Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Rarity Indeed

Ever notice that months after an election, politicians tend to show their true colours. For most, the platforms they ran on quickly become a distant memory. Sure they will allude to one or two of their “goals” during their time in office, but overall their meaningless words during election season are just that . . . . meaningless.

Then there is the odd politician who goes into office and actually “lives” the promises he gave during an election campaign. Like him or not, Brent Rathgeber is one such politician. He was elected into office to represent his constituents and found that once there, his political values and ethics were being compromised. Voters know the rest of the story.

What does Brent Rathgeber have to do with St. Albert? Other than representing us federally, he has shown a nation what it means to stay true to the election platform he ran on. Residents are lucky to have voted such a man into office to represent them, as such integrity in a politician is a rare thing indeed.

On a local level residents once again struck gold when Councillor Sheena Hughes and Councillor Cam MacKay were elected into office. For those who have been following council meetings, been to various open houses, or have been following council members through various media forms, the one thing that sets these two apart is their consistency in following through with their platforms. Articulate, intelligent and responsive to the citizens of St. Albert, they have not wavered from their election promises.

Old politicians tend not to tolerate dissent or independent thinking, but serious politicians like Councillors Hughes and MacKay show that their independent thinking is what makes them appealing to people from all walks of life.

Already blazing their own paths of transparency and accountability will make the next few years interesting.

The State of Eldorado

The State of Eldorado

Several of our earlier blogs introduced the reader as to how Mayor Crouse and Councillors Heron and Brodhead milk taxpayers’ to support ICLEI’s program. Savvy Albertans also know the ties the provincial government has to this U.N. branch. Is it any wonder then that this city would turn against citizens to push their “smart city” agenda of congesting people into less space through?

A few facts:

  • The City did not fight to keep the school reserves in Akinsdale, but is fighting to take away green space in Erin Ridge to have a school built.
  • Mr. Draper, by his own admission, did not seek out an extension with the province so an alternate viable site, such as the Badger lands, could be found. Is he not working for the residents of St. Albert who pay his salary, or is this an example of his inability to do so?
  • The Liberal Opposition stated that “last month, the government admitted it won’t be able to meet its target and build 50 new schools and modernize 70 more by 2016.If this is the case, then Mr. Draper should have no problem going back to the province and actually do his job. And given the province’s statement, M. St-Jean (Francophone school board trustee) should then have no issue with the extended time period it will take to build this school in Riverside or the Badger lands as the time line could realistically be the same.

Other considerations:

  • Will St. Albert property taxpayers see a reduction on the city’s part in order to accommodate the higher education taxes that will be foisted upon them through the P3 model? If the school is indeed built in Erin Ridge, will these residents’ taxes be adjusted to reflect the devaluation of their properties?
  • If the City can so easily rezone land, imagine what it can do to your neighbourhood.

St. Albert residents have repeatedly been privy to green space land grabs or attempted land grabs throughout Mayor Crouse’s time in office. The Arlington “project” in Akinsdale and the bike skills park in Grandin are the two recent notable ones. And now Eldorado Park in Erin Ridge. Of course the City will go through some motions to try and appease those affected, but when push really comes to shove, quality of life in the affected neighbourhood will be tossed; traffic congestions will get a band-aide solution; and the safety of residents will be ignored so that those supporting this costly endeavour can help propagate the joke of “botanical” St. Albert.

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If you have taken the time to read this, please support Erin Ridge residents by signing their petition. Details can be found at the top of this page.

Another Gaffe?

June 25th, 2013. A well known political figure steps out of his vehicle, approaches a group in public and emits obscenities in front of witnesses. Several months later he is once again caught saying things that no principled politician would be verbalizing in public. One has to wonder why a politician, who just recently won an election, is so insecure with individuals he works for and with.

Asking hard questions and expecting verifiable responses is the mark of a conscientious politician working for the people he represents. It is refreshing that present council does indeed have such individuals on board. It offers a small amount of hope that not all politicians are corrupt.

New perspectives and questions that have been evident in and out of council meetings over the past months should be positively received as they open up scenarios that may not have been previously considered. A sign of true leadership would welcome these as new solutions are sought.

But then true leadership is a rarity and over time many politicians succumb to Machiavellian inclinations where retaining authority and power at the cost of integrity becomes justifiable for them.  This seems to be the case with Mayor Crouse.

He can not circumvent his latest public faux pas. Too many can vouch for what transpired. And until he publically addresses it, it won’t fade from the spotlight. Residents are talking, bloggers are blogging, twitter is tweeting and talk forums are exploding. It may not be quite the Mayor Rob Ford fiasco, but for a small city of this size the Mayor’s conduct towards other council members, as well as the public does matter.

Maybe it is time to do the responsible thing and own the mistake. Even Mayor Rob Ford did. Maybe the stress of being in office for a third term is showing. Maybe it is time . . . . . . .

Bike Skills Park

Albeit the notice sits on page 44 of the January 08, 2014 edition of the St. Albert Gazette and can therefore be easily overlooked, it at least gives residents the opportunity to voice their opinion if they want their green space to be disturbed to erect a bike skills park.

Lessons learned from the Akinsdale and Erin Ridge fiascos should hopefully alert Grandin Park residents of the havoc government decisions can cause residents.

If you are a resident of the affected area reading this, notify others through any means available – social media, flyers, phone, door knocking.

Even those not directly affected should voice their opinion, or at least follow the proceedings as one never knows what special interest group is lurking in the background with an eye on your  neighbourhood.  Support these residents with their preference and hopefully they will support your neighbourhood with yours.

