Red Deer MLA off mark on minimum wage benefits

The original letter I wrote in reply to Barb Miller’s letter in the Red Deer Advocate, July 8, 2016 was too lengthy to be published so I’ve condensed. It should be noted, proper source information was given, but has been omitted here in the interest of brevity.

The original letter I wrote in reply to Barb Miller’s letter in the Red Deer Advocate, July 8, 2016 was too lengthy to be published so I’ve condensed. It should be noted, proper source information was given, but has been omitted here in the interest of brevity.

I find it baffling that a current member of the legislature would list nothing but anecdotal examples to prove your case for increases to minimum wage. I undertook an exercise to determine the benefit of minimum wage increases. Using the latest increase in Alberta, the actual cash in pocket to the forty hour per week wage earner was $27.92/week, a 6.8 per cent increase in take home pay. What was interesting was the effect on the tax rate using these same numbers. The federal tax amount increased by 27 per cent while the provincial tax amount increased a whopping 135 per cent (Source = Canada Revenue Payroll taxation tables) It’s no small wonder the provincial government is so insistent on a minimum wage increase.

You state your decision to support a wage increase is based on what you know is happening to people in Red Deer, yet did not list any anecdotes from small business owners who will be affected. As one of our MLAs, do you only represent a portion of the residents of this area?

As you are personally aware of people who are struggling to make ends meet, I would think you might use some of the many resources available to you in your position to help people with training or education programs which may help qualify for better than entry level positions, thereby ensuring a more stable financial future.

Does it make economic sense to increase all minimum wage positions when only a small percentage are people supporting families? Of course, the increase in government revenues would not be as high, but as you stated in your letter, the reason you “ran for government” was because you believe in “social justice,” so the tax increase cannot be a priority for you.

I was less than impressed with your letter. As one of the MLAs for this area, I would expect a much better report than what was presented. If this collection of anecdotes is supposed to help your government promote this initiative, I’m afraid it fell far short of the mark.

Beverly Krausher, Red Deer

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Pet adoptions too costly

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My relatives adopted a puppy from the local shelter on the weekend. The total cost was $400 which includes spaying, shots, and microchip. In the paper this morning, an article about a shelter in Helena, Mont. — not even eight hours from here in the States — says adoption is typically $120 with all of the above included. No wonder so many wonderful dogs and cats are being put down here. How can anyone adopt a pet at that price? Even at the difference in the dollar, it just doesn’t add up. And who’s paying the price? Poor helpless animals. Wake up in Canada and smell the coffee! Please! And yes, I’m not naive of the the cost of taking care of pets. I have a diabetic cat, two and a half years, and yes I have had two lumps (almost cancerous) removed from the other cat. I even had to remove teeth from diabetic cat, so I know very well the cost — all on a senior’s budget.

J.O. Bumsawin, Red Deer

Editor’s Note: Some shelters such as Red Deer S.P.C.A. have a maximum adoption policy and only euthanize animals in cases of extreme illness or behavioural issues.

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Losing local history

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Mark your calendars, the destruction of a ‘heritage’ plot of land formerly known as the Bower Natural Area, has begun.

In early July, the transformation began of a plot of land farmed for over 100 years into another, unnecessary retail heaven. I drove by watching new power poles being installed as the old sand hill was removed.

The land had been productive for a century, and used as an elk pound by the Cree. The Cree used the area north of Red Deer (now Westlake) across from Heritage Ranch as a wintering ground. Dozens of tipi rings dotted the area, all undocumented and unnoticed by provincial archaeologists. The loss of the archaeological heritage should have raised the ire of the historical community. The items could have been documented for posterity. We are now seeing more heritage and priceless artifacts destroyed. Can you imagine the information on the people who were in this area that could be discovered? As the land has been tilled for decades, many artifacts would be destroyed, but beneath the one-foot level, history can yet be found.

In modern society, ‘progress’ is often made at the sacrifice of history. Such projects are almost always done by outsiders with no appreciation nor understanding of the environmental value of the land.

I’m saddened that the City of Red Deer, who worked hard to preserve close to 20 acres of the area could not preserve more. However, I’m more saddened that our council has seen fit to let rampant developers scream through prime agricultural land with no apparent efforts to preserve pre-contact history.

I know it will continue but perhaps someday we will understand the cost of desecrating history for the sake for a few dollars more.

Tim Lasiuta, Red Deer

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