The $600 million Loss That No One is Talking About – The BC NDP Government

The $600 million Loss That No One is Talking About

A $600 million yearly  loss.

Six hundred million dollars.

$600 million is the amount the BC NDP government is actively trying to remove from the BC economy each year, through their 2018 budget, yet no one is talking about it.

Why?

Have they yet to figure it out?

Are math skills and economic skills so poor?

Or is ideology at the cost to the average British Columbian more important?

Let me fill you in.

The BC 2018 budget revealed a speculation “tax”. However, it isn’t a “tax”, it is a penalty. The properties affected already pay property taxes at about 30% more than a British Columbian resident who receives a “grant”; yes a nifty two tiered pricing that seems to never be questioned. This is a “speculation” tax ON TOP. But it isn’t a tax, is it? “Sin tax” or “luxury tax” are taxes that are applied at the point of sale. The consumer knows openly the financial commitment that is required of them and enter into the purchase and taxation in good faith.

This “speculation tax” tax is a fine, just like you are being fined for breaking the law. It is ALL it can be. This is a tax for breaking a law that doesn’t exist. The BC NDP government are trying to create laws of their own. The BC NDP government are making up imaginary and discriminatory laws, under the guise of “policy”, that breaks the Canadian Charter of Rights that ensures all Canadians are equal, have equal opportunity, and can live free from discrimination. The BC NDP Government are concocting fake laws that make it okay to fine people from out-of-province who LEGALLY bought property, in good faith, in their province years ago. The BC NDP government are trying to cleanse their province of the dirty out-of-province owners that they deem criminal for having invested in the province of British Columbia; “criminal” is all we can be as the owners are being fined. FINED.

So, The BC NDP government ramped up their xenophobic rhetoric, stood on their virtual soap boxes, and shouted to their people that the BC affordable housing crisis is the fault of “out-of-province” and foreign property owners. Every one of the 4.8 million BC residents are being destroyed by the “out-of-province” and foreign owners according to the government. And so they ramped up the campaign of dislike.

But here is what the BC NDP government didn’t tell you, this is the story of a $600 million per year loss.

Financial Post link: http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/fear-and-uncertainty-out-of-province-homebuyers-could-rush-to-sell-if-b-c-slaps-speculation-tax?fb_comment_id=1689902597766541_1690583327698468&comment_id=1690583327698468#f2522e3d4da2a62

According to the Financial Post story on March 12, 2018 by Geoffrey Morgan, there are approximately 15,000 residential properties targeted by this speculation tax. The government has fed a narrative to their population that these homes are just sitting empty while owners wait for the value to increase. Interestingly, the government is wrong on both counts. The properties were not bought for the purpose of speculation (some have been owned for generations). Nor do the properties sit empty, rather they are residences used in conjunction with other properties in other provinces. These owners identify as bi-provincial, and the ability to live freely anywhere in Canada again is covered under the Charter. In this era of self identity being so protected by the federal government, it is shocking that a provincial government would penalize these owners as identifying as bi-provincial; even more shocking for a left leaning government to discriminate against a population as to how they self identify.

The government may be fine with discriminating against the “bi” community, but what they are also doing is harming the ones that they profess to help.

What the BC NDP government have failed to tell their population, for fear that it will undermine their ideological xenophobic dislike of “out-of-province” owners, is that “out-of-province” property owners are actually INVESTORS. We invest in the province, we add to the economy, with “out-of-province” money. Through owning property, each year we spend a considerable amount of money on product and services in BC. For us personally, it is around $40K annually.

Here is the math.

15,000 targeted homes  X  $40,000 spent per household per year = $600,000,000 of investment into the BC economy with “out-of-province” dollars.

$600 MILLION per year…….and this is on top of the $1.4 billion in the form of the yearly Alberta tourism dollars.

What the government hasn’t equated, is that if these homes are either sold or locked up and left “empty” as their hallucination says they are, not only is $600 million of out-of-province investment removed from the BC economy each year, so are jobs. The $600 million is money that the BC NDP government can not generate from their population, this is money GIFTED by Canadians from other provinces to the province and citizens of British Columbia. The homes go, the yearly investment goes, and jobs go.

A $600 million yearly loss to the economy equates to a job loss of 20,000 entry level full time jobs.

Yes, a 20,000 person JOB LOSS.

20,000 PEOPLE PUT OUT OF WORK BY THE BC NDP GOVERNMENT THROUGH THEIR POLICY OF IDEOLOGICAL DISLIKE OF OTHER CANADIANS………. but the job losses will greatly exceed that, because all of this bad press will also impact the BC tourism industry, wine industry, and real estate industries. The BC NDP government is CHOOSING to put their province into a recession.

The BC NDP government have chosen to attack 15,000 property owners in an attempt to put 20,000 of their own residents out of work.

In an attempt to deport 15,000 “out-of-province” investors/property owners, the government will forcibly create unemployment for 20,000 BC residents.

Now when you take into account that in 2016 the average BC household had a 2.4 person occupancy, it means that the best case scenario is that these targeted homes, if all emptied, would house 36,000 people. Yet, 20,000 of those people will now be unemployed, which brings us down to 16,000 working people. Assume the 0.4 of the household count are children, and that reduces the buying power by another 6000 people bringing the total number of people potentially employed to be able to pay for housing down to 10,000.

So we now have 10,000 who will benefit from this xenophobic “speculation tax”, but we aren’t done yet.

Back to math class.

10,000 people employed to pay for housing (divided by) 2 (as at today’s house prices it is a two income purchase) = 5,000 homes.

Just to recap. The BC NDP government targets 15,000 homes, in order to put a minimum of 20,000 BC residents out of work, in an effort to fill 5,000 more homes.

But there is more to the story.

The BCHAF proposal that the “speculation tax” was based on was focused ONLY on the Lower Mainland area. This was the area of housing concern.

The homes needed aren’t the ones in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria or the Gulf Islands (islands of which some have no ferry or electricity) which is where the vast majority of the affected properties are. The properties they need are homes within spitting distance of English Bay in Vancouver.

Is anyone seeing a problem here?

The BC NDP government is consciously choosing to break the Canadian Charter of Rights, drive away investment, drive away tourism, create unemployment, create a self-created recession, and still not have housing in the geographic area where it is needed.

Problematic.

But we aren’t done……

There is one last piece to the puzzle.

People who own property are generally “numbers people”. Seriously, there isn’t a thing that isn’t spreadsheeted. They also tend to be competitive. Due to this I see a potential twist. I look into my crystal ball and I see some owners sticking it to the BC NDP government on the basis of “affordable housing”. I foresee owners of million dollar homes selling them to big off shore money, and in turn buying up the more modest affordable homes in BC to beat the tax. Cash sales. No chain. Bam. You think BC has an affordable home crisis now, well this will seal up the inventory for sure.

So there is the story.

  • A $600 million yearly loss of investment to the province of British Columbia
  • A 20,000 person job loss
  • Lost tourism revenue
  • Breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights
  • A self-induced recession
  • No more affordable housing in the areas where it is required
  • The potential to encourage “out-of-province” owners to sell luxury properties and in turn buy “affordable” properties, thus reducing affordable housing inventory.

You have to admit, the BC NDP government are “pretty special” in coming up with such an amazing “speculation tax” policy. Personally, I don’t think this is the political legacy I would wish to be known for.

Silent Right

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Silent right…………..

No, that isn’t a typo or spelling error, it is however an indicator of current social and political oppression.

This has been a year where social media, ceased to be that, and in turn became a propaganda machine. Social media stopped serving the function of shared ideas and networking, and rather attempted to become a powerhouse of social attitudes and political manipulation.

The first rumblings started last year when anti-left wing Facebook sites started getting warnings from Facebook, followed by temporary suspensions of their on line activity. As of October, Facebook had banned site after site that did not align politically with Facebook’s ideology. Facebook was banning sites in an attempt to twist the public’s political stance. Interestingly it was not only American sites, but Canadian too.

The Facebook suspensions started to align with other online comments, online comments on Canadian news sites on their Facebook supported pages. People making comments on political threads were starting to complain about their comments going missing. They would go back to read a thread and their comment would be gone. More and more this was happening.

As this situation continued, leftist hate started to rear it’s ugly head even further. Political trolls were everywhere, some traceable back to an actual political party (this happened with the Alberta NDP back in May 2016). It ramped up immensely in Alberta (Canada) in the fall. Unemployment was rampant with a leftist government bringing in one policy after another to put people out of work (plus some stripping of religious rights which are actually protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights). The highlight of this era was Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley calling Albertan’s “xenophobic” for not supporting her Carbon Tax; a tax that will destroy the province through inflation and further unemployment come January.

By November even I was starting to notice the dynamic becoming stranger and stranger. An off-base balance to social media. Social media was no longer echoing the attitude on the street. Social media was being overrun with crazed leftest comments from posters that could spend 6, 7, 8 hours going at it constantly, calling anyone who didn’t agree with them possibly every derogatory term you could imagine. The posts from the left remained in the thread of comments.

So Facebook was becoming stranger and stranger, and this is from the viewpoint of a Canadian following provincial politics. That’s a pretty small microcosm on the world scene; pretty specialist.

