January 22nd, 2021

UCP grudgingly allows an idea from the NDP

By Letter to the Editor on February 6, 2020.

In response to Robert Budd’s letter of Feb. 1, “No need for city to pay for a go-between,” the municipal government must have felt sufficiently pressed and overwhelmed by the severity of the ongoing opioid epidemic to invest in some sort of workaround at the provincial level, since requests through the usual channels were falling on deaf ears. (This perception could conceivably be more than just a figure of speech when it comes to the UCP, who found it hilarious to actually distribute earplugs while sitting in the legislature.)

Also, the mayor and council had already obtained a provincial agreement to fund needed housing a year ago, particularly important in a harsh climate like ours. Then enter the hyper-partisan UCP with an entirely different perspective best explained by MLA Neudorf when he said, “No one wants to commit for someone else’s work.”

But apparently this “work” has now been deemed admissible, after a year of uber-stringent vetting by the UCP; their august attention not only bold but unique in its stubborn insistence on ignoring revenue completely when preparing budgets! Cuts only, all around, even in existing, essential revenue! So there’s no balance in their balance sheet. It’s almost like they enjoy punishment for its own sake, like fire-and-brimstone preachers.

Some here seem to take weird pride in being rogues and outliers, riding that boom/bust roller-coaster like true cowboys, despite the known, cumulative cost to our society. But to them, as conservative hero Margaret Thatcher famously said, “There’s no such thing as society.” Hard to argue that when people are literally dropping in the streets though, you would think.

The fact that the workaround did work begs the question, why? Since compassion obviously wasn’t a consideration, we’re left with pure political usefulness. The UCP must have decided to throw a bone to all the misguided fools bent on “practising sociology” as Harper once put it, by allowing in, albeit grudgingly, one of those “bright” NDP ideas right out of left field. I suggest it was damage control to deke us all out, and away from the growing perception of the UCP administration as simply, coldly cruel. And cheap. Showing us every day how cheap runs deep.

Patricia Pargeter


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Dennis Bremner

You, like others actually think this new housing facility will assist the homeless, it won’t. What will happen is a new Drug R&R Facility will be created to compliment Bourgues Drug Clubhouse! Much like the Stockholm housing complex for the homeless, the local drug addicts near beat the truly homeless, half to death, if they came anywhere near “their new R&R and Drug Distribution Facility”. This will be occupied by the “dominant bullies/dealers” among the addicts and it will be another place the police will frequent (golly more police hirings) on a regular basis and…the drug addict empire within Lethbridge spreads! So all we really have done is expanded on the NDP stupidity with the UCP following the same path, which really tells you there is no hope for anyone at any political level to stop the stupidity. They actually think that they can do exactly as the Van DTES and NOT become the Van DTES ! A classic trait of the clueless.
Because the people of Lethbridge are afraid to speak up and because they have never seen this happen before, they assume their “leaders” know what they are doing, nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, Spearman, Council, Phillips, Fitzpatrick, Bourgue ,Manning and now Neudorf are creating exactly what Spearman wanted, which was a Southern Alberta treatment facility. The cost? Our security, Our downtown and Our city!
I am a little surprised there is not allocated office facilities for the dealers and a drug distribution department being considered in this new complex? Of Course Tris thinks this a GREAT NDP IDEA….. sit back and watch Tris, the death spiral to downtown destruction part 2, is nye!

So before those who fall into the category of “gotta save lives”, respond. I am not against providing housing to the homeless if that is what will happen, but it won’t ! The people of Lethbridge were groomed by Mr Mayor who started calling “Bourgues Clients- ” the homeless”, about a year ago, so that spending this money and building the facility and housing the addicts suddenly becomes the “accidental” master plan. This facility will not house one legitimate homeless person, it will house the $2500 a month addict who stole the $2500 from you, and now lives free of charge, in your new “homeless facility” courtesy of Mr Mayor and Bourgue! I have no doubt Bourgue will be the obvious choice to run this new facility and “the non-profit grows”.

