April 7, 2020
Thanks to The Camrose Booster for your most creative April Fool’s prank to date!
Booster staff, I commend you on using your avenue of influence, this being your weekly printed matter, for local good. It’s clear to see and read how distinct your publication and your approach differs from any other media opportunities and operations.
April 7, 2020
I was extremely disappointed in The Booster for it’s cruel April Fool’s joke.
My first reaction was, “My neighbors aren’t going to like that.” In our neighborhood, we prefer a green lawn. And then, reading further, I thought, what the heck.
At this point, I started to embrace the idea and enlisted Mrs. Google’s help to find culinary uses for the dandelion. And most important, how I would go about solving my wine problems for the year? She gave me a number of tasty options.
I returned to the article. Imagine my horror when I discovered the cruelty of it all. No dandelion salads, no dandelion tea, no sautéed dandelions, no dandelion omelets and, most disappointing of all, no dandelion wine. I am crushed! I will recover eventually. However, in the meantime, I am off to the liquor store to see if they sell dandelion wine.
LOL. Good job guys. I will be prepared next year...if I don’t forget.
April 7, 2020
Help me understand why our politicos are still mired in a nonproductive, confrontational malaise with respect to health care. It is especially timely given the current urgency requiered to overcome the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
Studies in the first decade of this millennium evaluated both public and private heath care systems. Private health care advocates were deeply entrenched in support of the Kirby Report, while advocates of public health care supported the findings of the Romanow Commission and the Romanow Report.
In truth, there were many common elements from both reports that reasonable persons could have adopted and provided an optimal compromise in a hybrid model for the benefit of all Canadians. It hasn’t happened (and probably won’t).
Tribalism and partisan politics continues to be the bane of good, progressive legislation on many fronts. In my opinion, the current headlong rush to privatize in Alberta is wrong headed while a review of European and other health care systems and their health care providers would provide an opportunity “to get it right”.
As a pharmacologist, one anecdotal finding of the Romanow Report struck me as critical. The conclusion was…errors in prescribing and administering medications cost Canadians in excess of several billions per year.
A damning conclusion …this is either a quality assurance/quality control and/or training issue. Imagine that amount of “free money” annually being returned to provincial health care budgets simply by tackling a solvable problem. Perhaps, the recent axe-like bludgeoning of health care budgets might be better performed with a scalpel.
I urge politicos of all stripes to put aside their tribal partisanship, recuse yourselves from obvious conflict of interest concerns, engage your colleagues reasonably and respectfully. Respect and seek out medical and scientific opinion and best practices outside our borders. Canadians and Albertans expect that from you.
What I have learned in my last 50 years of work and travel in more than 70 countries is…the private sector cannot “do things” faster, better, cheaper, more efficiently, in ways that are more socially responsible and more environmentally friendly than the public sector…a hybrid model works best.
March 31, 2020
Good morning. Thank you for the page of quips that gave me a laugh out loud moment when I read it this morning. Just what we all needed. Keep up the good work publishing every week.
March 31, 2020
Thank you to The Camrose Booster for publishing the Sometimes Laughter is the Only Medicine material on page 27 in the March 24th issue.
I laughed hysterically at some of the jokes. The day that I read it I celebrated my 79th birthday (March 23, 1941 born).
A chance to laugh on my birthday was an amazing gift in troubling times.
March 31, 2020
Thanks for the page “Sometimes laughter is the only medicine” in the March 24 issue.
Of course we are all deeply aware that this pandemic is no laughing matter. It has brought grief and hardship to millions of people all over the planet. But this medicine that you offered brightened my day and helped me get my balance in the midst of it all.
March 24, 2020
Make Alberta Great Again!
This borrowed slogan captures our attention especially in tough economic times, at least until COVID-19 shifts our focus.
I wonder if the sentiment: “make Alberta great again” is better expressed as “make Alberta extraordinarily rich, again!”
The stock market and feuding oil producers, along with other external financial forces, have taken away much of our once incredible provincial wealth. However, the only way that genuine “greatness” is really lost, is when we, as individuals, or as a society, choose to surrender or trade it in.
Alberta greatness is very much evident when a local farm producer (who himself is fighting off the current agricultural monetary crises) makes a discreet offer to give food, free of charge, to those suffering hunger because of COVID-19.
The negative converse of this positive equation is sadly visible in the choices of those carpetbaggers who viciously exploit health fears and supply shortages, in order to make a gouging profit from their panicked neighbours.
The farm family members, mentioned in this piece, distance themselves from all narcissistic photo ops and self-glorifying sound bytes. Their motivation, for making this generous offer, is firmly moored to their hope-filled Christian realism: a vibrant spiritual faith yoked to real time action. They are fine citizens of a strong Alberta.
Vaillancourt, Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, Camrose
March 24, 2020
The 2019 tax season is now upon us and the issue of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax rebate is now front and centre of every tax return. I have found out that in July my wife and I will be getting a rebate one time only from the federal government.
Now, we all do agree that something has to be done in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Why does it always have to be the poor who have to take the cuts to what little we do get?
Why not the huge companies who produce a larger carbon print than the poor worker who is hardly making ends meet? I do believe the government is going after the wrong people.
March 17, 2020
Well, fellow Albertans, see what you have wrought by electing the UCP. Politicians who promise what they can’t deliver end up destroying the system they claim they want to fix. All they can do is destroy and line the pockets of a few of their “so called” friends.
Albertans used to be proud of their relatively good education system and health care system. Will the remnants hold together until these fools can be thrown out?