By mid-November I experienced my first banned posting, but it wasn’t what you would think…..it was a watercolour painting of a landscape. A note came back from Facebook that I wasn’t allowed to post it. I tried intermittently for over an hour, it wouldn’t let me. Facebook was working, people were posting, I was blocked. Blocked for attempting to post a landscape painting. Weird.

Now I had put that incident of being blocked completely out of my mind until this week when in the span of two days I faced two censorship scenarios .

The first scenario took place on December 21st. I responded to an item on the CBC Edmonton Facebook page. I wrote out a response that included no profanity or hate speech; what the article did feature was a political preference different to the ideology supported by Facebook. The comment was not allowed to post over and over and over. Was this CBC censoring with key words? Possibly. Was it Facebook censoring? Possibly. What my comment was ,undoubtedly, was against the leftist view that social media is trying to push so heavily at the moment.

So I copy and pasted my comment (it can be read in the previous blog post), and I sent it out into the world….and to CBC Edmonton. CBC Edmonton, in many transactions through personal messaging throughout the rest of the day, said they could find no trace of the comment, but they would investigate. So the question is, WHO blocked the comment and why?

By late that day I had remembered the banned posting of the watercolour painting; I had experienced two weird bannings in a little over a month. It left me wondering what was going on and what were the similarities? It was peculiar, as when you post a watercolour painting the text usually reads “en plein air, 5×7, watercolour on white paper”, with perhaps the name of the beach (which this was, we were out on the coast). The only two things that were consistent were either the poster, “me”……..or the fact that the term “white” was used in the text of both posts that were blocked. Was Facebook just simply targeting intermittently individuals that did not share their ideology, or was Face book blocking the word “white”?

Interesting.

The next day I open up my Facebook feed, and the news story for the morning is regarding the Alberta NDP government stating something needs to be done to save money in healthcare. I commented that the Alberta government basically shot themselves in the foot with their Carbon Tax as anything that uses heat or transportation is going to go up  in price. Their own tax is making the operation of their own departments more expensive; every piece of food or equipment shipped to a healthcare facility will cost more under the Alberta NDP’s Carbon Tax.

Out came the trolls. First it was one troll, then several hours in it became a second. But then the second troll started answering questions I asked the other one. Ah ha, same person, two accounts, never posting at the same time, alternating back and forth. I called them on it, and then things got nasty.

The troll threatened to call the police, then posted nasty comments on another Facebook page I have where I show photography and paintings. Then the troll started to stalk my husband’s social media, followed by her shouting that I need “meds”. Now please remember this is regarding the fact that I pointed out that the Carbon Tax was going to make everything more expensive, and that the government can’t expect to decrease costs when they implement a policy that is going to cause inflation.

Around nine hours into this scenario, yes nine hours, the troll decides to take a new tactic. She decides to create a fictional person, say it is my friend, then proceeds to say the language I am using in the comments is verbatim to the language I used to harass her and her son this summer. At this point I remind her that the healthcare story only broke THIS MORNING, how could I have possibly harassed you in the summer over this healthcare story? And then she went nuts….followed by me blocking her.

(Just as a side note, around two hours in another poster warned me that this troll does it all the time. So this is a reoccurring phenomenon.)

Guess what. This morning, message from Facebook, MY comments did not “meet posting criteria” and were deleted. My comments pointed out that a left wing government’s policy was going to be detrimental to their very own departmental budgets. I dared to oppose the left. I dared to challenge the left.

Another Facebook blocking for not supporting a left-wing ideology. Once on the 21st of December and the second for comments made on the 22nd.

Facebook is ensuring a SILENT RIGHT. They are attempting to manipulate social and political attitudes. Facebook is trying to create the illusion of left-wing support.

ILLUSION.

You see it is an illusion, and in the left’s overzealous and oppressive ways they have created a very dangerous situation, and that situation is the SILENT RIGHT. The left thinks if they silence other political views they simply don’t exist, but it isn’t true.

Why did the Scottish Referendum result the way it did? SILENT RIGHT

Why did Brexit result? SILENT RIGHT

Why did Trump get elected? SILENT RIGHT

When the those supporting left-wing politics try to silence those with other political leanings, it doesn’t make the voters go away, it doesn’t make them change their political stance, it just makes them quiet. People stop talking online (or are banned as is now a common practice), but they don’t change their beliefs. The left doesn’t silence the talk in the streets, on the playgrounds or in the coffee shops; support against left-wing politics is still there, it is just underground.

SILENT RIGHT

SILENT RIGHT is exactly why the polls, at the moment, are getting every large political decision wrong. Polls can no longer gauge public opinion accurately, and it is the oppression and attempted political manufacturing by supporters of left-wing politics that has created this scenario.

SILENT RIGHT, a situation created by overzealous left-wing supporters, has created a whole new dimension of underground politics. A political movement formed from bullying by the left. A political movement that frighteningly no one has a handle on as it has been pushed underground.

And so today I joined the SILENT RIGHT.

I closed out my Facebook accounts, all five……. businesses, art, personal.

Now I am one more choosing to go underground. The discussions will continue in the street, the living rooms, the schoolyard and the shops. We discuss the business policies and pricing that will be increasing and how our emails going out to our customers will indicate NDP policy as the cause for inflation. We discuss working on a barter system to avoid the government receiving taxation. We discuss how we withhold support from social situations that used to ease the government’s burden. These are quiet discussions, but they do not stop. They are the discussions of the SILENT RIGHT.

 

 

93,951 Views Of My Open Letter And Still Receiving Hate Mail

News flash…….. the election is over. The votes have been counted, the decision has been made. Isn’t it amazing, the election has been over for days yet the hate mail continues.

As of 5 minutes ago my open letter had been viewed 93,951 times, and still continues to be viewed hundreds of times each day. The number of views is significant, however beyond the readership numbers I am getting an inside look as to the mentality of a certain portion of Canadian society.

Let me share what I am discovering. First, there is an absolute HATE by the political left for stay-at-home parents.

Evidently we are living in the lap of luxury, lounging on the couch eating bon-bons all day while our servants run around cleaning our house and dusting our bottoms due to our lack of activity. Unfortunately they are wrong. The fact is we bought our house for land value and renovated for years. We chose to stay at home after arriving to our baby sitter and finding our toddler had been left with her ten year old son while the babysitter went shopping. We choose to raise our own children and run our own lives rather than outsource all aspects of our lives. We choose to have a marriage that is a partnership. We choose to be responsible and self sufficient and hard working. We choose to make our own path for success rather than blame others for our lack of foresight, hard work or ambition.snowshoeing at riverbend - red deer, alberta, canada

When the election results came in my husband asked me my thoughts, so as I am still getting hate mail (clearly people have a lot more free time than I do) I may as well share them here:

The Environment – anyone who really knows me, knows we are environmentally conscious. Yes it is shocking, but not every person that leans to the right believes in raping the earth. Check back in the blog and you will find an ambitious fight (and win), spearheaded by us, to save a nesting ground, including door-to-door canvassing with our five children. We walk the talk on a daily basis. The other political parties were quick to point their fingers at the “nasty, nasty” Conservatives, yet all their environmental talk was nothing but babble. Neither the Liberals, Greens or N.D.P. had a firm plan in place, it was all political babble. These political parties are clueless. They like to blame the oil industry but emissions are an issue nationwide not just in Northern Alberta.

If these parties had any clue they would have promoted feasible plans, what they needed to do is so simple. The two nationwide polluters and users of fossil fuels are our homes and our cars. This is where the fight to improve the environment needs to start. It is so simple, kill the commute and put solar and wind in our homes. The solution isn’t a carbon tax, it is changing the way we live.

Killing the commute is quite simple. All that would be needed are government incentives to move industry and large employers to smaller towns and areas with dwindling populations. By moving industry and business into areas like this jobs are created in areas that are usually economically struggling, housing is affordable, and the drive to work is 5 or 10 minutes rather than an hour and a half. It is a winning situation. It is a simple situation to reduce vehicle emissions. However it takes a creative forward thinking government willing to work WITH business,  not a government that just wants to tax business.

Putting solar and wind in our homes is another concept that is beyond simple. The technology is there, and has been for decades. It is time for our homes to be run on cleaner power. Solar power has been an interest of mine for years, we have investigated the possibilities and walked away on numerous occasions. The price is too high to get your investment back and it is difficult to learn all the ins and outs of what is really needed to switch your home over to a sustainable form of clean energy. As long as it is only a minute fraction of the population using solar and wind, this will never change. For change to happen government needs to intervene and give incentives; incentives not to the homeowners, but to big business.

The place to start is with diversification of the energy sector. The energy sector is just big business. The government needs to talk to them about the form of power they produce. Would they be interested, with the aid of government incentives into moving into producing clean power options as well? Businesses diversify all the time, they don’t care about the product the produce, they care about guaranteed profit. If there is money at the end of a venture, business is interested. Building factories that produce solar panels, equipment for wind power and storage batteries. Retraining some of their staff for these factories and as installation technicians. All of this can be done up at Ft. McMurray just as easily as the tar sands operations are now. But a government promise has to go a bit farther to make this feasible, they need to provide a sure-fire need for the green technology produced. The federal government will have to work with provinces and municipalities to revise building requirements and building codes, and make all new builds powered by a certain percentage of green energy. This creates a demand for the product, and the demand for the product is what will bring the price down to an affordable level. As the price comes down homeowners will retrofit their homes. A whole new industry is born, new jobs are created nation-wide as installers will be needed coast to coast, and our country begins to wean off fossil fuels in our homes. So simple. So effective, but again it takes a creative forward thinking government willing to work WITH business,  not a government that just wants to tax business.