Tris Pargeter

I get your frustration Dennis; it’s a thorny problem to say the least, but when you are in charge of a city in particular it’s incumbent upon you to do SOMETHING when people are dropping in the streets in PUBLIC for god’s sake. Shortly after we moved here we saw that happen in front of the Penny at lunch. A group of indigenous men came past, and one literally fell flat onto the sidewalk! Two others picked him up and dragged him off, but everyone in the Penny sort of went back to their lunch like nothing had happened. My son who had lived here a while said, “they walk onto the road in front of you here, like deer.” You know what they say about the indicators for a society’s relative success, how the most vulnerable are treated. These are them.
I’m sure you remember a time when “homelessness” wasn’t even an issue, (a logical thing in this cold country one would think) because the federal government subsidized affordable housing. And you also remember when mentally ill people were “housed” in institutions. Then came “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and people were “released” into society as nod to basic humanity. It was a nice theory but in practise of course is different, and the mess we have here has been compounded by the long-standing problems among indigenous people that goes way back as well.
I see these people as f…..d at birth many of them, through no fault of their own, born addicted, and then basically not parented, really, and so ending up as lost souls. So many being the more vulnerable male, they are also aggressive, violent, and destructive, starting with themselves. Personally, my compassion is mainly theoretical and abstract; I am in fact horrified at such behaviour all around, but fortunately there are people full of tolerance and patience and willing to train and honestly devote themselves. They deserve credit and resources, and having a home is absolutely essential for basic human hope. So this punitive United Christian Party needing to study THAT, as if they even know what sociology IS, or psychology, or even ART for god’s sake…pfffftttttt–I call B.S. Their credentials on “the economy” are no more impressive either, “blue-ribbon panels” notwithstanding; there is MATH, there are statistics. Their attitude sucks totally, on all fronts, and keeps raising its ugly head, which is why I keep reiterating the “cheap runs deep” idea. Because it does, and speaks volumes.
Investing in kids is KEY to addressing some of the social complexity we are mired in here, and the NDP was trying to do that at least. The UCP has their two same ideas for everything, and the obtuseness of that, the lack of adaptability, is truly stunning. And what about the crushing of EVERYONE’S hope, speaking of that as they tromp around wrecking everything?
And they claim to be righteious CHRISTIANS on top of it! The prosperity gospel branch obviously, and the dominionism branch, where god has us in his pocket don’t ya know? Again, pffffttttt……..

Seth Anthony

Wasn’t it the NDP that put the “cart before the horse”, created the “one legged dog”, and ignored the other three pillars?

Wasn’t it the NDP that didn’t even pursue housing / more detox until their third (election) year?

Wasn’t it the NDP that ignored public safety? To which the UCP is addressing.

Isn’t it normal for a new party to take time to conduct their own investigation into a complex and costly issue before announcing their position and approach? Isn’t that exactly what the UCP did?

Does it even matter anyway? Detox and rehab will accomplish almost nothing unless it is mandatory, and the housing will quickly manifest itself into a cesspool of dealers, addicts, crime, and all the while even more innocent people will be victimized.

Neither party is going about this the correct way, but at least the UCP isn’t ignoring the pillar aspects of enforcement and public safety.

Seth Anthony

So now millions more will be spent to give addicts their own apartments. This despite that these addicts HAD housing on the reserve but were kicked out because they REFUSED treatment and did nothing but harm others.

So we enable and coddle addicts, they rob us and cause destruction without repercussions, they refuse treatment, and now we’re told we have to work and pay for housing that they already had and destroyed.

Court ordered long term rehab or long term jail. This isn’t that hard to understand!

The idiocy of all these “non solutions” is maddening.

