (even though Ms. Lovely said it–annoyingly–three times): Alberta Parks are not for sale.  “Technically,” right. But they could be transferred out of the parks system and then eventually sold.  Right?
The egregious (and, I suspect, unique) examples of misspending (helicoptering firewood, six-hour staff drives) can certainly be dealt with without closing the parks. Ms Lovely cites these as actions “done by the previous government”–does she really believe that, literally–and that were “a huge mismanagement of public money”–reminds me of the old adage about the pot and the kettle (please read my next paragraph).
What really bugs me in all this is that supposedly the parks are being closed in order for the government to save money: The amount of $5 million has been bandied about. I don’t want to trivialize $5 million, but it’s a pittance compared to the $4.7 billion that the UCP government has given to big corporations. (Do the math: this is like giving away one dollar and then finding a way to save one-tenth of a cent).
I need to stop. I fear my blood pressure is reaching dangerous levels. If I were fortunate enough to live in rural Alberta, perhaps I could video-conference my doctor to find out for sure.

John Olson,
Camrose

Southern riots

June 23, 2020

The riots down in the United States over the past few weeks seem to be very disturbing to many people here in our province, as well as here in this city. This seems to be similar to the riots which happened in the 1960s when black people were killed by a white police officer(s).
As I study the past when it came to black people being killed in an unjust manner, the stories seem to be repeated.  I sure hope and pray that this time, governments from all over the globe will finally get this right.
If this behaviour of many kinds of people regardless of colour does not change and become more acceptable and tolerant of every colour and race, these riots will, in years to come, continue on and on until someday the lessons, which should have been learned, will finally be put into practice by everyone here in this world.
I do see racism in our community, and when I do, I always politely put a stop to the person’s comments by asking them why they feel this type of behaviour is acceptable. We all have a part to play in making our communities safe for all to live and work in.

Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

Questioning Attitude

June 23, 2020

The past 11 weeks of “Sometimes Laughter is the Only Medicine” has obviously been a much-welcomed emotional lift to many of us, and for that I sincerely thank The Booster team for their efforts, ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Changing downs to ups and inspiring life. How precious is that?
The June 2 issue offered me another welcomed “lift”…relief to discover the Battle River-Crowfoot Member of Parliament’s column was absent. It is a column I usually choose not to read because of the ensuing frustration it causes by excessive negativity and criticism expressed within. It contains only minor differences of words, phrases and tactics presented by the former MP and minister of state. Sheer (no pun intended) monotony swathed in a tangible degree of boastfulness.
The expressed dissatisfaction so many Canadians have had, are having, and always will have for the CPC and the Liberal parties is puzzling idiocy. Canadian political history is wrought with these parties and their continuing power trade-offs. Hence, little if any effective progress...when defined as democracy. Aside from dictionaries, democracy continues its descent. Canadians, and especially Albertans, enduring the present delusional and psychologically predisposed provincial government, surely have the mental wherewithal to recognize that! Ask yourself.
I implore you to shed your “herd fear” of change, delve beneath headlines, obliterate FB, recognize what Canadian democracy entails, what it should mean to you, awake your slumbering grey matter, bolster your courage and risk it.
You and only you can change that which is cause for your concerns, complaints and disappointment. There are choices, so take a serious look and decide on changes which will alleviate your disgruntled minds. We are citizens of Canada and we count. Only citizens of this nation can determine necessary change.
Canadians “got what they got” because few cared enough to search beyond the talk. Politicians, for the most part, are chameleons…lizards that change colour according to circumstances. Wake up! The human brain is an amazingly complex mass of nervous tissue meant for creative thinking, not the complacent stagnating sludge of numbness, which is evidently fast-forwarding into another evil to society. While we endure this present and very different style of living, it presents an opportunity for engagement of in depth thought, communication, positive expression, and a good measure of firm diplomacy. Cut the complaints and make a statement for life. It is your life. Just do it.

Lennie McKim,
Beaver County

More Votes

June 23, 2020

Further to Rob Hill’s thought-provoking letter, isn’t it timely for the politicians who posture to garner votes by blind support for the gun lobby to take a deep breath, understand their job and reconsider their rhetoric?
The Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee consists of 10 members whose membership includes law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women’s groups, civilian firearms users, gun control advocates and members of the legal community. They, along with the RCMP, make recommendations to the government regarding classification of firearms. Interestingly, in 2015, Public Safety Minister Blaney in the Harper government, overruled all RCMP recommendations about prohibiting select Czech, Swiss and other assault rifles. A responsible government acts upon the advice provided by non-partisan committee recommendations.
In spite of the gun lobby’s assertions, assault rifles are not hunting rifles, folks! I have hunted big game for more than 60 years, I do not know of any “sportsman” who would hunt big game with an assault-style rifle of 5.56x45 mm caliber; these rifles are not legal for big game in most provinces; whereas, a standard hunting rifle designed for big game hunting is far more accurate at long range and is more humane.
Imagine if, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the mentally ill shooter on Parliament Hill, had been armed with one of these assault rifles rather than an antique 30:30 deer rifle he carried, what carnage might have ensued?
Of equal importance, consider the warnings of the RCMP whose members face the likelihood of encountering a potentially mentally ill/criminal/gang member armed with an assault-style rifle. Also, let us not forget that, due to budget cuts in 2012, RCMP members did not get the carbines/body armour and training as recommended by the Mayerthorpe tragedy. The result was that the three Mounties killed in Moncton were not able to adequately defend themselves. Gun enthusiasts, quite correctly, will argue that legally, the magazines of these rapid-fire semi-automatic assault-style rifles are limited to five rounds but…anyone can go online and buy a 30/5 “pinned,” legal clip that is easily converted to an illegal 30-round clip.
Prohibition of these assault style rifles in other countries has proven successful to reduce shootings when augmented with stiff penalties for gun crimes (long jail sentences and deportations). Simple possession of a prohibited firearm would be a major crime with severe consequences and a huge deterrent.

Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Health care

June 9, 2020

As you see from the news, long-term care is suffering. Therefore, I am donating the $300 senior cheque I am getting from the government toward local long-term care, in my case to The Bethany Group, as I feel they need it more than I (I think they have had an increasing shortfall). And I encourage you to do likewise, especially if you know a resident there, are a resident yourself, think you may become a resident in the future or work for Bethany. You’ll even be able to get a charitable donation receipt.
Elizabeth Bagdan,
Camrose

Your government

June 9, 2020

This is a letter to those who voted for the UCP. I must ask, “Did you know what you were doing?”
I assume you didn’t, because none of us knew what they were going to do. They didn’t tell us.
We have learned that there will be more crazy cuts to the services we expected to receive from our government. We came to expect that our taxes would support services that we, as a caring society needed. Yes, oil prices declined, and we had no control over that, but as the least taxed and least indebted province in Canada, surely if more money was needed to replace our lost oil revenues, which, by the way were the lowest royalties in the industrialized world, we could have imposed a low sales tax. But we didn’t.
Without asking Albertans, the UCP went crazy gutting education, healthcare, and support for those most needy. The latest cuts, made somewhere in the inner circle of the UCP, and without notice to even their own MLAs, for I am told our own MLA claims she wasn’t aware of them, include cutting laundry costs for extended care residents, cutting off Blue Cross for underage spouses; personal response systems cut down to $20 a month, with no installation costs covered and it goes on.
Why are we cutting aid to those least able to look after themselves? In budgetary terms, it is a pittance, while we fund great increases in expenses and wages for political employees? This is “institutional elder abuse”.
Healthcare and educational cuts are far more than anything the UCP said they were going to do.  Is this what you want your seniors and youth to suffer through?
Of course, we are going through difficult times, and it will probably get worse. But a civilized society should be looking after it’s least able citizens. We have three years more of this government. In that time, they can do incredible damage. Let them know you do not support this course of action.
Now is the time to look after each other. Think about what we have unleashed and stop it. You might remind your MLA that she is here to represent and support her constituents. I see little evidence of that.
    Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Our debt

June 9, 2020

Recently The Booster published a letter to the editor where I mentioned Modern Monetary Theory, and, in the same edition, Ron Pilger wrote about government spending. Views are changing about government debt, so I’d like to offer a few thoughts.
Many of us, particularly the older you are, still believe in the Protestant work ethic of work, discipline and frugality. These people believe that we have to pay for what we have, but these are not the values of our current governments. Governments give away money they don’t have in order to stay in power. So the work-ethic belief that there will be some future reckoning and that all this money will have to be paid back will not happen. Japan has been running endless deficits since the 1970s. Today’s government debts will never be paid back.  COVID has added another wrinkle in that deficits are now orders of magnitude greater than before. If we couldn’t pay the debts we already have, we certainly won’t pay the COVID costs going forward. Forget it.
With debts, the problems for the borrower start when the lender says, “I want my money back.” If the lender never says that, then there never is a problem. So the central banks buy bonds issued by the governments and they consider those bonds as assets and all is well. There is no limit to the number of bonds a central bank can “buy” by printing money.  Some central banks are now even buying corporate stocks and bonds with printed money.
So as long as central banks never ask for their money back and we print the money without creating runaway inflation, things can go on for a very long time. However, there is a new concern that the shear magnitude of the increase in spending and the shutting down of economies as a result of COVID might produce a tipping point.  We may have unleashed a financial pandemic of dying jobs that will dwarf the social impact of COVID. But for now, we will put aside the needed sacrifices of a work ethic and we will demand, with our voices and our votes, that governments simply give us what we want and we don’t care in the slightest how it’s paid for. Work, discipline and frugality…who needs that?
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

No fly-in

June 2, 2020

We are now more open in the community for socializing. I agree with one exception.
To the four young men who came down our street this morning (Sunday at 1 a.m. followed by two women, thanks for leaving an empty beer box in the middle of the street and throwing an egg at our house before running away. You also left a broken egg on the street.
You were not social distancing either. Especially in this pandemic, we are to be kind and considerate to others–help them instead of bringing them stress.
You are better than this. Man up. When you sober up, please return and apologize. We’ll be expecting you.
M. R. Broen,
 Camrose