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“Generation Entitlement” – “Generation Entitlement” was my second thought regarding the election results. They are the new generation of voters, and the left wing parties recognized the fact and ran with the concept. Undoubtedly the generation that thinks that their parents should pay for their college educations, their cars, their vacations, and a coat “when they are sad” (true story!) are going to need to vote in a government who will “take care of them”. Mommy and Daddy have been giving “hand outs’ all their life, and now they want the government to do the same. This is the same generation that still think of themselves as “kids” at the age of 30. This is the same generation that feel they deserve the big house and fancy car “right now” rather than work for it. This is the same generation that is on CBC Radio every few weeks complaining that there are no middle management jobs for when they get out of college, and that the older generation is staying in their jobs for too long and not retiring. Newsflash “kids”……..the old folks are staying in their jobs longer to pay for your education, holidays, cars and coats when you are sad. They will be staying in their jobs even longer if they are taxed higher by a government with a “hand out” mentality. The tactic may have voted in the Liberal’s, but I suspect four years from now “Generation Entitlement” will be exactly where they are now, complaining with their hand out.

A Campaign of Hate – Hate is what ran this election. “Harper Hate”. Hate for people who blog their opinion. Even after the election the hate continues, which is quite remarkable. I’m still receiving hate mail. hate mail is everywhere on social media. We live in a hateful society. We have made a few observations through people we know in person and have interacted with online. Generally the “hate” seems to be a way people either respond in jealousy to other people’s success, or is a reaction regarding their own lack of ambition or regretted choices. I am not talking about people who have truly had unfortunate incidents happen to them in their lives, in fact I have not received or witnessed “hate” from a person in this circumstance.

We personally know a person full of “Harper Hate”. This is an educated person from a comfortable upbringing with a lot of emphasis placed on material items; a person who migrated to Alberta a few years ago from an easterly province. Interestingly  this person’s employment  is somewhat dictated by the oil industry in Alberta. They are a one income family, his hours were cut, yet he still spouted “Harper Hate”. His livelihood is hanging in the balance yet he would prefer to spout hate and vote in a government where their energy policies could leave him unemployed. He would prefer to be jobless and homeless. The “hate” is blinding people.

I find it amazing that the hate continues after the election. What is the point? The votes have been cast, the decision has been made. We watch and see what happens. The “haters” too have cast their votes, they should be happy, but the hate continues. This is troubling. It shows the election results do not reflect an informed population, it just reflects a hateful society. If the hate had been in an effort for change, the haters would now be silent, but they are not. They continue their personal attacks. They continue their social media attacks. The Liberal’s may have won the election, but evidence shows (and continues to) that they won on hate and not policy, and that is pretty sad.

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Yesterday my husband commented how quickly I have moved on from the election. I said to him “It’s a done deal. This is the vote. This is the decision. Now we watch.” ( I also may have said “Thank goodness our oldest has a job and by the time our second oldest needs a job another government will have been voted it.” …..but back to the post.)  He also asked “Are you not angry?”, and I replied that I am not angry at all but rather amused.

I am amused. Year after year all we have heard in the media is people blaming Harper and the Conservatives for everything that has gone wrong with their lives. Now I get to sit back and watch. Now I get to sit back and watch the same people, continue to live the same lives, with the same problems under a different government. Now I get to watch the circumstances, that these people blamed on “Harper”, remain under Trudeau. What these people do not understand is that hand outs do not move people forward, added taxation does not help a country, and legalized pot does not make everything better. The fact of the matter is that the only thing that can truly improve one’s plight in life is to make wise choices, be responsible, self sufficient and hardworking. Each person  chooses to make their own path for success, and blaming and hating others for their own lack of foresight, hard work or ambition will get them nowhere.

I am amused because four years from now the “haters” will be exactly where they are now. However it will no longer be “Harper’s fault”, it will be their own.

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Are Canadian Women Allowed An Opinion Outside Of Their Own Home?

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Are Canadian women allowed to truly have an opinion beyond the walls of their home? This is a thought that has been on my mind over recent days.

The last month has left me contemplating  how equal women truly are in Canadian society, not how it reads in theory on paper, but how equal we are in real life. Back in mid September I wrote an open letter expressing my feelings on how the discussion of eliminating two policies affected me. The elimination of policies was  discussed by  a couple of  party leaders running in Canada’s 2015 federal election, and the attitudes of these two political parties surrounding the elimination of these policies  made me feel worthless. These were policies that for the most part gave a sense of recognition to parents at any level of income across Canada. It was an inclusive policy. Policies that included every single family in the country. Somehow the letter was shared on social media and it has now had over 85,000 views. It is great to have an opinion piece read, it was meant to give insight as to how an everyday person felt about issues involved in our upcoming federal election.

However this is where it becomes interesting, the piece reflected my feelings and my opinion, yet other Canadians, primarily male Canadians, took issue to tell me I was wrong. I was told my opinion and my feelings were wrong. How can this be? How can a male Canadian know how a female Canadian feels? How can they know how a mother feels? Honestly how can anyone know how another person truly feels, yet vicious attacks were made regarding how I personally felt and my personal experience. I had no right to an opinion.

Now Facebook banter is one thing, it is an insignificant lowbrow mudsling, but when an individual tracks you down and sends a hateful, lie filled email to you personally, because you dared to share your opinion, we have a problem. We have a further problem because one has to decide how to deal with the correspondence. Clearly this person is unstable, as who sends a toxic email to someone who has written an open letter about their personal feelings. This person also posted their hateful email filled with lies about me on their blog. However, if I had taken the email to our local R.C.M.P. my feeling is that I would have been seen as an overreacting female. So the situation is interesting. We have an unstable person trespassing into my life by writing a toxic email and posting libelous statements about me on his blog, the authorities are not going to take me seriously, and I do not know what this male is going to do next. What do I do? I protect myself the only way I can, I post his email online.

Now in my blog I posted that I would let this gentleman have his say. In reality the email address was put out there to point to who this person was if he chose to escalate things further. If my children were threatened, if my house was set on fire, if our tires were flattened, his email was out there to point to the possible motive. Clearly this person was not stable, what normal person reacts in such a toxic manner to a complete stranger having a personal opinion over political policies and programs? We have to protect ourselves, and that is what I did.

This male sent me a second email citing “privacy issues” with my blog post. I knew this gentleman had no issues with “privacy”, his Whosis profile even lists his phone number. If he had “privacy issues” he wouldn’t have used his real name or real email address which included his name. He was just mad that I didn’t succumb to his cyber-bullying. That I didn’t issue a retraction for having an opinion. That is correct, this person thought I should issue a retraction for having an opinion. When males of our Canadian society think that women should have to issue retractions for having an opinion we have a very problematic situation happening in our supposedly equal society.

blog house graphicNow one could say I am basing this on one “looney leftie” , a term popularized out in social media, but the attitude was verified as the situation escalated. When this rather unstable male went to the Saskatoon police to complain about the “privacy issue” I was again treated with a less than equal attitude. It was curious. To begin with I called the officer back after receiving the message, was transferred through to her line, then she said immediately that she would have to call me back on another line. That was odd; I actually did a screen shot of the phone numbers and call times. I tried to go through the emails with her to see just what this gentleman had said. She wouldn’t go through them with me piece by piece. When I asked how many emails she had,  she said “lots” . The answer should have been four. When I asked for her to forward the situation to the R.C.M.P. in our home town in order to talk to someone in person so I could verify the situation was legitimate, the officer got all funny with me and said I could just call the switchboard back to verify. That wasn’t my request. ( It was starting to feel like one of those scam telemarketer calls by this stage of the discussion, something was off.)  Not once did she even cite any part of the privacy act or what had been violated, she just said that I needed to take down the email address (or at least implied it). To this day I still do not know if I actually violated any portion of the privacy act; never was any aspect of the act cited to me. The officer then said she was too busy and would call me back; days later there has yet to be a phone call.

Now one has to wonder how the police can do this? How can they just call you up and say to take something off your personal blog, an item put up to protect yourself, because they said so.  Remember earlier when I said there was no point in taking the original toxic email to the police, the handling by this police officer proved my gut feeling. Women are not treated equally or fairly or taken seriously. The police officer would not listen to what I had experienced, she would not go through the documentation, she would not even verify the number of emails, I was just to “take it down” because she said so.

The unstable gentleman who sent me the toxic email thought I should issue a retraction on my open letter because “he said so”.

The police officer thought I should take down information on my blog because “she said so”.

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to an opinion?

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to have their side of the story heard?

Could someone tell me why women in Canada are supposed to change their opinions and ways simply because someone else tries to oppress them?

Could someone please tell me why Canadian women are not allowed to protect themselves the only way they can, as social biases prevent us from being protected through proper channels?

A woman is supposedly equal in Canada, but we aren’t. Evidence is everywhere. Women are abused and murdered by spouses. Women are underpaid. A strong man is a leader in our country, while a strong woman is a bitch. Now society is also trying to strip us of having personal opinions. It is a strange version of equality, isn’t it?

