Thursday, December 29, 2022

Public health measures problems

From the Canadian Encyclopedia: “In the 19th and early 20th centuries, public health was concerned with quarantine measures and emphasized improved sanitation and vaccination campaigns that were initiated in an attempt to control major infectious diseases.”

The creation of special agencies concerned with public health followed and officers of these agencies were given special powers to issue public health orders in regards to regulating public behaviour.

Seems to make sense, but a problem arose during the Covid pandemic which has its roots in the professional backgrounds of most of the people working in public health agencies: The higher echelons are doctors and nurses that have emigrated from the sick care system and so have brought their attitudes and beliefs with them into their new jobs.

Their preoccupation as public health operatives therefore became the preservation of the sick care system as we understand it, i.e. overcrowded hospitals. The overall health of the public became a secondary concern, resulting in public loss of confidence in the ability of these people to deal with a health crisis.

As a society we have paid dearly for this failure of the public health system, with the integrity of the whole medical profession being questioned.

It will take many years, if ever, for that confidence to be restored.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Deer Park

I live in a 100 acre wood, 20 of which belong to me and 16 acres being a municipal reserve set off for public use. The surrounding fields are mostly used for hay cropping by local farmers.

Having retired from 30 years of raising German Shepherds, and only retaining three dogs as pets, my place in the bush has become decidedly more quiet of late, a fact not lost on the local deer hanging around.

In the summer of 2021 I created about 1.5 kilometres of track through my bush, wide enough for my truck, in order to access standing dead trees for winter firewood, another fact not lost on the local deer.

This year the farmer’s field to the east also happened to have hay bales left sitting on the ground until the end of November, which the local deer really appreciated.

Result: 20 acres of deer trampled snow and surrounding roads impregnated with hunters’ truck tire marks, and a shot into my yard to top it all off.

Anyway, the deer using my property are pretty happy, judging from them still hanging around on an ideal “can’t catch me!” piece of land.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Prince Justin's holiday

Reportedly. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to spend a week in Jamaica with his family, compliments of the Royal Canadian Air Force (that is us, taxpayers), skipping all the nasty weather Canadians and Americans are having to put up with, including power outages, untrafficable roads and grounded aircraft.

This is perfectly in line with previous behaviour, like ignoring the first Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30, 2021, going surfing at Tofino on Vancouver Island instead. And that’s only one in a long list of behaviours indicating his self centred behaviour and indifference to others.

His ego likely took a huge hit when his minders persuaded him to go into hiding in a cottage in the woods as the Freedom convoy approached Ottawa back in February. At that time he became the laughing stock of better than half of all Canadians.

(Reminds me of the time when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser appeared in the lobby of a Memphis, Tennessee hotel in his underpants in 1986. His wife back in Australia was said to have dealt with the situation : )))

Anyway, I think Prince Justin knows that he is set to be replaced by Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre following the next federal election, and frankly don’t care what anybody thinks about him.

What amazes me and makes me hopeful for the future is that the people who put Justin Trudeau into the PM’s chair didn’t have the brains to know what they were dealing with.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Feedstock of war

Leader of the Kyiv regime Zelensky’s visit to Washington today is a clear marker of an escalation in the conflict of two empires, in Ukraine.
The Western Empire under the leadership of unnamed operatives in New York, via the Biden administration, and Putin’s gang in the Kremlin.

The feedstock on the Ukrainian side is both military personnel and civilians, with Russian soldiers on the other side. None of them want to be there, each one with a ticket to the hereafter.

Meanwhile, the political operatives use them as pawns in their power game, including taxpayers that fund this evil enterprise.

Monday, December 19, 2022

To agree or not agree

That is the question. Much is made of the idea of “democracy” these days. An arrangement where people agree to be ruled by the will of the majority for the sake of the common good. And compensate, within reason, those that are adversely affected by decisions, like loss of land compensation for land use decisions, for example.

For the last 100 years or so we in the west have been playing the “democracy game”, pretending that we live by those lofty rules, respect them and act accordingly in public life.

Our democracy model is supposed to be based on that of the ancient Greeks, where citizens took turns, by way of elections, to run civil society. What is not talked about very much is that Greek ‘civilized’ society was based on slaves, captured in wars and traded as commodities.

While some of our ‘slaves’ (low cost labour) have an opportunity to vote, they are relatively easily manipulated to enable the existing power backroom groups to get what they want, at the expense of those voters.

