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New Zealand is planting a Trump Forest. Canada should plant Trump Trees. To offset Trump’s climate policies.

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Would you pay for a tree to offset Trump’s climate policies? New Zealand “Trump Forest” project gains 120,00 pledges.  It’s Canada’s turn, let us plant or support the planting of “Trump Trees”.

Why?

US President Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of human-caused climate change. He wants to ignore one of the greatest threats to healthy life on Earth.
Trump wants to bring back coal despite scientists telling us we cannot afford to burn it, and despite economists telling us there’s more money to be made and more jobs available in renewable energy.

So a New Zealand group is planting a forest to soak up the extra greenhouse gases Trump plans to put into our atmosphere.
They say they are planting a global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity.
This is not a fund raiser. They want people to go to nurseries or a charity and donate a tree or seedling in the president’s name and send a copy of the receipt to them to go on the list.

Canadians could do this. Plant or sponsor a planting of a Trump Tree and start a list. New Zealand started in a big way and have hit over 130,000 trees in their “Trump Forest” in, the last 6 months.

I noticed there are lots of non-profit charitable organizations involved with planting trees for as little as a dollar. They are worthy causes, and if my loonie donated in Trump’s name makes a point, I’m in.
Planting a tree is a good thing in any case and if it helps raise awareness to call it a “Trump Tree” I will do it.
Now how do I get started? Who do I call? Trump Busters?

I will start with checking out Treecanada.ca, earth day.org. alivingtribute.org and see where that goes.  I might stop by a local nursery and ask, buy a seedling and plant a Trump Tree in my yard.  You?

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Community

SPARC Red Deer – Caring Adult Nominations open now!

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Red Deer community let’s give a round of applause to the incredible adults shaping the future of our kids. Whether they’re a coach, neighbour, teacher, mentor, instructor, or someone special, we want to know about them!

Tell us the inspiring story of how your nominee is helping kids grow up great. We will honour the first 100 local nominees for their outstanding contributions to youth development. It’s time to highlight those who consistently go above and beyond!

To nominate, visit Events (sparcreddeer.ca)

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Addictions

‘Harm Reduction’ is killing B.C.’s addicts. There’s got to be a better way

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Susan Martinuk 

B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy

Since 2016, more than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid drug overdoses — almost as many as died during the Second World War.
Governments, health care professionals and addiction experts all acknowledge that widespread use of opioids has created a public health crisis in Canada. Yet they agree on virtually nothing else about this crisis, including its causes, possible remedies and whether addicts should be regarded as passive victims or accountable moral agents.

Fuelled by the deadly manufactured opioid fentanyl, Canada’s national drug overdose rate stood at 19.3 people per 100,000 in 2022, a shockingly high number when compared to the European Union’s rate of just 1.8. But national statistics hide considerable geographic variation. British Columbia and Alberta together account for only a quarter of Canada’s population yet nearly half of all opioid deaths. B.C.’s 2022 death rate of 45.2/100,000 is more than double the national average, with Alberta close behind at 33.3/100,00.

In response to the drug crisis, Canada’s two western-most provinces have taken markedly divergent approaches, and in doing so have created a natural experiment with national implications.

B.C. has emphasized harm reduction, which seeks to eliminate the damaging effects of illicit drugs without actually removing them from the equation. The strategy focuses on creating access to clean drugs and includes such measures as “safe” injection sites, needle exchange programs, crack-pipe giveaways and even drug-dispensing vending machines. The approach goes so far as to distribute drugs like heroin and cocaine free of charge in the hope addicts will no longer be tempted by potentially tainted street drugs and may eventually seek help.

But safe-supply policies create many unexpected consequences. A National Post investigation found, for example, that government-supplied hydromorphone pills handed out to addicts in Vancouver are often re-sold on the street to other addicts. The sellers then use the money to purchase a street drug that provides a better high — namely, fentanyl.

Doubling down on safe supply, B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy — though for now that effort has been stymied by the courts.

According to Vancouver city councillor Brian Montague, “The stats tell us that harm reduction isn’t working.” In an interview, he calls decriminalization “a disaster” and proposes a policy shift that recognizes the connection between mental illness and addiction. The province, he says, needs “massive numbers of beds in treatment facilities that deal with both addictions and long-term mental health problems (plus) access to free counselling and housing.”

In fact, Montague’s wish is coming true — one province east, in Alberta. Since the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019, Alberta has been transforming its drug addiction policy away from harm reduction and towards publicly-funded treatment and recovery efforts.

Instead of offering safe-injection sites and free drugs, Alberta is building a network of 10 therapeutic communities across the province where patients can stay for up to a year, receiving therapy and medical treatment and developing skills that will enable them to build a life outside the drug culture. All for free. The province’s first two new recovery centres opened last year in Lethbridge and Red Deer. There are currently over 29,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province.

This treatment-based strategy is in large part the work of Marshall Smith, current chief of staff to Alberta’s premier and a former addict himself, whose life story is a testament to the importance of treatment and recovery.

The sharply contrasting policies of B.C. and Alberta allow a comparison of what works and what doesn’t. A first, tentative report card on this natural experiment was produced last year in a study from Stanford University’s network on addiction policy (SNAP). Noting “a lack of policy innovation in B.C.,” where harm reduction has become the dominant policy approach, the report argues that in fact “Alberta is currently experiencing a reduction in key addiction-related harms.” But it concludes that “Canada overall, and B.C. in particular, is not yet showing the progress that the public and those impacted by drug addiction deserve.”

The report is admittedly an early analysis of these two contrasting approaches. Most of Alberta’s recovery homes are still under construction, and B.C.’s decriminalization policy is only a year old. And since the report was published, opioid death rates have inched higher in both provinces.

Still, the early returns do seem to favour Alberta’s approach. That should be regarded as good news. Society certainly has an obligation to try to help drug users. But that duty must involve more than offering addicts free drugs. Addicted people need treatment so they can kick their potentially deadly habit and go on to live healthy, meaningful lives. Dignity comes from a life of purpose and self-control, not a government-funded fix.

Susan Martinuk is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and author of the 2021 book Patients at Risk: Exposing Canada’s Health Care Crisis. A longer version of this article recently appeared at C2CJournal.ca.

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