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Trudeau – Mulcair Fanboy Rats Stay-At-Home Mom Out To Saskatoon Police Force

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Link to the original letter: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/an-open-letter-to-trudeau-and-mulcair-why-am-i-so-worthless/

Well kids, your read it right. Yep, the “man” who thought he was going to oppress me over my open letter to Trudeau and Mulcair went to the police……over little old me……shucks…..I’m honored. Really did this fire need anymore fuel….well I guess it did even though we are nearing  70,000 reads of my letter.

So now I am going to share the “police story”:

Remember the toxic email I received? Well the author went to the Saskatoon Police Department regarding this issue to complain about me. “Privacy Act”.

He attacked me through an unsolicited email, and posted libelous statements about me on his blog  calling me “blatantly dishonest”. I requested that the Saskatoon police officer contact an R.C.M.P. member in our city of Red Deer so that I could talk to them to know every thing is legitimate, after all how do I know if it isn’t just the author of the hateful email having a friend be the heavy. One phone call to our local police force is all I asked. A reasonable request. If we are going to “play by the book” I want to know everything is on the level. My request was not fulfilled.

The police officer was put out, then too busy, would not listen to my full story, then said she would call back.  She hasn’t.

She had no problem with him making a personal attack. She had no problem with the harassment. She had no problem with the libel. She had no problem with the cyber-bullying. She would not listen to my side of the story and kept cutting me off. She made no move to having the complaining gentleman take down the libelous piece he has written about me that he has posted on his blog. It is absolutely fine in her eyes for him to slander me, I am only a simple female.  She had no time for me. One has to wonder if I was treated this way because I am female. Would a male have been blown off? I’ll let you decide. Oppression. Worthless. The theme continues.

…..stay tuned

Quote of the day: “the lady’s not for turning” – Margaret Thatcher

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Comments, Harassment, Spamming by the Liberals and Oppression – Is a female voter allowed an opinion?

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The original post referenced  can be found at: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/an-open-letter-to-trudeau-and-mulcair-why-am-i-so-worthless/

The last few days have been both interesting and at the same time shown a disturbing side of a certain segment of our population. For those who haven’t been following, on September 13, 2015 I wrote a piece that was an open letter to Trudeau and Mulcair regarding the upcoming federal election in Canada. I wrote my feelings. I shared my feelings. After all it is better to pose concerns prior to an election rather than stay quiet and complain after. Essentially what I did is exactly the same as if I had been at a political forum and had been given the opportunity to pose a question or mention a concern.

I sent the piece to the federal headquarters of the NDP, the Liberals, and the Conservatives. I also sent the letter to  two Conservative candidates, two Liberal candidates and one NDP candidate in our area. A link was also posted on the Facebook page of each of the three political parties. I asked each recipient for a reply, the only replies I received were from the two Conservative candidates for our area. The Liberal’s refused to address the concern as did the NDP. Even at the riding level they refused to address a concern of their local people. Is the subject too hot, or do they just not care? All I know is that elected officials represent the people, and if they can’t even get back to you during an election they will be deaf to your concerns once they are sitting in office. No reply is a bad sign.

Now I need to expand on the reply because there is a little twist. When I emailed the Liberals what they did do was start spamming me with emails asking for money. To date I have received 20 emails spamming me but not one response to my concern. How could they ignore my concern yet spam me 20 times in the period of 12 days? Obviously my opinion holds some weight as I am sure they would have taken the time to counter-act my concerns seeing it was in a public forum.

(For the record, so I do not again end up being accused of being a “fake” or a “liar”, here are the titles of the emails I received, the first one was dated September 18th, 5 days after my piece was written: Now you have your say, Feeling Positive, Elections Cost Money, Your official 2015 donor card is ready. I know what it is like, Debra thank you, All stops, Catch this?, it felt great, you decide, mistake?, Real change, Live now: the Munk Debate on Canada’s Foreign Policy, Yes, Hands down, It’s about now, Momentum, NDP Attack Alert, Love this, and Hey.)

When I first sent out my blog post it went to about 11 locations. A few days later, as opportunities arose with Facebook linked news stories a couple more links were posted, probably on either CTV or Global news sites as those are the two news sources I follow in my feed. As I watched my stats for views they were pretty normal for a political piece, maybe a few hundred views over the first few days. I am not new to blogging, this piece had not been aggressively promoted online, it was a piece of my opinions and concerns related to the Liberal and NDP federal political parties.

On September 27, 2015 everything changed. Alerts started coming through on my phone regarding an increase in blog views. Someone somewhere had picked up my letter and shared it on line, clearly it struck a chord with them and they felt it needed to be shared. By September 28th the views increased, at midnight, for that day alone, the piece had been read 18,160 times on that day alone. Each day the reads increased, and while the vast readership was from Canada, the night time statistics showed the piece being read all over the world. People were reading. People continue to read. As I write this, over 63,000 people have read my open letter, a letter that was sent to a handful of sources.

Statistically, the letter being read is great. Sadly the required result, a response from the NDP or Liberal Party was not to happen. Clearly family does not matter to these parties, or stay-at-home/work-at-home parents, who I suspect the vast majority are women. Clearly I was worthless in the eyes of the NDP and the Liberals, otherwise they would have responded.

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The NDP and the Liberal’s may not have responded, but what I received instead was hate mail. First it was Facebook comments sent directly to me essentially telling me to “stop breeding like rabbits and get to work”. It was a classic unimaginative comment. Having a large family it happens all the time. In front of our children complete strangers have no problem saying “time to keep your legs shut” or “you should of had an abortion”. This is our society, this is the value mothers hold; or at least mothers of more than two or three children. We are targets, we are used to it, we are quite honestly bored with it. Comments that we receive simply show the other person’s insecurity regarding their own personal ability to raise a large family. In the grand scheme of things it is just another “Facebook poster” (yes, quotations!), everyone reading this knows what I mean.

However yesterday morning the really toxic people started to show their faces. Now remember my open letter was regarding my own personal thoughts and concerns, any other Canadian who really cared could also write their own open letters. Quite honestly if others took the time to write pieces we might hear more intelligent views on a whole range of issues rather than people just slinging insults on Facebook. But this is where everything began to get a bit interesting, and a little dark. People started to take offense that I dare have an opinion. They started to attack our family choice and size, our lifestyle choice (stay-at-home/work-at-home), they called me a liar, they called me a fake. One thing was very obvious in all the comments, these were comments meant to oppress a woman, they were comments that would never be said to a man. My husband sat in disbelief reading, and I didn’t even show him the worst, he had never quite seen anything like it.

At first it was comments and rants sent through to my comments section on the blog. Moderation is a wonderful thing, I have a “trash” button, it gets hit after I read the second negative thing in a comment. I’m too busy to waste my time reading other people’s rants and hate; if they really cared they would write their own piece and post it publicly. By mid-morning I simply closed the comments, I home-school  my five year old for Kindergarten (Kindergarten is optional in Alberta) , I had a shoot to do, I simply didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with other people’s toxic drama. Quite honestly I wasn’t the person they needed to talk to, from the tone, these people severely needed a therapist.

Last night everything moved to a new level when I received a toxic and attacking email from a complete stranger who decided to track me down. Attack me personally. What inspires a person to be so mean in response to an open letter? What inspires a person to try and bully a person, or should I say bully a woman, who has written an open letter? I will just give you a few choice words from the email, “blatantly dishonest”, “horribly ignorant”…..it gives you an idea of the tone. However beyond the playground name calling the male writer of the email suggests I should “publish a retraction” and that I am full of “misinformation”. This is the most troubling of anything included in the email because this person feels a woman has no right to an opinion, this man feels he has the right to track down a woman and bully her on line, and try to beat her into submission with words and insults. An email like the one I received would have never have been sent to a man, it goes to show there is still an attitude of heavy oppression towards women in our country. Sad. I however am not weak. I also recognize that an intelligent person would not have written so. An intelligent person would not try to suppress and oppress another person’s opinion. An intelligent person would have tried to contact the Liberal or NDP parties and said “Why don’t you talk to her?” But bullying was the preferred method of action.

So the question is how does one deal with this email? Well I certainly wasn’t going to issue a retraction apologizing for my own feelings, thoughts and concerns. I believe women in Canada still have a right to having their own thoughts; that has yet to be stripped from us. So I figured the best way to deal with a blowhard woman hater was to let him have his moment in the sun and I posted his email address on line. “Why?” you may ask. Public record. I want everyone to know who is harassing me, I also suspect he is harassing others as his email went in my “junk” file. It is cyber-bullying. It is harassment. It is also the way I will deal with any future emails of a similar nature. No person should face harassment or bullying for having an opinion regarding the federal election.

So I put this question to everyone, “Does a female in Canada have the right to an opinion, or is she simply worthless?”.

No longer is the subject only with regard to income splitting and Universal Child Care Benefit, it is now a question of the female population having a right to an opinion.

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Women make up close to half the population of Canadians. Women who choose to have children inevitably have to make alterations to their lives in order to give birth , this is a given. Even after birth, even though there are some stay-at-home dads, it is often the women who make the sacrifices to raise the children. They stay at home, they work from home, they work part time. There are stay-at-home moms with diplomas, degrees, masters and PHD’s. There are stay-at-home moms who walked away from careers as lawyers and doctors to raise their children. The simple act of giving birth does not mean women are stupid and worthless, it means we put family first. Somehow this has made us worthless. This has not just been demonstrated through proposed policy but also through “hate mail” and comments.

