Letter to the editor: Proportional representation leads to fairer elections

Dear Editor.

Letter writers occasionally challenge the integrity and fairness of the Proportional ballots.

Having lived in a country for about 22 years, where they have used a Proportional ballot for decades, it’s tempting to review some of the main concerns people have, when comparing PR to our current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) ballot.

While our colonial system does accommodate several political parties, the facts are that the federal Liberal and Conservative parties have alternately formed the federal government for the last 154 consecutive years.

And yes, we have had three referendums on electoral reform in BC.

All three promoted an STV ballot, that was presented to be administered as a preferential, ranked, run-off ballot, without separating the party vote from the candidate vote, which is the main feature that defines any honest Proportional ballot.
The BC Liberals, who do not want democracy, conducted an extremely aggressive campaign, and defeated it.

The population of New Zealand, where they adopted PR some time ago, is about the same as BC, about 5 million.

With 120 elected Members compared to our 87 MLAs only means their elected Members are representing only about 42,000 people compared to our MLAs, each representing about 57,000.

Concerns about size and shape of electoral areas and districts are completely without foundation, as Elections BC and Elections Canada both review and define those electoral areas based on the number and location of the people who live there.

Using different electoral systems will not change that significantly, even when several electoral areas are ‘bundled’ into multi-member districts, and size and shape of province or country is a non-issue.

Looking at the results of the last federal election it’s obvious our current system does not serve us well.

In all of Alberta and Saskatchewan the Liberals did not win a single one of the 42 seats.

Every single vote cast for the Liberals in the two provinces were a total waste.

While those results are extremely unfair and undemocratic, the next election will very likely produce similar results.

Had we used a Proportional ballot that separates the party vote from the candidate vote, not only would the Liberals have elected a few MPs with their party vote, they would also have been free to elect candidates who would be free to respond to the needs and aspirations of the voters, instead of electing MPs who will continue to be manipulated and controlled by party leaders.

Having been exposed to both systems has been an incredible eye opener that clearly demonstrates a desperate need to change our electoral system.

Letter to the editor: By the people, for the people

While these words, spoken by Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, were related to the cause of democracy, they sprang to my mind as I considered the international Covid crisis.

Considering the fact that much of the funding for research towards finding a vaccine has been bankrolled ‘by the people,’ should it not be universally ‘for the people?’

Perhaps I am idealistic, but if we could find our way to waiving trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, and if manufacturers around the world were able to ramp up production of the vaccine to ensure that everyone young and old, rich and poor, weak and strong could be vaccinated, wouldn’t we all be safer? Sure, Canada might lag behind other developed nations in immunizing our population, but let us not lose sight of the overall picture. The ‘me first’ approach to obtaining and stock-piling vaccines by the world’s wealthiest countries, is not the answer.

To bring this pandemic to an end, the majority of the world needs to be immunized.

Connie Lebeau,

Letter to the editor: Mayor Clarifies Budget Committee Points

This is to clarify the story that ran last Tuesday about the Budget Committee. At no time in that article were we talking about our major naming rights partners. They have, not only at the time, filled their commitment 100% but continue to support many more projects in our community.

On a personal note, every opportunity that I have had to publicly acknowledge these sponsors, lift them up, and thank them for being a part of our community I do.

And if anyone misread the article, I apologize.

Our major naming rights sponsors are a big part of the Prince Albert family. They will always have my respect and will always get lifted up at every opportunity that I have to do so.

Greg Dionne
Mayor of Prince Albert

Letter to the editor: Not this cowboy


In the April 6 edition of the Daily Herald, Mayor Dionne stated that more stringent methods are needed going forward in regard to the collection of pledges from donors to civic projects, implying that delinquency is a problem.

For the record: in my 31 years in Prince Albert, our Family Foundation has donated well over $5 million to a variety of worthy projects around our great city, largely thanks to the tremendous support of our Canadian Tire store by the citizens of Prince Albert.

In every single case, the amount pledged has been paid 100 per cent in full, either on opening day or often before.
I would like it to be known that, if there is a problem, it’s not this cowboy.

Malcolm Jenkins
Prince Albert

An open letter to the people of Saskatchewan

Community Medical Officers of Health

On Monday, March 29, 2021, the Province of Saskatchewan launched a campaign titled Stick It To COVID aimed at encouraging Saskatchewan residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn.