Mean machines

June 2, 2020

Accidents can happen in a split second. When I was two years old, I ran into the path of a riding lawn mower and lost my right leg below the knee.
I grew up in the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP) and I help pass on the association’s Playsafe message. With lawn cutting season here, I want everyone to know that kids should not ride, operate or play near lawn mowers.
I accept who I am today, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I hope that by sharing my story, it will prevent even just one child from being injured. Lawn mowers are tools, not toys.
The War Amps video, Lawn Mowers Are Mean Machines, focuses on the dangers of lawn mowers and is a valuable resource for families and educators. Take some time to watch the video at waramps.ca/playsafe.
Adam Kingsmill,
Smithers, BC

Booster flyers

June 2, 2020

I too am frustrated that some businesses are choosing not to have the printed flyers delivered with The Camrose Booster.
For more than 50 years, I have planned meals using the weekly specials printed in the grocery flyers. Now some stores don’t have any print advertising or have reduced it substantially. Thus their places of business will not get any of my patronage.
Bev Maertens-Poole,
Camrose

No flyers

May 26, 2020

I am reaching out to you as per your notice on Page 2 of the May 19th Camrose Booster pertaining to pre-printed flyers. I agree with Reta LeGear from Forestburg that businesses that have discontinued printed weekly flyers will lose a lot of their customers. A lot of people I talk to do their weekly shopping from the flyers, me being one of them. I will now be exclusively doing my grocery shopping at stores which are willing to deliver printed flyers. I know people at Deer Meadows miss the flyers.
Rose Cottingham,
Camrose

Gun ban

Gun ban
May 26, 2020

I take issue with The Booster’s coverage of the recent federal government gun ban. In the May 12 issue, three articles dealt with the gun ban and not one even mentioned the most important issue. That is that the guns that have been banned are not designed for hunting or for a farmer to protect his/her stock. These guns are designed specifically for one purpose–to kill people. As such, most Canadians feel they should not be owned by civilians.  That is why 80 per cent of Canadians support this ban. That should be the end of the discussion. Yes, we have to find a way to stop these guns coming in from the United States. Let’s have that discussion, but keep in mind, it makes no sense to stop these guns coming from the United States if they can be bought and sold freely in Canada, so they must be banned here first. Yes, we have to do a better job of keeping mentally unstable people and criminals from getting guns. Let’s also have that discussion.
In a letter to the editor, the writer says he follows the law. That’s good. And then he says he is being punished. No one is punished for following the law. When I stop at a red light, I’m following the law. I’m not being punished. In the article, Prime Minister Trudeau…ammunition, Vaughn Stroud is quoted as saying that, “Canada has the strictest gun laws already.” Clearly Mr. Stroud knows very little about gun laws around the world. Our MP Damien Kurek sends his thoughts and prayers out to the victims in Nova Scotia. Fine, but his thoughts and prayers are not bringing anyone back to life or preventing such a tragedy from happening again. And Mr. Kurek expresses his outrage with the Trudeau government as if he thinks that will accomplish anything. No, as our MP, Mr. Kurek has a responsibility to show some leadership. Rather than expressing outrage, he should tell us what he would do to stop gun violence in Canada. All the articles feel Trudeau is being political. What a surprise, a politician being political, as Mr. Kurek is. Before the recent election, Trudeau promised to tighten gun laws. When a politician does what he pledged to do before the election and 80 per cent of Canadians agree with him, I’d say we are in pretty good shape.
Rob Hill,
Camrose

Provincial parks

May 26, 2020

On March 3, the Alberta Government announced the permanent closure of 11 provincial parks, the removal of services from another nine parks, and a further 164 will be removed from the park system altogether, offered up in partnership to municipal, non-profit or private interests. Parks sites without a partnership arrangement will, in effect, be ‘orphaned’, very likely sold off and lost to the protection of our public parks system. That is 184 sites in total, approximately 40,000 acres of wilderness and native habitat will be impacted (Optimizing Alberta’s Parks).
The government projects a savings of $5 million with these actions. Show me the data that supports this. The costs alone of monitoring the adherence to regulations, particularly concerning the environment, of a smorgasbord of partnered sites surely cannot be done cheaper than through the existing public parks system?
Apparently Albertans have expressed their disapproval of this decision by the thousands, but to no avail. The government’s justification is that the parks in question are underutilized and basically not pulling their weight. They need to be ‘optimized’. Does this mean heavier recreational use, opening up to for-profit enterprises or possible resource extraction? How can this end well for the land itself, the native and rare plant species and the wildlife, already in many areas having been relegated to the margins of Alberta’s prairie landscape.
We can look to grassland songbirds as an example of this, for their numbers are down by 87 per cent since first recorded in 1970 (Birds Canada Study 2019). Loss of safe habitat is named as a major reason. The Canadian prairies, the only biome in this country to have been declared endangered (Hohhot Declaration 2008), is home to 60 per cent of our country’s endangered species. The loss of publicly owned parks is a further threat to Alberta’s wild areas, biodiversity and wildlife habitat.
This decision has been devastating to many Albertans, including myself. And as we live with the daily impact of COVID-19, we know more than ever, that time spent in nature is absolutely essential for us, body and soul. It is a gift of great price given freely. In appreciation of that and also for the work of the people who created and cared for these special areas over generations, I hope you will join me in asking our government to keep these parks opened, serviced and within the public system.
June A. Osborne,
 Camrose