Yes, we have spent too much and not saved when we could. Where is our multi-billion dollar heritage fund? We let our politicians off the hook of financial responsibility so we could spend now. How many of you have forgotten that the taxes we pay are our admission ticket to a civilized, prosperous province. Alberta has among the lowest tax rates in North America and the lowest debt of any province. We don’t have a sales tax. If we had higher taxes, we would not have to slash education and health care.
Why do we cut help for the neediest in our society, like the cuts to AISH? Human beings have developed a pretty nice world for most of us, thanks to the advances in science and technology and the fact that some people believed that we should share our good fortune.
In the last 50 years, our politicians have been bought off by large corporations who managed to have laws changed to shift the distribution of wealth in their favour. It happened incrementally until now. The term Corporate Welfare Bums is a truism.
Corporations were created so that their owners could escape liability for their wrong actions. It also vastly increased their political and financial power. A CEO effectively speaks for all the corporations’ employees and controls its financial resources so that large corporations can, effectively, buy governments. In the USA the Supreme Court has held that corporations have rights to interfere in elections, which they have done to the extent that the majority of Americans don’t vote as they don’t see any point when there is no real difference between the parties.
Is it too late to take back some aspects of Democracy? I don’t know, but I hope not. They still let us vote, probably because large numbers will vote for empty promises.
Wake up. Please wake up.
March 17, 2020
As a former teacher, I read the article about Round Hill fighting to save their school with interest. Members of the community are completely correct about the cultural, historic and emotional value of their school. But they are up against the devastating reality that BRSD has had their budget cut by $4 million. Something has to give.
When the UCP were elected they kept their promise to give a sizeable tax cut to large corporations (small local businesses aren’t eligible). More money for large corporations means less for citizens’ services.
So the BRSD trustees have a very difficult choice. Sadly, it seems to me that the ethical thing to do is for trustees to vote to close small rural schools because the only other option is to spread the $4 million of cuts throughout the district, resulting in a significant reduction in quality of education for all students.
Keep in mind that the same difficult decision making is going on for health care and municipal services. The hurt will be widespread. Also keep in mind that Premier Jason Kenney has made it clear that large corporations will get another big tax cut this year, so we can expect to be having this same difficult discussion this time next year. My heart goes out to the communities that risk losing their schools and I suggest they contact their MLA and make their feelings clear.
March 10, 2020
I have served as a volunteer firefighter since 2004 and I also work as an associate instructor delivering training to rural firefighters from our Camrose station.
We host several classes each year for firefighters in our hall and from smaller outlying communities. These volunteers drive in on weekends to complete their training in courses that include search and rescue, medical training and dealing with all kinds of other emergencies that happen in our communities and they usually receive nothing for their time and money spent to be in class or attending calls. Some even take time off work from their day jobs to attend these classes. At least the course itself had been paid for up until this latest budget.
The latest cut from the Alberta budget directly impacts training for rural firefighters and this is extremely worrisome and dangerous.
Did you know that the majority of firefighters in Alberta are volunteers? Did you also know that many of them receive zero compensation for any of the work or training they do?
So the next time a train derails or a truck overturns and spills dangerous goods on the road or rail line, the next time someone needs to be cut out of their mangled vehicle or rescued from a burning building, please remember that the very people tasked with helping may not have been certified or recertified to provide these services since Premier Jason Kenney decided $500,000 is more important than the lives of Albertans and the people who volunteer to help them. How can we justify cutting training dollars for people who are already working for nothing? Will these volunteers be asked to purchase their own equipment and respond in their own vehicles next?
March 10, 2020
I was directly involved with Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) hockey teams filling numerous roles for 35 seasons and was involved with the Viking Cup Magazine from 1991 onward. I also authored the chapter on college hockey in Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL (Second Edition).
No college hockey team in the nation has had a greater impact on its community than the Vikings. In 1975, the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings were the first team from Camrose to win a national championship and the first team in any sport to win a Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship. For a quarter of a century, the team hosted the Viking Cup, which brought over 100 Olympians, over 200 NHL players and over 400 NHL draft selections to the Rose City. The Camrose Kodiaks and the Recreation Centre exist in large part due to the Vikings. In addition to the on ice endeavors, the Vikings hockey program broke down barriers by facilitating an exchange of cultures when the Iron Curtain separated east from west.
The 2020-21 season would be the 50th in the ACAC for the team. The team has given so much to the community over the years. Now is time for the community to return the favour.
March 10, 2020
I want to thank Premier Jason Kenney for taking a 10 per cent cut in his salary and a thank you to the MLAs for taking a five per cent cut. I know Premier Kenney has been putting in many long hours trying to find ways to get Alberta’s economy back on track.
With many oil patch workers out of work and farmers not being able to sell their grain because of the rail blockades, I wonder where the tax dollars will come from to pay the wage increase that teachers and nurses think they deserve. The tax dollars will not be coming from transfer payments.
March 10, 2020
There is a concern for global warming here in this world. I am sure that there is no intelligible person on this planet who would disagree with this statement. The question is how do we, as a nation, deal with this huge problem? The federal government wants everybody to think that the way to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint is to create a carbon tax. It is very interesting to note that Alberta’s Court of Appeal ruled four to one that this federal carbon tax is unconstitutional. Now, I am not totally versed on our carbon footprint; however, there is one thing which I do know. Our recycling program here in Camrose does need to be fixed. There have been new changes of what is allowed to be recycled. Cardboard which has a wax coating is not allowed. Now, this is so unwise since this is sending so much more cardboard to our landfill. Another issue is the amount of vehicles which are on the road here in Camrose. There has to be some sort of solution to our carbon footprint without bankrupting people. I make sure that the prices which I charge are affordable at the same time being able to pay all of my bills. This will be a group effort, which will be easier if everybody will do their part.