I hope everyone will reflect upon my comments, and reflect upon how you personally view the women in your life and those who are complete strangers. And please, if you see a woman being oppressed or demeaned, please watch out for her. This is a dark and slippery slope.

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Link: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/trudeau-mulcair-fanboy-rats-stay-at-home-mom-out-to-saskatoon-police-force/

Update:

Remember the toxic email I received? Well the author went to the Saskatoon Police Department regarding this issue to complain about me. “Privacy Act”.

He attacked me through an unsolicited email, and posted libelous statements about me on his blog  calling me “blatantly dishonest”. I requested that the Saskatoon police officer contact an R.C.M.P. member in our city of Red Deer so that I could talk to them to know every thing is legitimate, after all how do I know if it isn’t just the author of the hateful email having a friend be the heavy. One phone call to our local police force is all I asked. A reasonable request. If we are going to “play by the book” I want to know everything is on the level. My request was not fulfilled.

The police officer was put out, then too busy,would not listen to my full story, then said she would call back.  She hasn’t.

She had no problem with him making a personal attack. She had no problem with the harassment. She had no problem with the libel. She had no problem with the cyber-bullying. She had no time for me. One has to wonder if I was treated this way because I am female. Would a male have been blown off? I’ll let you decide. Oppression. Worthless. The theme continues.

(In honoring the “privacy act”, as it obviously trumps harassment, cyber-bullying and libel in the interpretation of severity within the Saskatoon Police force, I decided to turn the text into a popular old-school children’s game. Grab your pencil and paper kids, we aim to entertain!)

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17,800 views of my Mulcair/Trudeau Letter Today Alone

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I guess it pays to care.

I guess it pays to be vocal.

Today my concerns were heard by 16,609 people who care about Canada. Today my letter to Trudeau and Mulcair was read 17,800 times. The policies of Trudeau and Mulcair may make me feel worthless, but the tens of thousands of people who have taken the time to read my letter has made me feel that I am of some worth.

I thank you all for reading and sharing my letter.

The link to the letter can be found by clicking HERE .

daily stats sept 29 2015

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An Open Letter to Trudeau and Mulcair- Why am I so worthless?

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(Edited to add that as of October 24th, 2015 this letter had received 93,951 views and multiple incidence of hate mail – LINK for further post.)

Dear Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair,

Why am I so worthless in your eyes? For weeks I have listened to election coverage and not only do your parties make me out to be worthless, not only do your parties offer me nothing, but you want to take away the mere meagre offerings the current government gives to our family.
Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, I am a stay-at-home mom and a work-at home mom. Our family has made sacrifices in order for our children to be actually raised and cared for by their parents rather than outsourced. We have put family first yet your parties see no value in this. When the Conservative government introduced the monthly Universal Child Care Benefit cheque, and included families like ours, we felt the government acknowledged the value stay-at-home parents provided to Canadian society. When the Conservative government introduced income splitting it was again proof that stay-at-home parents were a valuable asset. The Liberal and N.D.P. governments plan to strip these programs from us, the only programs that indicate stay-at-home parents are of any worth. We, the parents that have selflessly sacrificed everything for the well being of our families are worthless in your eyes.

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, I am about to give you a tour of our life.

Our family is a family of seven, a mother, a father, and five children ranging in age from 5 to 17. We live in Red Deer, Alberta. We live in a 3 bedroom 1250 square foot house, it wasn’t always this size as it was originally 666 square feet in size. The house we bought for land value and spent years upon years renovating and adding onto the house; sweat equity. Sweat equity that has quadrupled the price of our house. We are hard workers. Our children share rooms. Our two oldest share an 8’x12′ room, while our youngest three share a 9×9.5′ room. We live modestly and compactly and within our means. We have stayed in a small home so that we could afford for one of the parents to stay home and raise and care for our own children. We believe if we choose to become parents we also choose to take on the responsibility to raise our own children and not outsource the responsibility.

I am also a work-at home mom. There are thousands upon thousands of work-at-home parents across Canada, we are a hidden and forgotten portion of the economy. Parents who work from home are making the best effort to bring in an income while raising children at the same time. The scope of stay-at-home parents is broad: dayhomes, music teachers, dance teachers, photographers, tutors, bookkeepers, hairdressers, crafters, growers, dog groomers…and the list goes on. We have no benefits, we often do not make anywhere near minimum wage, we work late into the night when children are sleeping, and we often receive little respect from society as they think we are working for “fun” or it’s a “hobby” or it is “good to keep your hand in your career”. The fact of the matter is we are working to support our families. We are often working for a pittance yet every five or ten dollars adds up. We are hard workers. Income splitting made this worthwhile. On our personal tax return we saw how financially worthless we were even though we were trying to do the impossible and run businesses and raise our own children at the same time, yet when income splitting was allowed we had some degree of value. The Liberals and N.D.P. parties want to strip us of this tiny value we can provide our family with at tax time.

I am now going to provide you with a couple of real numbers for what a work-at-home/stay-at-home parent makes. I run two home-based businesses, one is photography and one is naturally dyed hand-knits. Every so often you closely cost a job or two to see where the profit is and the viability of continuing with a product. A few years ago I did a costing on a large wedding package that I offered, and instead of just looking at the material costs I incurred compared to the price the customers paid, I also tracked every single hour involved in completing the job. The concept was to see what I was actually making if I were working for an employer rather than being self employed. Once all the calculations were completed, material costs, shooting, retouching, meetings, etc., I had made $3.00 an hour before tax on the job. But this wasn’t an isolated event. I recently did a tracking on a knit item that is popular in response to a 50% price increase overnight in material costs from my local supplier in Alberta , this happened shortly after the announcement of increased minimum wage from the Alberta N.D.P. government. The item I sell for $7.50 wholesale, the new material costs came in at $2.25, the item takes 1.5 hours to make and package, not including prep or dyeing time (impossible to calculate, too many variables). The outcome, I am making $3.50 per hour. (As an aside, my wool now comes from P.E.I., 25% the cost of Alberta wool including shipping, and beautiful quality.) My numbers are not out to lunch, I’ve actually run costings on Canadian Etsy sellers marvelling at how cheap they are selling their wares, they too are making a pittance. There are photographers in our area charging $5.00 sitting fees, again just trying to add to the family income. They are making a pittance trying to subsidize their family’s income while raising their children. Income splitting helped us, as did the Universal Child Care Benefit cheque. The Liberals and N.D.P want to strip us of this.

In the N.D.P. and Liberal’s eyes we are just lazy and decadent because we don’t “go out to work”. We are not “hard working Canadians”; we deserve nothing. The reality is stay-at-home parents make sacrifices to make it work all in the effort to raise the best Canadians possible. Families like ours learn to cutback to live within their budgets, have savings, or work towards a better future.

A few years ago we decided that investment in a property was going to give us a better financial return than the interest rate of G.I.C.’s , R.R.S.P.’s or Savings Bonds. We crunched the numbers and decided to make it work we had to make changes. We got rid of our second vehicle, subscriptions like XM radio and extra TV channels, our landline, hockey tickets and activities. I hunted for cheaper website hosting and went with a less expensive yellow pages ad. We started going to the swimming pool that is $10.00 per family instead of $20.00, and stopped going to sit down restaurants. We cutback to be able to make an investment for our future. We are not unique. There are many families with stay-at-home parents that make sacrifices to be able to raise their own families and have a secure future. Income splitting and the Universal Child Care Benefit cheque both acknowledge that we, the stay-at-home parent and work-at-home parent have some value.

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, have you ever thought about the other value the stay-at-home parent provides to society? Let me list a few:

1) We are the ones at the school when they need volunteers . We go on field trips, help with track meets, tie skates, help with swimming, and aid with school lunches.

2) We are the ones that will keep the children home from school when they are sick. Our kids are not infecting a whole class of children and this inevitably saves on healthcare dollars in the long run.

3) We have the time to feed our children well, we have time to cook from scratch, and some of us even grow our own food. We have the time to invest in the well being of our children and combat child obesity. Again we are lessening the strain on healthcare dollars.

4) Many of us choose to transport our children to school personally, we like the safety aspect and we have the time to do so. We are saving the school systems money allocated for busing children to and from school.

5) We do not have “latch-key” children roaming the streets and falling under bad influences . This will inevitably save on healthcare dollars plus dollars spent on the criminal system long term. I think you will find many stay-at-home parents were “latch key” kids themselves, they realize how damaging the lack of parental involvement and supervision was, how badly things could have gone, and they want better for their own children.

In closing, Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair;

Could you please tell me why you think I am so worthless?

Could you please tell me why those who go out to work are the only ones that matter?

Why are you penalizing me for putting my family first?

Why are you penalizing me for making sacrifices so that I can take care of my family ?

Why is a mom who goes out to work to pay for a McMansion of more value than a mother that chooses to raise and care for her very own children?

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, what could your parties possibly do for me other than strip me of the little I gain from any government program?

*** Edited on September 30th, 2015 to add: 

As a side note, readers may be interested to know for 7 years I worked outside the home and utilized childcare. I have seen the situation from both sides and realize just how important it is for parents to be there for their children. As a child I was a latch key kid, my mom was a teacher, at age 9 you were given the key to the house and you were on your own. It was a negative experience with lasting effects.

