Letters, March 16: History shows a plebiscite on side of citizens

Article content

Re: Councillors aim to take rezoning plan to plebiscite; March 8

I have a 1980 Municipal Handbook containing Calgary plebiscite statistics from 1912 to 1980. There were numerous lifestyle plebiscites such as daylight time and fluoridation.

Article content

What caught my attention, however, were all the capital, maintenance and improvement programs that were voted on. Some as low as $20,000 (river protection), and going up to $4 million (city hall). Nowadays, taxpayers get blasted with multibillion-dollar project proposals and lifestyle-changing bylaws without getting a chance to influence decisions. 

Advertisement 2

Article content

A plebiscite represents the principles of direct democracy, which reflects the wishes of the people. Unfortunately, our representative democracy is run by elected candidates who follow their own agendas once voted into office.

Reflecting on days gone by, our past mayors, aldermen and politicians were homegrown, mature Canadians who held the city, country and fellow citizens close to their hearts.

 Hans Firla, Calgary

Ongoing creep of city infringement

Coun. Terry Wong speaks to the tree protection motion as if the city owned our private lot trees, which is far from the case.

If a property owner decides to remove a tree, that is the right of the owner without city permits or bureaucracy of application. During the past six months, I had three 50-year-old trees removed — one because the trunk was rotten and about to keel over onto the roof of our neighbour, the other two because their roots were repeatedly clogging our sewer lines.

Imagine having to complete a permit application and wait months to learn whether I’m allowed to decide on my own trees.

Recently, there has been a series of city council motions trying to creep into private property rights. This roller-coaster of infringement has to stop. I strongly suggest council take spring and autumn breaks to spend time consulting with ward residents.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

That way, there would be less chance of petty bylaws and more important bylaws meeting the collective wishes of Calgarians.

Kurt J. Hansen, Calgary

Neighbourhood’s historic status a thing of the past

I also grew up in Rideau-Roxboro, though my parents bought the house in the 1990s. One of my memories as a child was Halloween, when hundreds of kids and parents who lived in the neighbourhood would be out trick-or-treating.

Last year, my parents had only four children come to their door on Halloween. Families have been squeezed out. The neighbourhood is a ghost town, with houses left unoccupied as the retiree owners spend most of their time in Phoenix or Florida.

The idea that Rideau-Roxboro is a “historic neighbourhood” is ridiculous — if it ever was, this status left with the families.

Joe Calnan, Calgary

Green Line costs need to be known

How is it possible the city has committed to building the largest infrastructure project in its history without knowing how much it will actually cost? Green Line CEO Darshpreet Bhatti is now telling us that having already spent $400 million on the new line, it is too soon to report an updated cost for a project with a budget of $5.5 billion to construct only its first phase.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Bhatti goes on to say that the Green Line’s cost status has shifted from “amber” to “red.” In other words, the city has no idea how much this entire project will cost to complete.

In trying to maintain support for this project, Bhatti states that almost 90 per cent of 2,245 Calgarians surveyed last fall said they agree the Green Line is a necessary project.

Really? That same survey, available online, also indicated only one-half of Calgarians felt they receive “good” value for their tax dollars, and less than one-half had trust in the city.

Taxpayers should be concerned with this lack of transparency on the part of city council and administration. Rather than building a new CTrain line, it seems that council has committed to funding a bottomless money pit.

Jim Williams, Calgary

City should care for own trees

It’s certainly time to protect Calgary’s urban forest, including trees on private property. But what about all those sad trees on public property? Take a drive along Crowchild Trail and you can almost hear the dead and dying trees weeping in pain and gasping for care. 

Advertisement 5

Article content

Mayor Jyoti Gondek declared a climate emergency when she took office.

Wouldn’t you think that also saving trees on public land would quality as one of her top priorities?

Nancy Marley-Clarke, Calgary

Albertans don’t understand socialism

It mystifies me why Albertans cannot tell the difference between communism and socialism.

Communism is an autocratic, tyrannical system where the ruling party is all-powerful and society is neglected. Socialism is a system where everyone is provided for with a minimum of social security. There is no tax dodge — the rich pay more taxes than the poor but each pay according to capabilities.

One of the most socialized countries in the world — Sweden — is also one of the most capitalistic. If you are at the bottom of the social scale there, you do not live in luxury but you will not be left on a street corner with a paper cup saying “Please give me a quarter so I can eat.”

It is baffling to hear Albertans request the government pay for this, increase funding for that, provide more funds for the other thing, but do not increase taxes.

The main source of revenue for governments is taxes. Albertans want a socialistic system without a socialist government.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Gilles Danis, Drumheller

Canada right to stand up to Iran

Re: Canada sanctions Iranians accused of repressing women, March 9

Giant kudos to the Canadian government for imposing new sanctions on Tehran metro executive Masoud Dorosti and the conservative politician Zohreh Elahian for their continued repression of women and girls in Iran.

I cannot believe that in the year 2024 there are still these misogynistic, abusive and life-threatening conditions that women and girls are subjected to. There needs to be even more outcry, protests and support for all women around the world who are still victims of sexual violence, genital mutilation and even death just for being a woman.

We need to demand justice and put an end to some of these horrible practices that are acceptable in some parts of the world.

Jill Bates, Calgary

Championing equitable immunization for Indigenous communities

Immunization rates among Canada’s Indigenous population remain alarmingly low despite efforts to improve health-care access. This trend not only heightens the risk of preventable diseases but also perpetuates health disparities.

Advertisement 7

Article content

Barriers to immunization include logistical challenges and historical mistrust of health-care systems. Addressing these requires culturally sensitive strategies that engage Indigenous communities and prioritize their perspectives. Collaboration between policymakers, health-care providers and Indigenous leaders is crucial to enhance accessibility and build trust. Investment in education and outreach programs is essential to combat misinformation and empower Indigenous individuals with accurate information.

Achieving equitable immunization rates demands a unified effort to prioritize Indigenous health outcomes and ensure equal access to life-saving vaccines for all.

Manroop Minhas, provincial leader, Results Canada 

Article content