March 3, 2020
I love Canada and I am a staunch Canadian. Even if I lost it all, I’d still slap the Maple Leaf on my chest, and be damned grateful I get the chance to pick up the pieces and make it all over again in a new way.
I’ve faced adversity myself and maintained an attitude that allowed for me to reinvent life in a positive way. I could have given up, blamed everyone else, turned my back on the values in place to ensure I got another chance. But I didn’t. I stayed relatively positive so I could get to where I was meant to be. Nobody in my life stoked my fears and anger and said, ‘there, there, somebody else is to blame’ and they had no interest in letting me go there in my most vulnerable moments.
No. They told me things happen for a reason and to just believe. Better things came. I’ll fight till the bitter end those who try and strip my dignity as a compassionate Canadian away for a weak and shortsighted political agenda after everything this country has provided for me. I’m loyal to this land, east to west. Perhaps I’ll put more focus on a few projects I have dreamed long and hard of bringing to this world so my contribution to this society may be measured and legitimate. Grateful and blessed this country allows for that chance. It’s time to take it.
March 3, 2020
The world uses a lot of fossil fuel. We consume an ever rising 100 million barrels of oil a day. About two-thirds of global electricity is produced from fossil fuels. So the world runs on fossil fuels. There are about eight million electric cars in the world out of a global fleet of one billion vehicles, so they’re a long way away from having any impact. Changes may happen in time, but not yet.
Canada produces about five per cent of the world’s oil and if we stop all our production the world will quickly make up the difference from other sources. Meanwhile, people in Canada will still be driving cars and we will have to import oil. Oil is currently our biggest export, about $100 billion annually, so if we turn that into imports this will affect our balance of trade. This means our food, clothing, just about everything in stores, imported cars, those winter vacations and many other things will become more expensive. We will do all that economic damage to ourselves to produce a totally negligible affect on global carbon emissions.
Now let’s look at who we would be importing that oil from. As long as we turn a blind eye to the unsavoury places oil comes from, as Quebec does when it buys from Saudi Arabia, we can pretend to be as righteous as we want. If we stop our production we will be buying our oil from Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern Arab countries with huge human rights issues, and African and Latin American countries with corrupt and repressive governments. I don’t look forward to that.
Canada is blessed with natural resources and that is what created our standard of living. People in Toronto and Vancouver have lost sight of that. When the US recently signed a trade pact with China, they didn’t negotiate for 5G access or intellectual property rights. What the US wanted, and got, was access to the Chinese market for US agricultural products. Meanwhile our government has destroyed our relations with China. We are “hewers of wood and drawers of water” but that’s what has made us very rich.
It’s so easy and fashionable to say “stop everything,” but only if we naively ignore the consequences and people usually say that from a place of great comfort and excess. That said, we could show more decency and restraint in our consumption.
February 25, 2020
I am part of a group of 150 Canadians participating in the 75th anniversary of The Netherlands this coming May. Most of us are descendants of soldiers who fought in that action, my father included. The group is called In Our Fathers Footsteps. Some of us are assisting The Faces of Groesbeek, an effort to put faces and stories to the soldiers buried at Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetary, NL. My task is to find information and a photo of Peter Jacob Schneider, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Rifleman, M1662. He died on Feb.16, 1945, age 19. He is the son of Theresa and John Schneider, Camrose.
The file notes that his brother, Nicholas Peter, also fell. But he mustn’t be buried at Groesbeek, perhaps Holten. Would anyone have any information about Jacob’s present day family, that you would be willing to share with me?
February 25, 2020
The recent announcement by the Kenney government to phase out physician compensation for longer 30-minute medical appointments is going to directly impact the oldest, sickest and most infirm. But the weak don’t fight back. Patients with complex, multiple and severe or chronic conditions require special consideration to ensure that one medical intervention does not impact or interfere with other conditions. These patients rely on the skill of a thoughtful and carefully constructed diagnosis and treatment by an engaged and compassionate physician. These physicians deserve to be compensated properly for the extra time they take with complicated clients. If the budget is so tight that we have to put that burden only our most frail, then perhaps those savings could be found by tapping into the $30 million budget of the hapless and incompetent “war room”. Perhaps Kenney’s oil patch friends could fork over a portion of the $173 million they owe in property taxes to rural municipalities. Maybe claw back some of the $500 million in tax breaks to large corporations that ended up in the pockets of shareholders. But what else can you expect from Kenney. Ethics are not his strong point, whether cheating on the UCP leadership, or eliminating election officials who are investigating the election irregularities or the stacking of boards, committees and commissions with cronies regardless of their competencies. I fear there is more to come. Rachel isn’t looking that bad any more.
February 25, 2020
What is the outlook for farming and oil in Alberta? Bleak, I’m afraid to say, unless we look to other sources for jobs. Those of you who read my letters know that I believe the future we want will only come from investing in our citizens. Broadly speaking, that means investing in education and healthcare, not cutting resources to them.
Most of you know that the oil and gas industry is a dying one, but for Alberta it is largely dead. That is because our oil sands production is too expensive and cannot compete with oil and gas production in the US. We missed the “window of opportunity.” Energy intensive farming is, I am afraid, going to follow, as the energy inputs will become more and more expensive while newer farming methods take over. It may take a while, but I suggest that the trend will be unstoppable.
For the past 100 years or more, people have been flocking to the cities, and this trend is not going to stop until most humans will live in large cities. It is not only people who will move, so will farms.
Urban farms, like huge hydroponic operations are popping up everywhere there is a large city. The other factor is the development of manufactured food, like artificial beef and chicken, or any food you can imagine. It’s happening right now and within a few years will be commonplace. A simple chemistry lesson metaphor will explain how.