No flyers
May 26, 2020

I am reaching out to you as per your notice on Page 2 of the May 19th Camrose Booster pertaining to pre-printed flyers. I agree with Reta LeGear from Forestburg that businesses that have discontinued printed weekly flyers will lose a lot of their customers. A lot of people I talk to do their weekly shopping from the flyers, me being one of them. I will now be exclusively doing my grocery shopping at stores which are willing to deliver printed flyers. I know people at Deer Meadows miss the flyers.
Rose Cottingham,
Camrose

Troubled times
May 26, 2020

These past few months have not been easy for all of us here in this city. The COVID-19 scare has crippled every business. It is good to see that some of these businesses are slowly getting back to normal. There will be soon a vaccine for this awful disease. There are people here in this country who refuse to get any vaccines, since they feel that these are not healthy as one would think that they would be. If a vaccine is found for the COVID-19 here in Canada, will this vaccine be mandated to be taken by everybody here in Canada? 
I sure do hope that this scare will soon be over.  This experience is surely driving me up the wall.  However, I am grateful for the lessons which I have learned by going through this experience.  I am more grateful for the people who live around me more than ever. I would be so happy to have my life back to normal.
Lorne Vanderwoude,
Camrose

 

New path

May 19, 2020

Going forward we need to be happy with what we have.  COVID-19 may be the tipping point, but with the current culture of consultation and consensus, we had already started down the path of not building new things, except wildly expensive houses in Toronto and Vancouver. What that means is there will be no new pipelines or oil sands plants, but there will also be no new wind generators, electric cars and wildly expensive houses. I don’t have the numbers, but I’d guess that our economy today meets our Paris climate targets, so environmentalists should be happy with this. The threat of COVID-like epidemics in the future will foreshadow more shutdowns and will demand an economy that focuses on immediate healthcare and welfare and not future growth.
That’s not necessarily bad because we will largely be giving up discretionary things like frequent dining out, RVs, second homes and travel. If we accept that, how much are we really going to suffer? Now this recession/depression has mainly hurt low-income service workers and that is unfortunate. It may take years for those jobs to return, if they ever do.  What will probably happen is that some form of guaranteed annual wage will help those people to get by.
So how are we going to pay for all this? There is an economic view called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that says government deficits don’t matter. Simply stated, central banks print money, which they use to buy government bonds. The governments get to spend the money and the central banks are happy because they consider the government bonds as assets that match their money printing. Again to keep it simple, governments can run deficits (and they’re huge now) and carry on. So there’s the money for health care and welfare.
So there it is–the wealthy have to be content with what they have and the poor will get living wages and that’s all sustainable. There’s an investment market saying about the “have nots and have yachts” and we will need to modify that to the “have-enoughs and who needs a yacht?” Put another way, there’s a Swedish word “lagom” and it translates to “enough is best”. If we all bear that in mind, then this will work.
Tony Hladun,
Camrose

Another scam

May 19, 2020

Please let your readers know of the following Facebook scam as I’ve just experienced an attempted connection.
Someone from your Facebook friend list will  reply to a post, then ask if you’re aware of a new government program (DHHS) then ask you to connect to an agent (Andrea Bourn in my case). They will then “check their data banks” to see if you qualify and rapidly “congratulate you on your win”.
Many people are presently desperate and may be caught in this scam.   Please spread the word.
Sandra Popowich,
Camrose

Enjoyable paper

May 19, 2020

After reading your enjoyable paper, I was most disappointed to read “not seeing your favourite flyers” as I’ve been wondering what happened.
I also looked forward to all the inserts and flyers. Do the companies not understand that all customers are not digital, especially seniors. However, if they plan to resume after the pandemic, that is understandable.
If not, they will lose a lot of their customers.
Please forward this on to whom it may concern as per your notice in the paper.
I have really enjoyed your laughter page re: COVID-19.
A disappointed senior.
Reta LeGear,
Forestburg

What money

May 19, 2020

At the risk of sounding unappreciative towards their COVID-19  initiatives and the relative ability to keep people in cash and, of course,  businesses, groups and organizations afloat during this pandemic, I’ve become a bit cynical towards our current federal government’s daily briefings from Rideau Cottage.
How much longer can the Prime Minister dole out millions, or billions, per day? Did, at a certain (recent) point, this previously financially destitute government slightly switch over from a strategy of playing and working safe in a pandemic to extreme generosity in hopes you remember me when the next election is called?
Did the strategy of his campaign crew come to the conclusion that the opportunity to attract this level of media coverage daily could never be booked and paid for in normal election campaigning fashion? Does anyone smell that election announcement not too far down the road?  Is it too soon to predict a whopping Liberal majority based on his three months of looking after voters financially? Post-election, what will taxation look like?  Eight per cent GST (on top of our inevitable looming provincial sales tax)?  Stratospheric inheritance taxes? Doubling of estate taxes? What will a tax look like for those people who were astute enough, responsible enough, or able to save via RRSPs or TFSAs? What federal taxes will be dreamt up that have not yet even been imagined outside of government circles or think tanks?
How much higher will the taxes be levied on a litre of fuel, a barrel of oil, your preferred liquor or preferred tobacco? Will we need more cannabis stores in order to keep up with market demand or to simply help with government revenue? You decide.
Is there enough talk, at present, on the current political payoffs being played out before our eyes or we are all conveniently and comfortably oblivious to what’s next post-pandemic, if that day is indeed meant to be?
Ron Pilger,
Camrose

