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

Helpful politician

September 1, 2020

Just want to let the people of Sedgewick know that our MLA in Camrose is on the ball and doing a great job. Jackie Lovely was contacted at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and she was still in her office working. We told her we had a problem with a phone line not working in the home of a 95 year old senior. After many attempts and waiting 1.45 hours they finally got a phone rep in a country way across the pond. She told them that they could get hooked up on Sept. 4 (two weeks later), which is not good for a lady that needs a phone for her lifeline.
Many attempts were made on five different numbers with the same result,  wait for more than one and a half hours for a rep. At 5:30 p.m. I called the office of our MLA in Camrose and by golly, Jackie Lovely answered the phone herself. When we explained the problem Jackie said, give her a bit of time and she would try and do something. At approximately 8 p.m. she got through to the right person and was given confirmation that someone would be out the next day to fix the phone. Because the help and late hour work ethic of Jackie, the phone was repaired on Saturday. We need more politicians like Jackie putting in extra time to help people in need.
Many thanks go out to Jackie.
Jim Coles,
Sedgewick

Ironic visit

September 1, 2020

I found the visit of Premier Kenney on Tuesday, Aug. 11 quite ironic. He was taking advantage of a photo opportunity at the Chester Ronning School development. A development which was initiated by the former NDP government. While he did not miss the opportunity to partake of pie and coffee with local MLA Jackie Lovely, he did miss the opportunity to meet with and a get comment from a group of knowledgeable and involved citizens when he cancelled a scheduled meeting at Augustana.
I found the Premier’s visit ironic because during that week the loss of jobs to 51 people came to my attention. Nine of the 51 were former colleagues with Children’s Rehabilitation Services (CRS). Two friends worked in the schools. And 40 people at Augustana.
Those job losses have a devastating impact on those 51 people and their loved ones and their friends. But the negative impact reaches far beyond. For instance, a full-time therapist with CRS can be working with around 80 clients. That means there will be around 320 children who will not receive the professional care and assistance from a speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist or respiratory therapist come September.
Even prior to these cuts to services it has been decided to restrict services to children aged zero to five years. Prior services were rendered for children from zero to 18 years. What will families do who need the help of these special therapists for their children of school age? Most schools will not be able to find the resources to contract our regular therapy services. Most families cannot afford private services. The result will be extreme pressure on children, parents and school staff. I have a question for you if you voted UCP and fit one or more of the following conditions:
1. You have a child or grandchild who needs extra support or specialized therapy to succeed in school.
2. You have a child or grandchild who attends university, or you are a student yourself.
3. You work in, or know someone who works in, publicly funded schools, universities or health care. My question is: “Are you happy living in Alberta with so many job losses, and reduced services as a direct result of funding cuts?”
If you are dissatisfied, contact your MLA and tell them this is simply not the time to cut funding to education or health care.
Donna Hackborn,
Camrose

New reality

September 1, 2020

As “new reality” continues to darken our doors with confusion and Negativity, Positive thought deserves refreshing.
Being relatively new to the area, I chose Camrose for shopping and services and it is there I found some special individuals deserving acknowledgement of appreciation. A bundle of gratitude to Humpty’s Restaurant’s thoughtful, courteous waitresses, and especially “Emily”…a refreshingly cheerful, confident and enthusiastic young woman. The groomers at I Pets Quality Dog Grooming who tackle their fur-filled job with delightful determination, patience and gentle consideration, making moments memorable for pooches and felines. The language of their clients “speaks” volumes. So value the gals’ understanding of body language! Remedy Rx staff and manager Sumitha Sasi RPh. Sumi exudes sunshine from her very soul as her ever-present golden smile greets all who enter. A most welcomed and charming quality from an especially kind and a lovely service provider. Guy, the Shoe Doctor…dependable and surely capable of “putting boots to the ground.” Such fun to discover his humour bubbling quietly behind a smile.
As a profoundly deaf individual, appropriate words of appreciation are in short supply to express my good fortune with the discovery of Claire Milligan (a Woman of Vision possessing a fine ear for listening) and Hauck Hearing Centre. Shortly after navigating our way through the swamps to settle in Beaver County, it was, shall I say, “dumb luck” to notice within the pages of The Booster, Claire’s announcement of her “Hearing Presentation.” Claire’s exceptional communication skills with those in attendance, plus her knowledge and experience went far beyond any I had encountered in my 52 years of deafness. Later, at her office and within minutes, Claire successfully rejuvenated my hearing devices which were three years beyond warranty. That in itself saved me bundles, plus I could hear birds again and even my vehicle’s engine. What a wow. Claire’s dedication and integrity was a treasure then and continues. Thank you for a genuine passion for caring.
Many deserving others are tucked between the petals of my small bouquet of gratitude, including those who frequently contribute thoughts and opinions to Just Sayin’, or wherever. I encourage you to continue and request others follow…while your freedom of speech exists.
Lennie McKim,
Camrose

