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Will any of 50+candidates address change in the October 16 2017 municipal election.

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Change is Constant. Will we accept that?
Is the status quo acceptable for sustainable development, when the city’s population has, in fact, declined by 1% in 1 year?
Should we accept having all 6 high schools south of the river? Should we accept 5 high schools along 30 Ave? Should we accept having no high schools north of the river forcing 30% of the population to commute across the river?
Red Deer region has the poorest air quality in Alberta, is there a plan?
Red Deer has been cited for having often times the second highest crime rate, per capita. Again, is there a plan?
Businesses are leaving the city proper to open up in areas abutting the city like Gasoline Alley, why? Is anyone asking?
Should we accept 10 recreational facilities on the south side where we have; the Downtown Recreation Centre, Michener Aquatic Centre, Downtown Arena, Centrium complex, 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. While only having the Dawe Centre on the north side?
On October 16 2017 we will be voting for a Mayor, 8 city councillors and either 7 public school board trustees or 5 separate school board trustees.
The last election in 2013 we had 5 people running for mayor, 30 people running for council, 14 people running for public school board and 7 people run for the separate school board, 56 people in total.
This year we may have more choices. The incumbents will all have an advantage over the other candidates, and I have yet to hear of any incumbents deciding to not run again.
So the questions previously asked are important. Will the incumbents offer any explanations for the declining populations, the unequal distribution of high schools and recreational facilities? Will they blame the provincial economy?
Penhold is growing and looking to annex enough land to double it’s footprint. Blackfalds increased it’s population by 700 in 1 year. Are they not affected by the same economy? Sylvan Lake, Penhold and Blackfalds which has less population together as Red Deer has north of the river but they are each in line to have a high school, while there is no plans to build a high school north of the river in Red Deer.
The land north of 11a is up for development, and if the city starts to grow again, we could see 55,000 residents north of the river but no high school. Is that acceptable?
Talking about developing north of 11a, there is Hazlett Lake. Largest lake in Red Deer. Remember, Hazlett Lake is a natural lake that covers a surface area of 0.45 km2 (0.17 mi2), has an average depth of 3 meters (10 feet). Hazlett Lake has a total shore line of 4 kilometers (2 miles). It is 108.8 acres in size. Located in the north-west sector of Red Deer. It is highly visible from Hwy 2 and Hwy 11A, and could help with tourism and with the needs of Red Deer’s own citizens.
The Collicutt Centre was built in the south-east corner of Red Deer and it facilitated growth in Red Deer. Blackfalds, Penhold and Sylvan Lake all followed suit, built new recreational complexes and enjoyed phenomenal growth soon after. So build a “Collicutt 2” in the north-west by Hazlett Lake to help facilitate growth in the north west. Will the candidates even consider these ideas or will they settle on the status quo?
During the last 9 elections we have heard about developing the land along the river, moving the public works and building a beautiful 23 acre neighbourhood with a 23 million dollar footbridge to Bower Ponds so pedestrians do not have to walk 300 metres to Taylor Bridge. It will come up in the next 4 elections before it is completed.
We will again hear how beautiful our trails are, and the importance of downtown revitalization. We could get the material from candidates in the last 9 elections.
Has Red Deer hit a glass ceiling? 99,800 residents, schools in the east, facilities downtown, industry in the north-west?
For 2 weeks in 2019, we will have 35,000 visitors, and it will only cost 70 million dollars. Is that it? No plans, no answers, no vision, just the status quo and 2 weeks in 2019?
Change is constant, and the world is changing, is Red Deer changing?
I believe Red Deer is changing and needs to address these issues and many more. I believe that it is important to offer something for the future and not campaign on the past. Do not accept platitudes and rhetoric and look for answers to questions that may not have been asked yet.
I need to hear a plan, and I need to see a vision not just hear words and see a smile. Red Deer needs it, now more than ever, because Red Deer is shrinking, like never before. Yesterday’s words are not sufficient in today’s world. Remember that.