But now things are beginning to unravel for those that so ardently advocate for ‘democracy’ and this process has been accelerated by the Covid pandemic with the medical and media establishments parting ways with the population at large.

An increasing number of people are now simply refusing to cooperate with the powers that be, because they see them as being self serving ideologues. Political divisions are deepening and the underlying agreements necessary for a functioning ‘democracy’ are evaporating.

Where does it all go? Time to hit the restart button?

Friday, December 16, 2022

Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainian refugees
Following intensified Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, Norwegian news sources this morning report that an increased outflow of refugees from Ukraine should be expected: Apartment buildings cannot be heated by wood fires.
The Kremlin is trying to terrorize civilians and cause chaos within Ukraine in order to remove their rivals in Kyiv.
Alberta is well positioned to receive more Ukrainian refugees with a strong economy and a large existing expatriate Ukrainian population.
And we need more workers to fill existing vacant positions.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Labour shortages

Reports abound about labor shortages across the world and here in Canada. The baby boomers are getting old and they did not procreate like generations before them.

So, here we are, with lots of money in the bank and fewer and fewer servants. The Romans had similar problems in the first and second centuries AD. That was one of the reasons for their extensive conquests of other lands: Slaves were one of the main booties of these campaigns and were considered to be major assets to their owners.

In a more (maybe not) civilized world, labor is being imported to wealthy countries, with a minimum of civil rights granted, and sent back to poverty in their home countries when no longer needed.

Sometimes I think the slaves of antiquity got a better deal. They were considered to be assets rather than consumables.

Realizing where things are heading, Canada’s government has now increased new permanent resident targets to 465,000 in 2023, 485,000 for 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.

The risk is that these new residents, along with a lot of us, will become part of a growing underclass, increasingly rebellious against the money hoarders, for whom they/we have little or no respect.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Letter to Council

Marianne Cole, President Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association RR #1 Rocky Mtn. House, AB T4T 2A1

Mr. Daryl Lougheed, Reeve Clearwater County Box 550 Rocky Mtn. House, AB T4T 1A4 December 13, 2022

Dear Reeve Lougheed and County Councillors:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association as a supplement to my earlier letter of November 15, 2022. We feel it is very important that the points noted here be addressed at the December 20, 2022 County Council meeting as you consider First Reading of the Municipal Development Plan draft.

1. Facts to Consider

· 78% of the people who responded to the county’s survey were in favor of only 1 subdivision out of a quarter.

· 64% were opposed to two parcels out.

· The majority of comments expressed during meetings opposed extra subdivisions, with a focus on potential negative impacts on agricultural operations as well as community services.

· Serious concerns were expressed over the potential loss of food producing land.

· Our current MDP allows only 1 subdivision per quarter with 5 acres maximum size.

· The proposed MDP draft would allow 2 subdivisions with a total of 15 acres out. That is three times the current allowable land to be removed from a quarter.

· A “recommendation” from administration (as per the What We Heard Report) suggests a maximum of 25 subdivisions be allowed per year. Apparently Council is proposing only 20 be allowed.

· If the number and size (as per the current MDP) were to be maintained, a total of only 100 acres (5 x 20) could be removed from potentially farmable land per year.

· BUT, if the proposed numbers are used (15 acres x 20 subdivisions) 300 acres could be removed each year. Multiply that times the 4 years this plan could be in effect and 1200 acres of productive land could be lost.

2. Responsibility to Constituents

According to the Municipal Government Act, Section 153, “Councillors have the following duties: (a) to consider the welfare and interests of the municipality as a whole..” This would suggest that you consider the majority of opinion. It is important to note:

· During the review process Council supported various opportunities to gather public opinion, namely in-person town hall meetings, virtual on-line meetings, and a written survey.

· Throughout all of these activities the most common opinion expressed was opposition to an increase in number of subdivisions (along with the allowable size) out of a quarter.

· Rationale supporting that opposition focussed on:

Ø Negative impact on agricultural operations, the primary activity in our county

Ø The loss of valuable food producing land

Ø Concern with negative impact on community services such as road maintenance, school bus safety, and emergency services.

· All of the public engagement activities involved significant costs for hall rentals, consultant wages, staff time, advertising and miscellaneous expenses.

· As these expenses were funded by taxpayer dollars, it is crucial that their voices be heard. If you ignore the majority of public opinion expressed through the above activities, you have not only wasted money, but devalued the input of the very people who placed their confidence in you during the past election.

