Fire preparation

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.
Sheila Faulkner,
Donalda

Hospital parking

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.
John Olson,
Camrose

 

Precious planet

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

Same story

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.
Worthwhile considering?
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Waiting game

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 ,
Victoria, BC

Saving earth

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.
Judy Cucheran,
Ferintosh

Using children

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.”
Arnold Malone,
formerly of Camrose

Young messenger

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.
 Harry Gaede,
Camrose

Photo radar

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.”
David Metcalfe,
Camrose

Need action

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.
Lynn Clark,
Camrose

Miquelon Lake

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