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COVID-19

Nurses vs. MLAs: A Real Solution

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Nurses vs. MLAs: A Real Solution
Open Letter to Alberta MLAs
 
July 27, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
 
The Alberta government is calling for a 3% wage cut for nurses ($70,500 (average salary per ALIS) x 3% x 36,200 nurses = $76.56 million). Don Braid of the Calgary Herald is calling for Alberta MLAs to take a $22,000 wage cut (87 MLAs x $22,000 = $1.91 million). Unfortunately, neither of these options address the elephant in the room. Alberta will spend $23 billion on healthcare this fiscal year per Budget 2021.
 
Over the past year and a half, Albertans were forced to suspend their lives and lose their livelihoods under the guise of the common good and to protect our seemingly fragile healthcare system. If $23 billion dollars in annual spending does not secure our healthcare system against potential future threats, maybe it is time to stop accepting mediocrity and make some changes to the system.
 
Suggestions for your consideration:
 
  1. Immediately schedule a First Ministers conference (meeting between the premiers and the Prime Minister).
  2. Agree to repeal the Canada Health Act. According to the Canadian Constitution, healthcare is within the jurisdiction of the provinces.
  3. Funds needed to support provincial healthcare decisions would then be collected within each respective province instead of being received through the Canada Health Transfer.
  4. End the prohibition on private clinics and service providers which would generate competition, reduce wait times, decrease costs and ultimately provide better care for everyone.
 
Canadians have long triumphed our “free” healthcare system as being the best in the world. In reality, it is neither free nor the best. Embracing new ideas and private market solutions is the best way to improve our healthcare system for all Albertans. I for one, believe that Albertans deserve the best for their hard earned tax dollars. It’s time for a change, don’t you agree?
 
Sincerely,
 
Jared Pilon
Libertarian Party Candidate for Red Deer – Mountain View, AB
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Alberta

Referendum will help Albertans kickstart national conversation about unfair Equalization, Danielle Smith

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This is an exert from a newsletter by Danielle Smith.  Click here to register to receive Danielle’s future newsletters.

Equalization referendum…

During the Stampede I met a pollster doing some polling on the equalization referendum in the fall. It has me worried. If the vote were held today there would be a lot of undecided. While it would likely still pass, we need the vote to be resounding so there can be no mistake how Albertans feel they are being treated.

For those of us who are diehard activists, voting “Yes” to remove equalization from the Constitution is a no brainer. When Brian Jean first proposed it I thought it was a waste of time. What’s is the point of having the province vote on a federal program? I initially thought.

Then Jean explained it to me in an interview and I thought the strategy was brilliant. By voting yes to delete a section of the Constitution it gets the ball rolling for a bigger conversation about Alberta’s role in Confederation. Under our parliamentary system – advised by court rulings and conventions – constitutional scholars say a “yes” vote will initiate a process that will unroll across the country. The federal government will be obligated to negotiate with Alberta in good faith and the other provincial legislatures will be compelled to consider a similar question in their provincial legislatures.

Here’s how it would work…
 
Here’s what could happen if we have a yes vote.

  1. The other provinces will be compelled to consider and vote on the issue. If there are 7 out of 10 representing 50 per cent of the population it will be removed from the Constitution.

Admittedly, this is an unlikely outcome. I think we could convince AB, BC, SK, ON and NF that we are all being similarly hosed under the existing equalization program, but how would you ever convince net recipients such as QC, NS, PEI, NB and MB? Still, it would get a national conversation going about why the net payers are so frustrated.

  1. If we don’t get others to agree, the principle of equalization stays in the Constitution, but we have a meaningful two-way dialogue about how it should be restructured, and that means designing it so QC no longer receives any money through the program from the rest of us.

I told you I went to the Fairness Alberta breakfast over the Stampede. Executive Director Bill Bewick is doing a terrific job digging into the numbers and explaining how absurd the entire program is.

Consider this: Newfoundland and Labrador is on the brink of bankruptcy and doesn’t qualify for equalization. Quebec has been running surpluses and paying down debt and they receive $10 billion from the program.

If I had my druthers, my starting point would be that only small provinces should be allowed to qualify for equalization. I think PEI has it particularly tough – attempting to run all the provincial programs that are available in other provinces with a population the size of Red Deer. Providing a top up for provinces in this situation is what the program should be all about. I want Islanders to have the same quality of health care, education, social services and infrastructure as we do.

