Saturday, September 26, 2015

Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women?

During the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention, this past week in Calgary, we were presented with a resolution from the City of Lethbridge during our 'Resolutions Session' which troubled me.  The resolution read:

"Be it resolved that the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the federal government to move forward with a National Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada that will improve and fill in the gaps that currently exist within our society and First Nations communities and facilitate better community and coordination within the justice system closing the cases on missing and murdered indigenous women."

Personally, I don't think a National Inquiry will accomplish anything. 

It is true that over 1100 indigenous women have gone missing or have been found murdered since 1980.  It is also true that Alberta has the second highest rate of missing indigenous women in Canada.  But I truly believe that these women have gone missing NOT because they are native, but because of something else!  I don't know what that "something else" is, but I don't think a National Inquiry will find out.

My experience over the past fifty years is that National Inquiries spend copious amounts of money, generate a mountain of general statements and platitudes, but do little else. 

I believe that money (or probably considerably less) would be better spent coordinating law enforcement groups, federal, provincial, reserve, and local to investigate each and every file again to collect data.  In collating this data, those combined police forces have a better chance of finding out what these women have in common besides being native!  Then we'll have a chance to put an end to this national tragedy by attacking the real reasons why these women have been victimized. 

This is a horrible tragedy affecting every Canadian and it requires more than lip service!

By the way, the resolution passed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

F-35 on the Block Again!

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's latest ploy to get headlines is telling everyone he will scrap the F-35 Lightning if he is elected Prime Minister. 

Canada has agreed to buy some of these very expensive planes to eventually replace its aging CF-18 Hornet fighters.  We have invested millions into the research and development of this very sophisticated plane.  Now Trudeau wants to scrap the deal.  He says it won't cost Canada anything.  I beg to differ.

When these planes are built for the RCAF, many components will be made here in Canada, giving many, many people jobs.  I would imagine some companies are already set to start making these parts. 

It's going to cost us money to get out of those deals, like it did when the Liberals bailed out of the EH-101 helicopter deal some years back. That was newly elected Jean Chr├ętien's election promise.  It cost the federal government millions of dollars to get out of that deal to build those helicopters here.  (After Canada paid out all those penalties, the Liberals decided to replace the aging Labrador helicopters with EH-101s, built in Europe!!)

Going back into history, Canada's Avro Arrow was also a victim of a Conservative election promise.  Then-newly elected  John Diefenbaker did the deed, that time!

Now I hear the new ships for our navy are also on the chopping block!

I think we need to stop putting new military equipment onto the election campaign platforms!  They don't belong there!  The men and women in Canada's armed forces need to be provided with the best equipment possible, without having to worry whether the next government will zap that equipment!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bassano Station Burns

In the early morning hours of Friday, September 18,  I awoke to a commotion on First Ave. behind my home.  The Beiseker Fire Department had quickly responded to a fire at the old Bassano Station building. 

They called in help from Rocky View County's Fire Services and successfully fought the fire.  Most of the south end of the vacant station building was destroyed, but the fire was stopped before it consumed the entire structure or spread to neighboring businesses or residents! 

I thought our volunteer fire department did an amazing job of extinguishing that fire in a tinder dry building with no fire suppression at all!  Once again I say, "Good on ya Beiseker Fire Department!  Well done!  We're proud of you."   The cause of the fire is now under investigation.

Once again I also reiterate that the Village of Beiseker has nothing to do with the Centennial Railway Museum nor the Bassano Station, except that it is located in our village - but many of us on Village Council have been urging the museum folks to get the project moving again. 

A significant amount of Federal tax dollars (I understand that it is more than $400,000)  has been spent on this project so far!  Now we on Village Council would like to meet in person with the executive of the museum to find out what their plans are from here.  I'll let you know what we find out, when we find out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Building a Better Beiseker

Over the past couple of weeks, Village Council has been involved in some strategic planning in regards to the provincial grant money we will receive over the next few months.

For Beiseker, that mostly means street upgrade planning.  We have begun to initiate some of the smaller projects but the larger ones, like street paving, will have to be researched to find out if we can afford them.

The new provincial government has cut back some of the grant money promised, but we still have a fairly large amount to spend on improving life here in Beiseker.  I understand we must commit our funding before the end of 2017.  Again, stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Another Child Lost

Little Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, the two year old child abducted yesterday from her Blairmore home has been found dead.

 I was hoping they would find the child safe and sound but it never looked very good.  I think we all should give our kids one extra hug in memory of little Hailey.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Global Shame

I've been a long time writing this one.  It's been bothering me for a number of days now. 

I'm referring to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.  That news photo of the lifeless body of the little three year old Syrian boy really hit me.  The little guy, his Mom and older brother drowned while desperately trying to escape their homeland for a better life in Europe.

Had they survived, their troubles would have just begun.  Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of refugees are stuck in a political limbo while the world spins around in little circles like everyone has one shoe nailed to the floor!

Here's how I see it.
  • The governing Syrian regime is desperately trying to hold onto power during what has become a bloody three year struggle, tearing Syria apart.
  • A number of terrorist groups, including ISIS (or ISIL), the Taliban, and others are each trying to carve out their own territory within Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
  • The Kurds also want some kind of recognition in that same area.
  • A bunch of Western nations, including Canada are bombing targets in an attempt to stop ISIS from expanding.
  • Millions of innocent people are stuck in the middle of all this mess and want out!
  • Most appear to want to go to Germany where they hope to find jobs and a safe place to live.
  • Hungary, which had its own refugee crisis in 1956, looks like they're treating these refugees like the plague and are just now dealing with this human tsunami.
  • The oil-rich Arab nations have not helped out in any way.
  • ISIS (or ISIL) stole millions of dollars from banks in the cities they've overrun, but they have not helped out at all either.
  • The Canadian Government is pretty much hamstrung by this Marathon election campaign and will have difficulty changing its immigration policies at this point.
  • The Canadian election candidates are trying to make the plight of these refugees into an election issue.
Something needs to be done here in Canada.  Let's put the election campaign on hold for a day and call representatives from all parties together to put together an emergency plan to help these refugees!  I understand many western countries have already done so (but they're probably not in the throws of a gong-show election campaign).

And something needs to be done in those countries I mentioned above.  There needs to be an emergency meeting of the United Nations to develop a plan to bring peace and stability back to that part of the world.  Then a portion of these refugees might actually want to return home!