Red Deer died a little last year. 975 more people moved out of Red Deer last year than moved into Red Deer. 777 of that loss was felt north of the river. Where is the discussion, where is the plan to stop this outward migration of residents? Does anyone at city hall care?
I see in the budget being presented on April 18, 2017 that there is almost 2 million dollars set aside for downtown revitalization. That is on top of the approximately 50 million for development around the arena, 50 million for road re-alignment, already completed. Lest we forget the 135 million to relocate the public works yard out of downtown, throw in the over constructed bus station and we are going to spend another million or two on revitalization. Next year or 2 they will be spending 100 million or so on the downtown recreation centre, 5 million on the railway bridge. They are talking about building a 23 million dollar footbridge a few hundred metres from the Taylor bridge. All that means that the city will have, is, and will be spending a half billion dollars downtown.
North of the bridge, where we have a huge problem, the last school was built in 1985, the last recreation centre was built before that, and there is no high school, now or planned. What is the plan?
In 1985 40% of the city’s population lived north of the river. It was an economic hub for central Alberta, now only 30% live north of the river. Where is the plan?
North of the river the residents have only the Dawe Centre for indoor facilities, no high school gyms to offer young people, but south of the river they will see their 4th high school opening this fall and 2 more on the books. They also have the Downtown Recreation Centre, Michener Aquatic Centre, Downtown Arena, Centrium ice, Collicutt Recreation Centre, Pidherney Curling Centre, Kinex Arena, Kinsmen Community Arenas, Red Deer Curling Centre, and the under-construction Gary W. Harris Centre. The city is also talking about replacing the downtown recreation centre with an expanded 50m pool.
Are we so blinded by bias against the north and biased for the downtown, that we do not care, we have no plan, and can only focus on the residents south of the river?
I have been talking about Hazlett Lake. Red Deer’s largest lake, located north of the river, north of Hwy 11a because it is up for development. It is a diamond in the rough, with potential that is being ignored at our cost. Lethbridge turned a slough into a lake into Henderson Park into a tourist attraction and they were the 5th fastest growing city in Canada, and they are only slightly smaller than Red Deer now and could overtake Red Deer this year.
Red Deer has a lake that they want to wrap with residential and industrial land. The city wants to spend a cool hundred million turning the downtown recreation centre into an aquatic centre. Why not build an Aquatic Centre on a lake?
The Gary W. Harris centre will be visible from Hwy 2, as is the sports Hall of Fame, as is Hazlett Lake. If Lethbridge can turn a slough into a tourist attraction why can’t Red Deer turn a lake into a tourist attraction.
Hazlett Lake is about the same distance from the Riverlands development as the Collicutt Centre. The Collicutt Centre came about because the city decided that with 55,000 residents the city needed a 4th recreational centre. It also spurred development in the south east and now 60% of the residents use it.
The development north of 11a would bring the total population north of the river to 55,000 if we stop the exodus of residents, but there is no plans for a 2nd recreation centre let alone a 4th north of the river.
There is no plan, no discussion to stem the outward migration in Red Deer. I sense that the bias against the north is so deep, so entrenched that they do not worry about it.
I mentioned this quite a few times, suffered some negative comments and have been told that the residents living north of the river can drive across town or take a bus. I guess the residents south of the river can’t.
The city will not do their annual census this year. It costs money, and if the city shrank even more they would lose provincial money and it would look bad just before the October 16 2017 election.
The city died a little last year, can we talk about it? Please.
Witnessing the Media’s Covid Coverage from the Inside
From the Brownstone Institute
If right-leaning outlets wanted my words and left-leaning ones did not, my Occam’s razor landed on ideology as the explanatory factor. So-called progressive media had a story to uphold and rejected any plot twist that threatened the cohesion of its narrative.
In the movie An Education, the main character gets sidetracked from her studies by a smooth-talking art dealer who turns out to be a criminal—and married. Our protagonist learns more from that experience than from all the medieval literature books she cracked open before. I have similar feelings about my own education. While I’ve been earning my living as a writer for the past 29 years, it’s only during the Covid era that I learned what the writing business is really about.