What money

May 12, 2020

Money is a complex idea. Our governments have given themselves the monopoly of creating money out of nothing. The money created only has value if most of us believe it has value. To encourage us to believe that the money has value, we are required to pay our taxes using their created money. In addition, we are told that money gets its value from the goods and services created by the work and capital of the society.
In theory then, the money supply M should equal the value of goods and services of that society (M=G&S/no. of units of money created). Therefore, if the production of a society goes up or down, the value of the unit of money should vary in proportion to the changed circumstances.
However, governments do not play by any rules.  There is very little constraint on how much money they create so long as they can convince their people that it has value. When times are good, the people accept that their money loses value (inflation), and governments generally acknowledge a certain amount of inflation, although they under report it. Inflation is a hidden tax.
When governments want money, they simply create it, using banks and smoke and mirrors and use it as they wish. In most countries, there are limits on how much can be created before hyperinflation destroys the currency. The US seems, so far, to have avoided hyperinflation, but many believe it is in their near future with the actions taken relating to the coronavirus. The simple answer as to why they seem able to rack up so much debt without incurring more rampant inflation is that they have the world’s reserve currency, but that may simply postpone the day of reckoning.
The financial shenanigans of our various governments show us they can get as much money for wars and pork barrel projects as they want, but not for programs that benefit their citizens, like better health care, education or safety nets, until the fear of revolution forces them to spread a few crumbs.
When the creation of money is filtered through the rich and powerful, it amounts to a huge tax on the poorest in society. This, at a time when the rich and powerful are far from paying their fair share of taxes. They try to avoid what little they are legally required to pay.
I encourage you to support BAI attempts by our governments.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Good work

May 12, 2020

I just wanted to say thank you for all your help in setting up our website on such short notice. We have already had some orders come in off of it.
Also a thank you for your page of humour in The Booster. It is nice to have a chuckle these days.
Margaret Lyseng,
Maplewood Acres Greenhouse, Armena

Gun laws

May 12, 2020

I would love to know why the Liberals think this new ban on 1,500 rifles is going to stop shootings. I feel, as a law abiding citizen, I follow the gun laws set forth by the Government of Canada, which are extremely strict just to acquire these weapons. They are used for hunting and sport.
I’ve researched mass shootings in Canada and, from 1985 to 2020, there have been six and in between that time, there’s been two terrorists attacks on Canadian citizens with no actions from your party to make stricter measures to monitor who comes into Canada. Maybe we should look into that. I feel with this new ban, it does nothing to stop criminals from continuing to acquire these weapons.
I feel that as someone who follows the law, I’m being punished for acquiring these guns legally. Why does your party use fear mongering to push new gun laws? I think all parties need to focus on the real issue like mental health. I feel that whatever party, whether you’re Liberal, Conservative, Green or Quebecois, needs to focus more on mental health issues and stronger border control. The recent mass shooting in Canada was done with illegal guns brought over the border from the USA. I’m ashamed to call Justin Trudeau my Prime Minister. Time after time, he’s embarrassed Canada.
Kyle Williams,
Camrose

Too close

May 12, 2020

Ladies, my sincere apology. To the two older women walkers whom I so rudely went between on Wednesday, April 29 on the walking trail north of the old ski jump hill, I’m sincerely sorry for not being more careful. I broke the new walkway rule of maintaining a two-metre separation. I think back and should have predicted you and the other walkers’ (there were two other groups of walkers) movements at the time, so as to move to where I would not have had to pass between you two. You did not deserve to have me break the rule.
I am 60 years old and have an underlining medical condition that might make me more susceptible to complications due to the virus. I am old enough to know better. I will do better. It is not fear that leads me and it is likely not fear that leads you, it is considered thought. That is what we need more of, considered thought. Please enjoy your walks and know that I will do better. Peace, love and respect.
Kevin L. McManus,
Camrose

Too close

May 12, 2020

These past weeks have been very stressful for me as an individual. There have been a lot of changes, some of them have been good and others have not been as good. I hear that by May 14, some of the businesses might be reopened. I am looking forward to being able to sit in a restaurant.
I do not mind the fact that every other table will be blocked off in order to encourage social distancing. I received a $25 gift card for my birthday, so I went online and spent that card on a takeout meal.  This was good and I really enjoyed eating with my best friend, which many people call my wife. I can hardly wait to have this COVID-19 stuff over with, because it is driving me up the wall. I now work at my workplace and, in a way, that is very good. Our self employment is going so well due to the COVID-19 scare. This, in a way, is adding extra money to our budget. However, as a OCD person, which is the initials of a very common disorder, this situation is driving me up the wall. I can hardly wait until our lives can go back to normal.  
Lorne Vanderwoude,
 Camrose

