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After having worst air in Canada, will Red Deer take painful steps to clean our air?

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Alberta on track to have worst air quality in Canada

Red Deer has worst pollution in province, while 4 other regions close to exceeding national standards

According to CBC News. Sept. 2015

Alberta is hoping to relieve Red Deer of a less than prestigious title. The central Alberta city, for years, has had the worst ambient air quality in the province.

Industrial activity and vehicle emissions had pushed Red Deer’s ozone and fine particulate matter levels above national standards going back to 2009.

The Alberta Motor Association will continue driver education with an aim of reducing practices like idling, that increase emissions.

 

Red Deer outlined a series of actions the city was taking to address the issue following the September report, including buying 30 per cent of its energy from green sources and expanded public transit options, among others.

Nancy Hackett, who heads up environmental initiatives for the city, says they have been trying to improve the situation.

 

“I think what the report does is tell us something that we needed to know,” she said.

 

“It’s information that we need to be aware of to protect our community and protect our quality of life here. So I think it’s very important information that city residents and regional residents need to be aware of so that we can make changes and we can protect our air quality.”

The government said a scientific study looking into the cause of the air pollutants is currently underway, and people living in the Red Deer area, industry stakeholders and the provincial energy regulator will be consulted. That plan is expected to be complete by the end of September and will take Red Deer’s geography and air patterns into consideration.

As part of the plan, Phillips said the government will:

  • Review technology that could be used to reduce emissions.
  • Review whether polluters in Alberta are meeting national standards.
  • Look at other ways to reduce emissions, for example, ways to curb vehicle emissions.

The Pembina Institute, non-profit think tank focused on clean energy, was quick to follow up with its own statement about the air quality results, saying the report shows the need for a provincewide pollution reduction strategy.

“This new report adds to the mounting evidence that Alberta needs to reduce air pollution across the province. Measures that will produce more rapid results are also needed in the numerous regional hot spots identified by the report,” said Chris Severson-Baker, Alberta’s regional director at the Pembina Institute.

“The report shows that, unless emissions are cut, most of the province risks exceeding the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter. This places an unacceptable burden on people’s health and on the environment,” he said.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has also weighed in on the report, saying it is “dismayed, but not surprised” by the findings.

“This calls into question the pervasive belief that the clear blue skies of Alberta foster clean air, safe from the pollutants better known from smoggier climes,” said Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency room doctor and member of the association.

The removal of the Molly Banister Extension means 1,000s of cars every day traveling 4 extra kilometres.  (32 Street has 23,500 cars per day. If only 14 %or 3,290 cars per day or 1,200,850 cars per year reduced their mileage by 4 kms. That will mean 5 million less kilometres driven in a year. That is just 32 St. How about 19 St. That is now at pop.100,000 what about at 180,000 or more? )Not building the Molly Banister extension, will only make our air more polluted, not less. How many cars would have to stop idling to counter all those cars traveling 4 extra kilometres unnecessarily? Just asking.

Environmentalists have you given this any thought?

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Frontier Centre for Public Policy

They spent $8,000,000 without putting one shovel in the ground

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Brian Giesbrecht

That’s how much money the Kamloops Band spent on…..exactly what we have no idea. If you remember, that indigenous band claimed that the people running the local residential school had, for unexplained reasons, secretly buried 215 of the students under their care. They had no evidence that would have stood up in any court in the western world to back up that highly unlikely claim. But the federal government immediately gave them $8,000,000 to……well, that’s the mystery. What did they spend that money on? They have not put one shovel in the ground, but apparently they have somehow spent the $8,000,000 of taxpayers’ hard earned money. It was claimed that the money would be used to uncover the “heartbreaking truth”. But the only heartbreaking truth seems to be the complete waste of tax dollars.But it gets worse. A whole lot worse.

Because the Trudeau government- in addition to lowering the flag for six months, and performing teddy bear pantomimes in community ceremonies – then went on to promise not just $8,000,000, but $320,000,000 – to any other indigenous community that wanted to make similar claims.

It should come as no surprise to any sentient being that dozens of poor indigenous communities immediately took the bait and claimed the prize.

So, the result is that hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent somehow. But with no graves found. In fact, none have even put a spade in the ground.

Well, that’s not completely correct. The Pine Creek community in Manitoba was absolutely convinced that the stories about indigenous children dying under sinister circumstances, and being secretly buried under the local church, must be true. After all, they had all heard those stories.

The stories weren’t true. Excavations went ahead, and what was found? Stones.

