Thursday, October 30, 2014

Flu Shots and Stage East!

Just a short reminder that there are still a few tickets left for Stage East.  These must be purchased by tomorrow (Friday, October 31).  They can be purchased at the Mountain View Credit Union in Beiseker and at Simply Food for Thought, also in Beiseker.  It looks like a good show again this year. I hope to see you there!

I missed the flu shot clinic which was held last Monday at the Golden Years Club.  There are still folks out there who don't believe in the flu shot.

I get one every year, I figure it's free and what the heck.  The good news is that our pharmacist is giving flu shots at the Beiseker Pharmacy (on Main Street) this year;  no appointment needed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Gentler Time in Politics

There was a gentler time in Canadian politics, where parties respected each other and each others duties.

For example, if the governing party elected a new leader who did not hold a seat in that Legislature or Parliament, usually a member of the government caucus would resign and open up a by-election in a "safe" seat.  The opposition parties would field a "token" candidate in that by-election, and effectively let the new leader run unopposed.  

Other by-elections would be fought tooth and nail to hopefully get the Opposition's message out and increase the number of members on the Speaker's left!  But the opposition realized that if the newly elected leader was defeated in the by-election, the government would have to appoint an interim premier or prime minister while they held another leadership convention, or another by-election. 

The day-to-day business of the government would be severely compromised for perhaps months! 

I believe it is the job of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to offer legislative alternatives and to criticize the actions of the government.  It is not their job to prevent the government from governing!

In a legislative assembly or parliament, the opposition has many excellent tools in its bag to oppose the government's actions. But I think throwing a wrench into the whole political system should not be one of them. 

But I guess I'm thinking of a gentler time.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Unsolved Murder of James Schleppe

The James Schleppe I knew was a very gentle person.  I met him (actually, I trained him) in the late 1960s when he was hired to work at the Alberta Liquor Control Board (ALCB) store in the North Hill Shopping Centre in Calgary.

As we worked cleaning and stocking the shelves, he would tell us stories of his home town of Beiseker.  We heard about the Berreths, the Hagels and the Schmaltzes.  We heard about Beiseker School.  We heard about St. Mary's Church and everything else in his home town.  He was a very devout Christian and wanted to help as many folks as he could, even back then.

His love of Beiseker came forward again later when he became president of the Beiseker Historical Society, which was instrumental in producing Beiseker's history book, Beiseker's Golden Heritage, published in 1977.   When I'd moved to Beiseker in the early 1970s, we would occasionally bump into him around town, as he often came out to visit his family. 

On September 28, 1991, James' body was found along the Trans-Canada Highway in west Calgary, near 101 Street NW.  At first it was thought that he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident, but later we heard he had been beaten.  The trail went cold and no one was ever charged with his death.  James' death was deemed an unsolved murder.

Now the Calgary Police Service are revisiting this and other "cold case" murders since the 1970s.  I am hoping that new evidence examination techniques and the publication of his photo in the newspaper might finally lead to closure in his murder. 

If you have any information about James' death, please contact the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234, or Calgary Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Horrible Day for Canada

I am still reeling over yesterday's attack in Ottawa.  Wednesday, October 22, 2014 will be a date Canada is not likely to ever forget. 

A couple of years ago, my wife and I visited our Member of Parliament Kevin Sorenson at the Centre Block on Parliament Hill.  He was able to give us a short "behind-the-scenes" tour of the Centre Block which we enjoyed immensely.  I was horrified to see those same hallways as a backdrop for a shoot-out between police & security staff and a deranged gunman!

I was also appalled to hear that a Canadian soldier, guarding the tomb of Canada's Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial was gunned down by presumably that same gunman finally stopped in the Parliament Buildings. 

Beiseker is a long way from Ottawa, but I am still very much upset by yesterday's events.  I feel that my rights-our rights-as Canadians have been trampled upon.  I've had a knot in my stomach ever since the news started to trickle in yesterday morning. Thousands of men and women have made the supreme sacrifice to give us those rights and protect them. We must never lose them.   We must never give in to these terrorists!

My most sincere sympathies go to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who lost his life yesterday and to the family of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who was struck and killed on Monday by car driven by another terrorist.  The sacrifice of these two brave Canadian soldiers will never be forgotten. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unfair but Required Anonymity

I watched on the news tonight as members of our Royal Canadian Air Force took off from CFB Cold Lake in their CF-18 Hornets heading for Kuwait.  Their support team arrived in Kuwait a couple of days ago, and will greet the Hornets as they arrive there in the next while. There they will participate in a force trying to stop a radical terrorist group trying to take over parts of Iraq. 

What bothered me about it was that the media had to "fuzz" out the faces of these brave young men and women, to hide their identity.  This was done to protect them and their families from attacks from "home grown" terrorists!   In times now long past, soldiers leaving for missions overseas were proudly paraded down Canada's Main Streets where the rest of us could gather to wave Canadian flags, and thank them for their service to our country.  Now they have to leave almost clandestinely!