Bad government

May 5, 2020

It is very hard to believe that the 1,040,000 Albertans who voted for the UCP wanted the kind of Alberta that is coming with the cuts to education, social programs, support for alternate energy, support for vulnerable Albertans, healthcare, parks and other important services for us.
The cuts to spending are justified by a promise not to increase taxes. Yet, our provincial government is accepting $1.7 billion of federal tax dollars earmarked for abandoned well cleanup and our provincial government is asking for more. Are these not our tax dollars?
Perhaps this is the Alberta the clear majority of Albertans wanted. If that is true, so be it. If that is not true for some of those voters, then they need to let their elected MLA know that while they voted for the UCP, they did not vote for this kind of Alberta.
Marvin A. Miniely,
Camrose

Time to reflect

May 5, 2020

The covid pandemic has shaken our collective complacency to the core. Many acts of goodwill and kindness within our communities help through these troubling times.  Self imposed isolation from friends and family has given us time to reflect on our past experiences and re-think our future activities, values, and expectations and the emerging, yet to be determined, “new normal.”
In times of uncertainty, enterprises formulate strategic plans; the first step is to conduct a SWOT analysis…(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). SW are internal, brutally honest, self assessments while OT represents an external assessment of opportunities and threats. This strategic model is a global, standard procedure. Non-partisan visionaries with a global perspective could provide guidance in all sectors of our economy; namely, the service economy representing health, education, marketing, military, banking, telcos, transportation, and the wealth generating sectors, agri/aquaculture, oil and gas, mining, forestry, manufacturing, etc.
Politicians would be invited to plenary discussion workshops to listen, take notes and ask questions. Cumulative recommendations could be revolutionary and determine political policy and set Canada on a road to recovery and autonomy; we have the bounty of natural resources and educated workforce to accomplish it. Some possibilities…
In the past 60 years, Canadian leaders have reduced the role of science and technology as a foundation of our economy… potential recommendations could contribute value added products, offer high tech employment opportunities for youth and improve our trade balance.
Canada’s ethical pharmaceutical industry was wiped out by NAFTA; is it timely to resurrect it to consolidate our supply chain of drugs?
Is it timely to empower Investment Canada (formerly FIRA, neutralized by PM Mulroney in 1985) and buy back Canada? Regrettably, Canada has become a branch plant operation of businesses in Europe, US and Asia, and corporate decisions made in those board rooms have major impacts on the health of the Canadian economy.
Is there value in investigating strategies proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete to break up the oligopolies that dominate our economy and reduce competition to the detriment of small business?
Is there value in supporting the newly-proposed Canada Prosperity Pipeline Project (CP3) instead of Keystone which is still awaiting US approval? It would support the notion of energy self sufficiency first proposed by Joe Clark in 1978.
Lots of positive opportunities await if we think both locally and globally.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

World struggles

May 5, 2020

As the world struggles to combat and overcome the invisible enemy, COVID-19, we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the allied forces’ victory over their formidable enemy of that era, the German Nazi regime. As one who witnessed that day, I recall the way we celebrated. Our families and neighbours had just survived the devastating depression of the 1930s, when young men from our communities enlisted and went to fight the war, while adults and children at home did their best to keep the home fires burning. They fervidly prayed to God that He would help the allied forces prevail and achieve victory, in spite of great odds and tremendous casualties.
On May 7, 1945, the early morning radio news broadcast made the welcome announcement … a national holiday was proclaimed, schools were closed, friends and neighbours gathered to celebrate with great joy and a thankful prayer.
Throughout the Great Depression and the war years, prayer had become a common source of hope in the face of adversity.
Nations began to heal and rebuild and nations began to prosper, while enjoying relative peace for 55 years. However, the more we prospered, we seemed to become less prayerful, less neighbourly and more “self-focused”. Over time, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was, for many, interpreted as a Charter of Rights without accepting responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Many of today’s members of society have little concept of the hardships endured during the depression years.
We may feel entitled to enjoy an indulgent lifestyle, offering all of our desires, and may determine that God’s commandments are too restrictive, or just “not cool”. Over time, the courts have agreed that actions considered to be immoral are now deemed to be a “right”.
I guess it all boils down to who we believe created the great universe where our planet earth abides. If we believe it was God, He has the right to set the rules for us to obey.
The horrific events of 9-11 initiated the end of the peace era as we had known it. Evil minds conspired to attain world domination power and one approach is to undermine our economies as they have, by targeting western Canada’s energy sector, and now COVID-19 is here to finish the job.
I haven’t yet heard them suggest we should pray to God for His guidance, but as a nation, it may be our best option.
Bill Mattinson,
Camrose

