Political Ballads from an Independent Paper Scratcher.
Stories from former Stettler Independent journalist Christopher Walsh.
Residents in both Donalda and Gadsby voted overwhelmingly in favour of saving their communities from dissolution last week, but the whole issue has left many questioning the province’s motives behind ordering dissolution studies and whether or not their communities will actually be spared.
Although 85 Donalda residents voted against dissolution in a non-binding plebiscite last week compared to 29 in favour, the village will not learn of its future until Municipal Affairs Minister Hector Goudreau announces his final decision in a couple of months.
Donalda Mayor Terry Nordahl expressed delight in the outcome of the plebiscite, but says she is frustrated the province felt the need to order the dissolution study in the first place.
“I truly believe that most people here love the village,” she said. “They love it here because it is a good place to live. We work hard to keep it up and running and growing ... But there has to be simpler, less expensive and more effective ways of getting problems fixed than dissolution.”
The future of Donalda and Gadsby is essentially in the hands of their respective residents after separate public information meetings were held last week to discuss the prospect of dissolving both communities.
Representatives from Alberta Municipal Affairs hosted meetings to gauge the public’s opinion on the course of action that could mean the end of the villages forever. Comments were collected on behalf of Minister Hector Goudreau who will ultimately decide whether to dissolve the communities after non-binding plebiscites scheduled for early this week.
Scarla Maim is circling the cement floor of the Big Four building at the Stampede Grounds in Calgary in fine fluorescent form. Her bleached hair is reflecting in the light as she bites down on the neon green mouth guard and makes a turn that she's made hundreds of times in her two years in the roller derby league.
The little girl who once dazzled her family with figure skating flair is now being chased by a vicious group of women on roller skates dressed in fishnet stockings and short skirts, some even sporting war paint, intent on maiming her. Girls with names like Bamm Bamm, Loriville Slugger, Trailer Trish, Whiskey Girl and Topp Gunns. But Scarla is cruising the cement, taped-on track with great efficiency. Those pink and white wheels are rolling fast around corners just brushing past a screaming crowd cheering for a hit, a take-down, an errant elbow to the jaw; anything that might send Scarla to the floor and sliding into their raucous arms, only six feet away.
The aftermath is still being felt and it stings for those who withstood the degradations of the campaign only to make it into this week bleeding and vulnerable.
There is no dignity these days for men who were beaten in the streets by a fickle electorate nobody understands. It was certainly a mob mentality Monday night as Conservatives across this province came out in droves to vote for what they probably saw as the continuation of “Alberta's Century”. The Tories have done well branding themselves with the mark of prosperity and good times. Everybody else can curl up and die....
The Liberals won't return phone calls, the NDP never mattered and their leader conceded the election the day before the vote, the Wildrose Alliance have been put back into crazed, fringe party status and the Greens think they accomplished something with their slate of university punks running through the internet in real-life ridings.
Somewhere around 42 per cent of Albertans turned out for the big show Monday night, marking the lowest voter turnout in provincial history. A sad commentary they say, for democracy and those veterans who fought and died for the right to vote. Nobody would go to war these days for that mess....
But there could be a new war for Stelmach approaching. And since there is no real opposition to speak of, that conflict may...come...from...within...The Party.