I wear two hats in my professional life: medical writer, creating materials for doctors and the healthcare industry, and feature-article journalist for consumer magazines. It wasn’t until Covid that I began pitching essays and op-eds for publication.
I started with a piece called “A Tale of Two Pandemic Cities,” which grew out of my short trip to Amsterdam and Stockholm in the summer of 2020, when the European Union opened its doors to “well-behaved” countries like Canada. The Covid hysteria in my country had made me desperate to visit more balanced parts of the world, and my trip didn’t disappoint. The article found a home at a Canadian outlet called Healthy Debate, though the editor asked me to temper my enthusiasm for the Swedish strategy with an acknowledgement of its risks. Happy to find a legit publisher for my first Covid piece, I capitulated, sort of. (You can judge for yourself.)
Thus began a feverish outpouring of essays, each one motivated by the same bewildered questions: What the hell is happening to the world, and why? Has everyone else gone mad, or is it me? I had written a few controversial articles throughout my career, but never before had I held a “dissenting view” about an issue that affected the whole world—or felt such an urgent need to express it.
The Great Divide
I quickly learned that certain news outlets were less open to my pieces than others. Salon, fuggedaboutit. Spiked Online, bull’s eye on the first try. Washington Post, not a chance. Wall Street Journal, a couple of “close, but no cigar” efforts and then finally a yes. It boiled down to this: the further left a publication leaned, the less likely it would publish my pieces (or even respond to my inquiries). I’m sure a statistician could write an equation to capture the trend.
So why the radio silence from left-wing publications? I doubted I was tripping their “Covid disinformation” radars, as my pieces had less to do with scientific facts than with social philosophy: the balance between safety and freedom, the perils of top-down collectivism, the abuse of the precautionary principle, that sort of thing. If right-leaning outlets wanted my words and left-leaning ones did not, my Occam’s razor landed on ideology as the explanatory factor. So-called progressive media had a story to uphold and rejected any plot twist that threatened the cohesion of its narrative. (Not that right-wing media behaved much differently. Such is the age of advocacy journalism.)
Most nerve-wracking of all were the publishers who accepted my articles but, like that first Healthy Debate editor, insisted I make substantive changes. Should I concede or push back? I did a bit of both. The most important thing, I told myself, was to make people reflect on the topsy-turvy policies that had freeze-framed the world. If I had to soften a few sentences to get the word out, so be it. I have the utmost respect for writers who refuse to yield on such matters, but 29 years of paying the bills from my writing have tipped my internal compass toward pragmatism.
I did stand my ground with an article on the mask wars. My thesis was that the endless and pointless disputes on social media—masks work, no they don’t, yes they do, no they don’t—had less to do with science than with worldview: irrespective of the data, social collectivists would find a way to defend masks, while my freedom-first compatriots would never countenance a perma-masked world.
One editor agreed to publish the piece if I mentioned that some studies favor masking, but I argued that quoting studies would undercut my central argument: that the forces powering the mask wars have little to do with how well they block viruses. He wouldn’t budge, so we parted ways and I found a more congenial home for the piece at the Ottawa Citizen.
The process of pitching counternarrative essays, while arduous at times, led me to a smorgasbord of lesser-known, high-quality publications I never would have discovered otherwise. Topping the list was the glorious UnHerd, a UK news and opinion website with such daring thinkers as Mary Harrington and Kathleen Stock on its roster of contributors. The US-based Tablet magazine offered consistently fresh takes on Covid and never took the easy road in its analyses. In its pages I found one of the most powerful Covid essays I have ever read. The author, Ann Bauer (no relation), teased out the common threads between the “settled science” about the virus and the litany of quack theories about autism, which fed into her son’s death by suicide.
Then there was Quillette, whose contempt for the sacred cows of wokeism gave me a special thrill. True confession: I blew my chances with Quillette and it’s my own damned fault. Like many working writers, I sometimes pitch a piece to more than one outlet at the same time, a practice known as simultaneous submissions. This goes against protocol—we’re supposed to wait until an editor declines our pitch before approaching the next one—but the reality is that many editors never respond. With the deck thus stacked against us, we writers sometimes push the envelope, figuring the odds of getting multiple acceptances (and thus pissing off editors) are low enough to take the risk.