As a species, we have learned that the universe is, essentially, made up of lego like blocks of hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen atoms were combined into larger lego blocks that make up all the elements that we know today. These small and large lego blocks combined in an almost infinite way, over time, to form everything material we know today, including the trillions of cells that make up each human being. These humans are learning how to build almost anything out of the most elementary of these lego blocks, including any variety of food you can think of.
Those of you reading this know that the speed of change is increasing and will continue to increase. The only resources we have to help us adapt, is human ingenuity, which will only work if we have a healthy, educated population, the opposite of what our government is proposing. Act accordingly.
February 18, 2020
We, as Canadians, often look, with a certain smugness, at those living south-of-the-49th-parallel. They (we say) have so much anger: road rage, school shootings, as well as armed security guards in places of worship, and this is just the top of a list of violence. On Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.), Andrew’s (Anglican) Church, in the company of other churches, will look north of the 49th Parallel to ourselves: First Nations’ and Settlers’ animosity, partner and elder abuse, violence and murder of women and our distance from all that is sacred, even from God. These Christian churches will meet without some of our evangelical sisters and brothers...a rift that remains unhealed. You are invited to look in the mirror of faith and in Jesus: repent by turning away from sin and believe in Christ’s Gospel. As a veteran, I am saddened by the divisions that all too often exist between us and our American allies. As a Christian, our inter-church rivalries are a scandal. I, as a repentant sinner, pray and hope for redemption before these words are spoken over me: “remember Jacques that you are ashes and unto ashes you will return.” I want to do some good and by grace make a difference for the better.
February 18, 2020
Climate change is in the news almost daily now. Scientists and economists are pretty much agreed that climate change is the greatest political, social and economic threat humanity faces. And yet, despite the mountains of evidence, there are still those who refuse to accept the scientific data.
However, at some point it doesn’t matter if some people choose to ignore the scientific reality. The business world has made its decision and is moving quickly. Former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer speaking on CNBC recently said, oil stocks are “in the death knell phase” and added; “We’re starting to see divestment all over the world. We’re starting to see big pension funds say, ‘Listen, we’re not going to own them anymore.…’ The world has turned on [oil stocks]. It’s actually happening kind of quickly.” The world’s largest money management firm, BlackRock, said in January that “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” and that they will exit investments in fossil fuels including thermal coal. The European Investment Bank, the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, stated that, “Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” and added “We will stop financing fossil fuels [after 2021] and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”
The message for Alberta is that our oil industry is the past, not our future. Investors have been leaving the Alberta oil industry and there is nothing any government can do to change that. It’s an economic reality we can’t ignore. This must be a wake up call for Alberta but it doesn’t have to be a message of doom. There is money to be made in the coming economy if we are willing to take the opportunities on offer. Alberta has the people and skills to adapt. The former NDP government was investing in innovation and diversification of our economy to the extent that hasn’t been seen since the days of Peter Lougheed. That was good. Sadly the Kenney government has pretty much swept diversification aside and is all in for oil and gas. Somebody has to tell Mr. Kenney to pull his head out of the sand and read the writing on the wall.
February 18, 2020
I am responding to the article which Murray Green wrote about the issue of Albertans being in debt. I was in that situation around 2015 when I found myself to be in debt over $24,000 to over 12 creditors. I was soon borrowing from more creditors just to cover the payments, which totalled over $2,000 per month, I was sinking very fast deeper into debt.
The suggestions which Murray gave in his article are very good, however, there are some more different solutions to tackling people’s debt.
There is a not-for-profit company known as Money Mentors. This company used to be called The Credit counselors of Alberta, which was a crown corporation. Then the government privatized the whole industry here in Alberta.
Money mentors offers to anyone free financial courses, which can help the average person get out of debt or avoid getting into debt.
This company also offers a program called The Orderly Payment of Debt, which is a court arrangement which places all the person’s debt into one payment with only a five per cent interest added to the debt. The person can pay off the debt over a period of time.
I paid my OPOD off in 42 months instead of 52 months. It is good to be debt free. Mr. Green’s article was very good, however, this is my advice, which I have taken from personal experience.
February 11, 2020
The recent events within the royal family shows that the choice of a marriage is critical. Prince Harry chose the wrong bride. At the time of the wedding, Meghan seemed like an ideal person to lead the way into the future. She was an American from an ordinary middle class background and she was of mixed race. She was seen as opening the royal family to the life of regular people.
How wrong those expectation were. She has led Prince Harry to forsake his duty as a senior member of the family. She seems to have been unprepared for public interest shown by the British press.
She was very different from other members of the family and hence was the subject of much interest. A look at the British press during the lead up to the wedding would have done a lot to prepare her for the onslaught of public interest.
Let us hope that her selfish self interest will not damage the reputation of the royal family.
In this country, some individuals have raised the question of paying for security if the couple wish to live in Canada. Regardless of this decision to drop his right to the designation of His Royal Highness, he is by birth a member of our first family. He is the grandson of our head of state.
Is Canada too cheap to provide security to all members of our first family? If so, we must be the only nation in that category of cheapness.
February 11, 2020
Why do we study history? I suggest one of the reasons must be because it gives us, perhaps, the only view of the future we have.
Historians have told us that while history may not repeat exactly, it certainly rhymes. Why is this so?
We, as human beings, are creatures of evolution. Our brain was designed to keep us alive in the environment that existed 200,000 years ago. That world is long gone, but the changes to our environment which we have created over the past 500 years is very different from the world we were designed to live in. What has not changed is human nature!
Modern science tells us that our body was designed to survive food scarcity, but in the presence of food abundance our current problem is widespread obesity. Similarly, our brain was designed to keep us alive on the savannah, not to be too concerned about the nature of reality.