I know it has to be done this way.  We must protect these folks and their families.

I hope that the 600 Canadian Forces personnel now in Kuwait and preparing those CF-18s know that there are millions of us here at home who support them.  We wish them all well and a safe return home.  We are proud Canadians and we are proud of you!  Godspeed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pigs Don't Deserve Poor Treatment

I was horrified to see the video broadcast on a TV news show of pigs being mistreated at the Western Hog Exchange facility in Red Deer.  The video was taken by an undercover animal rights activist, who watched the animals being kicked, hit, prodded, and beaten while being moved into or through the facility. 

It is my opinion that a few folks who work in these kind of facilities forget these are living, breathing, feeling critters they're dealing with.  They start treating them as a logger might treat a tree, or a miner a coal seam. I don't think this is prevalent throughout the agricultural scene, but those few bad circumstances appear to create a media frenzy.  

In my volunteer work with many agriculturalists at the Calgary Stampede, I have seen nothing but respect shown to the animals in their care.  These animals are not pets but they are treated with dignity. 

In my opinion these workers need to be given specific training, skills and knowledge to be assured they do treat the animals they're handling in the proper way.

It shocked me even more when I found out that the video in question was taken months ago!  This information was kept from the owners and operators of that facility for more than two months.  Why wasn't something done two months ago?

From here, it looks like the delay was caused by the group and the media wanting to make a big splash.  The welfare of the animals appeared to take a back seat to the media expose! I think it's TV journalism at its worst!  The animal rights group and that network should be ashamed of themselves.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bassano Station now on Foundation

After a delay lasting more than two years, the Bassano Station has been set on its foundation at its new home in Beiseker! 

The building was slowly and carefully moved over, then gradually eased down onto the foundation over the past week.  The two huge beams which supported it on the old CPR trackway all this time will now be removed.  Adjustments will be made to the foundation so the building will safely sit level.

I give a huge "Thank You" to the two contractors who have worked so hard this past few weeks, to make this move finally a reality!  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Aero Space School at the Museum

I was very pleased to once again volunteer at the Aero Space Museum of Calgary located at the south-east side of the Calgary International Airport.  They operate a program called Aero Space School there in conjunction with Campus Calgary

Calgary students (mostly Grade Six kids) spend a whole school week at the museum, learning about aeronautics, space exploration, aviation in general, and Alberta's fascinating role in aviation over the past hundred years.

I hope to volunteer once each week when my schedule permits!  Folks who know me call me "Plane Crazy," so talking to the kids about my favorite topic is most enjoyable for me and I think they have fun too.

If you would like to visit the Museum, it is located across McKnight Boulevard from the Port-O-Call Inn.  There are over twenty full size aircraft on display there, some of which have been fully restored!  There are many stories told and heroes to meet there.  I hope you'll visit some time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pedestrian Bridge Vandalism

As part of our drainage channel upgrades, we are rebuilding the three bridges connecting the East and West sides of Beiseker.  We are starting with the two at the north end of the drainage channel. 

With the high volume of water moving down that drainage channel, it became necessary to raise those pedestrian bridges and strengthen their foundation footings.   Preparations were started on Monday, with the installation of concrete footings for the two bridges.

Unfortunately, after the work was completed yesterday morning, some unidentified people damaged some of the footings before the concrete was completely cured.  They will have to be excavated out of there, and redone before work can continue!  This extra work will cause a delay in the construction of the bridges and take more funds from our already meagre project budget

Those responsible for the vandalism need to understand that their actions jeopardized the completion of the project this fall.   I would like to know who they are!

 If you know anything about the damage done to the pedestrian bridge footings behind the Dynagra complex, please phone the Village Office (403-947-3774), the Beiseker RCMP (403-947-3496), or the Calgary-area Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hong Kong's Fight for Democracy

I'm very worried for the young people carrying on peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Hong Kong over the last while.  I had the privilege of visiting Hong Kong many years ago.  It was a beautiful oriental city, with a dash of Britain everywhere.  I loved the city.

I always wondered what would happen when the city would be turned over to the Communist Chinese.  I understand this current round of problems started when the Beijing government told the folks in Hong Kong that were allowed to have elections, but Beijing would select the candidates!

That was totally unacceptable to the young people.  They wanted more democratic freedoms, not less!

In my opinion, the Beijing government has three choices;
  • Move in and destroy the students' protests (and kill a large number of them).  Then set up "re-education camps" to show the survivors the errors of their ways. Remember Tienanmen Square.
  • Move in and substantially limit the power of Hong Kong by destroying much of its infrastructure, then recreating the city in their own image.  Remember Saigon.
  • Give Hong Kong what they want and set them on a path to becoming their own nation, like Singapore.
I'm hoping for some form of Choice Number 3.

There was talk of creating a lapel pin in the shape of an umbrella, the symbol of the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.  Where can I buy one?