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Opinion

Could we defer this October 16, 2017 municipal election until 2019?

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What if we had an election and nobody showed up? With voter turn out deceasing, that may happen yet.
We will be having an election on October 16, 2017 and it does appear that it is quite plausible, all the incumbents may run again. There are no indications of any incumbents deciding not to run. Since incumbents have a great advantage, media coverage, name recognition, events, etc., it is quite possible that there may not see any differences on October 17, 2017.
There are a few new comers throwing their hats in the ring, but they are not offering much different, than what we have now. So why vote for a shadow when we can vote the real thing?
In 2010 incumbent Mayor Morris Flewelling won re-election beating Hilary Penko, a relative unknown newcomer, but only with 8,100 to her 6,219 votes. He still won but Hilary Penko, made it a race.
Will we have any semblance of a race in 2017, or should we defer it to 2019?
Why? There are several reasons. The 2019 games will be over in March, the Provincial election will be over in May, and the Federal election will be over in October.
The games would be the final hurrah for some incumbents. The Provincial election will see a united right wing party, and new candidates, with some being municipal incumbents. The Federal election will see at least 2 new leaders, anticipated retirement amongst Federal incumbents, and again a few candidates being municipal incumbents.
So it is possible that after many years the Mayor takes the next step and becomes the MP for Red Deer/Mountview, and a couple of councillors become MLAs, and another one or two just retire after the games. Then we should have our election, which we would have had if they not changed municipal terms to 4 years from 3 in 2013.
The Mayor vacates her seat to be an MP, thus creating a By-election. The result of the By-election a councillor becomes the Mayor forciing another By-election for a council seat. A School board trustee wins a seat on council forcing another by-election for a school board trustee.
So to avoid all these hypothetical by-elections let us hold our municipal elections after the other 2019 events. We could demand a commitment that they not vacate their seats for these reasons.
Another reason to hold off the election is our population. Red Deer did their annual census in 2016 and found that the city shrank in population by 975 residents. They decided not to have a census in 2017 because they needed growth to validate the expenditure, which was highly unlikely. They also deferred any annexation due to lack of growth. Currently there is speculation that the population is still in decline, and we will not know until the census in 2018.
If we had 2017 numbers that showed continued decline the incumbents would have to defend their past decisions that may have contributed to our decline and would have to offer plans to turn it around. Now they can use the Federal Census showing growth over a 5 year span.
If the choice is just between incumbents and their shadows, and no real discussion, debate or distinct proposals on important issues, then defer the election to 2019.
Maybe by then we would see real growth, and not be recognized for our high crime rate, poor air quality, and our discriminatory practices against residents living north of the river.
The Mayor faced a “challenger” in 2010, will there be any real challengers for any incumbent in 2017? I hope so or deferral would be my choice.
Time will only tell, it is still early.

Opinion

We want free trade with everyone but Canadians living in other provinces.

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bc-wine Pipeline
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Free Trade with everyone but ourselves.
Canadians have been hearing a lot of talk about the need for and benefits from free trade with the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Americans. Yah, let’s get it done.
What about free trade within our own country with other provinces?
Not so much.
We have been fighting amongst ourselves over healthcare, education, labour certification, lumber, minerals, water and a thousand other things. The latest is Alberta and British Columbia over oil and wine.
British Columbia with it’s fragile government put up barriers to the twinning of a pipeline, citing environmental concerns. Alberta countered with a ban on British Columbia’s wine.
There is a connection between oil and air pollution but there is also a connection between wine and alcohol related deaths. So is one government more righteous than the other? No, they both looking after the economic well being of their respective provinces.
British Columbia has great dealings with other governments over their energy resources, especially in the north, so they are not so pure in their stance. Alberta will continue to drink their wine, most notably from other countries.
The Federal government is the missing player in this game. They have the power to solve this situation. They can push the pipeline, which they previously approved, through British Columbia’s legal challenge. Will they?
Alberta has not been a supporter of this federal government and British Columbia has shown more support. This government needs British Columbia seats in the next election and will not gain any seats in Alberta in any case.
If they push the pipeline agenda they will be seen as anti-environment and lose seats in British Columbia and possibly in other areas that are environmentally sensitive areas.
If they do not push the pipeline agenda, they may retain their seats in British Columbia but may lose seats in the more right-wing economic sensitive ridings in other parts of the country.
We, Albertans, have been consistent in denouncing the Liberals for everything they have done or said, oftentimes without justification, in the past. We are reaping what we have sown in the political arena, as we wait for the next shoe to drop.
Mr. Trudeau, will push the pipeline agenda, and there will be people who will still complain, drive cars, fly airplanes, heat their homes and drink wine, drive under the influence, or know someone who will die due in some part to alcohol.
Then we will find another provincial barrier to argue about while we clamour for free trade with everyone else. Right?