Therefore, without education and training, we, as a species, are very poor at discerning truth and are easy prey for liars. Our political history has repeatedly showed us that politicians who promised us the sun and the moon will be supported even though those promises cannot be fulfilled.
The websites and the recent American political scene show us that, with the unlimited data we have allowed them to accumulate, they can know us better than we know ourselves. We now know that we can be manipulated to buy things we don’t need and to vote to support economic systems and politicians who do not have our interests at heart. Not only that, but we cheer when they give our joint resources to the rich and take away resources we have allocated to the poor in our society.
Our world is in a crisis and everyone is concerned, but a significant portion of our citizens have no trust in scientific truth. The world we have created, which, for the first time in history, offers a world of abundance, a world that can provide almost all human needs to everyone, was created by scientists, learning that the universe is not as it seems, that the truth of our reality cannot be determined using, so called common sense.
Saying something is true cannot be trusted. It takes work to determine truth and not all of us can determine truth. To choose to believe a self-serving politician over the scientist seems to me to be folly.
February 11, 2020
In view of the current cuts by the Kenney government, the corporate tax breaks that benefit mostly larger more profitable companies, the labour strife that has not yet peaked, and looking at the carnage that may follow with the start of the next Legislative session to public services, I find the following excerpt from the book, Good Economics for Hard Time, written by the 2019 Nobel prize in Economics Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo both interesting and timely.
The need to be “business friendly” to preserve growth may be interpreted, as it was in the U.S. and U.K. in the Regan-Thatcher era, as open season for all kinds of anti-poor, pro-rich policies (such as bailouts for overindebted corporations and wealthy individuals) that enrich the top earners at the cost of everyone else, and has nothing to do with growth.
“If the U.S. and U.K. experience is any guide, asking the poor to tighten their belts, in the hope that giveaways to the rich will eventually trickle down, does nothing for growth and even less for the poor. If anything, the explosion of inequality in an economy no longer growing has the risk of being very bad news for growth, because the political backlash leads to the election of populist leaders touting miracle solutions that rarely work and often lead to Venezuelan-style disasters.”
They also write, “The key ultimately is to not lose sight of the fact that GDP is a means not an end. A useful means, no doubt, especially when it creates jobs or raises wages or plumps the government’s budget so it can redistribute more. But the ultimate goal remains one of raising the quality of life of the average person, especially the worst-off person.”
No economist will or can predict when growth will occur. A good and thoughtful government is one that will ensure that when the growth engine starts again that the population they serve will be healthy, and able to read and write and supported in ways that will maintain the resiliency of the individual to look beyond the current conditions and their own personal circumstances so they will be able to take advantage of better times to come without having to personally bear the burden alone. I’m not sure Kenney’s ideology is capable of providing such thoughtfulness.
February 4, 2020
While I have never lived in central Alberta, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness at the closure of the Lacombe Globe, a truly great community newspaper.
While technology and computers are excellent, there is truly nothing better than getting your hands on one unthumbed newspaper and they help keep communities together, so it is a shame when they die off.
Let’s hope The Camrose Booster stays strong forever.
Rory J. Koopmans,
February 4, 2020
“You can’t wring money from a stone.” That was the response Premier Kenney provided when asked by the Rural Municipalities Association for help with a massive shortfall facing their members. According to the RMA, oil and gas companies owe about $173 million in property taxes to rural municipalities.
This comes after the province sliced property tax assessments for shallow gas producers by 35 per cent last year. That will continue this year.
This comes after the Alberta government trumpeted the addition of 300 RCMP officers in a “partnership” between the province, federal government and rural municipalities. The problem is that the province isn’t providing any money. Instead they are downloading the cost to municipalities. It is unclear how many new officers will go to each detachment. More money doesn’t necessarily mean more boots on the ground.
Larger centres won’t feel the pinch of additional policing costs, but they will be heavily impacted by a 48 per cent increase in the amount of fine revenue the province takes (it was 27 per cent, now 40 per cent). It’s estimated that this will cost the City of Camrose $250,000. Plus the amount of money the province provides municipalities to assist with infrastructure has been reduced as the MSI program is phased out to be replaced by a long term funding framework. This change is being made despite the commitments many municipalities have already made to multi-year capital projects. Alberta’s two largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary signed City Charters with the previous government. Those charters have both been cancelled despite the promise by the UCP to keep them in place.
This is not how a province works. Investors don’t see a jurisdiction ripping up agreements as a stable investing environment.
Further, the financial challenges municipalities are facing may force some to throw in the towel and dissolve.
The UCP government vowed to work together with municipalities if they formed government. Unfortunately, Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu has traded barbs in the media on a regular basis with the Mayors of Edmonton and Calgary. There is a better way to make this relationship work. The Alberta Party would build bridges and strengthen relationships to help all Albertans get through the tough times ahead. Alberta needs a fresh approach.
Kevin Smook, Tofield
Alberta Party Critic for Municipal Affairs
February 4, 2020
In the Jan. 28 edition of the Camrose Booster there ran a story of the threat of closures of a number of small rural schools. For me it’s déjà vu all over again. I was part of a parent group that fought against, and successfully challenged the closure of our small rural school not once, but twice. What were the lessons learned?
Politicians, school trustees, parents and teachers alike; nobody likes the idea of school closures. So why is this always seen as the only alternative. My heart goes out to the trustees as they are in a no-win situation. They serve two masters, the parents who elect them and the minister of education. In that service they are given a limited toolbox in terms of funding. There are the per capita grants that determine not just the education resource, but also infrastructure and maintenance, and transportation. That tool can be supplemented by their power to raise taxes, but it is a very blunt tool and so untenable politically that it is not used. They are not allowed to run in deficit. Their only possible resort is to use the hammer of school closures to balance the books. But they do so mostly ignorant of the consequences of their actions on the communities affected.