One of the most important things we can ask you to do is get vaccinated. The vaccines available are safe, effective and they will save countless lives. They are also part of our path back to normalcy. But for some, the effect of the vaccines will not come soon enough. Unless we take all of our other public health precautions seriously in the days ahead, some will not survive to see those normal days.

Vaccinations won’t be enough. As a result of the more harmful variants of the COVID-19 virus, we are seeing a dramatic rise in cases circulating in some communities. These Variants of Concern spread faster and make people sicker. In the areas where they are most prevalent, like Regina, Moose Jaw and the southeast, they send more and more young people to hospital and are filling up our intensive care units.

This is highly concerning, especially as we approach Easter break. Transmission between households is one of the top causes of COVID transmission. Holiday travel has the potential to carry the virus around the province. We typically see case surges post holidays. Easter brings us to another tipping point.

It is more critical now than ever to follow public health orders, which are the law, and other guidelines around physical distancing, limiting your bubble, wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly, and staying isolated and getting tested as soon as possible if you’re sick. We must all do this to get through this pandemic.

But following public health orders is the bare minimum you should be doing. Like driving through a bad snow storm, the risks are too great if we hurtle along at the speed limit oblivious to the icy roads and reduced visibility that threaten to plunge us into the ditch. So have a plan to protect yourself and those you love. Plan virtual gatherings, meals and game nights. It’s like planning to drive taking into account the road conditions.

We are asking you to ask yourself: “Just because I can do it, should I do it?”

That means avoiding non-essential travel to anywhere outside your home community, putting off that Easter family gathering until next year, ordering in rather than dining out, leaving a shop you feel is uncomfortably crowded or sacrificing a visit from a loved one to ensure you, and they, stay safe. For those in the Regina area, these are things you are currently doing under the public health order and others could follow suit if we aren’t more diligent. We know when a prairie storm worsens, roads get closed. That has already started to happen in Regina; let’s keep the storm from worsening elsewhere.

In the days ahead, sticking it to COVID shouldn’t just mean getting your vaccine when it’s available, but also fighting it with all the tools in your tool box. As you imagine what normal looks like, imagine it with one fewer family member beside you. Imagine the next Roughrider game or music festival without your best friend along to clap and cheer. That’s what’s at stake. Because if we don’t Stick it to COVID now, not all of us will be around to celebrate defeating it later.

Have a happy, safe and physically distant Easter break.

Your Community Medical Officers of Health in Saskatchewan (including Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka, Medical Health Officer – Prince Albert, Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority and Dr. Khami Chokani,Medical Health Officer – Prince Albert, SHA

Letter to the editor: carbon tax a way to work toward better future


It is fascinating how deeply concerned government leaders become about women, children, and the elderly – when it is convenient.
One of Premier Scott Moe’s reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision on the carbon tax was to say how economically hard this would be for the elderly or for single mothers who have to drive to work.

Many of the elderly live on inadequate pensions, many single mothers work for the lowest minimum wage in the country, and many of the province’s children live in dire poverty.

This government and previous Saskatchewan Party and Saskatchewan Conservative governments have rejected the idea of a decent minimum wage, have dismantled an outstanding dental program for children (ultimately creating costlier health problems), and eliminated the intercity bussing service so poor people have to hitchhike and many women and children lost one way to escape abusive situations.

Where was the concern about women, children, and the elderly then?

I am 69 years old and I pick up hitchhikers, or did until COVID, and it breaks my heart to leave them on the road. I especially worry about the women, many of whom may be forced to “pay” for their ride.

The carbon tax is one way to work toward a better future for all of us, and I am happy to pay it (on my pension). I only wish rather than giving me a rebate, the money would go directly to environmental programs.

Meg Shatilla
Spruce Home

Letter to the editor: When daffodils bloom, hope grows for people affected by cancer

Dear editor,

For more than 70 years, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has celebrated the Daffodil Campaign in April. The daffodil is resilient, it is the first flower to bloom in the spring and for those living with cancer, it is a symbol of strength, courage and hope.

As we begin to emerge from a difficult year, we invite Prince Albert residents to rally around this symbol to provide hope to people affected by cancer in their community. Now more than ever, the daffodil’s sunny symbol serves as a meaningful reminder for us to come together and continue to look ahead to brighter days.