The stories about priest murders and secret burials are just that. Stories. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars that should be spent on useful endeavours – like providing better health care for indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians – are being wasted. Rural paramedic services are being constantly cut back, for example. How many rural residents- indigenous as well as non-indigenous- will die from heart attacks because the paramedics were simply too far away from them to get them to the hospital in time to save their lives.There’s no money to improve rural medical services because millions are being wasted searching for phantom “missing children” and “unmarked graves”?

Canadians are beginning to wake up to the fact that they have been had. Somebody is getting rich on all of this government largesse. But it’s not poor indigenous Canadians. They remain stuck on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. And medical and other essential services go wanting, because of this complete waste.

So, are there people in “unmarked graves”?

Absolutely. Billions of them in fact. This planet is basically one huge graveyard. The number of marked graves, with headstones naming the person interred, is a tiny fraction of the billions of people who have died on this planet.

Are the remains of some of the children who died from disease while attending residential school in unmarked graves? Absolutely. For that matter, so are the remains of many of the children who attended day schools, or no school at all in unmarked graves. There is nothing sinister about this fact of life. It simply means that the families of those children did not keep up the graves and cemeteries where the children were interred. (The vast majority of children who died while enrolled in residential schools are buried on their home reserves). This is not a criticism of those families. In fact, some of those families might have died out, and cemetery upkeep became impossible. Others just had different priorities.

So, what we have is just a sad fact of life. Many children died of diseases a hundred plus years ago who would not have died today. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. And indigenous children died in much greater numbers, for many different reasons. Tuberculosis, in particular, was a major killer of indigenous people.

In fact, tuberculosis is still 290 times higher in the indigenous community than in the mainstream community.

But the fact that death from disease was so much higher in the indigenous community than in the non-indigenous community has nothing to do with residential schools. It has nothing to do with the people running the schools, many of whom devoted their lives to working with indigenous people.

So, we come around to the question – why is $320,000,000 being spent to find the long lost burial places of children, simply because their families decided – for reasons of their own – to not keep up their gravesites? Because it is not true that there are thousands of “missing children” as alleged. Rather, as Professor Tom Flanagan puts it, in “Grave Error”, there are thousands of “forgotten children”. And as the special interlocutor, Kimberley Murray puts it, “These children are not missing, they are buried in local cemeteries”.

Perhaps that’s the reason that Murray’s upcoming National Gathering on Unmarked Burials has been postponed. Because there is nothing to say. Her six figure salary, and those of all of her staff and associates – to say nothing of the $320,000,000 that has been spent – somehow – on searching for phantom graves and phantom “missing children” – could have been better spent on the real needs of living children.

We are approaching the three year anniversary of the Kamloops claim that 215 children from the local residential school had been somehow killed and secretly buried in the apple orchard on the school grounds. There was no good reason to believe that highly improbable claim in the first place. It was only the foolish and emotional reaction of the Trudeau government, and the incompetence of the media that persuaded Canadians that they should take that nonsensical claim seriously in the first place.

It is time to get back to sanity. Treat those who claim – with no real evidence – that priests murdered and secretly buried children – exactly the same way that we treat those who claim that the Martians have landed, or that aliens have abducted their mothers.

Be polite. But don’t finance their delusions.

Brian Giesbrecht, retired judge, is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Recycling Coaches In The NHL

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“The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know, the world will tell you.” Carl Jung

As long as you’re willing to re-locate frequently the job of NHL head coach has a fair degree of job security. Even when you get fired it seems there’s a ready appetite in some other town for a skill set you have just failed at.

Latest evidence that failure has an I and U in it: Having canned Sheldon Keefe after a lengthy (note: sarcasm) five years at the helm of the Toronto Maple Leafs, club management scoured the bushes to find former player Craig “Chief” Berube, who has previously hung his coaching shingle in Philadelphia and St. Louis, where he won a Stanley Cup as an interim coach.

Chief wasn’t the glamour name (we were praying for Bruce Boudreau.). If the idea is how do the Leafs motivate their four mega-millionaires, he’s more like Mike Babcock than Sheldon Keefe. He won’t look at players’ cell phones, but he will give them that old-time religion. Knowing Chief from his Calgary days we’d say he can probably take the Toronto fishbowl.

(For those with long Leafs’ memories Berube was part of a famous trade in 1992 to which we devote an entire chapter in our new book Deal With It. He went west to Calgary while Doug Gilmour headed east to Toronto in the massive 10-man trade. While the Leafs “won” the trade, only the maligned Gary Leeman and journeyman Jamie Macoun won Cups– for teams other than Calgary and Toronto.)