On this particular occasion, I submitted an article called “Lessons from my Half-Vaxxed Daughter” to three publications. Medpage Today responded right away, and I accepted their offer to publish it. (This was while Marty Makary, the dissident-lite physician who called out people’s distorted perception of Covid risk in mainstream media, led the editorial team.) A few hours later, Quillette’s Canadian editor sent me a slightly reworked version of my piece and told me when he planned to run it. I had no choice but to proffer a red-faced apology and admit I had already placed the article elsewhere. He never responded to my email or to a follow-up mea culpa a few weeks later—and has ignored everything I’ve submitted since then. I guess I’ll have to wait until he retires.
Earlier this year, Brownstone Institute published my book Blindsight Is 2020, which critiques the pandemic response through the lens of 46 dissident thinkers. By all standards a moderate book, it stays clear of any “conspiratorial” speculations about the origins of the pandemic or the political response to it. Instead, it focuses on the philosophical and ethical issues that kept me awake at night during the peak Covid years—the same themes I explore in my essays, but in greater depth. I wrote the book not just for “my team,” but for those who vehemently opposed my views—perhaps especially for them. I didn’t expect to change their minds as much as to help them understand why some of us objected so strenuously to the policies they cheered on.
After the book came out, a few podcasters invited me to their shows. I appeared on a Libertarian Institute podcast in which the host puffed on his hand-rolled cigarettes while we talked. I spoke to an amiable ex-con podcaster who made it his mission to share Ayn Rand’s ideas with the world. I bonded with Rupa Subramanya—a brilliant Canadian conservative journalist and podcaster featured in my book—over the Freedom Convoy we had both supported.
All told I’ve appeared on 22 podcasts to date, each of them hosted by a right-leaning or libertarian host. Crickets from the left. Not one to accept defeat, I’ve begun reaching out to left-leaning podcasters on my own. Perhaps one day I’ll hear back from them.
Covid media, like so much else in modern life, has become hopelessly fractured: the tall, left-facing trees dominate the landscape, telling the story of a deadly virus that we “did the best we could” to manage. Below the tree canopy lies the tangle of weeds that sway in the wind, whispering songs of freedom and warning against the totalitarian impulses that all too readily emerge during crises. While I’ll continue to throw my essays at those unyielding trees, the messy underbrush is where I’ve found my journalistic home.
Could AI Make Yesterday Into Today For Culture, Sports & Politics?
On a recent trip to the Fredericton Playhouse to see PEI’s splendid The East Pointers we couldn’t help but notice amongst the coming attractions an appearance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. As far as we know, Miller disappeared over the British Channel in 1944 on his way to play a concert for the troops post D-Day.
Since then a succession of people have carried his musical heritage under the Miller name. Most of them have joined Miller in the great bandstand in the sky. It is safe to say that the number of people who heard anything by Miller himself live are virtually nil. Still, someone is still buying tickets to hear A String of Pearls, Pennsylvania 6-500, Chattanooga Choo-Choo and In The Mood.
Perhaps it was serendipity but seeing that Miller was still a thing came shortly after the arrival of a final Beatles song “Now and Then”. It’s not as long ago as the final Glenn Miller original cut, but “Now and Then” is the first original Beatles music since the 1970s. Which is when this lacklustre John Lennon composition was born from a demo cut by Lennon.
Its provenance has been talked about by Beatles obsessives ever since. Frankly they’d be excited to hear Lennon/ McCartney read the Liverpool phone book. (Which won’t be any less underwhelming than this song.) Now And Then stayed out of the public realm, probably because George Harrison (d. 2001) hated it, and the recording was scratchy at best.
But thanks to the officious Paul McCartney cleaning it up in the studio and AI producing a catchy video to accompany the song “Now and Then” is on the Billboard chart with a bullet. Where it will probably stay for a while. No doubt this artful dodge will put the idea of reviving other dead musical icons into the heads of their colleagues and supporters.