In 2014, in our closure fight, we wanted to know what was in store for our community if the school closed. Our own research showed in various studies that showed many undesirable social and economic impacts. We also questioned the per-capita funding model and the assumptions that guide the utilization formula. Even the OECD in their work say that losing a rural school impacts the viability of the entire community. In 2004, in the report called Rural Alberta: Land of Opportunity, it was suggested that government move away from the per-capita funding model. They recommended, “to provide needs-based funding rather than per-capita funding, to ensure quality education within reason and ensure that changes in rural funding formulas are accompanied by a no loss provision and have a growth index equal to real cost increases.”
We commissioned a research prospectus from the Department of Sustainable Rural Communities at Augustana, looking for a retrospective look at the impacts of past school closures. Then Minister Jeff Johnson, to his credit, did commission a study on the impact of rural schools but it failed to look back. Still too many questions.
January 28, 2020
This is just to say thank you for page 21 of the Jan. 14 Camrose Booster that urged citizens to support local business. It is particularly important in these uncertain economic times that you remind us to support our own economy.
And you have shown another reason why The Booster is valuable for our community.
Keep up the good work.
January 28, 2020
According to Mr. Kurek’s column in The Booster, Jan. 14, in which he complains about government deficit spending, the UCP do not seem to understand that money is just the banking records of making and paying back bank loans. The bank records will show that customer accounts are the bank’s liabilities and the promise by the customers to pay back the loans are the bank’s assets which must be kept at a safe margin larger than the account liabilities.
Money is the life blood of our economic system. The UCP policies strangles the money supply, when they object to government deficits. Banking in Canada is highly regulated, so that banks are prevented from loaning so much that it causes a risk to the bank’s ability to pay the customer’s accounts, due to failed loan repayments. So it is incumbent upon individuals, corporations and banks to prevent bankruptcy by keeping assets well above liabilities.
This is good policy for individuals and banks but can be disastrous for governments. This is where the UCP show lack of monetary knowledge. They think governments should behave in the same way as individuals. But when the economy is recessive due to too much borrowing at high interest, the government must step in and borrow to make sure that all important government services, such as health care and education are not interrupted. The government must also make necessary investments, such as in renewable energy when regular investors find the risk too high. Investments that are necessary for society to carry on must be made, even if that causes deficits.
The UCP seem willing to risk the necessities of life to preserve their foolish monetary policies. A prime example of this mistaken policy causing disaster was the great depression of the thirties. The original cause was borrowers expanding the money supply to buy stock that was going up in value. When people realized the mistake, they started selling and the stock and bank loans became worthless. The money supply collapsed and for ten years the conservative government did nothing. They let people starve.
When war threatened the country, a liberal government borrowed all the money needed to fight the war and we have never run out of money since.
January 21, 2020
Why isn’t our “army” trained for disasters?
When dry season is here and you know it’s fire season, they should be sent immediately to help the firemen. Not a month later like Australia.
With the shutting down of the forest industry in B.C., look out. The forests have to be managed so there are breaks: so if a fire starts, it can be stopped.
It’s a repeat every year.
January 21, 2020
Last month, I read in The Booster that St. Mary’s Hospital would be charging for parking. Now it has come to pass.
In my opinion…charging for parking at a hospital is just plain wrong. (The argument that other hospitals do it doesn’t make it right.)
People who go to a hospital generally have larger matters on their minds and to ding them a few bucks for parking just seems petty and cruel. St. Mary’s Hospital (according to its website) “serves with hospitality and compassion.” I’ve seen that inside the walls, but it should be evident outside, too.
Maybe the “parking meter kiosk” could be once again hidden under black plastic bags; it could then serve as a fitting monument to an imprudent decision.
January 21, 2020
The Booster, Dec. 31, has four interesting letters that deserve comment.
A quote from Bonnie Hutchinson: “The voices of anger, incivility, greed, and divisiveness sound louder than the voices of kindness, courtesy, gratitude, and recognition of our common humanity on a small precious planet.” Nothing can be said that would be more true. I would disagree with one common belief, though. Our precious planet is not small. It is huge. It is our universe. To put it in perspective, consider walking across a continent or sailing across an ocean. It is more than big enough to supply all seven billion humans their needs, as well as the rest of nature, if we didn’t waste resources killing each other and would get rid of a cancerous economy based on growth and greed, which now is in the process of destroying the ability of our planet to support life.
Mr. Nelson’s letter is of interest because he reports how our Conservative government was caught in an act of deception. Mr. Doug Schweitzer implied that the provincial government provided $286,000,000 to assist in rural policing, when in fact the money came mostly from rural municipalities, $200,000,000 and the federal government, $86,000,000. It just goes to show, one cannot trust our provincial government to speak truth.
Mr. Lynn Clark’s letter makes no sense at all. But then does Alberta politics make any sense? Clark seems to think that those who earn the most should have the most political power. Unfortunately, due to lobbying that is too much the case as it is. This is why we have democracy, so that the rich are less able to trample on the rights of the less rich. His numbers, we in Alberta earning 37 per cent of the total, but with only 22 per cent of the political power, seems unfair to him. Isn’t this the case for most of the rich, who greedily cling to their riches?
It is a shame that Alberta politicians whine about how Alberta is treated unfairly in Canada, when we Albertans should be happy to live in this great province and be proud to be part of this great country, Canada.