Our children deserve the best start to their lives, and that is spending a maximum amount of time with one of their parents. Parenting does not stop when a child enters school, if anything a child’s life becomes more complex as they age and experience outside influences. When we choose to have a child we should also be making a choice to parent our children, nurture our children and be accessible to our children. No government institution can replace the experience that a parent can give a child. If we as a society no longer value hands on parenting, we have simply turned the female population into breeders. I personally want to live in a society formed by parents, rather than one of breeders and state institutions raising our children.

*** Edited on October 1, 2015 to add a follow up link regarding a dark response to my letter: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/comments-harassment-spamming-by-the-liberals-and-oppression-is-a-female-voter-allowed-an-opinion/

**** Edited on October 1, 2015 to add: you know you’ve arrived when a Mulcair-Trudeau fan boy rats you out to police. Link: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/trudeau-mulcair-fanboy-rats-stay-at-home-mom-out-to-saskatoon-police-force/

 

Red Deer Votes 2013 – A Review – Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Red Deer, Alberta (Canada) has just had a municipal election. For those readers outside of Canada we have three levels of government, municipal (can be a city, town or county) provincial (in our case the province of Alberta) and federal. Red Deer is a city that has just hit 100,000 people, we are a city in a wealthy province, but it is also a city containing a lot of hard working people with many in the oilfield and construction industries.

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I was going to write a post with regards to the election right after the results came in, but then I thought a few days of reflection and analysis may be of benefit. I have decided to focus on a few issues we, the citizens of Red Deer, are facing  rather than focusing on the election results and those who have been elected.

Before I get down to brass tacks I will say that I did take this election quite seriously. I actually attended the discussion on the ward system, the forum presented by Red Deer College, and the forum presented by the Chamber of Commerce. If anyone wishes to verify this, yes I was the one in the red cowboy boots (pretty hard to miss, like a party on your feet!). I will also say attending the forums was eye opening. At the forum sponsored by Red Deer College I went in thinking I would vote one way for mayor and came out voting a direction I would have never contemplated. The forum presented by the Chamber of Commerce presented a question and answer session between the public and 30 candidates competing for 8 councillor positions; at this event, which I attended with my husband, we actually scored each answer given by the candidate and essentially created a spreadsheet to decide on who we would vote for. This is taking things seriously. By the way only one candidate scored full marks, while 20 out of the thirty did not score at all. I will also add there were a few candidates who were quite impressive with their level of intelligence and knowledge. I just wanted to give this background to prove that what you are about to read is not a random citizen just “spouting off”.

Almost all of the issues that I am about to present were brought up at one forum or another. I discovered some new concerns in the city by attending, and I also discovered there are some VERY angry people out there. Forums are a great way for voters to see how candidates think on their feet, however issues are never talked about in depth, the voter gets to ask the question but can not quiz the candidate deeper and this is what needs to happen for situations to be solved or for voters to find an understanding.

I will also say many of the answers by candidates at the forums were extremely disappointing. It was like watching a hamster on a wheel. No new approaches to issues, just the same old politi-speak over and over, disappointing. I wonder how many times they have to take the same approach towards an issue before they realize, well, that they will get the same results…..and the results aren’t working. I was really hoping to witness a forward thinker, an independent thinker, a politician who isn’t a lemming, someone who could think outside of the box. This city is full of aspiring politicians, that is clear by the number of candidates, but what our city really needs right now are problem solvers. We don’t need people in suits and fancy dresses and expensive shoes to cut ribbons at events, we need people to fix the city. This is the start of the new term, everything is possible, time to change history and fix something instead of dragging the city’s issues around and around like a hamster on a wheel.

The average citizen is intimidated by government and are hesitant to voice their concerns.

The average citizen is intimidated by government and are hesitant to voice their concerns.

I am hoping that by writing this it will reopen some of the dialogue for further discussion and perhaps encourage others to be active in their concerns on a constant basis rather than just in the preamble to an election. Community input is vital. It is also vital for the councillors and mayor to reach into the community and see the people’s issues, they need to step into all the communities and all walks of life and not just for a photo op but to find out just what is REALLY happening in this city. I am amazed of how many people in a free and democratic country feel intimidated by government, they will not voice their opinions or concerns, but these opinions and concerns are valid. Perhaps it is time for a new era, perhaps it is time for the politicians to step up to the plate and reach out to the average citizen, let them know their voice is important, listen to them and then do something about it.

I am now going to discuss a few of the issues that came up over the forums, and I will warn you it will be long, but this is necessary. The issues are not listed in order of importance.

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The 50 Meter Pool

The need for a 50 meter pool seems to be one of “those” topics. An expensive project to throw Red Deer into deeper debt, but beyond that one has to ask the question “Why does Red Deer need a 50 meter pool?” Now I’ll just give a little background before I launch into the issue, I have utilized all the pools extensively over the years, I basically lived at the swimming pools growing up, taught swimming lessons and lifeguarded at Dawe for four years so I have had a great opportunity to witness trends in pool usage.  Now the ONLY reason Red Deer needs a 50 meter pool is for special interest groups, or shall I be specific and say “swim clubs”. Do I need a 50 meter pool to splash around with my children….no. Do I need a 50 meter pool for my children to take swimming lessons…..no. Do I need a 50 meter pool to swim lengths….no.

Actually lets examine the whole “swimming lengths” phenomenon as this is truly the only scenario where having a 50 meter pool over a 25 meter pool could possibly matter. I decided to do a little experiment. I looked in the “Fall 2013 Community Services Activity and Program Guide”, produced by the City of Red Deer, and located the times available for lane swimming. I discovered all the pools in town had lane swim on the evening of October 23rd at roughly the same time,  so I decided to visit each pool to witness, for myself, just what the demand for lane swimming was in Red Deer. All the swimming sessions were in full swing. The results are as follows:

Recreation Centre – 18 swimmers

rec center pool
G.H.Dawe Community Centre – 4 people in the hot tub, 4 people in the main pool and 2 swimming instructors teaching in the main pool – total of 10 swimmers

dawe pool
Michener Centre – 3 swimmers
Collicutt Centre – 9 people in the hot tub, 1 person swimming lengths

A close up shot revealing just how much demand there is for lane swimming in Red Deer. Collicutt Center, October 23, 2013.

A close up shot revealing just how much demand there is for lane swimming in Red Deer. Collicutt Center, October 23, 2013.

Total number of people in 4 separate swimming pool facilities – 41 people
Total number of people SWIMMING LENGTHS (as in those that would possibly use a 50 meter pool, not including swim instructors) – 26

I really don’t have to elaborate on this, the cold hard truth is 26 out of 100,000 people were swimming lengths the evening of October 23rd, 2013. Can someone please tell me why the other 99,974 citizens should pay for this? The fact of the matter is that this is the whole “Million Dollar Bike Lane Fiasco” all over again. This is a project where only SPECIAL INTEREST groups will benefit but ALL the citizens pay. (For the non-Red Deer readers, a million bucks-ish to install bike lanes in a city buried in snow for 6 to 8 months of the year, plus our roads are infested with massive trucks carrying quads doing at least 20 km/h over the speed limit which will surely result in imminent death.)

Now I am going to go off on a couple of swimming pool related tangents here:

Swim Times
Has anyone looked at the times for lane swimming in Red Deer? I’m not going to itemize as that is just too tedious, but generally speaking you have the choice to swim at the crack of dawn, squeeze in a lunch time swim and drip through your afternoon, or swim in the middle of the night (9-10 pm). These are the adult swim times, the times for lane swimming. If you are under 18, attending school, and want to lane swim during the week you have ONE option….the Recreation Centre on Fridays has lane swim from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. That is it. Has anyone ever noticed how we the tax paying citizens get the dregs, the unwanted time slots, left over by special interest groups? Why are the “PUBLIC” last on the list of priorities? It doesn’t seem fair, does it. It wasn’t always this way. Look back into the swim schedules of the 1980’s and the 1990’s, at Dawe and Michener you could lane swim, alongside public swim, every weekday between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. I know, I did it, I was a pool rat. This is when kids could actually SWIM FOR FITNESS. Staggering concept. (“But now you have bike lanes!” is the City’s response ….anyone want to see the mayor try a shallow dive in the middle of 39th Street…….oh quit nodding your heads you all know I’m being sarcastic!)

At one time, about two years ago, I actually thought the recreation department had done a wonderful thing. At this point in time The Recreation Centre pool offered City run swimming lessons in part of the pool with two lanes in for the public to swim lengths at the same time. I truly thought someone had had an epiphany where they provided a situation where you could place your children in swimming lessons AND the parents could swim lengths at the same time. This was fabulous. The whole family exercising at the same time. I loved it. Swimming lessons were well taught. The kids learned and progressed. I got a workout. I thought “What a great concept to let parents exercise while the kids take a lesson.”. So the next year I sign the kids up again for swimming lessons hoping for the same positive experience. First discovery is that the lane swim had been cancelled. Second discovery is that they have packed so many swim classes into the pool that the kids can barely move. These are swim lessons offered by the City of Red Deer. Each class had 8 kids in it. On top of “Swim Kids” classes they also squeezed in baby and parent classes. Each class pretty much went like this, get in the water, stand at the edge, shiver, get two or three chances to try and swim (in a 40 minute session I might add!), go sit in the hot tub. And you get all this for $74.00 per child, per session. So in my case, for $222.00 for that session (3 kids in lessons), I got to watch my children not learn to swim and freeze to death at the side of the pool. This is a program run by the City of Red Deer. This is how important swimming is to the City of Red Deer. Why do we need a 50 meter pool again? Our youth isn’t even going to LEARN to swim, let alone 50 meters. By the way, our kids haven’t gone back in the lessons, and I know others in the same classes opted to no longer put their children in swim lessons (there were many kids from our elementary school in lessons together). Of course I also wonder if the Recreation Department has intentionally made the group swim lessons unproductive to force parents to place their children in the private swim lessons that they offer. After all a private lesson is $200.00 per child for 8 half hour lessons. I am going to leave this topic here, but there are issues.

