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Opinion

Our country has lost its way

Published

March 7, 2019 – Red Deer, AB

Opinion from Terry Loewen

Canada has lost its way in so many different areas. I’m not sure what the brave men and women that fought 2 world wars would be thinking right now, but I’m sure they wouldn’t be impressed and probably heart broken!

I’m not sure how this country has become so divisive in such a short period of time, but it is extremely concerning to me. There is plenty of room to disagree and debate with each other, but this pure hate is something I’ve never seen in my 48 years on this earth. It seems people have fallen so far right or so far left, there is no common ground. I believe all common sense has vanished and I consider common sense one of the most important tool per see that one can use in most situations. Whether its business, personal, political, environmental or any other decisions you may make or think about, common sense will usually lead you to the right answer.

Whether it is in Canada or the U.S., people are throwing absolute non-sense ideas around, trying to persuade their Countrymen to come to their far tilted side and its wrong in my opinion. If you believe full-heartedly that Climate Change is a major issue, fine, but do your research and come up with a sensible solution. Don’t come out as a leader and say no more fossil fuels in 10 years and no more cattle! If you believe that the Oil Sands in Alberta are an issue, then do your research on the project and come up with solutions rather than just protest its existence.

All parts of Canada have major challenges, whether its economical, social, environmental or anything else, that need to be addressed. Being stubborn and divisive is not going to help the best interests of society. Let’s come together as a nation and show empathy to one another, use common sense, find common ground.  Find and implement solutions! That’s what Canada is about. Not what is happening right now.

What is disgraceful is the actions of our leaders! They have taken an Oath to do what’s in the best interest of the people they serve, and may I remind them, pay their salary. They may belong to a political party and I understand that parties have certain beliefs, but that doesn’t mean every belief is a fit for your Constituents! They are to vote what is best for their people, not their party! That is what they took the Oath to do and if they don’t do it, they should be thrown out of office. Yes, there are times that the people don’t have all the facts and may not understand all the issues, but not many and certainly not all are that way.

The very fact that there are Premier’s and a Prime Minister in this Country that are not only NOT following the Oath they’ve taken, but they are outright lying to the people they serve. Its frankly extremely insulting! For them to think they can stand up in public and try and shove so many untruthful remarks to us Canadians down our throats is repulsive.

The Prime Minister is now using the words “erosion of trust”! He’s not talking about himself if you can belief that? The situation that is at the forefront now is should the government let a company off the hook for illegal activities to save jobs? Are we in a corrupt country? It seems like a dream to me that this is the basis of this most recent lie and deception of the people of Canada. The answer is extremely simple, NO! NO, it is not alright to give a free pass to a company on illegal activity. It sets precedent for every other company in this country to do the same thing. As well, if the government is going to protect 9000 jobs for this company, it damn well better protect every other job in Canada, big or small! We all know this isn’t possible so follow the laws. Its unbelievable that the people in power, that are responsible to make and uphold the laws are trying to give free passes to people breaking the law. UNBELIEVABLE!

It is truly time for the people of this Country to stand up and take our rights back to fair and honest representation. I don’t have all the solutions, but I believe if someone is sworn into office and they are dishonest and corrupt in anyway, they should be removed from power immediately and put in jail! This isn’t a case of a person going to work and not doing their job, this is outright criminal in my opinion.

In conclusion, it’s time for our leaders to come clean, do what’s right for all provinces and territories; all Canadians.  Let’s get on with rebuilding this Country that millions of human beings gave their life for. I’ve always been extremely proud to say I’m a Canadian, but right now I’m embarrassed! Enough self interest and everyone from the top down, need to use some common sense and get this Country back to being Proud, Strong and Free.

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Opinion

Red Deer’s population grew by 195 since 2015

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2019 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS = 101,002

2016 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS= 99,832

2015 RED DEER MUNICIPAL CENSUS= 100,807

In the four years since 2015 Red Deer has grown by 195 residents or less than 0.2% in 4 years.

Timberlands grew from 1834 residents in 2015 to 3038 residents in 2019 or 1204 residents, for a growth of about 66% so where did we lose all our residents? Let us look at the neighbourhoods north of the river.

Residents living north of the river in 2015=32,005, 2016=31,228 and finally 2019= 30,576 for a total decline of 1,429 residents.