Mr. Ken Eshpeter’s letter is a breath of fresh air when it comes to speaking truth. I was shocked, however, to read how Mr. Arnold Malone has criticized that wonderfully brave and wise teenager, Greta Thunberg.
Arnold Baker, Camrose
January 21, 2020
Unfortunately, the cartoon that was at the very heart of my opinion piece dated Dec. 31 could not be printed due to copyright issues. The cartoon entitled The Milch Cow was sketched by Arch Dale and printed in The Grain Grower’s Guide in 1915, Glenbow Archives NA 3055-24.
Of critical importance is the recognition that the cartoon was printed in 1915 and depicts a dairy cow grazing in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with the udder suspended over Ontario and Quebec being milked by bankers, capitalists and politicians in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
So…during the past 104 years of sending Liberals, Conservatives, CCF/NDP, independents and Socreds to Ottawa, nothing has changed. Preston Manning’s Reform, plus Stockwell Day’s Alliance were permeated with Alt-right evangelicals that proved unable to mitigate western alienation.
Justin Trudeau promised electoral reform... didn’t happen; Stephen Harper promised a major overhaul of equalization payments…didn’t happen. Still waiting for pipelines…So where does the west go from here?
A common sense, political centrist, western Bloc party free from the trappings of ideologues would work if the proposed party could convince logical people to abandon their tribal and partisan roots. The illogicals would probably continue to reside inside their partisan tent.
Perhaps, a draft Brent Rathgeber movement, who was a former MP from St. Albert and who sat as a back-bencher, might appeal to many voters.
January 21, 2020
What is the government waiting for? The international community has pledged a new round of disease prevention through the Global Polio Initiative, but Canada is nowhere to be found. Vaccinations are the cheapest, most effective way to prevent disease and reduce poverty worldwide. Disease and poverty are twin sides of the same coin: someone suffering from measles, malaria or polio or a whole host of other preventable diseases cannot work or support a family.
It makes far more economic sense to fund vaccinations than complex medical services for the sick. The world knows this and most developed nations have already pledged their share of funding. But where is Canada? The election was a long time ago, yet Minister Gould is still missing in action. While the world waits for Canada to act, recent outbreaks of polio and measles show that infectious diseases do not.
Francis Beckow ,
January 14, 2020
Arnold Malone’s guest editorial is worthy of sober second thought.
There is a First Nation’s belief that states: we do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children. Viewed from this perspective, Greta Thunberg and every other youth on earth not only has a right, but a duty to chastise and reprimand previous generations and decision makers for supporting activities that have damaged the planet we all share.
Malone’s criticism of Thunberg’s approach to living lightly on the planet is short sighted. Not everyone needs to be vegan nor only wear used clothing. However, eating less meat and altering individual consumer behavior has the potential for making positive differences for the health of the planet as well as the health of the individual.
Malone’s claim that Canadians need to import citrus as a source of vitamin C in the winter is astonishing. At one time he was the owner of a Saskatoon and strawberry u-pick operation. One of the primary marketing tools for prairie fruit growers is pointing out both saskatoons and strawberries have much higher vitamin C levels than citrus fruits. Instead of using concern for the environment as an opportunity to promote an industry he used to be engaged in, Malone opted to promote citrus farmers from other countries. He also neglected to point out other crops grown in Alberta such as red and green peppers, kale and cabbage all have much higher vitamin C levels than citrus fruits. Supporting buying local helps the environment and the Alberta economy.
As a retired career politician Malone boasts and credits his generation with eradicating disease and lifting many from poverty. He claims this, while we currently face a pending crisis of drug resistant diseases and the gulf between the rich and poor in the developed world has widened since the 2008-09 financial crisis. He uses his own brand of scare tactics by suggesting a return to hunter gatherer societies.
Whether a person embraces a creationist or an evolutionist belief, the hard cold fact is the planet earth is unique in the universe. Each and every one of us has been blessed with the privilege of living on earth and has a duty to treat our shared planet with respect and to consciously consider first and foremost whether our actions bring harm and whether or not altering our consumer behaviors will reduce negative impacts. Our planet needs more Thunbergs.
January 14, 2020
Harry Gaede wrote a response to my article about Greta Thunberg. He took umbrage with my writing and did so with two errors that a trained lawyer and former provincial judge ought not make. He made an assumption and then imputed a motive. He then chastised what he misunderstood. My opening and closing paragraphs were in support of climate action and environmental responsibility. My article was to underscore that children should not be used by powerful advocacy agencies for the purpose of promoting a cause.
It’s a stretch too far to believe that Greta’s sponsors would transport her across an ocean, lodged her in numerous cities on two continents, provided her food, and then not influence the scripting of her words and coaching her delivery.
No doubt Mr. Gaede, whom I know and respect, found it easy to support Greta because—I suspect—he supports her cause. However, consider a different example. I once, in the United States, saw a repeated advertisement based on an incident where a ten-year-old boy took his father’s bedside pistol and shot and killed a home intruder. The boy was featured in TV ads by an organization, and to paraphrase said, ‘Guns in homes makes safer homes.”
I suspect Mr. Gaede would not approve of using a child in that situation. On line I have watched a number of Greta’s speeches in North America and Europe. Some of those speeches have now been removed from viewing. I cannot help but believe that it was professional advocates and not a sixteen-year-old who designed a significant amount of her speech language.
Finally, what happens to Greta when–as I suspect –the advocacy groups find that her value has diminished and she is returned to Sweden. It has been much reported that Greta had a difficulty making friends and was a loner at school. After a year on the world stage does she simply return to school? Does she start in the grade she left? Is someone funding to help her cope after a year of intensive media attention? What pressures will be placed upon her now? My view is: “Advocacy groups, keep your hands off our children.”
formerly of Camrose
January 7, 2020
Arnold Malone’s column in your recent edition seemed to join some others in the criticism of Grethe Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl, who came into prominence over the past year for her action on climate change. “Kill the messenger” is what we say when we hear news we don’t want to deal with.