Fedup Conservative

All this whining and crying and blaming everyone but ourselves for allowing this mess to happen what a bunch of losers. Kenney complains about the high cost of our health care system then finds it smart to add a whole bunch more onto the cost by helping his rich friends get a lot richer by privatizing a lot of more of it and Albertans are so dumb they are willing to let him do it. They don’t think that it will effect them, doctors and nurses tell a whole different story. He feeds them the lie that the government will pay for these privatized surgeries , while he deliberately cuts funding to our public funded doctors , nurses and teachers , increases tuition fees for our students, after cutting their wages to make it harder for them to save for a University education, and wastes 30 m on a war room ,which is a joke after he cuts $4.7 billion off corporate taxes for his rich friends, and puts 60,000 Alberta seniors in a terrible mess by cutting their medical benefits, and these ignorant seniors who aren’t effected don’t care. My friends certainly do. Of coarse as we were discussing at coffee this morning his game plan is likely to pay for these private surgeries out the government revenues for a very short time , then tell the people they can’t afford it so they will have to pay for it out of their own pockets, just like what happened to the people of Saskatchewan with the NDP government there, and it just so happens that Kenney has hired the same Janice MacKinnon who was responsible for doing it there, and was responsible for getting the NDP defeated by the Brad Wall government. What a surprise. Have you forgotten that Klein privatized the Grace Hospital, in Calgary, where my sister and mother volunteered for 33 years. He allowed the owners to charge 10% more for operations done there and they still went broke. Klein allowed the opening of private for profit MRI clinics . To speed up wait times we were told yet Alberta still has one of the worse records in Canada for wait times for MRIs.

As my friends keep saying what was wrong with the Peter Lougheed system of collecting proper royalties , taxes, and health care premiums and funding the system properly. If these Reformers were true Conservatives they would have gone back to the Lougheed ways and fixed the mess we are in. The fact is the Reform Party mandate is screwing the seniors and average Albertans out of their money while they look after their own well being and there rich friends and that’s exactly what they are doing. It’s the very reason why the Reform Party did so poorly at the federal level, and was never elected.Maybe you should google this article
“Last time NDP cut health care waste it meant 52 hospitals closed”. Are you going to be willing to see our rural friends and relatives be forced into a similar situation, or don’t you give a damn.


tris – well stated in each entry.
dennis may well have a point – how do we ensure affordable housing is safe and respectful for inhabitants.
i will add a concern to the affordable housing issue: is this housing available to any homeless in need, regardless of ethnicity/race/religion, or is it intended to be a ghetto and exclusive.
seth – good point on the performance of the ndp vis a vis the scs. seems when it comes to governance, albertans do not really expect or demand much. a little more than half want something that represents a dark ages, ultra religious govt that stomps and hates on the marginalised; they support govt giving away public money to the wealthiest private entities and individuals, and they hate when public money is used for the public good. then there is the slightly less than the other half, that keep thinking we will change things a whole lot – you know, solve our many problems – by changing the name of the bums in power. in the end, all that really changes is whose pockets get lined, and the degree to which we are going to institutionalise depriving and hating those on the margins.
the ndp – nor any party today – can deal in a humane way with our social/collective needs (and i refer not only to health and education, but to fire/paramedics, policing, roads, poverty, seniors, veterans…) simply off the theft that has become taxation. govts need to own the wealth of land, much the way norway has successfully demonstrated it can be done: norway maintains over 50% ownership of all resource extraction there. but govts will need to extend beyond ownership of resources. they will need to control some absolute necessities, such as in the transmission of energy. they will need to earn wealth for canadians via ownership/investment in financial institutions. govts will need to stop giving away wealth to private individuals and corps: any money passed from the public to the private must include a fair equity return via percentage ownership/shares/loan interest. in essence, govt needs to managed like a well run pension plan. there needs to be not only audits, but audits that hold govt accountable for graft, and to ensure rectification of problems. the ndp did nothing in this regard (yes, tris, they want to help but they did not tap into the money required in order to create realistic/sustained funding), nor have cons, nor have libs in any province or federally. it is all smoke and mirrors and a shell game, and the only people really benefiting are the very wealthiest. each party (oh, and it is a party for the party and their in group when in power), runs up more debt, leaving us poorer for their governance, lines the pockets of its in group – HEY THERE DENTONS and STEVE ALLAN! – and refuses to change what really requires changing. DO NOT reference the klein years as an example of eliminating debt, as that was unsustainable and the very shell and smoke and mirrors game i refer to. that demand for alberta oil is gone, but that graft and theft and lining of pockets that has left us the negative legacy we have today remains. consequently, we have no real wealth, too little income, and not near enough economic diversity.
yeah, go ahead and print your “x” for “change” every few years. things sure have been changing the last 40-odd years, but only for the worse.