Letters: Notley deserves credit over Bill 6

Edmonton Journal
Published on: December 22, 2015 | Last Updated: December 22, 2015 3:47 PM MST

At the Alberta legislature on Dec. 3, 2015, Premier Rachel Notley explains the many exemptions for Bill 6 and apologizes for poor communication to farmers and ranchers that has lead to confusion. Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Notley deserves credit over Bill 6

As an agricultural producer, I was appalled at the anti-Bill 6 demonstrations at the legislature, the lineups of expensive machinery and especially the death threats made against Premier Rachel Notley, her cabinet ministers and other NDP members.

Once fully implemented, this bill would protect the rights and safety concerns of farm employees. This should have been in place years ago; after all, it is a human rights law. Agriculture was the only industry in Alberta that did not have this protection, and Alberta the only province that did not do so.

Although I have never voted NDP, I applaud Notley and her party for their initiative. Regardless of party affiliation, recognize her progressive advance in agriculture and let her party know your positive feelings on this important bill.

Maurice L. Parrent, Clyde

Canada’s firearms laws are robust

Re: “Crack down on rapid-fire weapons,” Letters, Ron Charach, Dec. 22

The letter writer is completely misinformed as to Canada’s extensive firearms control legislation.

You cannot simply show up at a gun store and buy one; you must take a firearms safety course. Once you have passed the exam, you apply for a firearms licence, where you need to supply character references — who, 100 per cent for certain, are called by the RCMP. The licence application takes four to six months.

As for handguns, you can only legally own one if you are a certified collector or belong to a shooting range. There are extensive requirements for storage and transportation of firearms.

The problem with Canada’s gun laws is they tend to target law-abiding owners and do nothing to keep firearms away from those who’d use them for criminal purposes.

Mark Stead, Sherwood Park

Cartoons insulting to Premier Notley

Re: Malcolm Mayes cartoons

I am surprised that a newspaper which has won journalism awards would continually print insulting, demeaning pictures about our premier. I don’t call them cartoons because they are not funny.

They’re mean, unkind, unfair and meant to belittle the competent Rachel Notley and her government. I am not surprised that Mayes does it, but I am surprised the Journal continually prints this stuff.

Frank Parker, St. Albert

Could do more for beleaguered merchants

Re: ” ‘Cash mob’ aims to boost shops hurt by bridge delays,” Dec. 10

The recent comment attributed to Coun. Scott McKeen really underscores just how little regard this city council has for 102nd Avenue merchants affected by the prolonged closure of the bridge over Groat Road.

Area merchants have been hard-pressed to keep their doors open because of the apparent blundering of the contractor in installing bridge girders in the first place. To further exacerbate the merchants’ dire financial situation, the purported opening of the new bridge is October 2016 — about a full year later than originally set. This is extraordinary, and requires compensation.

What reeks is the rather cavalier manner in which the thought of compensation to merchants was cast aside as being a “can of worms” council did not want to open. The City of Edmonton is not only continuing to collect taxes from the merchants, but is also collecting late penalties of $11,500 per day as the contractor has failed to meet the deadline. The subsequent silence on this matter is deafening. One day of a cash mob rally is clearly not going to ease the pain.

I’m glad I live in St. Albert, where ignorance at this level only surfaces on rare occasions.

Robert M. Claney, St. Albert

Tears cannot undo damage to others

Re: “Boy weeps as charges read in court,” Dec. 22

Everything we do, right or wrong, has a price that we could never imagine. That is what a 13-year-old boy has learned, and tears cannot undo a crime against other human beings.

Kenneth T. Tellis, Mississauga, ON

We’re more welcoming than letter indicates

Re: “Unbridled growth nothing to celebrate,” Letters, P.J. Cotterill, Dec. 21

So if the letter writer had her way, the wonderful 65,835 folks choosing to call Edmonton and the rest of Alberta home in 2014-15 are only welcome if they’re directed and confined to live in infill, refurbished and renovated properties? Well, actually a welcoming environment like ours sees fit to enable new Albertans and their families to own the home of their choice.

Is she correct in assuming municipalities only receive residential taxes to pay for infrastructure? Municipalities also receive millions through commercial-industrial business taxes, provincial grants and federal funding.

I suppose if she had her way, new Edmonton signage would read: “All welcome as long as you live where we say and in what we tell you.”

Rick Preston, executive director, Urban Development Institute, Edmonton Region

Consult with Albertans on climate issues

After reading the Climate Leadership Report and the government documents on their Climate Leadership Plan, I have concerns.

The report recommends a tax at the pumps of seven cents, on top of the already increased fuel tax of 13 cents. It also recommends homeowners and business owners pay a new natural gas carbon tax of $1.68 per gigajoule.

For January to November 2015, my average cost for natural gas was $2.93 per gigajoule. Now the government wants to increase my heating costs by 57 per cent — for what? I can’t reduce my home heating cost any further or I’ll freeze. While the report did not specify what additional cost will be implemented for electricity, it did indicate there should only be a small change.

No amount of increased tax will cause residents to reduce the amount they use their vehicles or heat their homes. The report suggests the government use some of the revenue from increased carbon taxes for a rebate to lower- and middle-income residents to offset the increased costs resulting from the new carbon taxes (the report suggests additional annual costs of $500 in 2018 to $900 in 2030). If these residents can’t afford the new taxes in the first place, why charge them at all? Also, wouldn’t a rebate negate any intended impact of the carbon tax?

The government now suggests closure of coal-fired electricity plants well before their natural lifespan — at what additional cost to taxpayers, not to mention the human cost?

Nowhere in the government website documents is there any mention of the costs I have outlined above. Given the communication mistakes they made with Bill 6, the government should at least consult with Albertans.

Arthur Hagan, Edmonton

Emperor Trump has no clothes

Can someone please find a child to tell Americans the emperor has no clothes? How long will Donald Trump be allowed to denigrate and embarrass his fellow citizens?

In Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, the emperor’s tailor pretends to outfit him with a new suit, but he’s actually naked. Still, all the yes-men tell him what a beautiful suit it is. The emperor can’t see the suit either, but he listens to the yes-men until a child calls out, “But the Emperor has no clothes!”

Surely everyone recognizes the clown that Trump is — a foolhardy, rich braggart with so much money he can afford to either buy anyone out or blaspheme anyone who stands in his way. His last tirade against Hillary Clinton about her bathroom break was so crude and offensive on every level that I believe that’s where Trump’s campaign should now end — in the toilet, clothes or no clothes.

G.A. Teske, Sherwood Park

Parties of all stripes ban comments

Re: “So much for consulting people,” Letters, Marika Pender, Dec. 21

I can empathize with the letter writer because I was outright banned from commenting on Stephen Harper’s Facebook page this year. I emailed the PMO and was allowed to post messages, but only for a short time before I was banned completely. Every time I tried, the screen went blank.

Clearly, the banning of commentary is not the exclusive territory of Rachel Notley’s NDP government.

Ron Bereznicki, Edmonton