Reiterating the opportunities given to be “heard”:

January 15th, 2014 – Sir George Simpson School – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

January 18th, 2014 – Grandin Clubhouse – 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (odd hours for those that work)

Online: www.stalbert.ca/bike-skills-park

E-mail comments to: bikeskillspark@st-albert.net

 

 

Pointing Fingers

The candidate of your choice didn’t win. Let’s blame ‘Anonymous’. Interesting that the voter is not blamed. Interesting that the media is not blamed.

Society has become a “quick fix” society. Over the last decade the ability to process and retain information has diminished. Fifteen second advertisements on television give the brain a brief adrenalin rush. Transfer that to today’s technology – twitter – sound bites – how many followers – all equate with brief spurts of adrenalin rush. Ask someone to read something more in-depth and, although the capability to comprehend is still there, the adrenalin rush is not. So the average voter goes for the addictive rush.

And those who now place blame on “Anonymous” for not getting the candidate of their choice into office, what exactly did YOU do? Forget the adrenalin rush and think hard before you answer that question.

The Think Tank addressed serious issues. They backed up every issue with credible references. At no time did they mention the Mayor’s name, nor any specific person on council. They stuck to their initial intentions – presenting facts. Since when did that become a bad thing?

During the campaign weeks many of you supported the issues and welcomed the facts they presented. Many of you understood the reason for anonymity. Many acknowledged that our Constitution allows freedom of speech.

And local media used it for their candidate’s advantage. Check the front page of the local papers through the campaign weeks and notably absent were headlines that spoke of election issues or of candidates. Sensationalised tabloid tactics to sell hard copy was the MO. What happened to the responsible paper that covered important issues from all angles and gave those important issues front page status? One has to wonder who is in whose pocket?

Where’s that finger pointing?

Post Election

There are many who worked incredibly hard over the last several months. Worked hard because they believed that truth and facts would be strong enough to light a flame. Worked hard because they were tired of being confronted with the constant inundation of views and opinions of the absurd. Worked hard against the fringe groups that are making enormous inroads into how St. Albert citizens should live. Yes, many of you worked extremely hard.

Results may not be what one wished for through all that hard work. But results are definitely there. Shelley Biermanski opened up windows and doors for many. Her numbers showed that. The increased voter turnout showed that.

Thank you Ms. Biermanski. You have earned the respect of many.

The forums brought common sense from a number of other candidates. Bob Russell revealed the insane yearly salary increases city employees get; the hardships some residents find themselves in because of high property taxes and extremely high utility rates. Norm Harley’s fact finding reports disclosed the city’s fiscal irresponsibility. John Goldsmith’s contribution revealed how the city has consistently taken industrial zoned lands and turned them into residential ones, thereby heaping more of a tax burden on residents.  And Ted Durham’s frequent exposure of the city’s excessive spending earned him heavy opposition.

Roger Bradley, Mark Cassidy, Gareth Jones and Malcolm Parker need to also be mentioned as they offered common sense solutions to various issues.

The time, effort and expense all these candidates put in to giving St. Albert an open and honest picture of reality should not be shelved. They deserve more.

The next 3 ½ years is not  the time to sleep.

Now is the time to make the new council more accountable than ever before. The more eyes on them, the better. The more questions they have to answer from constituents, the better.

Now is not  the time to become complacent.

It’s Criminal

Early September the Mayor blogged that “Stats Canada is reporting that as of December 31, 2012, St Albert has the LOWEST criminal code violations per capita of any urban centre in Alberta.”

That is definitely something residents can be pleased about.  But confusion sets in.

If St. Albert is doing so well in this area, why is the Mayor wanting to hire more ‘RCMP staffing’?

His “community crime reduction strategy” will cost taxpayers. Is this truly to reduce crime rate in a city with the “lowest criminal code violations per capita” even moreso, or is it to capture more revenue? Will the average citizen become caught up in this stasi scheme? Will the top crime issue eventually become catching the individual idling their vehicle for a few minutes more than bylaw allows? Or what about someone clearing snow for a neighbour? Or maybe someone is not following the new garbage bins and containment ‘standard’ the Mayor is intent on having developed?

And what kind of community would St. Albertans be living in by having the “top 5 individuals believed to be involved in St. Albert crime” identified? Believed to be?  Since when are people convicted of “believing to be guilty” without their fair day in court? Without having been charged? Is this not a form of bullying? Is this not something the Mayor’s Social Master Plan is advocating to banish and yet here we have the Mayor himself promoting it? Yes, pointing fingers at someone who has not been charged, has not been found guilty *is* a form of bullying.

Take a look at the life that was destroyed when a couple of girls pointed fingers at an innocent teacher. Although acquitted by the courts, public opinion could not change its view of Mr. Dubas, whose name was publicized. And St. Albert’s present Mayor is inciting this type of bullying.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom Section 11(d) provides that any person charged with an offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

And if the Mayor feels the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom does not apply to his proposal, then closer to home he may want to read Alberta’s. It also states that an individual has “the right to be presumed innocent of a crime until proven guilty in court; the right to contact a lawyer if [snip] arrested; the right to a fair trial;

The lack of respect this Mayor has for the Law of the Land is indefensible. Let us hope that if . . . if  this man gets back into office that the first individual he publically bullies does not sue the pants off of St. Albert taxpayers. After all, taxpayers would be the ones footing the bill – not the individual who is actively campaigning for this.

Maybe, just maybe, St. Albert would have far fewer crimes if this city would not be so preoccupied with adding more bylaws that create new crime.

Revenue.  Revenue seems to be the bottom line.  Cha-ching