But we need to be frank about this. The equalization formula has been manipulated and massaged mainly so federal politicians can give money to Quebec. Maybe it began with good intentions, as francophones began to assert themselves and their right to operate their businesses primarily in French and needed a hand up to catch up. Maybe it was justified when Quebeckers were sharply divided on whether it was worth it to stay in Canada, as evidenced by the 50-50 referendum result in 1995.

But today, it’s just taking advantage. In fact, it’s bordering on abuse.

Quebec is taking advantage of our goodwill…
 
Last week, Quebec’s Environment Minister Benoit Charette announced that Quebec would be rejecting a $14 billion project that would have seen GNL Quebec bring liquefied natural gas from Western Canada – principally Alberta – to Port Saguenay, Quebec so it could be exported on to Europe and Asia. Charette said it did not meet his standards for the environment:


“The promoter has not succeeded in demonstrating this, on the contrary,” he said, adding that the government is worried it would discourage natural gas buyers in Europe and Asia from moving to cleaner energy sources. “This is a project that has more disadvantages than advantages.”This is truly the last straw for me. If the Quebec government hates our energy industry this much and is actively working to destroy our natural gas industry I’m done with appeasement.

On the contrary, Minister…

Liquefied natural gas offers the best opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world. It is already “the cleaner burning fuel” as the ads used to say when I was growing up. It can easily replace coal in power plants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both China and India (which are adding coal-fired powerplants at a rate that dramatically exceeds the addition of wind and solar power everywhere in the world). Coupled with carbon capture and storage (underground) or utilization (for useful products including carbon nanofibre, concrete, industrial minerals, alcohol and ethylene) the greenhouse gas emissions problem can be solved. It is also going to be the base fuel for the new and emerging hydrogen economy, which will power all the heavy transportation we need to continue operating our global trade economy – marine vessels, trucks, trains, maybe even airplanes one day.

I am tired of placating the fantasy that our modern industrial economy is going to be powered by wind and solar and nothing else. Yes, hydrogen now offers a meaningful way for wind and solar to store the energy they produce, finally moving them towards being a reliable source of energy for our power grid. But once you’ve generated hydrogen at a wind or solar site, how do you transport it anywhere so it can be used for other purposes? The natural gas business can move it in pipelines. You can’t move hydrogen on powerlines.

But wind and solar are also not carbon neutral until concrete, steel, fibre glass, rare earth materials and transportation are carbon neutral. Wind and solar are not more environmentally friendly until they stop killing migratory birds and bats. Wind and solar are not environmentally neutral until we find a way to recycle them at the end of use (rather than dumping everything in a landfill).

If Quebec wants to interfere with the development of our resources, damage our economy and cost us jobs, I refuse to send them any more of our money. We cannot continue being economically hobbled by Quebec and damaged by federal government policy and expected to keep on shipping out dollars to Quebec. I would be delighted to see a financially independent, strong Quebec paying for their subsidized day care all on their own.

If they want to stand on their own two feet, bravo, let’s help them out. Let’s cut off the money pipeline.

Let’s help Quebec become financially independent…

Fairness Alberta has said three simple changes could cut the cost of the program in half and make sure Quebec is cut off almost entirely.

  1. Stop adjusting the program to increase expenditures with GDP growth. This just makes logical sense. As provinces get wealthier and develop more own-source revenue they should need fewer federal transfers.
  2. Adjust the payments to take into account inflation and different costs of delivering services in different provinces. It’s a lot more expensive to hire a nurse in Alberta than in PEI, for instance.
  3. Add four cents to Quebec hydro. Quebec subsidizes electricity rates which lowers the amount of revenues available to government. Imagine if Alberta sold oil and natural gas below market value and then asked Ottawa to make up the shortfall. It’s bananas.

None of this negotiation can happen unless Albertans send a strong message that they have had it with the status quo.

Voting yes in the referendum means you are voting to eliminate or renegotiate. Voting no means you are happy being treated as the doormat of Confederation. Vote yes and make sure to tell your neighbours and friends to also.

Because as Bill points out on his Fairness Alberta website, this particular program is only one way that extra money gets transferred out of Alberta. As of 2019, Alberta has transferred nearly $325 billion to the rest of the country. We have to start changing this. Equalization is just the start.

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