But we digress. Sometimes it seems that NHL teams would rather lose with a known commodity than win with someone bold and unconventional behind the bench. While almost 30 percent of NHL players are European there have only been two European heads coaches, none in the past 20 years. Why? NHL owners are risk averse. And the league is a fraternity of forgiveness for guys you played junior with.

A brief ramble through the 2023-24 coaching roster shows several peripatetic bench bosses, led by the inimitable John Tortarella, who wore out his welcome in Vancouver, Tampa Bay, NY Rangers and Columbus before Philly curiously decided he had something left to offer. Let’s also not forget Lindy Ruff, who was pink slipped in Buffalo, Dallas, New Jersey and the NY Rangers— and now has been resurrected in Buffalo as a “fresh voice”.

Some retreads are getting results. Peter Laviolette has the Rangers into the third-round of the 2024 postseason, after gigs in Carolina, Philadelphia, Nashville, Washington (pause for breath) and the NY Islanders. Paul Maurice, currently guiding Florida in the playoffs, has had two stints with Carolina, plus Toronto and Winnipeg. Peter DeBoer, whose Dallas Stars are odd-on faves to with the 2024 Cup, has also coached Florida, San Jose, New Jersey and Vegas.

You want more? Rick Tocchet was head coach in Arizona and Tampa Bay before getting the perch in Vancouver. Travis Green, newly hired in Ottawa, has previously been found wanting in Vancouver and New Jersey. We could go on.

The king of the coach-for-life carousel is the just-retired Rick Bowness who finally called it a day in Winnipeg after the Jets were eliminated this spring. How long has Bones been knocking around? He was the coach of the expansion Ottawa Senators in 1992, one the worst five teams ever by NHL standards. Wonderful man who also spent stints as an assistant in cities in 30-plus years around the continent.

There are more. Sitting in the green room, polishing their pregame speeches are the well- travelled Boudreau, Dallas Eakins, Gerard Gallant, Todd McLellan, Claude Julien and Mike Yeo. Heaven forbid someone might still ask one of the Sutters to saddle up again. Brian (St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Calgary), Darryl (Calgary, L.A., Anaheim, San Jose and Calgary again) and Brent (Calgary, New Jersey) have been perennial NHL coaching prospects for decades.

So take, heart, Sheldon Keefe. Joining Keefe in looking for a rebound job are Scott Arniel, Jeff Blashill, Jeremy Colliton, Kevin Dineen, Phil Housley, Kirk Muller, Davis Payne, Todd Reirden, Joe Sacco, Brad Shaw, Geoff Ward and Trent Yawney. Good company.

Don’t cry too hard for these coaching candidates. Unless they have years left on contract (Keefe has two) most wait out the time between head-coaching stints by accepting assistant-coach positions. The ranks of assistants contain a second tier of talent, also ready to go at a moment’s notice.

There are a scant few who’ve hung on in one town. Jon Cooper has been in Tampa since 2013, a Methuselah stint in today’s terms. Rod Brind’Amour has managed to avoid the chop in Carolina since 2018. But the reality is that, since the start off the 2023-24 season alone, there have been 13 head-coaching changes in the NHL. Go back to January of 2023, and 19 of the league’s 32 teams have changed coaches.

Which brings us back to the original idea: “Is there no one in international hockey who knows anything?” We won’t profess to be coaching talent scouts, but the idea that no one working outside North America can meet the job description better than some— if not most—of the coaches mentioned above beggars the imagination.

One final note: If you’re looking for an explanation of the coaching carousel and its recent frequency, look no further than Gary Bettman and his salary cap obsession. By forcing a hard cap on teams he’s concentrated the money— and the power— on a few players per team. When a coach is pitted against his stars it’s a no-win proposition.

The Leafs stars used their power to get Babcock fired. And it’s been repeated on other teams. While Keefe didn’t lose his Core Four he also couldn’t get them to win in the postseason. For that he got the chop— and a premium place in the next coaching carousel.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Now for pre-order, new from the team of Evan & Bruce Dowbiggin— Deal With It: The Trades That Stunned The NHL & Changed Hockey. From Espo to Boston in 1967 to Gretz in L.A. in 1988 to Patrick Roy leaving Montreal in 1995, the stories behind the story. Launching in paperback and Kindle on #Amazon this week. Destined to be a hockey best seller. https://www.amazon.ca/Deal-Trades-Stunned-Changed-Hockey-ebook/dp/B0D236NB35/

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