The AI variations already extend past music. “@ilumine_ai This has been my first test of an experiment I’m doing, which is why it might feel a bit rough. It might not seem like it, but this video shows a single, uncut take at normal speed, where I move through a 3D stage that I am generating at will and in real time.”
Can some clever soul use AI to create a new Humphrey Bogart movie using previous material? What about reviving Katherine Hepburn from her many films? Could Glenn Miller suddenly emerge from the mists to lead his band in Fredericton? We already know about The Beatles.
There ramifications, says cartoonist/commentator Scott Adams.. “If you let ChatGPT answer without constraints, it gives you the “approved narrative,” also known as bullshit. In other words, you can use AI to give you any answer you want on political questions by manipulating the allowed “experts.”
No wonder the Screen Actors Guild went on strike this year to protect the properties of stars dead and alive. What security will they have if AI makes them redundant? AI is, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
To say nothing of the AI implications for sports. Can AI replicate the greatest of the past? Already there’s a slightly cheesy commercial running in which present-day Wayne Gretzky counsels 18-year-old Wayne Gretzky on the future. But could AI create a better NHL mixing Gretz, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull with the best of today? A league with no injuries, no travel fatigue, no bad coaching? Ditto for the other leagues. An NFL with Joe Montana, an NBA with Michael Jordan, an MLB with Barry Bonds?
In Canadian politics AI could revive Pierre Elliot Trudeau to assist his dimwitted son (“Interest rates are at historic lows,” PMJT, 2020). Bill Davis could bring back the days of Blue Ontario. Ralph Klein could recreate the Alberta Advantage. If someone younger and more charismatic pops up you can use them in the present. With an AI figure waiting in the wings for when the real politicians eventually screw up.
In the US-AI, the leading candidates for U.S. president in 2024 are creakingly old. Democrats are in a lather over Joe Biden’s decrepit state as he hit 81 this week (he’d be 87 when a possible second term ended). Polls show Americans are not fooled by the grinning Amphetamine Joe staggering up the stairs of Air Force One.
Republicans are alternatively exhilarated and exhausted by the prospect of loopy 78-year-old Donald Trump carrying their banner next November. With Trump it’s less age than instability. Were he remotely stable he’d be leading Biden by 15 points in the polls.
In the Senate and House of Representatives octogenarian and nonagenarian members are literally dying at their desks for want of term limits. Across the political spectrum voters and media are asking, “Is this the best we can do?” Some recall the movie Dave where Kevin Kline plays a doppelgänger for a comatose U.S. president. Maybe that might work?
Or what if AI could revive JFK or Ronald Reagan in their primes? Or John McCain and Ruth Bader Ginsberg? “Now and Then” would be an appropriate slogan for re-inserting these tried & true political figures into the present, using their former selves to re-craft today’s arguments. (We’ve seen how it might work since most believe that Biden is simply the conduit for a third Obama term.)
Anything has to be better than two old guys who could’ve heard “I’ve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo” when it was originally released by Glenn Miller in 1942.
Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent. https://share.hsforms.com/16edbhhC3TTKg6jAaRyP7rActsj5
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx
Pfizer documents challenge Health Canada COVID-19 vaccine narrative
Trudeau gov’t appears to back down on ‘digital services tax’ plans
Trudeau signs partnership with EU to promote digital IDs, counter ‘disinformation’
Christian attorney sues Law Society of Alberta for mandating left-wing trainings
CBDC Central Bank Digital Currency2 days ago
Trudeau signs partnership with EU to promote digital IDs, counter ‘disinformation’
Bruce Dowbiggin24 hours ago
Could AI Make Yesterday Into Today For Culture, Sports & Politics?
Health1 day ago
Canadian medical college suggests doctors prioritize ‘social justice’ over ‘expertise’
Alberta1 day ago
City of Edmonton has a spending problem
Business1 day ago
Indigenous loan program must include oil and gas
Community1 day ago
Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemns MAiD in Parliament as targeting nation’s most vulnerable
Canadian Energy Centre1 day ago
Reality check: Global emissions from coal plants
Business1 day ago
Budget update proves Trudeau isn’t serious about federal finances