Under attack

August 18, 2020

Alberta’s world-class post-secondary institutions are under attack by the UCP government. I’ve expressed my concerns to Alberta’s minister of advanced education, an academic whom I thought should know better, but his maddening reply is all about saving money, even though he also claims that the “government believes strongly that post-secondary education is critical to building Alberta’s future.”
To me, the government’s actions (insanely vicious funding cuts) speak far louder than words; the excellence that has been achieved is under threat since the government appears to prefer to fund for mediocrity (the inevitable outcome if funding continues to be withdrawn). [As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough to deal with, the universities were walloped by the government’s cuts–a cruel and unnecessary double whammy.]
Perhaps I’m terribly naïve, but I thought that the job of the minister of portfolio X was to advocate for X, to help to improve it, to protect it. Above, I was addressing the case of X = advanced education, but I see an unfortunate pattern with the UCP government: think of health, and of municipal affairs, as examples.
At any rate, we’re fortunate to have a “jewel” in Alberta’s post-secondary “crown” right here in Camrose: Augustana. We can all show our support for both the jewel and the crown at an event this coming Saturday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m. in Jubilee Park, across 50 Street from the Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. Wear a mask and prepare for physical distancing. See you there!
John Olson,
Camrose

Spending cuts

August 18, 2020

The  UCP is fulfilling its promises and doing so rapidly. Rapid action was also promised. The spending cuts we have seen implemented by our government in the past year and a half were planned at least two years ago, if not more.
The UCP did not include a promise to be flexible in their actions in the event of catastrophic events beyond their control. There is no way they could have anticipated the colossal downturn in world prices. However, the UCP as a whole and each individual UCP MLA can, should be, must be held to account for the terrible impact of government cuts to spending which exacerbate the employment problem resulting from the combined impact of oil pricing and the pandemic.
Could there be a worse time to cut government expenditures and associated government funded jobs? I hope every person who voted for the UCP will think, “Why is the government I voted for unable to adapt their actions to these catastrophic events?”
Has there not been even one UCP MLA who has thought, “Maybe this is not the time to be cutting program funding.” Is this government not capable of saying, “We made these promises at a time when they made sense, but they do not make sense now.”
In a recent Camrose Booster, our local MLA seemed to take great pride in the actions taken by herself and her colleagues. In the past several days, I personally have heard of six job losses directly resulting from government program funding cuts. Job loss is not going to end soon. We know there are imminent bankruptcies forthcoming. Can there be a more insane time to cut government spending? Are the actions of the UCP in the past year things of which to be proud?
Is the UCP so dogmatically committed to cutting government spending that they are not able to see the lunacy of doing so at this time? Can they not see that this is the time to increase taxes on those who are fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes? Our government cannot prevent the devastating effects of the pandemic on business.
However, it can and should stop feeding into the problem with mindless and thoughtless cuts to government funded programs. Is this not the greatest possible time for sharing through increased, rather than reduced, government program funding?
Marvin Miniely,
Camrose

Pandemic is over

August 18, 2020

It seems, that these days, when my wife and I go for an evening stroll around one of Camrose’s great walking trails, individuals, couples and groups are not now as diligent in keeping any form of “physical distancing” as before.
At the start of the pandemic, people about to cross paths would almost somersault out of each other’s way. This seldom is the case anymore. The same is true for grocery stores’ uni-directional flow patterns.
Walmart has chosen to lead by soon requiring face masks in their store. This corporation is exercising their responsible part in flattening the curve…well done.
To those who have, by their actions, declared the pandemic to be “over”, I would invite them to watch the evening news featuring a COVID-19 patient in hospital, or a family saying goodbye to their loved one at a graveside.
Albertans are proud of their rugged frontier, individuality and fierce independence, but there is also an equally strong determination to help each other in times of great need. 
If a big-box store can harmonize safety, health protection and profit, do we do less? Or, find the courage to do this and more?
Decide.
Jacques Vaillancourt,
Camrose

Raise masks

August 18, 2020

My name is Julia and I would like to give some feedback.
I have gone into several businesses lately where the staff are wearing masks and there is background noise.
Because I mostly lip read, often there are very few words I understand.
I will explain. The mask is raised for about 20 seconds, and for the next choice or direction I again request.  ‘Please raise your mask. I mostly lip read. I am having trouble understanding.’
When they are considerate of my request, I will return. When they are not and I need to ask several times, I do not want to come back.
I am a human being. I like people very much. I am not a virus.
Julia Siemens,
Camrose

Canada's Past

August 1, 2020

It appears that several persons in Toronto have taken leave of their sanity. They are attacking statues of the Father of our Country. Without the influence of John A. Macdonald there simply would be no Canada.
Canada is the product of our history. Most of which is source of pride. Any negative elements are also part of our story and must be lived with.  John Macdonald is definitely a source of positive memories. His vision lead other leaders of his time to support: “One nation from sea onto sea” and he was the leader who lead Canada’s growth from four provinces to seven with the territory which became nine included as part of the nation.
He did not establish residential schools. That institution was established by the government headed by Alexander MacKenzie during the five years (1873-1878) that Macdonald was out of office. He did continue the policy.
It is not politically correct to say anything positive about residential schools, but it is a fact that relations between invading whites and the natives in Canada were peaceful. The native leaders, at the time, were accepting of the policy of residential schools; not the final result, but the concept. The United States had a half century of Indian Wars, while Canada had peace.
Canada also had peace with the black race. Canada was a place of freedom at the end of the underground railway. On entering Canada, Black Americans, kissed the soil of the “Land of the Freedom Queen.”
During the first session of the first legislature of Upper Canada, Ontario, a law was passed that provided that any slave entering the colony became free. This was 70 years before the American Civil War.
Therefore what are these dim witted people protesting?

Ronald  Williams,
Camrose

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