Tough times

April 28, 2020

Most of us are going through difficult times now, but some are suffering more than others.
One thing history has taught us is that humans have had existential crises before and we can learn from how our ancestors dealt with those problems.  I think most would agree that we survived because we helped each other. Certainly, the stories I heard from my grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and Second World War bears this out.
The immediate future looks bleak with the economy crashing and many being without an income.  Jobs lost may never be replaced. This has the potential to lead to revolution and disaster, but it need not.
The governments of many countries have recognized that they must step in to help.  Canada, I believe, is a leader in this.
What is happening is that we are in an experiment with UBI (Universal Basic Income), albeit on a short-term basis. I suggest that it must be made permanent. If we are to live in a society where significant numbers will be permanently unemployed, whether because of robotics or AI, or any other reason, then we must take care of those who need help. Not by welfare programs, but as of right.
Of course, taxes will go up, but mostly on those, like myself, who have benefited most from the current system. The very rich, who have benefited most from the corporate welfare state and laws written to allow them to unfairly grab the bulk of the wealth of the state created by everyone, now must give back.
Just like the adage that “the poor will always be with us,” so will the rich. I am not suggesting that extreme wealth be banned, only that the wealth of a society be more equally distributed. Most of the distortions on the wealth distribution started in the ’70s and got worse as the greed of a few brought us to this very dangerous time.
Don’t let the wealthy and their minions continue to frighten you into believing that asking for a more reasonable distribution of the nation’s wealth is socialism or communism. It was the society that largely existed in Canada when I came to Camrose as a young lawyer. It exists, successfully, in the Scandinavian countries and a few others.
Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Ships poem

April 28, 2020

“Western Flowers of the Sea”
Five and twenty warriors
From Dominion’s western side
Fiesty little fighting ships
Full of hometown pride
The wild roses of Alberta
The Yukon and BC
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Western flowers of the sea
Vancouver and Regina
Lethbridge and Quesnel
Calgary and Rosthern
Weyburn fighting hell
Brandon and Nanaimo
Here comes Chilliwack
Moose Jaw ramming U-boats
Kamloops striking back
Saskatoon and Dawson
Agassiz and Trail
Battleford and Dauphin
Mighty Morden setting sail
Kamsack and Drumheller
New Westminster on the guard
Alberni and Wetaskiwin
With Camrose charging hard
Royal Canadian Navy
Western Canada Corvettes
On the water fighting bravely
Lest we all forget
The wild roses of Alberta
The Yukon and BC
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Western flowers of the sea.
Garth Paul Ukrainetz, formerly of Camrose

Enjoy laughter

April 21, 2020

This is an open letter to the community for your absolutely amazing support by contributing to our recent Online Food Drive.  Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your front page exposure and a compelling news story, which explained the initiative.  Our goal was to assist in replenishing the shelves at the Camrose Food Bank, which is operated by Neighbor Aid.
Frankly, for me as one of the organizers, it was an amazing and very emotional experience. We all know there are many people truly and honestly suffering at the moment in this wonderful community. It became evident during our campaign, however, that there are even more local people with big hearts.
These are the folks who we talked to who readily stepped up to share both their money and extra food items in order to help people they do not know and may never cross paths with.   Our very first “porch pick-up” on Saturday, April 11th found us gathering up four bags of groceries.  This was indicative of many stops along our route.  I watched those assisting in our drive often tear up as food and cash kept coming in at our hundreds of stops.
By the end of a busy and fulfilling day, we had loaded our trailer with 2,000 pounds of food and over $5,000 in cash. One hundred per cent of this Camrose windfall was turned over to our precious food bank on April 14th.  Thank you, Camrosians.
Our productive little group felt so fulfilled following this food drive, we have discussed the possibility of another campaign in about six weeks, if the need continues. Stay tuned.
Matthew Graham,
Camrose
On behalf of all involved

Food drive

April 21, 2020

This is an open letter to the community for your absolutely amazing support by contributing to our recent Online Food Drive.  Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your front page exposure and a compelling news story, which explained the initiative.  Our goal was to assist in replenishing the shelves at the Camrose Food Bank, which is operated by Neighbor Aid.
Frankly, for me as one of the organizers, it was an amazing and very emotional experience. We all know there are many people truly and honestly suffering at the moment in this wonderful community. It became evident during our campaign, however, that there are even more local people with big hearts.
These are the folks who we talked to who readily stepped up to share both their money and extra food items in order to help people they do not know and may never cross paths with.   Our very first “porch pick-up” on Saturday, April 11th found us gathering up four bags of groceries.  This was indicative of many stops along our route.  I watched those assisting in our drive often tear up as food and cash kept coming in at our hundreds of stops.
By the end of a busy and fulfilling day, we had loaded our trailer with 2,000 pounds of food and over $5,000 in cash. One hundred per cent of this Camrose windfall was turned over to our precious food bank on April 14th.  Thank you, Camrosians.
Our productive little group felt so fulfilled following this food drive, we have discussed the possibility of another campaign in about six weeks, if the need continues. Stay tuned.
Matthew Graham,
Camrose
On behalf of all involved