( I will also add that the Recreation closes on statutory holidays plus posted this year on a sign that the outdoor pool may not be open if temperatures are below 18 degrees Celsius. This does not sound like swimming pools in Red Deer have a huge demand.)

I have one last tangent to tackle with regards to swimming, recreation and child fitness, and that is …………..

collicutt pool

The Collicutt Centre

We in Red Deer have a very expensive swimming pool THAT YOU CAN”T SWIM IN. Brilliant. This isn’t a matter of “opinion”, it is proven by the one sad person attempting to swim lengths in a weirdly shaped wave pool, during my little investigation into pool usage. If the City of Red Deer truly believed children needed to be fit (bike lanes!), why did they spend millions on a pool designed for kids to float on mats riding on waves? Not exactly fitness. Then it gets better, this pool has a “lazy river”, it serves NO PURPOSE, none. A “river” that you walk through from water mid-calf depth to chest depth, and in one section there are a few bubbles. Pointless. This is another of the City of Red Deer’s projects where they did a lot of research. Sigh. This is a recreational facility designed for fitness, this river is very close to the length of a 25 meter pool and about two lanes wide, did it never cross the minds of those planning the project to actually make this a swimmable area? I know I am being unreasonable but being able to SWIM in a pool just seemed to make sense to me. But let’s not stop there, let’s look at the play pool designed for children, the pool where they have a play structure so large that you can’t actually see your children if they are utilizing the structure in the pool. Small children, lots of water, no sight lines…….for the parents or the lifeguards. The fun doesn’t stop there, lets go upstairs to the running track. We used to use the track several times a week in winter, we’d walk, we’d run, we’d take our kids to keep fit in the winter. I know we are unusual but we do a ton of sports and activities with our children. This all came to an abrupt end. Our eldest is 15. Did you know we were reprimanded  by staff at the Collicutt and told  that in order for him to run the track, by himself (keep in mind we are still on the track running too) he had to attend a class and get some sort of tag to wear on his shoe. We were also told that we had to keep all our children “at arms length”. So evidently the City of Red Deer, who feels fitness is so important for children that they spend $1,000,000 on bike lanes, also feels it is inappropriate for a 15 year old to put on a set of headphones and run a couple of miles on the track. They feel that a 15 year old should be kept “at arms length” of his parents. He is 15 years old. Bizarre. Needless to say we haven’t been back. Clearly the City of Red Deer would rather have 15 year olds doing something different, rather than running distance around a track perhaps doing drugs behind 7-11 is a better activity. Good plan.

I am going to keep on a similar theme, one brought up by a gentleman at the forum sponsored by Red Deer College,  …….

New North End Recreation Centre

Now I will admit I did not realize this was a concern until attending the forum. This is the great thing about forums, you learn things, you learn about other neighborhoods, you learn about other issues. There is great value in that. More facilities is definitely a need that comes with growth, but are we there yet? I started thinking about this topic, but also about how there must be solutions that don’t cost several million dollars. There have to be “outside-of-the-box” solutions that can economically fulfill a need, and I truly think a fiscally responsible council needs to start thinking in these terms. So here is my thought. If certain areas of the city are lacking in access to a recreational facility, why don’t we create a situation to make it convenient for these areas to utilize the lesser used facilities? In plain English. Public swimming at the Recreation Centre on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon has 15-30 people in the pool at most at one time. Why doesn’t the City run a shuttle bus from the areas that need access to a pool to an under used facility? Have 2 or 3 pick up spots, two runs to the pool and two runs back, two days a week. So easy. So cost effective. So easy to implement. We are in an age of re-use, recycle, repurpose. This is the same concept. Take something that is under-used and create a high use scenario. An existing facility gets used to capacity and users are transported en-mass which is better for the environment.

Several people mentioned issues revolving around the downtown area. Again these are issues that could easily be solved with some alternative thinking.

ross street patio

Ross Street Patio

Ross Street Patio, for those not in the know , was an outdoor event held downtown, throughout the summer, which showcased musical talent in an outdoor environment. The “patio” was actually a parking area repurposed for the summer with tables, umbrellas and planters.

Let me say right off the bat that I LOVE Ross Street Patio. Seriously, all summer long I scheduled my Thursday lunch hours around it. I work from home, I raise my children from home at the same time, this was a great diversion for me. I do think this is a wonderful thing for our community, and I think Red Deer needs more of that, people getting out and interacting with people. Now that being said, it appears that some people do not share the same love I have for the project, mainly because it takes away a fair amount of parking in a downtown area that really doesn’t have that many parking spots for the size of the community. I agree, parking is hard, that is why I mostly walk from home if I need to go there, but the fact of the matter is most people do not live a walkable distance to downtown. So I have been thinking about this, looking at the area, and again there is a simple (and cheap) solution. Actually two solutions. First solution, move the venue 200 meters south into Veteran’s Park. It is still on the same block and as a bonus people might actually read all the history boards regarding the citizens of Red Deer involved in the various wars. The second solution, build a permanent stage into the staircase on the west side of city hall so that concert goers could lunch on the lawn of City Hall Park while listening to the artists. This stage could also be utilized for all the other festivals that happen in the downtown core through out the year. This still only moves the event only 300-350 meters away from the current venue (I haven’t measured, it may be less). This is the way to keep the event and the parking.

Lot's of space to use as a venue.

Lot’s of space to use as a venue.

veteran's park, red deer, alberta, canada

Veteran’s Park, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

veteran's park, red deer, alberta, canada

Veteran’s Park, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Another option?

Another option?

Parking, Traffic and Alternative Transportation

Parking in Red Deer seems to be an issue with many. Let’s face it, we live in a climate of pretty severe winters. We live in a city that has embraced urban sprawl (the City has not tried to encourage the development of a proper new family neighborhood in the core). We lead lives run by deadlines and obligations and commitments. We lead lives, like it or not, that require cars. When the issue of parking was brought up at the forums, it was at times diverted to the topic of alternative methods of transportation, and the topic of traffic was also a concern, so I am going to address all three of these issues.

bus depot

Since attending the forums I have been consciously looking at downtown, and Red Deer does need more parking if they want businesses downtown. At the forums some candidates mentioned that we have a parkade, others mentioned that private industry could build a parkade (which is quite a reasonable solution). But if you look downtown there is a huge piece of real-estate, absolutely wasted, that could have been parking. Now bear with me because I am going to have to walk you through this thought process; let me take you “out-of-the-box”. The huge piece of wasted real estate is the bus depot. (I imagine there are a whole lot of people freaking out at me at the moment, but hear me out!) The whole bus depot design could be tweaked to fulfill more than one purpose, and serve more of the Red Deer population. My first question is, why do buses need to drive inside? Why was it not designed with the heated shelters on the perimeter, with buses utilizing the easternmost side for the pick up of passengers. Take a look at where the little shop/café is and imagine waiting areas. The road is four lanes of traffic at this point, reduce it to three. If traffic slows down, it is a good thing, this is downtown, not a freeway. The interior of the bus depot could then be utilized for downtown parking, essentially gaining an extra floor in a parkade. Bus passengers still have a warm place to wait. Motorists have a place to park their cars. Businesses can reconsider downtown as an option for a place to do business.

Wasted real estate?

Wasted real estate?

Future parking?

Future parking?

As I just touched on the topic of traffic, I may as well continue. Traffic is a problem and will continue to be a problem if growth is encouraged. At the forums there were discussions about traffic lights and stop signs and traffic tickets and the quantity of traffic. Traffic is a monster issue. Just a few thoughts here. Downtown is one of the most congested areas. My take on some viewpoints is that it seems some think it might be beneficial to make downtown less of a “car destination” (encourage carpooling, public transport, etc.). If you want to make downtown less of a “car destination” perhaps the first step is to discourage the traffic that isn’t actually stopping in downtown. “How do you do that?” is the next question. Very easily. Reduce the speed limit. Lower the speed limit to 30 km/h in the core. Put rumble strips on all the arteries as you approach the core. Having to putter along like Mr. Magoo at 30 km/hr will deter those with a need for speed. Honestly, Red Deer has a lot of options to travel north to south without going through downtown. A lot of people just travel through downtown out of habit. My husband works just off 67th Street, when he needs to get to the office from the south end of town he takes the highway, from the east he takes 30th Avenue then 67th.

traffic

Deterring traffic and slowing down traffic in the downtown core brings other benefits. First, those who want to be in downtown will not have some huge truck roaring up behind them at 70 km/hr while they try to park. Those actually wanting to use downtown might be able to without the aggressive drivers. Secondly it will make it quieter. Less traffic, less speed, less noise. This will create a more pleasant atmosphere. This will make it more walkable. This might make people think “I don’t have to park right in front of the store, I can walk three blocks from my parking spot, it’s kind of nice to walk downtown!”. And lastly less cars mean less pollution, and better air quality is better for everyone.

city hall park, red deer, alberta

Less traffic, less noise makes downtown Red Deer more walkable and a more desirable destination.