Let us break it down;

……YEAR………..2019.…………….2016.……………..2015

Kentwood-………….4235.……………4267.……………..4299

Glendale………..….4284.……………4288.……………..4430

Normandeau……….3275.……………3530.……………..3603

Pines……………..…1725.……………..1718.……………..1851

Highland Green……3896.…………….3920.……………4065

Oriole Park…………5200.…………..…5244.…………….5300

Riverside Meadows..3423.…………….3686.…………….3810

Fairview…………….733.………………710.……………..761

Johnstone…………..3805.……………..3865.…………….3886

Total……………….30,576.…………31,228.……………32,005

So it looks like we just relocated residents from north of the river to new subdivisions like Timberlands. In an age where we are trying to limit our footprint Red Deer expanded our footprint faster than our population growth demanded. New neighbourhoods require infrastructure ($), schools ($), sewers ($), water ($), roads ($), transit ($) etc.

30,000 plus people live north of the river down from 32,000 plus 4 years ago, but still a large community. I wrote about this very topic in 2016 and was given the brush off by many in city hall. One city councillor suggested that I have more children to populate the north side.

The issue was not taken seriously in 2016 and again in 2019.

I wrote that Lethbridge would overtake us and become the 3rd largest city in Alberta, and they did.

I dove deeper to see what was happening in local neighbourhoods and found that the north side of the river is being decimated and annexing or new neighbourhoods are fuelling our growth.

People keep telling me it is the provincial economy that is preventing growth. Lacombe grew by 7% last year, Blackfalds has seen record growth, Penhold, Sylvan Lake and the county grew in the same province, so I discount that theory.

My thinking is perhaps more closer to home. The other communities invested in their residents. New recreation complexes that required per capita investments that dwarf Red Deer’s by huge margins, up to 100s of percents.

Red Deer has neglected the residents north of the river. For every dollar they spend north of the river they spend 20 south of the river. No high school north of the river with 4 current and 2 planned, south of the river.

If the city could just bring their culture from 1980 to 2020 then maybe we will not lose so many residents from north of the river. It is time to stop neglecting the residents living north of the river.

Start investing in substantial recreational facilities north of the river after years of building so many south of the river. Build the next aquatic centre north of the river, build the next school, especially high school north of the river.

For the whole city the powers that be need to wake up, and invest in it’s residents. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It is time to wake up, what the powers that be have been doing has not worked, the census proves it, it is time to do things differently.

No I am not having more children, councillor.

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Opinion

Politicians focus too much on the wallets of the few.

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We welcome opinions from our readers like this one from Garfield Marks of Red Deer, AB.

According to the Ethics Commissioner, Trudeau broke ethical guidelines on behalf of a big corporate entity, SNC-Lavalin, and as expected, it appears, everyone is calling for his resignation. I am confused, but hasn’t almost every politician of a major political party, for the last few decades, been advocating breaks for big corporations and the top 1%.

Didn’t Alberta elect a Premier who had to pay an ethics violation fine when he was a federal cabinet minister? Does he not lead a party who had issues with electoral fraud, kamikaze candidate and members issued $75,000 in fines by the ethics commissioner, due to actions during their leadership race?

Was it not a conservative government that supposedly just gave a $4.5 billion tax break to businesses? Was it not a conservative government that was supposedly lowering taxes for the top 1%? Was it not a conservative government(s) that was cutting services to everyone else to pay for these tax breaks?

Here in Alberta was there not lots of promises of jobs to rationalize billions in tax breaks for corporations only to find out that Alberta then subsequently lost 14,000 jobs in July alone?

I am not saying that Trudeau’s actions pressuring the Attorney General to give a deal to a big company is okay, but don’t they all do special deals for big corporations? Don’t we as tax payers subsidize the oil industry, cow tail to unions, pay homage to gun manufacturers, serve the auto industry, and placate the wealthy? The average voter just pays for them.

My wallet sure feels those political fingers. My costs keep going up, while my income hasn’t kept pace.

My mind has tuned out the politicians, and their desire to woo the rich and big corporations, and my heart is focused on the future, and my family.

Scientists and engineers have made great discoveries and given me some great things like cars, computers, cell phones and medical break-throughs but these same non-partisan intellectuals have also made huge unsettling discoveries, and given me causes for concern.

Issues like climate change, reminiscent of second hand smoke, are concerns to our health and our lives but are not given the same level of regard as tax breaks for the big corporations.

Second hand smoke was a major health care cost but tax breaks for cigarette companies and tobacco growers were the demands.

There is an election this fall and here in my riding there is no contest, as the conservatives will win, then become a seat warmer no one hears about, till the next election. My concerns will be ignored, my wallet will get thinner to placate the more well to do.

I do think it is about time to move on from focusing on the wallets of the few and focus on the health of the whole community. The person or party that can convince me that their focus is on the whole, for the future and not on big corporations and the wealthiest in a realistic manner, will get my support and vote.

Will my wallet survive the next election? I hope so, but I cannot be certain. I am worried we might get a Trump-like Prime Minister out of protest and the climate crisis will be pushed back and my wallet will be front and centre for political fingers for another few decades.

Is there another option?

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