Camrose angels

April 21, 2020

It’s more than a month ago when ice was everywhere that I found myself on the edge of a very nasty patch of ice before I could get to a sidewalk. As I stood contemplating what the best route to the other side would be, a gentleman came up beside me and said, “I’ll help you get across.” I said, “Thank you so much”, and then he was gone.
About an hour later, I found myself in a similar state. From behind me, a young man said, “Take my arm”, which I did and again, he was gone with only my thanks.
If you are one of those “angels”, I want you to know what that did for an 88-year-old senior.
It cheered my heart and possibly saved me  from a fall.
Thank you and God bless you!
B. Sogge,
Camrose

Too close

April 21, 2020

A heartfelt thank you to people creating inspirational messages on sidewalks, fences and windows.Thank you to whoever created the little journal I found in the free library box by the Pocket Park. I have always loved Camrose. I love it even more during this time. I wish everyone patience and good health.
Renate Burns,
Camrose

COVID updates

April 21, 2020

I have been meaning to message you about Camrose Now! and the alerts and COVID information provided. I admit that I look at every alert and read or listen to Deena every day...your online numbers must be fantastic.
Great job to the Camrose Now! team. Good reporting and nicely presented.
 Ross Shuman,
Camrose

Post-secondary

April 14

While the Canada Emergency Response Benefit reaches a lot of people, it misses the mark when it comes to post-secondary students.  Specifically, the eligibility criteria stipulates that “The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. For example, if you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer, you do not qualify for the benefit.”
Hats off to the BC Government for stepping up to provide $3.5 million emergency funding supports for post-secondary students.  The non-repayable emergency assistance can be used for living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely.
What’s the solution? The Government of Alberta needs to respond with something similar, and needs to lobby the federal government to include students in the CERB. Post-secondary students need work/income to survive and, in many cases, save up for their next term.  Postponing repayment of student loans is great, but only applicable to graduating students.  Those who continue won’t have to repay their loans until they graduate.
We can’t let post-secondary students fall through the cracks. Along with our young people currently in the workforce, they are the future of our province. Here’s hoping the Alberta Government and/or the federal government step up to provide the assistance they need.
Kevin Smook,
Tofield

Slow learners

April 14

The March 17 edition of The Booster contains three related articles; starting with page 12, a message from the MLA who draws a salary from this constituency.  I would prefer that the “MLA serve this constituency,” but that is definitely not the case.  This MLA prefers to “dispel concerns” and correct our “misconceptions.” Okay, Ms. Lovely, the constituents are all incorrectly concerned and misconceived.  During your campaign last April, you pledged to represent the concerns of the citizens of Camrose and area in the legislature. We get it.  That was then, this is now.
The next article on the same page reports the concerns of doctors who are concerned with the likely effect of changes being made to the way health care is funded. These are doctors who work within a system that, over the course of decades, has had every efficiency squeezed out of it. And the only thing cabinet can think of is to squeeze it some more.  This is a message from those in the system that there is nothing left to squeeze. And our MLA, in spite of promising to hear concerns from the citizens, does not even bother to attend the meeting, and sends a message of you’re all wrong and I’m not hearing you via a spokesperson.
The third related article is on page 18, “Looking Back”, 25 years ago, March 21, 1995. The doctors and practitioners within the Battle River Medical Association were expressing concern over the effect of implementing the “Alberta Advantage” would have on the provision of quality care.
If nothing else, these three articles illustrate that we, the electorate, are slow-learners.
 Mathew Banack,
Round Hill
(not Matt Banack, Central Agencies Realtor)

Homebound

April 14

The March 17 edition of The Booster contains three related articles; starting with page 12, a message from the MLA who draws a salary from this constituency.  I would prefer that the “MLA serve this constituency,” but that is definitely not the case.  This MLA prefers to “dispel concerns” and correct our “misconceptions.” Okay, Ms. Lovely, the constituents are all incorrectly concerned and misconceived.  During your campaign last April, you pledged to represent the concerns of the citizens of Camrose and area in the legislature. We get it.  That was then, this is now.
The next article on the same page reports the concerns of doctors who are concerned with the likely effect of changes being made to the way health care is funded. These are doctors who work within a system that, over the course of decades, has had every efficiency squeezed out of it. And the only thing cabinet can think of is to squeeze it some more.  This is a message from those in the system that there is nothing left to squeeze. And our MLA, in spite of promising to hear concerns from the citizens, does not even bother to attend the meeting, and sends a message of you’re all wrong and I’m not hearing you via a spokesperson.
The third related article is on page 18, “Looking Back”, 25 years ago, March 21, 1995. The doctors and practitioners within the Battle River Medical Association were expressing concern over the effect of implementing the “Alberta Advantage” would have on the provision of quality care.
If nothing else, these three articles illustrate that we, the electorate, are slow-learners.
 Mathew Banack,
Round Hill
(not Matt Banack,
Central Agencies Realtor)

Laughter and smiles

April 7, 2020

Thank you for the uplifting April 1st edition of The Booster. I read your paper faithfully every week and have done so since 1983. Doing the math, it points to 37 years or 1,924 editions, and this week was one of the best editions ever. It was uplifting, funny (the April Fool’s cover and joke page were priceless) and inspiring. The family stories were especially good! Kudos, Team Fowler and your Camrose Boosters. I am grateful for your online option. Stay well.
Sheilagh Ross,
Camrose