The Mail

The Mail

February 26 2001
The Mail

The Mail

February 26 2001

The Mail

Alberta boom times

Great articles on Alberta (“Alberta bound,” Cover, Feb. 12). As a lifelong Albertan, I felt all of your articles summed up my feelings of where we’ve been and hopefully are going. I’ve never disagreed with us paying our fair share in transfer payments. Where I have issues is with the so-called have provinces that don’t feel that they’re getting a fair share in Canada.

Cary Seibel, Lethbridge, Alta.

So you do a nice article on the prosperity of Alberta, but you can’t resist giving a great deal of ink to the plight of some people on fixed incomes and how the increase in the price of natural gas (as if it hasn’t gone up all over North America) is causing some problems. Sure there are difficulties, but if Albertans are enjoying unprecedented prosperity it is thanks to Premier Ralph Klein who got the government’s fiscal house in order. Maybe you will become believers when we eliminate personal income taxes in this province in a couple of years.

Brent Handel, Red Deer, Alta.

1 was born in Winnipeg, live in Vancouver and have relatives and friends all over the West. I have also lived in three of four western provinces and both territories. I don’t feel alienated in the least.

I think we get our due and then some in the West. These Alliance members flirting with western alienation and separatism are just squeaky wheels hoping to get some grease—at the expense of a great country.

Scott Whyte, Vancouver

In 1998, I finished an MA in history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and moved with my wife to Calgary. In April, 2000, we left. In the 20 months we were there, I applied for more than 500 jobs, had two interviews, worked one month in a warehouse and 10 months in data entry. Not quite a boom town for me. After being laughed out of one placement agency and being turned down for manual labour because I was “too smart and bound to leave for a better job next week,” we left for Toronto. It took fewer than two dozen applications before I was hired at an Internet start-up. I’ll never go back to Alberta: Bill 11, Ralph Klein, Stockwell Day and Alberta rednecks contributed to my disdain.

Robert Pearson, Mississauga, Ont.

The Alberta boom has left some of its citizens threatened by the prospect of freezing in the dark. The richest government in Canada, if not North America, provides a mother a miserly $4.92 per day to cover the cost of food

‘Value for money’

You devoted three pages to DaimlerChryslers problems, yet never seriously discussed the quality of its engineering (“Chrysler’s crisis,” Business, Feb. 12). Canada’s best-selling car is the Honda Civic; in the United States, it’s the Toyota Canary. What does that tell you about North American engineering? The Big Three are not losing market share to imports in both Canada and the United States just because of poor marketing or design (and they’re not going to regain those lost sales because of the shape of the new Dodge truck). For most of us, buying a car is about value for money: current sales figures suggest we don’t think much of the value offered in many North American vehicles.

Geoff Stevenson, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

and clothing for her 10-year-old child. The federal government adds $ 1.30 per day. In spite of a $7.5-billion surplus, the $4.92 per day will be maintained to guarantee the government’s policy that welfare recipients will always be worse off than low-income working families.

Jake Kuiken, President, Alberta College of Social Workers, Calgary

The Alberta government owes its $ 8-billion oil and gas revenue to a federal order-in-council of 1887, which decreed that homesteaders would get tide only to the surface of their land. Valuable underground coal deposits had recendy been uncovered and the authorities felt that the benefit of such gifts of nature belonged to the country as a whole. The terms of Confederation allotted natural resources to provincial governments. Ironically, the 1887 order

has had pretty well the opposite effect of what was intended. Private individuals who receive oil and gas royalties would pay federal income tax, thereby sharing the benefit with all Canadians. As provincial governments do not pay federal income tax, all the royalties stay in Alberta and benefit only Albertans.

Ruben C. Bellan, Professor of Economics (emeritus), Winnipeg

In the 10 pages devoted to oilsands exploitation, only in the last paragraph was there any reference to environmental concerns. It’s time to pull our ostrich heads out of the (oil) sand.

Eleanor Johnston, Fenwick, Ont.

As I read “Demanding to be heard” (Feb. 12) by Peter C. Newman, I am again reminded that those in the East have no concept of why westerners are feeling alienated. We have finally been shown in a very clear light that nothing will ever change in the way this country is run. The East will always hold all the power and the West will be made to look like bumpkins. As far as many of us feel, Canada is just Ontario and Quebec, and they are taking great care of each other. We are just tired of all the corruption and weary of listening to the insults about our intelligence and the colour of our necks. Joyce Munro, Calgary

Blue-beret politics

“The price of peacekeeping” (Canada, Feb. 12) is useful for reminding Canadians there is an overseas dimension to their national security. However, several points need elaboration. Trade is the lifeblood of Canadian prosperity, and trade can only flourish in conditions of international peace and stability. Altruistic objectives count, but nations only contribute armed forces to causes that will ultimately serve their interests. This is why Canada is in the Balkans. Today, we are in the era of peace enforcement. This requires the

services of modern, well-equipped military forces that are able to fight to maintain peace. The weak state of the Canadian Forces means we cannot do this properly. The question is: what role should Canada play in world affairs? The answer is we can afford to do much more than we do now.

Col. A. Sean Henry (Ret.), Ottawa

Off the couch

In “When less is more” (Feb. 12), Charles Gordon does not acknowledge a disclaimer buried deep within Statistics Canada’s news release alleging that television viewing in Canada was in a steep decline. It stated that the television-viewing levels used in the smdy may not trend properly in their latest year because of a change in the data editing procedures. Strangely, heedless of its own disclaimer, the headlines boldly claimed that television viewing had fallen. That contrasts with the data that are used by the television and advertising industry.

Paul Robinson, Communication Manager, Nielsen Media Research (Canada), Markham, Ont.

First single malt

Your reference to the Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia as “North America’s first single malt whisky” is not quite accurate (“Single malt Canuck,” Overture, Feb. 12). The prettiest town in Ontario (Perth) has that honour in two distilleries, Stewart’s and McLaren’s, unfortunately long gone. Quoting from a bottle in my possession: “McLaren’s Pure Malt Whisky. The genuine Usquebaugh—the old-fashioned smallstill whisky so celebrated in Scotland and Ireland. Warranted free from Fusel Oil. Established 1841.” Unfortunately, it is empty. However, rumour has it that there are many full ones carefully stashed away by some of the locals.

Carl A. Rubino, Perth, Ont.