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Opinion

A rural response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal from a Saskatchewan farmer..

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As a person who lives on a farm in rural sask. I can offer the following insights into rural realities. I only speak for myself and my family. I don’t claim to know what I would or wouldn’t do if I was in the Stanley’s situation, nor if I was in that vehicle with Colton. I hope I never have to find out. I don’t know what life is like on farms in other places, I can’t speak to that.
I can only offer what knowledge I have of rural life…
1. If you live on a farm you are responsible for everything yourself. Snow removal, garbage disposal, water, sewer, security and safety. If your house starts on fire it’s very unlikely that the FD will arrive in time to save it. If you have a heart attack it’s very unlikely that the EMTs will arrive in time to save you. And if your family is attacked it is very unlikely that the RCMP will arrive in time to save you. You are basically on your own. I don’t feel that to say that the Stanleys could have locked themselves in the house and called the police is very reasonable. They weren’t in the house, they were all over the yard. Maybe their door didn’t even lock. Had they been in the house already they may have just hid there like their neighbor did. We can’t know either way. And where I live the earliest RCMP response would be greater than 30 mins. A lot can happen in 30 mins.
2.Anyone who enters a farmer’s property with the intent to steal from or threaten the occupants should be aware of the likely presence of weapons. All of the farmers I know have guns. More than one. Some have many. They aren’t solely or primarily for protection from would be thieves or attackers. some people collect guns, some people enjoy target shooting or hunting. On a farm it is pretty much necessary to have a gun. Where we live there are coyotes, raccoons, cougars, wolves, wild boars etc. An aggressive or rabid animal can attack your family dogs or a beloved animal may be injured or sick and need your mercy. It’s just a rural reality. But a gun can kill people just as easily as animals so everyone should just be aware that on farms there are usually guns.
3. The reasons farmers are easy targets for crime are the very same reasons they are often forced to deal with it on their own. Essentially no effective police response and isolation.
I don’t live in an area with a lot of rural crime. We’ve been robbed before and neighbors have had vehicles stolen and equipment vandalized but I would not say it’s a regular occurrence. Regardless, I have fears. I fear that this far from town someone will get injured or have a heart attack so I have our land location written by the phone and I took CPR. I fear that a snowstorm will take out our power and block our roads so we have a genset and snow moving equipment. I fear that our sewer will back up so we have an alarm and an extra pump. And I fear that if someone came into my yard with the intent or ‘the perceived intent’ to hurt my family the police would be of no help. So we have dogs, and locks on all our doors. And guns. And when guns get involved people can get hurt or killed. My point is we have to take extra precautions for things that urban people are comfortable letting ‘the professionals’ handle. Most farmers, most men actually, will do what they feel is necessary to protect their families and deal with the consequences later. No one wants to be in that position but when you live on a farm you are. You can not depend on anyone else to protect you or save you.
When people are intoxicated their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. And it is safe to say when people are scared their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. It’s very unfortunate that this tragedy happened at all and I feel terribly sad for all involved.

Regan from Saskatchewan

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