I also need to tackle the concept of public transport that was brought up as an area to examine as a solution for traffic issues. While public transportation is a lovely politically correct idea, I think all the candidates at the forums really need to take a realistic view of life before even mentioning this as an option. I am going to give you my schedule for the other day and I want to see if someone can come up with a public transportation option that will work for me so that I can meet my commitments on time, please remember to take into account I have a 3 year old in tow for all these trips and that our children do not qualify for bussing as our designated school is an “arts school” so we had to go with a different school option :

– take bus from Woodlea to Morrisroe, kids must be in school by 8:50 am (no, I won’t let my tiny 5 year old ride a city bus on her own)
-return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)
-pick up daughter at school by 11:30 am (Woodlea to Morrisroe)
– return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)
– go to speech therapy, 1:00 pm appointment (Woodlea to Downtown)
– return home at about 2:15 (Downtown to Woodlea)
– pick children up at school at 3:23 pm (Woodlea to Morrisroe)
-return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)

By the way, for our whole family to ride the bus paying cash it would be $22.20 per trip or $301 a month for bus passes. When all the children are over age five it will cost us $26.40 per trip or $415 per month……to travel in an inefficient way.

I would also like a solution for grocery shopping when it comes to using public transport. We are a family of seven. We go through a minimum of 14 gallons of milk a week alone, let alone food, how do you bring your groceries home on the bus. I guess what I am saying is that all the candidates need to really think before professing that public transport is the way to go. It is insulting to those of us where it is completely not feasible. Perhaps choose a target demographic where you think it may work, but do your homework, I suspect you will find very quickly why the buses run empty.

Is riding the bus a feasible option for the average resident in Red Deer?

Is riding the bus a feasible option for the average resident in Red Deer?

I am also going to take this opportunity to tackle a pet concern of mine, which is the area at the bottom of Ross Street Hill. The area near the white metal sculpture. I really have to mention this because it is only a matter of time before someone is killed here. The scenario is we have cars flying down the hill much too fast with a pedestrian crossing at the base of the hill linking the walking/biking path system that runs through the Waskasoo park system. It isn’t a matter of opinion that the cars come down too fast, fact of the matter it is one of the favorite radar spots in town. I have personally been responsible for three separate accidents at this location. Want to know how I caused these accidents? By standing at the pedestrian crossing waiting to cross. This is what has happened each time, car #1 comes flying down the hill and slams on the brakes at the crossing, car #2 doesn’t notice and slams into car #1, followed by car #3 hitting the other two. Glass flies, air bags go off, same old, same old. But believe it or not there is a scarier scenario, and this happens every few weeks. A person stands waiting to cross at the intersection, the car in the right hand lane stops for the person to cross but the car flying down the hill in the left hand lane flies through. This is where there is going to be a death. We need to slow down, or stop cars at this location. The other side of the road, right by the carved Parkvale sign, has it’s own set of problems. This spot wouldn’t be an issue if people drove the speed limit, but they don’t. I challenge you to go stand by the Parkvale sign facing traffic and see how many vehicles come close to losing control, and when they lose control they are going to kill anyone walking on that sidewalk. We need to slow down traffic, be it lights, rumble strips or speed bumps. I am sorry but the excuse I heard at the forum about frustrated drivers was ridiculous, not reducing speed is just fueling their aggression. The types that speed will never have enough speed, will never have enough aggression, it isn’t a question of timing lights perfectly, or having the perfect combination of stop signs. No councillor can fix this traffic issue because you can’t fix the stinking rotten attitude of these drivers.

bottom of ross street hill

dangerous crossing connecting the path system

Dangerous crossing connecting the path system.

Time to slow down traffic. Speed limits exist for a reason.

Time to slow down traffic. Speed limits exist for a reason.

Problematic corner when people speed.

Problematic corner when people speed.

…………………………………

If you are still with me I congratulate you on your amazing stamina as you have already read 4758 words. Unfortunately I still have more to say. No one can say I wasn’t listening at the forums. On to the next topic…………….

We are under policed yet the City pushes for more growth. Time to analyze the situation.

We are under policed yet the City pushes for more growth. Time to analyze the situation.

Growth

Did anyone keep count of how many times at the Chamber of Commerce forum that someone said “We’ve just reached 100,000 and soon we’ll be at 200,000 people.” Seriously. But beyond the bizarre nature of the comment did it ever occur to any of the candidates that perhaps not all growth is good. When is too much growth too much? When does growth become detrimental rather than beneficial? At what point does a council take into account a reduction in the quality of life due to unchecked growth? I know in municipalities it isn’t a popular notion but still it is a concept that I feel needs to be contemplated. Listen to many of the things brought up at the forum. Parking shortages, traffic problems, inadequate policing capacity, need for more social and housing resources, a need for more recreational options. The writing is on the wall. We as a city have hit the threshold. This growth isn’t coming for free. I know that and everyone of the candidates speaking at the forum SHOULD know that as well. We pay for it with a decreased quality of life, we pay for it through a need for more social programs and we certainly pay for it through any needed infrastructure. I had a very interesting conversation this summer with Robert Kohn. Robert Kohn is the representative for our district for our place in Lac Ste. Anne County , essentially the same as what a councillor is in a ward system. We were discussing a situation regarding a proposed development in the area and as the discussion went on some of the price tags for infrastructure (roads, sewer, intersections, etc.) came up. Quite fascinating yet quite staggering. The discussion somehow evolved into conferences he had been to and the redevelopment of inner cities (it was a long discussion, can you tell!) and then he said the phrase that sticks in my head …..”There is nothing more expensive than urban sprawl.” Urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is what we have. One little non-descript neighborhood popping up after the other with all the charm of east block housing projects before the wall came down. This urban sprawl is not coming for free.

If one was to look at memorable places, the “quaint” places, the cities and towns with “character”, often their growth has been limited. They have followed the philosophy of quality over quantity. Perhaps it is something to consider. Do you want a city to be a big as it can be or as great as it can be? It is a question worth pondering.

The councillors, the mayor , and the people of Red Deer, do have within their power the opportunity to shape our community. We don’t just have to let the future of our city happen. We can have a say in it. We can mould it. At the forums we heard a lot about the past (bike lanes), a bit about solving existing problems, but very little of an inspired future. I said to my husband I would love to hear what each candidate’s vision is. How will Red Deer be a different place once their four year term is up? I really wanted to know are any of the candidates visionaries or are they all just going through the motions? Who’s in it to make a difference and who’s in it to stroke an ego or bear a grudge? I guess time will tell.

phone

Communication

This evening, before I started writing, I mentioned to a few people I was putting up this post, and asked “do you have anything you wish me to tackle?”. The answer was communication. No one feels the city communicates effectively with the residents of Red Deer. Communication is easy. So easy. First lets talk about the City of Red Deer. Why do we not get weekly emailed updates from City Hall? A huge proportion of the Red Deer population have access to electronic media, we have the easiest way to reach the people. Why isn’t this happening? Schools do it. Why can’t City Hall? Let us know what is going on. I seriously do not know why everything has to be such a great mystery. The mayor  and councillors are voted in by the people. You are our representatives. You should be our representation and our voice. You should keep us informed. The Facebook feed is “fine”. Sometimes it is timely, sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is informative, and sometimes…..well, you get the picture. I actually read it every day but there is definitely room for improvement.

city hall

I will say that in the past some councillors have been quite good with communication, one in particular I would rate as “above and beyond”. I want to share a little story. I sent an email out the night before the election thanking the existing councillors and mayor for the return of our community skating rink. Three councillors responded. One councillor already had my vote , but I had yet to finalize my full roster of eight choices. Two of the  councillors secured my vote with just a simple acknowledgement . They were on my list of ten that scored at the forum, but they secured the vote because I knew they were open to communication. I knew they would be the peoples voice. Communication is vital. Communicating with members of the public, no matter how big of a pain in the ass they may be, is a mayor’s and councillors’ job. It is what you signed up for. It is your responsibility.

The people’s voice is the final issue I wish to discuss. It is time our municipal government gives the people of Red Deer a format to be able to voice their opinions and concerns on a regular basis. We are not stupid little peasants entrusting our lives to the hands of our municipal government. We are a population of smart, educated, experienced and concerned citizens. We can help make Red Deer a better place, a place where we can love living rather than merely exist, but our municipal government needs to start listening to us NOW. This needs to be a partnership. You need to work with the people. You need to interact with the people. You need to actively go out there and reach out to the people, find out what needs fixing and work together in fixing it. It isn’t an odd concept, it’s the concept of working as a community. In my opinion it is time to create a system of neighborhood representation, not even necessarily through the ward system (that will be a whole other post!), but engaging people of different neighborhoods to get together with councillors several times throughout the year to discuss problems, to brain storm , and to find a few solutions. Let’s lose the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s time to wok together. It’s time to fix Red Deer.