Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Greener Alberta?

We are being inundated by adds from the provincial government telling us that we can look forward to a greener, more diversified Alberta economy with the Climate Leadership Plan.  They show us pictures of wind powered generators, solar panels, and hydroelectric facilities. 

They seem to have forgotten one of Alberta's biggest sources of energy; oil and natural gas.  What is our government doing to help the petroleum industry find ways to make their products greener?  I know for a fact that such research and development exists, where is our government on this? 

With these huge oil, coal, and gas reserves in Alberta, it would seem logical that the Alberta government be encouraging and financing research to find ways to make those products environmentally friendly.

Their biggest contribution appears to be their new Carbon Levy which, in my opinion, discourages any research into making petroleum greener.  It instead encourages us to buy less petroleum products to avoid the tax.  I'm having a problem seeing the logic here.

Does our new NDP government expect the big oil companies to shut down oil production and start building windmills?

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Little Plane That Could

I have followed the latest Antarctic rescue with a great deal of interest and pride for my nation.  This is the third time that Kenn Borek Air of Calgary has sent a team down to the other end of the world in winter to rescue scientists at the South Pole. 

The South Pole is difficult to get to at the best of times, but in winter it is next to impossible.  The Americans fly in there in the summer months, but they stop going there when the weather starts its winter blast.   Winter down there is frightening, with extreme winter conditions coupled with total darkness. To go there in the winter you need an extremely well trained, professional crew and a very special airplane that can survive the -70 degree temperatures, blowing snow and horrible wind shifts.

Enter the Canadian-designed and built de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter or "Twotter" as many of their pilots call them.  It came from a long line of specially built bush planes, designed to fly in Canada's vast North. 

First of the line was the little DHC-2 Beaver, probably the most famous bush plane of all time.  Then came its big brother, DHC-3 Otter.  Both were single piston engine planes built to be happy on wheels, skis, or floats. 

The last in that series was the Twin Otter with turbo-prop engines.  That was in 1965!  The plane was developed from the Otter and was a huge success.  But less than 1000 were built before production ended in 1988, a relatively small number for the production of a successful plane.

Even though production ended, the sturdy little "Twotters" flew on to fame.  Now used all over the globe, they still shine as bush planes, flying in the hostile cold of the worlds polar regions.  Despite the Hollywood stories to the contrary, all three rescues made at the South Pole in the winter have been in DHC-6 Twin Otters from Kenn Borek Air!  In fact I believe Kenn Borek Air has the world's largest fleet of Twin Otters! Makes you proud to be Canadian, doesn't it?

Just a couple of notes;
  •  You can see the world's second DHC-6 Twin Otter at the Aero Space Museum of Calgary on McKnight Boulevard, across from the Port O' Call Inn.  It's registry is CF-PAT and it first flew in 1965.  It was fully restored for the Museum by Kenn Borek Air who flew it for many years.
  • The DHC-6 Twin Otter was so successful they are now being built again!  Viking Air of Calgary and the west coast is building brand new beautiful Twin Otters under license!  These are gorgeous, updated versions of that famous airplane!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summertime ATV Woes!

It seems every year at the beginning of summer and at the beginning of winter we must remind those residents who own ATVs, off road motorcycles, and snowmobiles what the bylaw says about their use within village bounds. 

We have a very generous bylaw here in Beiseker which is in jeopardy of being toughened up every year because of a very few who do not comply with it.

In short, the bylaw says;

  • These machines can be operated within the Village of Beiseker on trails and back lanes. 
  • Riders are to take the shortest distance from their home to the outskirts of the village
  • Speed is not to exceed 20 kmph.  
  • Noise is to be kept at a minimum.

Every year, the village office receives complaints which are brought to Village Council.  Some members of council are proposing we tighten up the bylaw to insist that all of these types of off-road vehicles be trailered into and out of the village and operation of them within the village would be prohibited.

I would hate to see such a restriction placed on these fun recreational vehicles.  Please support our bylaw, so I and other councilors can support their continued use within the village.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A New Addition!

