The Page – May 10, 2017

Definitely, the Force [or May 4] was not with High Prairie Mayor Linda Cox as she joined an ever-growing list of people unhappy with flying the friendly skies.
Cox was attending a senior’s housing conference in Halifax, N.S. last week. Conference over, she went to board her flight home. She was not allowed on the plane. Agents told Cox she did not have the proper identification. In Cox’s case, her usual ID was her passport. But, in preparation for a holiday trip to Russia, her passport is at the Russian embassy in Ottawa where they sit on it for several months for approval. So, Cox was using her driver’s licence.
Unfortunately, or carelessly, depending on your point of view, Cox’s driver’s licence was expired. So, not only was Cox unfortunate, or careless, so too were the WestJet agents in Edmonton who did not catch this before the flight to Halifax.
“If this was caught in Edmonton, I could have gone across the road to a registry and renewed it,” says Cox.
Well, maybe. WestJet rules say on their Website if you do not have one piece of photo ID issued by a government, you need not one, but two pieces of government issued ID. So, did she have that?
“Yes, I had my Alberta Health Care card with me,” she says. OK.
As we said, the expired driver’s licence was not caught in Edmonton. So now she is stranded in Halifax. There, WestJet agents noticed the expired licence and would not let her board.
But, there is still hope.
“Get yourself a fishing license,” the agents told her.
Cox, being over 65, and knowing you do not need a fishing license if you are a senior in Alberta, figured she would not be able to buy one in Nova Scotia. So, she arranged for ID to be sent Priority Post from High Prairie to her hotel in Halifax.
This caused another problem. Her passport is in Ottawa. Her other government issued photo ID is all expired, and shows a very young Linda Cox. Two other pieces of government issued ID, her Social Insurance card, and her birth certificate, do not have names that match. This is a very big no-no.
Now, she needs a marriage license to show her name change! But there is still hope. The two pieces being sent might have the same name, which might be OK, or they might match the Alberta Health Care card she has.
As it happened, Cox decided to try to get a fishing licence. Which she was able to do, using her expired Alberta driver’s licence. And she made sure to get the same name on her Nova Scotia fishing license as was on her Alberta Health card.
Good to go? Not quite. Now, because of rotten weather from Toronto east, air flights are being cancelled left and right. So, even if WestJet will now let her on a plane, there aren’t any!
As of this writing, Sunday, Cox is still stranded [or enjoying the sights] in Halifax.

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A WestJet official at their head office in Calgary says the identification rule is not WestJet’s rule. It is a Transport Canada rule. So, he said, it is against the law to let Cox, or anybody else, board a plane without the proper identification.
As many people know, one letter initial misspelled on a plane ticket or ID that does not perfectly match can lead to big problems.
Anyway, we looked on Transport Canada’s Website. Interestingly, there the requirement for identification is vague, and actually seems to imply that only on international flights must the requirements be met.
The Calgary WestJet official says he did not have access to a computer, but when he did he would E-mail a link to the regulation. He did offer that it is a new Transport Canada rule that only came out “in the last year or two.”
And of course, he did mention it was also on the WestJet Website. Sort of. The WestJet Website has way more rules than what is on Transport Canada’s site.
So, which one does a paying passenger believe?
These days, probably best to believe everything that makes life harder for you!

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Lest you think our elected officials are above average folks, readers might recall the case of Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews. Matthews, on holiday in Hawaii a few years back, was not aware of the ridiculous roaming charges for cell phone use. He ended up with a huge phone bill in the thousands of dollars.
Just goes to show you, people of all kinds make mistakes.

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A small error last week.
In the story regarding children playing on O’Brien Drive, it should have read children in Grades 1-6 playing on the street, not 1-6 years old.

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Here is a Tip of The Page Hat to the volunteers and organizers of the High Prairie Traditional Powwow May 6 at the Sports Palace.
We estimate almost 1,000 people attended, if not more!
We met people from Fort St. John, Tallcree, Alexander, Sturgeon Lake, and all the local communities, who enjoyed a day of activities.
Well done!

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We also note the same army of volunteers at the High Prairie and District Palliative Care Society Hospice Walk on May 7.
Erwyn and Phyllis Marx cooking hotdogs, Alicemary Olansky and Lillian Shirt inside, with Rose Lizee, Ione Perry and Violet Chalifoux. Many more we apologize for forgetting.
Thank you!

Edmonton Oilers’ pride stands tall in Grouard! The tower took Stanley Anderson about 25 hours to complete and is roughly 14 feet high. The tower went up around May 2. Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Final series vs Anaheim is May 10.

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