Open Letter to The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
December 8, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
The Fall Economic Statement 2020 references “Building Back Better” on numerous pages of the 237 page text. Upon reviewing Foreword pages iii and iv, the following are referred to as the “down payment on the investments to come”:
- Announcement to plant 2 billion trees over 10 years
- Provide grants to help up to 700,000 homeowners with retrofits
- Continue investments in building zero-emission vehicle charging stations
According to your government’s 2019 election platform “Forward, A Real Plan for the Middle Class”, your original announcement to plant 2 billion trees would create 3,500 seasonal jobs each year.
Per the same platform document, the government was to provide Net-Zero Home Grants of $5,000 to help people purchase newly built, certified zero-emissions homes. According to Smarter Growth Initiative (2018), a zero-emissions home costs about $35/sq. ft. more than a standard home.
Lastly, the government committed to build 5,000 charging stations across Canada, although no timeline or cost was provided. According to Natural Resources Canada (2020), there are 5,386 Level 2 & DC Fast EV charging stations in Canada. As of December 31, 2019 there were 11,937 gasoline stations.
Instead of using taxpayer dollars to prop up the above initiatives, I would suggest the following:
- Fast track all projects currently waiting for approval with the Canada Energy Regulator, with a condition of approval that private sector companies plant 2 billion trees.
- Reduce red tape and promote trade deals that allow foreign firms to bring goods and technology to Canada to drive down construction costs associated with energy efficient homes.
- Expand the Scientific Research & Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program focused on wages paid to research staff who are engaged in improving vehicle fuel efficiency.
Candidate for Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan open letter calling for hope and unity in times of fear and contention
Submitted by Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan
COVID-19, let’s have more hope and less fear
While COVID-19 should be respected, I am concerned there is too much fear, contention and polarization; hope is so much better.
Relying on true principles results in more happiness and better choices, carrying us through challenging times to better days. I know this is true.
One foundational principle of the United Conservative Party is to “[a]ffirm the family as the building block of society and the means by which citizens pass on their values and beliefs and ensure that families are protected from intrusion by government.” I love that.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is intended to protect families from intrusions by government.
When I was studying the Charter in law school, I learned that Section 2 of the Charter recognizes “fundamental freedoms” including freedoms of “association” and “peaceful assembly.”
The freedom of association allows for the “achievement of individual potential through interpersonal relationships”.
What interpersonal relationships allow for more opportunities for “achievement of our potential,” individually or collectively, than in our families?
The freedom of assembly protects the “physical gathering of people”. What physical gatherings are more important than with our own families?
Belonging to, and gathering in, our families are not mere fundamental freedoms, they are also among the highest, most important, expressions of these freedoms.
Families are the fundamental unit of society. More than ever, families need each other and need to be supported.
Section 1 of the Charter requires “minimal impairment”, “rational connection” and “proportionality” between the objective of reducing harms from COVID through public health orders and the harms of imposing limits on the freedoms of families to gather and act in ways to support each other in these challenging times.
I am blessed to be the father of two adult sons and a teenage daughter who I love.
Like many parents, I am concerned about the impact health orders are having on the mental and emotional health of our children.
I feel joy watching my sons become independent of their parents, to seek happiness as they individually see fit.
Yet, like many parents, I see the work and effort of young adults threatened by lockdowns or shutdowns with devasting social and economic consequences.
This ought not to be. Some of the loudest voices calling for more lockdowns or shutdowns, will not lose a penny of pay, while those impacted may lose it all.
No child under 20 has died from COVID-19 in Alberta. A single positive COVID case in a high school should not automatically result in 118 other students sent home to isolate, just because they were in the same classrooms, notwithstanding physical distancing may have been maintained throughout, and notwithstanding a student is in good health and exhibiting no symptoms.
Public health measures require these school children to go home and isolate for up to 14 days, avoiding close contact with household members, including parents, not leave their properties, even for walk, and even if they have no symptoms. For some children, all of this can be very unhealthy. Parents seeking the well-being of their children may be compelled to respond differently.
The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Orders, lockdowns and shutdowns impose long term physical, mental and emotional health costs, especially on our children.
Children should never be made to fear. Truth is an antidote to fear. Truth is a knowledge of things as they are and as they are to come.
Perspective is integral to understanding truth.
Interpreting facts in isolation, or with selective fact emphasis, distorts perspective, allowing fears to take root.
Providing facts in context, with a balanced emphasis, supports healthier perspectives.
Vaccinations are increasing and the observed cyclical incidence of COVID-19 lessens as summer approaches.
Selective fact emphasis should not be used to magnify risk. Media hysteria, and those seeking to leverage a narrative of fear are not serving the truth.
While we should vigilant, fear should not be used as a tool to coerce compliance to restrictions. Great leaders lead in love and inspire hope and the best in those they serve.
Prescriptive approaches used for unhealthy individuals, should not be used for healthy populations. Prescriptive approaches can deny responsible adults the opportunity to make personal judgments appropriate for their own circumstances, their families, and their children.
A principled vision of hope trusts Albertans to govern themselves and their families in respectful ways. We will have more hope, and we will be healthier and happier.
We can love truth and trust that it will prevail.
Heritage Lanes frustrated by province’s decision to continue lockdown measures
For some of us, lockdown measures are an inconvenience. Wearing a mask and standing in a line (longer than usual) may be the way we remember this period (if it ends that is). Meanwhile, others wish they could just have a chance to open their businesses. They wish they could allow people with masks to come in. They wish they could rush around with sanitizer cleaning up after customers. Even if there aren’t as many allowed in as usual. That’s the case for a favourite local bowling alley in Red Deer. Here’s how Heritage Lanes reacted to this weeks announcement that lockdown measures would continue despite the fact there are under 300 people in hospital with COVID in the province of Alberta. For now Heritage Lanes remains closed, hoping they will somehow hold on until people are allowed to bowl again.
To all those suffering the loss of a loved one or worried about the potential threat of COVID 19 to your life, we feel for you. And to all those who are restricted from attempting to (protect and to) serve your customers and earn a living for yourself and your employees, we feel for you too.
Here’s a message from Heritage Lanes
To all our Valued Customers and Friends,
There’s another way to end the pandemic. Doctors can knock covid out with treatment
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