You already know about my most beautiful granddaughter, Amelia.  This morning she was joined in our family by our new handsome grandson, Evan!

We welcome Evan to our family.  Mother and baby are doing great.

(My son-in-law Greg is doing OK, too! lol)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Times They Have Changed

I heard on the news tonight that the Brooks Big Country Oilmen's Association got themselves in a whole bunch of trouble by placing a photo of our Premier as a target on a golf course during a tournament.  Of course it was done in jest, but the joke flopped!  The tournament organizers had to do some quick back-pedaling and apologized to anyone offended.

Many years ago, I recall attending a contest at an indoor driving range where some photos of government officials were set up as targets.  Our then-premier was one of those with his photo out there.  If you managed to hit the premier's photo with your golf ball you were awarded 12 free golf-balls.   The premier was in attendance and tried as hard as the rest of us to hit the targets.  It was all done in fun, and everyone had a good time.

But that was then and this is now!  With the recent murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox and the Orlando nightclub carnage in just the past week or so, among other events lately have changed what folks find as funny. We are much more serious now, and interpret things in actions such as this which were never intended. 

The golf tournament was entertaining some petroleum businessmen and was probably meant to poke fun at Alberta's new government and its carbon tax.  It obviously took on a much more sinister meaning to some.

The organizers of the event should have realized that times have changed.  This sort of thing is not funny, any more!  Not even slightly!  I sincerely hope that those offended by this stunt will accept the organizer's apology and be assured this kind of thing will likely never happen again.  Let's all move on now!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Renaming Parc de Vimy is Insulting!

Here's something I find very insulting to me and my country.  The City of Montreal wants to rename a park dedicated to Vimy Ridge.  They want to rename it after dedicated separatist Jacques Parizeau

The Battle of Vimy Ridge has been recognized as the defining moment in creating a true independent Canada!  The WWI battle was fought by Canadian soldiers, commanded by Canadian officers in a strategy designed by Canadians.  And it was successful where superior French and English forces had failed! 

Thousands of Canadians, both French and English, lost their lives in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  The French were so appreciative of Canada's sacrifice that they declared the site of the battle as Canadian soil.  It remains so today.

Jacques Parizeau was premier of Quebec and called a referendum to separate that province from Canada and thus destroying my country!  That would be the same country which had been united though the courageous actions of Canadian soldiers at Vimy Ridge!  Parizeau's referendum was defeated, but just barely!  The Quebec Premier resigned almost immediately and my country is still together!

Renaming Vimy Park after him looks like a big insult to me.  Maybe the City of Montreal didn't realise the importance of Vimy Ridge to their country.  I'm hoping it was just a misunderstanding.  Mr. Parizeau passed away last year and he should be remembered by his province, buy not in this way.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Economy vs. the Environment: A Silly Choice!

I saw in the Herald this morning that the Angus Reid Institute polled some 1500 Canadians to ask the what is the bigger priority; economic growth or protecting the environment?  What a silly choice!  That's like asking someone;  When walking, which leg is more important, your right leg or your left leg?

As I see it, the correct answer would be "both"!  If we have economic growth without focussing on environmental responsibility we'll do more damage to our world so it (or parts of it) will become uninhabitable. 

Likewise, if we concentrate on scrapping all economic development to protect the environment, our economy will tank.  Millions will become unemployed. Our way of life and standard of living will become seriously compromised.

Projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion must be built but not at the expense of the environment. 

I truly believe that Canada and Canadians must support economic development, but concentrate on environmental protection along with it!  We can do both! The two are not mutually exclusive!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What a Day at the 98th Country Fair!

Here's another shout out to the Beiseker Lions' Club for a hugely successful Beiseker Country Fair on Saturday!  What a great day!  I managed to get around to most events during the day but my recent medical issues prevented me from seeing everything that was going on.

We enjoyed a magnificent breakfast at the Hall, sponsored by LUFF Industries and Louis Dreyfus, then to the official opening and the grand parade. I was most impressed to see the Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses in our parade again this year. 