3. Questionable Responses

Throughout this whole review process we have heard comments and responses from not only the public but also administration and Council. Some of these have raised the following questions/concerns:

· There is a desire to have more acreages allowed for family members/estate planning. While this may be considered a cooperative action, it was not a majority issue. Furthermore, it is not the County’s duty to be involved with estate planning. That is a personal responsibility to be addressed throughout life.

· We have heard comments from Council that the CCTA is only a small group and does not represent the majority. First of all we generally sell 25-30 memberships per year. There are usually 15-20 people attending every meeting and there are currently 59 on our email list. As such these numbers are greater than any county committee involved in making decisions for the county. Furthermore, our members come from all areas of the county. They are involved in those areas and hear very valuable comments from their neighbors. Consequently, the comments that we make are representative of a large number of county residents.

· We have also heard comments negating the value of farmland in our county. While we may not have a large amount of profitable grain producing land we are well known for our forage production and very valuable grazing opportunities. People from all over central Alberta bring their cattle out here for summer pasture.

· While there seems to be an increasing concern elsewhere with the loss of food producing land, this does not seem to be a matter of consideration by our administration or potentially Council as well. Food is one of the necessities of life and every effort should be taken to ensure

adequate future supply. It would be great to have our county value this need as much as neighboring jurisdictions along with those promoting RAMP (the Regional Agricultural Management Plan) in the Edmonton area.

· We have also heard the financial argument used to promote the need for increased taxes gathered from acreages. While the financial outlook in this county did take a brief downturn, there has been a positive upsurge in the oil industry that will have positive impacts into the future. In addition, as of October 31, 2022 revenues for 2022 were $2,237,397 over budget. I also remind you of the very large amount of taxpayer dollars that are sitting in restricted reserves.

· Finally, we have repeatedly heard the comment from administration that “we get many inquiries for more acreages and bigger sizes.” This is a moot point as they are not going to hear opposing wishes on a daily basis. People are not going to walk into the county office to merely express an opinion about limiting acreage numbers or sizes. The only ones that would come in would be the ones that want something and they are certainly not in the majority.

4. Potential Action

At this December 20, 2022 County Council meeting you are provided with the opportunity for 3 possible actions:

· You may pass the current draft as presented. This would demonstrate publicly a distinct lack of value placed on the majority of opinions gathered during the process you promoted to guide you.

ü You may pass the current draft with amendments. We strongly suggest that you amend the sections dealing with subdivisions out of a quarter, reducing the number to 1 and the size to 5. Your survey results indicated 78% support for such amendments.

· You may defeat the motion to pass this current MDP draft completely but this would not be a positive move as it could result in significant delay and additional cost.

In conclusion we sincerely ask that Council pass amendments to the current Municipal Development Plan draft as noted above. These changes could be accomplished effectively, efficiently, and responsibly prior to 2nd Reading.

As you make your decision we trust that your dedication to the majority of your electorate will ultimately override personal opinions or desires, but reflect the true voice of the people.

Yours truly,

Marianne Cole

Cc: Deputy Reeve Mehlhaff, Councillors Graham, Northcott, Ratcliffe, Cermak, and Swanson, CAO Rick Emmons, and Executive Assistant Tracy Lynn Haight.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Humble aspen wood

Here in Western Canada spruce and pine rules the roost as far as preferred wood species for building goes. Dimensional lumber by the millions of board feet are produced on a regular basis and exported all over the world.

Shortly after arriving here in 1987, I took an interest in a deciduous species called “trembling aspen” that is also very common but not as highly regarded. In the building trade is is primarily used as feedstock for Oriented Strand Board (OSB) production and can now be found in that form in every modern home constructed.

Having faith in the value of this wood, I called my 40 acre wood “Aspenwood” when I settled here in 1991 and have enjoyed the protection and utility of this tree ever since.

Using chainsaws, I cut most of the dimensional lumber for my cabins from aspens right in the yard, and beyond for larger beams.

Results: Providing it is kept away from alternating wet and dry moisture, stopping the fungi from moving in, the wood is as good as it was 30 years ago. And that includes aspen shingles on one of my cabins, cut with a chainsaw and mounted on the cabin in 1992.

