“It’s going to be OK!” Sweet message of hope from one small business to all the others
This message from the owner/operator of “Sweet Capone’s” has started to circulate in Central Alberta.
It captures the essence of the struggle facing all small businesses today.
It’s worth sharing with all those you know who are fighting to keep their business alive when they may not be able to flip the sign from “closed” to “open”.
I have often wondered what it was like for my grandparents and great grandparents. To have lived through, and endured the struggles that a world war presented. It couldn’t have been easy – to navigate the waves of fear and to not succumb to the panic that creeps in when uncertainty hits. They had to ration food and other goods. Here in Canada and living in the middle class of society no less, I am beyond fortunate. Emergency rationing of food and other items is not something I have ever had to do.
I also have not had to experience the painful dread of knowing that one, or all of my sons would be drafted and shipped off to fight in a war – when they are barely old enough to shave…. and never knowing if it would be the last time I would get to hold them close.
I also have not known a society where most of the male figures are away fighting or deceased, and women are left to keep things going on the homefront – both in and out of the home.
I have not known the terror of a dictatorship, and with it, have had all of my rights and freedoms completely stripped away. I have not known annihilating persecution, segregation and the many unspeakable horrors that many cultures have experienced in the face of war. Even to this day.
I have not lived through obliteration where my home and everything I valued has been demolished and torn apart.
I have not known these things. But what I do know is this: previous generations survived all of these things and went on to create a society in which they thrived. Expanded. Flourished. They must have, or else you and I would not be here otherwise. Our previous generations have shown us that weathering adversity produces good fruit. Opportunities open up where they once did not exist. Weaknesses are identified and stronger solutions are put in place. New inventions and ideas sprout fourth and become endearing to our way of life. We identify what we can live with – and conversely, what we can live without. We develop a deeper sense of appreciation through loss, and draw closer to one another in times of strife.
A dear friend of mine said today, “history is like a pond. Ripples only exist on the surface and get harder to detect with distance.” I think he is so right. We forget what previous generations went through and did for us when we allow fear to send us running in the opposite direction.
That pond? Those ripples? They didn’t just start on their own. Our grandparents and the generations before them, they jumped into the water. They dove into it, perhaps even head first! And when they did that, they sent out ripples of resilience, determination and strength that would one day reach us. If we stop running in fear and instead turn around and dip a toe in those calming waters, something amazing will happen. We will be refreshed, renewed and repurposed. And even greater still, we will create ripples of our own that will serve as messages of hope for all the generations to come after us.
As for us here at Sweet Capone’s, we will stay open and are happy to serve you in any capacity until we are unable. We love you, believe in you, and can’t wait to see the ripples that we will produce together when all is said and done!
Stay safe and see you soon!
Love Carina and Joel Moran (owners)
Canada under pressure to produce more food, protect agricultural land: report
A field of wheat is pictured near Cremona, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. Canada’s agricultural land is under increasing pressure as demand for food grows domestically and internationally while the industry grapples with limited resources and environmental constraints, a new report found. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Rosa Saba
Canada’s agricultural land is under increasing pressure to produce more food as demand grows domestically and internationally, while the industry grapples with limited resources and environmental constraints, a new report found.
“We need to grow more food on less land and in a volatile climate,” said Tyler McCann, managing director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.
The report by the institute released Thursday looks at the pressures on Canada’s agricultural land to produce more food while also mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, said McCann.
Despite Canada being a big country, it doesn’t have as much agricultural land as people might think, said McCann, with the report noting that agricultural land makes up only around seven per cent of the country.
Because of that, we can’t take what we do have for granted, he said. “We need to be really thoughtful about how we are using our agricultural land.”
In 2020, Canada was the eighth largest country in terms of cropland area, the report said, with that cropland decreasing by seven per cent over the previous two decades.
Canada is a major producer and net exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, the report said, exporting $91 billion in products in 2022, and one of the top 10 exporters of wheat, canola, pulses, pork and beef.
In the coming years, Canada will face increased demand from countries whose populations are growing, the report said.
“With population growth on one side and climate change on the other, Canada will be amongst an increasingly smaller number of countries that is a net exporter,” said McCann, noting that Canada’s own population is growing, and farmland also needs to be protected against urban sprawl.
The wildfires clouding Canadian skies this week are a “vivid reminder” of the pressure that extreme weather and the changing climate are putting on the agricultural sector, said McCann.
“We need to clearly mitigate … agriculture’s impact on climate change. But we also need to make sure agriculture is adapting to climate change’s impacts,” he said.
One of the ways the world has responded to demand for increased agricultural production over time is to create more agricultural land, in some cases by cutting down forests, said McCann. But that’s not a viable option for Canada, which doesn’t have a lot of land that can be sustainably converted into farmland — and even if it could, doing so could have a variety of adverse environmental effects, he said.
Some of the practices used to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in agriculture can also improve production output on existing farmland, the report found, such as precision agriculture and no-till practices.
However, intensifying the production of current agricultural land also comes with potential environmental downsides, the report said.
For example, McCann said fertilizer is an important part of sustainable agriculture, but there’s a balance to be struck because excessive use of fertilizer can quickly turn food production unsustainable.
“We need to be a lot more thoughtful about the inputs that we’re using,” he said, adding the same can be said about the use of technology in agriculture and the policies and programs put in place to encourage sustainable intensification of Canadian agriculture.
The report recommends that Canada adopt policies that provide financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers and develop regulatory frameworks promoting sustainable land use, as well as promoting education and awareness campaigns, so that the country can “ensure the long-term sustainability of its agricultural sector while protecting the environment.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.
WestJet to wind down budget airline Swoop, integrate it into main operation
WestJet will wind down its Swoop subsidiary by late October as it integrates the budget carrier’s operations into its main banner, the airline said Friday.
The move comes after pilots with the two airlines ratified a new collective agreement that brings them onto a level pay scale.
WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said he mulled keeping Swoop separate, but that higher wages for its flight crews made the option less realistic.
“We were prepared for both possible outcomes, and then decided that, provided the overall didn’t make sense, we’re actually ready to integrate Swoop into the mainline business,” von Hoensbroech said in a phone interview from WestJet’s Calgary headquarters.
Each trip by planes in the carrier’s 180-plus fleet will offer a portion of ultra-low-cost fares by Oct. 29, the day after Swoop ceases to fly, he said.
“We are actually broadening our ultra-low-cost reach to a much, much broader network than we could have ever covered with Swoop. So therefore we actually see this as an advantage and as an increased footprint for the ultra-low-cost offering in Canada.”
Pilots of WestJet and Swoop secured a 24 per cent hour pay bump over four years under a deal agreed on tentatively last month that narrowly averted a strike.
Bargaining came down to the wire, with WestJet cancelling more than 230 flights in preparation for job action before a deal was reached hours ahead of the strike deadline on May 19.
Competition for budget airfares has grown in recent years, particularly in Western Canada, as upstarts Flair Airlines and Lynx Air challenged Swoop for market share on key routes.
“The market has become pretty competitive,” von Hoensbroech said, but insisted Swoop’s integration strengthens its grip on discount offerings, rather than marking a retreat.
The company said no layoffs are expected from the integration, with all Swoop employees slated to move to the mainline.
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