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Making Your Opinion Known:  To Petition or Not to Petition?


8 minute read

We all see the petition campaigns on Facebook.

“Sue Smith” has just signed to support a Ban Plastic Single Use Straw Campaign..She wants you to help.  Click here to let the Canadian Government know you want them banned.

Online petitions do work, they gather thousands and sometimes millions of signatures from well meaning people who want to see the right thing done for the right reasons.  However, over the last week I have noticed something that demands a closer look., CitizenGo,org, GoPetition, SumOfUS and iPetition are just a few of the companies whose primary goal is to allow citizens to make their concerns known around the world.  To be fair, there are many great causes that have been advanced by these platforms for democracy, but as noted, they are not all created equal.

We should look for a couple of things when we consider signing on the digital line.

Firstly, what happens to our well-intentioned electronic signature?

Your signature and information is used by the petitioner, but after that it may be sold as part of an electronic mailing list to target you with unsolicited offers and other related petitions.  You may get spam related to retail, political and social campaigns and newsletters.

Secondly, what is the petition for and what other causes do they espouse?

I will use the SumOfUs example.

I am a Canadian and SumOfUs has had some good campaigns, but this week I was caught aback by back to back requests.

The first one is aimed at the TD Bank and states the following:

MASSIVE NEWS — thanks to your pressure over the last two years, TD Bank just announced it is pulling the plug on fossil fuels and going net-zero by 2050.

This win is a testament to the strength of our people powered movement to combat climate change.

In 2019, TD executives underestimated the power of our movement and relayed to me that a plan to defund fossil fuels just wasn’t possible before 2050.

But thanks to all of the hard work of SumOfUs members like you over the past two years, TD executives JUST announced a plan to move away from funding fossil fuels.

I think this is an atrocious announcement and signals to me that the TD Bank has bought in to Agenda 21 and 2030/2050 from the UN of which Climate Change AND Net Zero are tenets.

Why would I, as a citizen of Alberta who benefits from the Oil Industry, continue to support this group?

Another one that caught my attention was aimed at Big Tech and their censorship and its influence on the Republican view on the election…In specific, censorship of

Joe Biden has won the US Presidency — but not on social media.

Tech giants like Facebook and YouTube have created toxic algorithms that push people to extreme content, littered with hate speech and lies. It’s one of the ways groups spreading election disinformation are able to grow by the tens of thousands in a matter of hours.

But massive pressure forced the tech giants to take new measures to slow the spread of disinformation — and evidence suggests they worked. This shows us the platforms *can* act if we force them to.

So let’s keep up the pressure on the tech platforms now more than ever, to stop disinformation and detox their algorithms. Join the call and share this widely!

Tell Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: stop the spread of disinformation — detox your algorithms!

But our community has been relentless with our pressure on the platforms, and we’re finally seeing them act — with Facebook reducing the reach of pages and groups spreading election disinformation, and Twitter labeling Trump’s disinformation over a dozen times and counting.

Thirdly, if for instance, SumOfUs promotes such petitions, it should not be too difficult to ascertain who their masters are.  By supporting such corporations, we are supporting the Soros and Gates of this world and their agendas.

Fourthly, every petition company uses two strategies to generate income and to extend their influence.  They ask you to share on social media that you support their effort and they ask for a donation to help them meet targets.  Share and you may help, but more likely you have just given them one more signee and funder to target.

Fifthly, do online petitions really help?

If we believe the emails, they do indeed often help a special interest group in their lobby or get an issue noticed by a social media audience.  There is also the claim that an online petition got Trump banned from Britain as well.  However, getting a specific message out to a large corporation is difficult and this is just one tool.  Often these are just phishing expeditions but targeted audiences do impact decisions.

Sixthly, are the causes legitimate?  The death of George Floyd was unfortunate but the petition that followed changed history.  Most people are not aware that many other coloured men died that day from police activity as well.  The violence that followed in the days afterward may have been avoided by the attention drawn to the issue by the petition.

Lastly, if you are truly concerned about an issue or special interest group, by all means sign the petition, then send real letters, phone, send emails, demonstrate or ask hard questions.  Often companies do not understand the impact of their policies and can change.  Make your voice heard.

Photo by Jeff Stokoe

Locally, in my protection of history, I had stated a petition to protect and save Red Deers oldest building (1899) and over the course of a month had garnered close to 400 signatures.  During the process, others helped by manning tables and getting signatures.  In the end, we did not save the building, but did manage to change official policy and make international news.  You never know what your actions will do if you empower people and value their opinions.

Petition organizer tries to save historic Red Deer hotel | CBC News

The silent man loses every argument and those who rustle the bushes have a chance of changing the landscape one leaf at a time.

Get involved but be cautious.


Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Open Letter to Premier Jason Kenney

January 13, 2021


Red Deer – Mountain View, AB

On December 13, 2020, thousands of small business owners, including barbershops and salons, were once again forced to close their doors. Little information has been provided to these businesses to justify the reason for the closures.

To date there have been no reassurances provided to indicate if current health measures, which were extended from January 11th to the 22nd, will be repealed next week.

As a result, many barbershops and salons have unilaterally decided to reopen at this time. This has resulted in a closure order and threat of fines for one business owner in Innisfail.

These small business owners have done everything the government has requested in order to operate in a safe manner. They have been understanding but are looking for the government to provide clarity.

Yesterday, on the Danielle Smith Show, you stated that to date, Alberta has not traced one case of COVID-19 to a barbershop or salon. This should be reason enough to keep these businesses open.

After the MLA travel scandal, you have consistently supported the efforts made by the airline industry to provide a safe environment for its customers. It is apparent that the same can be said for the personal services industry.

Arbitrary shutdowns are continuing to fuel division within this province. Businesses who wish to reopen in a safe manner should be able to do so. Those who wish to attend these businesses understand and accept any risk in doing so. I urge you to provide clarity to small business owners by the end of the week.

WestJet might be too big to fail. Please don’t consider small businesses too small to matter.


Jared Pilon

Candidate for Red Deer – Mountain View, AB

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Since 2018, Alberta lost 5.1% employment, Calgary gained 1% employment, Red Deer lost 18.2% employment

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2021 is an election year. The municipal election will be in October and a federal election is also expected. No provincial election is expected but with the Premier’s ratings sinking to as low as 16% in some polls before vacationgate, it might also be in the works.

Politics has turned up some things to think about. In the USA Donald Trump has given doubts to blind loyalty to a leader, with dire circumstances. Republicans everywhere are starting to regret keeping their leader in office.

Vacationgate here in Alberta have turned up more things to think about. We have too many elitists, silent seat-warming, self-serving politicians who believe they are above the people they were elected to serve. While we are missing birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, trips, holidays with family, friends and others at the request of our elected officials, they, themselves, traveled around the world. These silent invisible politicians took our trust and spit on it before crushing it under their heels.

Statscan recently reported that Alberta has lost 5.1% of workers since 2018. The politicians will scream it is the world oil glut and low prices that destroyed Alberta’s job market, but Calgary, Alberta’s oil capital actually saw an increase in jobs of 1%, Edmonton lost 7% and Red Deer has lost 18.2%.

Unemployment rate was reportedly down to less than 10% but I had a nice knowledgeable person explain to me that is because they are not collecting employment benefits because they ran out and others who have simply stop looking for jobs.

Perhaps it is time to look for new blood in our political arenas. A new generation of thinkers and doers. There are some younger people in politics after all the median age in Red Deer is 39.5 years of age, half the population is 40 and older so 40 does seem young. But if you spent your entire adult life in politics then 40 is not young. I once asked about Red Deer; ” Do all we do is build houses and ice rinks?” We do get funding from all levels of governments for ice rinks, but try building a swimming pool.

If Red Deer’s median age keeps rising we will see less need for ice rinks and more need for pools.

So is it possible to get out of the rut of rewarding the old guard, the same parties, the same inner circle that tend to look inwards for answers rather than outwards.

How can we grow if we repeat the same program. Remember there is a difference between having 15 years experience and repeating the 1st year 15 times. Does it matter if we have 12 or 13 ice rinks? Would it matter more if we had the only 50m pool? Can we not at least think about it? Why can’t our silent federal and provincial political representatives find funds for more than ice rinks and sports events?

It takes a village to raise a child, it takes the co-ordinated effort of all levels of governments to help our city stop declining. It takes looking outward, beyond the privileged inner circle to find solutions.

We lost 18.2% of workers in 2 years, can we afford 2 more years without change. We talk about diversification, but someone keeps saying we are an oil and gas city. When I ask about capitalizing on ongoing projects, I have been told things like, we looked at it years ago, and thought it was too expensive. It does not matter that things become cheaper and more efficient these days, but we looked at it once and that’s good enough.

For example I asked about the success of cities putting turbines in their water systems to create power. Red Deer is pumping millions of litres of waste water into the river everyday, so I asked about running it over turbines to create some power, and I was told they looked at it many years ago and thought it was too expensive. I was not talking about $100 million dollar turbines but something smaller. Remember that movie where a boy saved a village by hooking his bicycle light generator to a windmill to irrigate the crops. Could we do something in between?

We lost so much, is it time to rethink our politics? Look beyond parties, look beyond incumbency, look beyond age and look for someone willing to move forward for us.

Red Deer has lost 18.2% of it’s workers since 2018, population has only increased by 195 since 2015, I think it is time look beyond the few and look at the whole. Just saying.

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january, 2021

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