Saturday, November 11, 2017

Disappointing Remembrance Day Turnout

I had the honor of once again attending the Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the Acme Hall this morning.

I was very disappointed at the attendance this year.  From where I was sitting, it looked like less than half the seats were occupied!  In many years past it was standing room only!

The members of the Royal Canadian Legion in Acme work very hard to present this ceremony every year.  I'm sure they were disappointed at the low turnout, too.  I don't know the reasons for the small crowd this year.  Perhaps folks were attending a larger event elsewhere.

I'm asking the Legion members not to be discouraged.  I'm sure this was just a glitch and attendance will be up again next year.

Lest We Forget.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thanks and Congratulations

First; Congrats to Jason Kenney for winning the leadership of the United Conservative Party.  Now his work really begins!  First he has to win a seat in the Legislature.  We're all hoping that Premier Notley will announce a by-election very soon so that process can begin!  Next he'll have to rally his troops to come up with a plan other that just "Dump Notley's NDP"!  They'll have to outline a plan to get Alberta rolling again!

Second; And Congrats to Al Henuset who is Beiseker's new Mayor!  Having worked with Al for many years, I believe he will make a very good mayor for our little village.  I was pleased to hear that Warren Wise was chosen as Deputy Mayor, too.  Also a good choice!

Third;  I was most honoured to be presented with my Senators Contribution Award at a celebration at the Community Center a few weeks ago.  It was humbling to be included among such worthy recipients during the ceremony.  Member of Parliament Martin Shields made the presentations. A big thanks to Jeanette Richter and her volunteers for organizing the celebration!

Fourth;  Where's her spelling textbook?  I noted that one of my Junior High teachers passed away recently.  She was almost a hundred years old!  I remember her and her very strict rules on manners and politeness.  For example, at junior high dances she used to march around the Gym with a spelling textbook.  If she thought a young couple were getting too close during a slow dance, she would place the book, flat side between them.  That was the distance they had to be apart!  Oh have times changed!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Coals to Newcastle!

Back during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, the British city of Newcastle was the coal supply and exporting hub of the country!  Thousands were employed loading coal bound for the hundreds of new factories around the country.   If you needed coal, go to Newcastle!  Thus any foolish idea which came up was compared to "sending coals to Newcastle."

Yet the same foolish idea occurs here in Canada!

Eastern Canadians vehemently oppose the import of Alberta oil into their provinces yet they happily buy oil from overseas markets! To me that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think that it is environmentally safer to bring oil into the Maritimes with these huge oil tankers. A pipeline from Alberta could do the job more safely and more efficiently. Maybe Arab oil is easier to refine or maybe it's cheaper right now.

To me sending oil to a oil rich country like Canada is akin to "sending coal to Newcastle"!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Retirement from Municipal Politics

Yesterday was Nomination Day for municipal offices across the province.  I did not submit nomination papers which makes it official:  I am retiring from municipal politics.

This retirement comes without any malice!  It is simply time.  I have had the honor and pleasure of working with some great people over my almost thirty years as a village councilor in Beiseker.  We have accomplished some great things for this tiny village!

Beiseker is not out of the woods yet as far as our finances go, but we have survived one of the biggest economic down-turns this province has seen!  The provinces answer to our fiscal issues is simple; just raise property taxes!  Council has resisted that, and I hope they will continue to do so! 

Here's some things this Council can take credit for:
  • We have been very successful at reducing the amount of back-taxes owing. This was  accomplished through many different programs, one of which is the monthly pay system.  Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go here!
  • We have reduced the amount of "lost water" by the village so that Beiseker is selling most of the water it buys.
  • This council has spearheaded a program to upgrade the streets.  So far, Fourth Ave., Seventh Street and First Avenue have benefited.  Our sidewalk replacement continues, too!
  • We have created a program to replace faulty water valves around the village also saving lost water.
  • We have our Public Works Department running extremely well.
  • As a member of the Aqua-7 Regional Water Services Commission we have seen that organization become much more viable.  We survived the provincial government reneging on a deal to help us out, and we are now "in the black"!
  • We started a "Building A Better Beiseker" project by upgrading the first block of our Main Street business district.  Hopefully as the economy picks up the project to revitalize the rest of Main Street will resume!
  • We finally will see some action on dismantling and removing the now defunct railway museum.  We were unable to convince the federal government get a good accounting on where that half million dollars went! Hopefully that site will be cleaned up soon.
  • I think we finally have our fire department woes solved.  The Beiseker Fire Department in the envy of many small municipalities and it continues to thrive. 
  • We are in the process of subdividing and selling lots at the airport.  This will ultimately generate even more funds for our airport and village!
To mention a few!

To my fellow councilors and the village's Chief Administrative Officer with her staff;
thank you for your support, your advice and your candor.  All have been most valuable to me over the past years.

Ray Courtman
Mayor; Village of Beiseker

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Great Decision!

Last week we heard of a young hockey player refusing to wear a team jersey because it has an image of an indigenous warrior featured on it.  I thought the image was very similar to that of an NHL hockey team.  People lined up on both sides of the argument.  A solution had to be found.

Images of warriors appear on many sports teams' uniforms.  They could be Spartan warriors, Roman warriors or in this case Native warriors.  I've always regarded these images as a tribute to the bravery and tenacity of these ancient warriors.  Most, especially the indigenous and Spartan warriors were faced with incredible odds against them as their lands were being invaded by foreign armies, yet they fought on gallantly.  Their bravery has been celebrated for years.

A solution has been found!  The hockey team in question has engaged the help of the Chief of a local First Nation to help them update the image on their jerseys.  Hopefully this process will include an education process which will address the sensitive issues of the image on their jersey.