After the parade, I was able to sneak over to Airdrie to watch my granddaughter's dance debut on stage!  She's four years old and her performance was impeccable!  Her grandmother and I thought she was the very best dancer there, although we may be somewhat biased!

Back in Beiseker, I judged Chris Heighton's Main Street Car Show looking for the "Mayor's Choice" award again this year.   Thanks Chris and all your helpers for another great show.  This year I found a beautiful 1940 Ford which took my eye.  Fantastic! 

I quickly visited some of the other venues and had to come home to rest, which meant I missed pie at the Seniors` Centre!  My loss!  I also missed the 4H show and sale!  I do enjoy watching those young people keeping family agriculture alive and well. 

After I  rested at home for a while, my daughter and son-in-law joined us for another fabulous beef-on-a-bun supper at the Hall. 

Overall, an incredible day in our village.  Our Lions` Club is quite small with just over twenty members and their ability to assemble all the activities of Country Fair and run them glitch-free is totally amazing.  It was not surprising to see the same few Lions` members working at event to event throughout the day. 

Rest up, gentlemen!  You have the 98th Beiseker Country Fair in the books as a huge success.  You should be proud!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Congratulations, the Salvation Army Band, and the 98th Country Fair!

Congrats:  Congratulations to 94 year old Doug Curtis, Chief Instructor Dave Clarke and Alberta Skydivers owner Ian Flanagan on making the front page of the June 9 edition of the Calgary Herald!  The 94 year old made his first skydive at the Beiseker Airport yesterday! It was so good to see a positive story written about our busy little airport!

NO; I do not think that the Salvation Army Band should have been zapped out of this year's Stampede Parade.  They've been in the parade for a hundred years.  What happened to tradition?  In an attempt to "raise the bar" and "freshen it up", I fear we will lose our sense of history, culture and tradition!

YES; Yes, I will proudly be a part of Beiseker's annual Country Fair this Saturday! It's shaping up to be a fantastic day! Here's a shout out to the Beiseker Lions' Club for spearheading this annual event once again!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

CF-18 Replacement and the Alberta Carbon Levy

I have an opinion on almost everything going on in the world around me.  Here are a couple:

YES; I think the Canadian government should buy the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet (or Rhino as their pilots call them) to update it's fleet of CF-18 Hornets. 

The country has sunk a lot of dollars into the development of a new airplane, the F-35 Lightning, but that aircraft is so far behind in its development and testing phase it is unlikely it could become totally operational when the Hornets have to be retired.  When talking to Canadian F-35 test pilots, I have heard that the F-35 is a magnificent airplane.  It is beautiful to fly and to maneuver, but I think it is just more airplane than we need as a small nation. 

I have always supported the F-35 program but more and more problems (and higher costs) with it keep surfacing.  Its single engine configuration might be an issue while patrolling Canada's vast empty northlands and so far it has proven to be a very high maintenance bird!

The F-18 Rhino is already flying, and its operational around the world.  It has appeared at the Abbotsford Air Show many times and puts on quite a display! It is about 30% bigger and much more powerful than our CF-18 Hornets but the transition over to it should be relatively easy for our CF-18 pilots. 

The Royal Canadian Air Force has, in my opinion, the best trained and skilled military aviators in the world!  They need the best equipment for their very difficult job!  I say lets buy the Rhinos and wait to see what happens with the F-35.  Maybe in the future we'll see Canadian Rhinos and Lightnings flying in RCAF colors, each with a different job.

NO;  I do not believe that Premier Notley's Carbon Levy is a good idea.  It's a sales tax on energy.  It's going to cost us more to drive our cars and heat and light our homes, and for what?  The money will go into a fund to promote the development of renewable energy sources.  I should think the province should be helping the energy sector develop these sources instead of taxing them.

 The energy industry has billions of dollars invested here in Alberta in energy production.  They know that the oil and gas won't last forever and they know that there are environmental issues at hand, too.  They need help in finding realistic and economical ways to replace them while reducing the environmental impact of using them.

 I heard one estimate that said it would take over six thousand wind turbines to replace the power from our coal fired generators. That's just not realistic!  Let's help them find more realistic solutions to this problem!