In fact, I have found that spruce and pine logs are more prone to dry rot (fungal infection) than aspen as they get wet and dry up again, creating ideal conditions for Nature’s Master Recycler: Freddy Fungus.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Grinding empires

Way back in the nineteen forties, George Orwell (Eric Blair) wrote the novel “1984” about a dystopian world where three empires were at perpetual war against each other with shifting alliances: Oceania, Eurasia and East Asia.

From the political map of today's world in 2022, there is an almost exact correspondence with existing power blocks: The Western Empire, Russia and China, and they are all competing with each other for power and influence across the world.

So Eric Blair knew exactly what he was writing about, as a former civil servant in the eastern parts of the declining British Empire of his day.

And we have now arrived with open conflict between the Western Empire and Russia in Ukraine, with intense propaganda on both sides of the conflict.

A good example being the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to anti Russian activists this year.

The slogans of Oceania in “1984” were: “War is Peace!”, “Freedom is Slavery!” and “Ignorance is Strength!” And then they had “Newspeak”, a politically correct language.

Sounds eerily familiar, eh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

War escalates

An indication of the pressure felt by the Kyiv regime can now be discerned in attacks on targets inside Russia, including airfields using Soviet era missiles.

This can be seen as a result of Kremlin initiated destruction of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, designed to ultimately topple the Kyiv regime.

I am deliberately not using the terms “Ukrainians” vs “Russians” because they are just the pawns in the game on both sides.

The Kyiv strategy is pretty obvious. Try to draw in the Western Empire, of which NATO is the military arm, by provoking Russia.

I don’t think that will happen as long as NATO members don’t supply Kyiv operatives with long range missiles. If that were to happen, all bets are off.

A brutal conflict where the dogs of war are doing their best to increase the bloodshed for their own profit.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

My deer haven

I live on 20 acres of forest land sloping gently to the north in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada – along with plenty of visiting wildlife, including foxes, coyotes, ravens and crows, lots of deer and the occasional bear and moose.

This year the deer have prevailed, after I cleared som 1+ kilometres of track though the dense undergrowth in July of last year. That following having multiple visits from two grizzly bears in August of 2020, resulting in the death of two of my German Shepherd dogs.

This has resulted in my property becoming a haven for local deer, with easy access to a farmers’ field to the east with plenty of feed to munch on, while retaining an ideal shelter in my now semi open bushland with high speed escape lanes provided.

So, this winter, instead of seeing untouched white snow in the bush, I’m out walking on a deer highway on my snowshoes, judging by all the tracks permeating the lanes.

During my clearing operations in 2021, I also came across two old bear skulls in the bush, indicating that this was a popular area with wildlife before my time.

On the positive side, the deer have saved my having to prune my rather extensive raspberry patch this fall but that came with a price:
A ‘hunter’ sitting in his truck on my subdivision road, took a shot at me in my yard early in the morning, likely seeing movement through the trees and figuring it was a deer.

So now I have posted “no hunting” signs along that road and have a bright light in my yard 24/7.

On reflection, the most dangerous animal on the landscape walks on two legs, and mostly sits in a truck, too lazy to get his arse into gear and do some real hunting.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Central Bank Monopoly

Most of us have played the monopoly game at some point, and have won or been bankrupted. It is a game of winner-takes-all and the loser walking away with nothing.

The trick is to acquire ownership of assets and making other players pay to use those assets, thereby moving money into your own hands.

At some point other players need to borrow money to pay their dues which puts them ever closer to losing the game. Players who buy assets may also choose to borrow money, at a calculated risk.

The background player in this game is the bank that supplies the money for the whole exercise and mirrors the role of the central bank in contemporary society.

Right now, the central banks of this world are rapidly increasing interest rates to borrowers, which are a whole bunch of commercial and investment banks, that in turn increase their interest rates payable by the consumers of loans issued by the banks.

The idea is to make it more risky to take out loans for new enterprises to cool down the economy and decrease price inflation.

The victims of this process are those that have large repayable loans and who can literally be forced to move out on the street as their loan repayment amounts increase, leaving them unable to meet their obligations.

So, they become victims of a central bank policy to discourage folks to buy things on credit/get loans, etc. And in the process being forced to use credit to survive in many cases.

This monopoly game in the real world has now become deadly serious for an increasing number of people, and those who have hoarded the assets and are milking the rest for what it is worth may be in for a nasty surprise if the other players decide to flip the monopoly game board upside down.

The basis for a civilized society is agreement on the rules between the players. If that is not present, civilization descends into a free-for-all might-is-right.