The Page – March 13, 2019

At High Prairie town council’s Feb. 26 meeting, Councillor Michael Long pitched his case to fellow councillors. He was gung-ho about heading off to Quebec for one of those fine old conferences and social gatherings that attract politicians like half price sales attract bargain hunters.
Most times these conventions happen in central and Maritime Canada. That makes for many eastern Canadian politicians happily packing their bags, grabbing the spouse, and enjoying a nice holiday in places they would never spend a nickel of their own money.
More and more, Western Canada politicians, ever more flush with cash, are also now heading off to visit. It’s all done under the excuse of “networking” or “new ideas” and now, according to Long, “making your voice heard.”
At High Prairie council, where Long was making his case, he didn’t say exactly how this was going to happen. Maybe he already has a list of TV stations, radio talk shows and newspaper interviews where he will be pitching the woes of Alberta. Maybe he has rented a ballroom, where he will hold evening bull sessions. This, after each hard day of going to meetings, eating the luncheons, going to helpful information sessions, and of course, jawboning with his fellow conventioneers as he rubs shoulders with them, passing out business cards and trading pins.
Maybe he will just set up a soapbox and a few signs in a handy lobby or hallway, spreading the good word to any and all who might listen.
Long didn’t present any of these ideas. But we are confident he has many such ideas in the back of his mind.
Heck, we’re sure the freight bill and printing bills for all the memos and flyers he will be passing out, plus the hiring of kiddies to slip such notices under every hotel room door in a 20-block radius of the convention centre, will more than double the $3,231 cost of sending one councillor. But, it’s a great cause!
So great in fact, the Town office should be setting up a crowd-funding page. That’s where citizens get to pitch in their two or three bucks, helping finance the deal. We are confident Albertans across this wonderful province will rise up, sending their money for this grand venture of “Making Our Voice Heard!”

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Maybe there will be enough money for red ball caps with white letters: MAHA! Make Alberta Heard Again!
Or get some discounted Donald Trump hats. Make Alberta Great Again!

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Editor of this here newspaper had a great idea last week. Chris Clegg proposed that instead of sending one councillor off to speak his mind, the entire town council should send a message: Just boycott the conference because it is held in Quebec.
Clegg makes a good case: Why are any Albertans spending their money in a province that pees on Alberta every chance it gets?
In fact, we think the High Prairie town office, with the support of the councillors so enthused with Long’s voice being heard, should peel off some staff time.
Get a list of all the urban and rural Alberta governments. E-mail them all with the boycott idea. Encourage them to get on the bandwagon. Get Saskatchewan, northern B.C. and Manitoba going on it.
Build up the websites! Radio! Newspapers! TV! Mobilize! Let’s see if Alberta really has any push. Let’s see if our politicians are just a bunch of taxpayer bleeding wimps sucking on the public teat, or do they really mean business?
Councillor Long, Clegg is at your service, ready to support a boycott any which way he can.

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Sadly, Big Lakes County is out of money!
This is startling news of course. Your columnist came to this conclusion after hearing the Zirka Dance grant passed out by our penny-pinching county council.
Let’s see. Most recently, $40,000 will be handed out for killing wolves. Councillors heard a few meetings ago the program doesn’t seem to be working, but they might as well keep at it. Maybe there will be an improvement.
Aerial mapping will get up to $157,450. This is a “must-have” item. Google Earth, Bing Maps and even OpenMaps just aren’t good enough, probably because they aren’t up to date. Maybe.
As in, the county needs to see all those new buildings sneaky county folks are building everywhere. Perhaps. Possibly there are a zillion tax dollars waiting to be collected. More than enough to make up for the money spent on the mapping. Ask your councillor.
Another $150,000 will be going for expanding space at the county office. $50,000 of that will be going for storage for all the files the county needs to, well, to store.
How much of this is paid by taxpayers, and how much partly or completely by grants hasn’t been said. It must be mucho dinero – a lot. Because, as we said earlier, the county is out of money.
The Zirka Dancers asked for local government support. Like so many clubs and groups, they are struggling. As just one example, the club’s annual big do a few weeks ago is usually sold out, or close to. This is a major fundraiser for the club, which preserves Ukrainian culture. This year, not even close to a full house. So notable in fact, it was announced at the do how disappointing it was.
Anyway, High Prairie council managed to cough up $1,000 for the club following a grant request. They might get another $1,000 from the FCSS grant but that has to be investigated. The poor struggling Big Lakes County folks could only manage to find $150. Shocking!

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Are you ready to spring ahead?
In case you forget, clocks spring ahead one hour Saturday night. It means we get one less hour of sleep.
Oh well!

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Have a great week!

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