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Ukraine: stupidity in action

It’s all too easy to imagine the high-level meeting in Kiev where the Ukrainian government decided on its next move. It probably sounded a bit like this: “Very well, gentlemen, we are agreed on our strategy for dealing with the Russians. First we will figure out exactly what they are trying to force us to do. And then we’ll do it.”

Of course, it sounds stupid when you put it like that, but this does appear to be the Ukrainian strategy in a nutshell. Or as Ukrainian Security Service General Vasyl Krutov put it, “They [separatists] must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed.” READ

Harper dodges a bullet

Now that the RCMP has decided not to file criminal charges against Nigel Wright for reimbursing Mike Duffy’s housing allowance out of his own pocket, there remains only a faint possibility that Canadians will ever know for sure whether the prime minister was in the loop of the controversial arrangement between his former chief of staff and the suspended senator. READ

Council does the backstroke

Let’s see ... does Red Deer really need a new aquatics centre, with a competition-grade 50-metre pool and associated amenities to make the centre useful to the widest possible number of users? Of course it does. That needs assessment has already been done. A $200,000 concept plan solving that question has already been completed — and rejected — by a city council more interesting in appearing to consult than in providing leadership. READ

Tories’ anti-democracy push gets help

The push by Conservative senators to amend Stephen Harper’s elections act had all the elements of a marvelous yarn. The unelected senators had taken their revenge, biting back and riding in on their white steed to save democracy, showing their relevancy and putting the government on its heels. READ

New police plan feasible?

It was a most curious thing because it caught everyone by surprise — including City Hall. That being, of course, the sudden resignation last December of Red Deer’s top Mountie, Supt. Warren Dosko. READ

Western decisions put pressure on PM

If indeed, all politics is local, two contests in Western Canada over the weekend, involving no more than 5,500 voters, had the power to shake the Conservative establishment in the nation’s capital. READ

A sports fan’s prerogative

I didn’t watch the game when the Edmonton Oilers finished their eighth straight season out of the playoffs last weekend. But I took some comfort that it was on a hopeful note (a convincing win, and with slightly better than a .500 record in the last 30 games of the season). READ

Celebrate, protect Earth

April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day. We should really celebrate our small blue planet and all it provides every day, but recent events give us particular cause to reflect on our home and how we’re treating it. READ

Sneaky, harsh – put brakes on distracted drivers any way you can

Fans viewing their super-action heroes on the big screen or TV know the powers of Robocop. He always gets the villains in knuckle-gripping arrests that boggle the imagination. But one thing Robocop doesn’t tackle is distracted drivers — those talking on a cellphone, texting or emailing in heavy traffic — flirting to be another deadly statistic. READ

Time to get on board

We all know there are times when getting around in our city can be a hassle. Heavy traffic, bad weather, a stalled car or collision at an intersection — or just feeling over-booked on a too-tight schedule — can make getting from A to B to C and back again a real chore. And that’s for those of us with the means to make decisions about how we will get from A to B to C and back again. There are more people in Red Deer than we might think, for whom there is only one choice on a trip that’s too far to walk: using transit. READ

Terror becomes personal

Journalism is a profession that once depended on lead to help spread the news of communities, countries and people’s lives. The facts, details of countless events, big and routine — and in the early days, written down with lead pencils — became stories typed out on paper. READ

Where will Ukraine crisis lead us?

Two things were clear after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris last Sunday. READ

Crime victims bill an ineffective piece of fluff

Time will certainly judge the Canadian victims of crime bill of rights that was tabled last week in the House of Commons by the federal government. READ

End of sovereigntist dream?

Quebecers put the dream of an aging cohort of sovereigntist baby boomers on indefinite and — perhaps — permanent hold on Monday. In the process, they have inflicted a life-threatening defeat on the Parti Québécois. READ

Why CPP reform has stalled

After three years of saying the federal government would look favourably at a modest boost to Canada Pension Plan premiums and benefits — if the economy was stronger, and if the provinces would get on board — then-finance minister Jim Flaherty pulled the plug last December. READ

Lies, damn lies and budgets

If you were a budget officer for any government in Canada, I’ll bet you would lowball your revenue estimate for the coming year. And (except during election years) you would plan spending based on those estimates. READ

Opportunity up in smoke?

It’s the most amazing thing — the medical marijuana phenomenon in Canada. To serve a relatively small number of clientèle/patients across Canada, about 40,000, Health Canada has received about 450 applications from people wanting to produce the product on a large scale. On top of that, about 25 applications are coming in a week. READ

In defence of windmills

I have a cabin on Quadra Island off the British Columbia coast that’s as close to my heart as you can imagine. From my porch you can see clear across the waters of Georgia Strait to the snowy peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful views I have seen. And I would gladly share it with a wind farm. Sometimes it seems I’m in the minority. READ

With credit cards, there are no free plane trips

Last week, the B.C. Supreme Court certified a class-action lawsuit against Canada’s banks and credit card companies, seeking billions in claims to repay what is called a civil conspiracy on transaction fees charged to merchants. READ

PM sets government adrift

It is hard to overstate how Dimitri Soudas — the loyalist who stepped down as executive director of the Conservative party on Sunday only four months after he was hand-picked for the job by the prime minister — was first and foremost Stephen Harper’s man. READ

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