We’re calling on the people of Prince Albert to join us and help make a meaningful difference for all Canadians affected by cancer. Whether you donate online, create a digital daffodil in honour of a loved one or organize a virtual fundraiser, you’re helping create a future where no Canadian fears cancer. To show your support, visit your local Pharmasave or London Drugs to buy a daffodil pin or donate at the register.

Donating to the Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Campaign – especially during a pandemic – is the most impactful way to improve the quality of life of people affected by all cancers and bring them hope. Because when daffodils bloom, hope grows.

Help spread hope to people affected by cancer. Make a donation today at cancer.ca/daffodil.

The Canadian Cancer Society Community Giving team

Letter to the editor: say no to first past the post

Dear Editor.

The next election should be the first time we use a Proportional ballot but, out of thirty-seven million Canadians five people, our five federal party leaders, do not want democracy.

That’s why we no longer elect governments, we elect virtual Dictators.

We are stuck with a two-party electoral system that will continue to deny the people their basic human rights to have governments that represent all Canadians fairly.

Using our current first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system about 40% of the voters consistently manage to elect the government, the remaining 60% of the votes are wasted. They do not elect anybody.

It’s like shooting blanks in a competition. You will never win.

Using a Proportional ballot virtually every single vote helps elect somebody.

New Zealand abandoned their colonial FPTP system some time ago, and adopted a multi-member Proportional ballot (MMP).
Today public input and consensus-based policy development produce stable and productive governments.

The Canadian political system has very quickly evolved into a three-way partnership between the Liberals and Conservatives, and a very aggressive and group of lobbyists, sponsored by big business.

The Liberals and Conservatives know they will alternately form the government. Reading Stevie Cameron’s ‘Ottawa Inside Out’ is a very clear perspective on this cozy relationship.

Playing by the rules, and telling the truth is no longer vogue in Canadian politics.

When Harper was campaigning to become our Prime Minister, he promised the voters our democratically elected MPs would be free to vote the conscience of their constituents.

That turned out not to be true, as he proceeded to hi-jacked the party’s nomination process, and used it to enforce ‘party discipline’ to control how every MP voted.

More recently Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised voters electoral reform in exchange for their votes.

Like Harper, he did not deliver on his promise. That also became the last nail in the coffin for democracy in Canada.

Today two of our democratically elected politicians have the power to deny 37 million Canadians their basic human right to have free and democratic governments.

A multi-member Proportional ballot will forever destroy that destructive lock on power, but Harper and Trudeau said no.

Andy Thomsen

Letter to the editor: More we can do to keep planet healthy

I have just read an article in the P.A. Daily Herald Friday, March 5, 2021 about the need for Canada to step up our targets to lower carbon emissions. We will not accept Climate Change until we see with our own eyes the nefarious effects of it. For us here in Saskatchewan with all our open spaces, all our beautiful trees and pristine lakes, it is very difficult to imagine any other world; it is easy for us to deny climate change and even maybe, to be Conspiracy Theorists!

The Covid-19 pandemic was an eye opener for us all. When it first started, some of us were taken aback by the restrictions forced upon us. Even some government officials were slow to realize that this was a world pandemic and had to be treated accordingly.

When faced with something our of the ordinary, out of our comfort zone, we tend to wait and see what happens, tend to wait until it affects us or someone close to us. There is much we can do as individuals to help keep our planet breathing healthily. It is a matter of being aware, educating ourselves, and doing what we can in our daily lives. We also expect our elected officials to do the right thing.

Alice Cullen
Prince Albert

Letter to the editor: We’re blessed with our bus drivers


Thursday, while I was a passenger on the City All Day bus, a gentleman boarded but indicated that he wished to transfer to the West Hill. Robert, the driver, contacted the West Hill and they made arrangements to make the transfer at the 15th Street and 3rd Avenue stop.

When both buses stopped, the man attempted to cross to the West Hill bus. He carried a cane and had obvious mobility issues. The sidewalk was extremely icy and the man made little progress. Robert got out and assisted the gentleman back to the All Day after informing Shah, the West Hill driver that they would have to find a better transfer position.

Both buses than stopped on 6th Avenue and 15th Street where Robert again exited his bus and aided the man to the West Hill bus. We are truly bless to have such kind, caring city transit drivers.

Derril Hackl
Prince Albert