We, as a society, have known about the danger our over use of the earth’s resources can cause for over 100 years, but have done virtually nothing to alleviate that danger. In 1965, the then president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, brought in legislation on climate change because the science of the day had, correctly warned of the coming potential disaster.
The leaders of the financial and energy markets then declared war on the science and on truth. They took control of both the Republican and Democratic parties and directed them to pass laws that gutted the environmental laws, and, since they now controlled the lawmakers, had legislation passed that enabled them to control the ownership of the technology that allowed the US to become the richest most powerful country in the world. This was technology and wealth, that if used properly, could have saved the world from the mess we now find ourselves in. Instead of investing in education, health care, and climate change, these, mostly all white elderly males, grabbed virtually all the gains in productivity over the past 50 years. They spent billions on propaganda, successfully convincing enough gullible people to believe that science and truth were only “false opinions.” They claimed that the incredible fortunes they gained through these lies would benefit everyone. We know how that story ended.
Yes, Grethe is a girl who does not provide solutions. She could not. What she could do was what she did, that is criticize we adults for blindly accepting the propaganda that “the house is not really on fire.”
Yes, she travelled the world with her message with the help of some concerned adults and used transportation and resources which add to global warming. Everything has a cost. But what about the benefits? I would say she was successful, and I consider her a great hero.
The 2020s maybe a decade of great hope, If we get some political leadership.
January 7, 2020
Photo radar is often criticized by drivers and is no doubt causing some degree of frustration among Camrose residents who see the new photo radar popping up around town. It’s often criticized as a tax grab and something that doesn’t really affect safety.
I think it’s similar to the “sin tax” often levied on things like alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other things that offer short term satisfaction in exchange for long term and societal detriment. It has a two fold benefit: discourage the activity and produce tax revenue. Speeding to get somewhere a minute faster at the risk of increasing accidents sounds like it fits in that category. Speed limits are not pulled out of thin air; they are the product of many expert researchers and city planners figuring out how to effectively facilitate traffic and keep people safe. When we violate them or, obviously, go through red lights, we jeopardize our safety and the safety of those around us.
As a penalty to the speedy individual with a cavalier attitude towards public safety, why not make them contribute a little more to the collective services that benefit all people?
As for discouraging the behaviour, I know that I for one, as someone who got more photo radar tickets than I’d like this year, will be slowing down. It would be advisable for all Camrose residents to do the same: both to increase public safety and to avoid the “tax” of the “speeding sin.”
January 7, 2020
Given that mobile sources (cars, trucks, trains) contribute the vast majority of air pollutants, an estimated shortfall of almost 30,000 long haul truck drivers will occur over the next five years (StatsCan data), long distance transportation by rail is approximately three or four times more energy efficient than long haul trucking, one trainload could replace the equivalent of several hundred long haul trucks, highway/road maintenance is a significant component of municipal and provincial infrastructure spending: wouldn’t it make sense for some political party to advocate for a national transportation plan that would (i) double or triple Canada’s long haul railway capacity, (ii) alleviate looming manpower shortfalls in the trucking industry, (iii) reduce the maintenance costs on highways, (iv) reduce the backlog of shipping grain and other commodities to ports, (v) (probably) meet Canada’s emission targets in accordance with the Paris Climate Accord.
While the carbon tax contributes much needed tax dollars to government coffers; the direct action to reduce pollutants at the source makes more sense than the after-the-fact, illogical strategy of a carbon tax to induce users to curtail fuel use.
After all, we became a Confederation as a result of building railways; why not contribute to rebuilding/upgrading our railway infrastructure to “greenify” Canada and simultaneously, make it more efficient. Perhaps, efficient passenger rail service could even be restored for those who like to travel by train. Transportation costs to achieve this may be high but the indirect costs of not doing it are substantially higher.
August 27, 2019
Miquelon Lake is the essence of the United Nations Beaver Hills Biosphere, for need or greed this lake was drained down by sixteen feet dealing a severe blow to its entire watersheds existence. The University of Alberta’s Alberta Lakes website, read all the Miquelon Lakes, Oliver, Joseph, Ministik, Cooking, Hastings and Beverhill, were proclaimed a bird sanctuary in 1915, so why was Calgary Power allowed to dig a 16 foot drainage diversion ditch in the watershed divide rim of a finite glacial melt lake? (Edo Nyland, This Dying Watershed and the official Park logs) Alberta Environment records show this south draining ditch to the Lyseng Reservoir remained open for 18 years and discharged 48 per cent of the lake’s water. A park sign read “because of high evaporation and low precipitation, the lake level is down 17 feet,” it went on to say the lake is vanishing, turning into land, that sign has been removed.
It appears the Alberta government’s intention is to stagnate this now United Nations Wold Heritage Biosphere’s watershed, their six volume thirteen pounds of information in the 1977 Cooking Lake Area Study to consider importing water to the lakes, failed to disclose the fact that watershed headwaters had suffered this ecoscatastrophe.
Unless Alberta Environment and Parks intends to kill this unique organism, they must start an honest conversation, address the situation with all the pertinent information. Because this is a glacial melt water lake it has no way of regeneration feed water must be returned to this lake’s basin. For over a century water has been drained away from the area via Hay Lakes drainage district, it and the water from the Lyseng Reservoir could be pumped back into Miquelon starting its revitalization process.
Dennis Fenske, Sherwood Park