The Page – April 17, 2024

A bottle of vodka for $9.37 and change, before tax and deposit?
That is almost half the price of one of the next lowest priced vodkas, Alberta Ice, at $17.50. But there is a catch. You have to buy a four-litre plastic jug of the stuff. It comes in a jug, sort of like a milk jug container. Do that and you are saving yourself over $43 before tax with the big jug compared to the same amount in bottles.
What’s not to love?
Hard to believe, but our beloved Premier Danielle Smith has yet to smuck down Service Alberta minister Dale Nally, who says the four-litre jugs are “not very responsible.”
Saving money is not responsible?
Just because the alcohol comes in a big jug? So are Texas mickeys of any sort soon to be “not responsible?” How about 24 flats, or even – horrors! – 48-boxes of beer?
What the heck are you drinking Nally? Or should we more aptly say, what are you smoking, since you have some kind of axe to grind against alcohol?
Get out of our bedrooms, wine fridges and beer coolers Nanny Nally’s Nonsense state, indeed.

On sort of the same topic, several years ago The Page was on a holiday in southern France. Rustic territory. Many small villages. And of course, lots and lots of wine fields and small wineries.
As the group of us biked and hiked through the countryside, we often picked up a jug of wine to go along with supper.
Wine there sells in convenience stores and grocery outlets. It didn’t take long for us to discover four- or five-litre plastic jugs no-name local wine selling for around 20 euros per jug. At the time, that was about $30 Canadian. The wine was surprisingly, given the cheap price, quite decent.
As our adventure went on deeper into rural France, the cost of jug wine dropped. We finally found a place that was selling the big jugs for four euros (about $6 Canadian) at that time. In fact, the deposit on the jug was more than the wine inside!
That was the good news. The bad news was, as the wine got cheaper, it also got worse!
The last jug of four-euro wine was good enough to choke on, spit out, and maybe use to polish doorknobs or kill insects.
After that, we moved back to six or eight euro jugs. Still not high class, but they fit the budget perfectly.
The Page does not recall anybody on our trip becoming stupified from too much alcohol, nor did we ever see any local citizens having had “too much.” Maybe they were out there, but we didn’t see any!

Speaking of cheap wine, you might have heard of “Two Buck Chuck.”
That’s a brand of cheap wine sold in the United States, usually found in chain stores called Trader Joe’s.
Two Buck Chuck used to sell for – you guessed it! – $2 a bottle. Over the years, the price has grown to around $3.50 to $4. But it still has the nickname, Two Buck Chuck.
Meanwhile, here in Alberta, we have Nally’s Nonsense. This is an alcohol substitute. A horribly overpriced mini-bottle of self-righteous gas guaranteed to smell up any room instantly if unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

A few weeks ago, we passed on concerns from a few High Prairie citizens who wanted to view the recordings of the town’s council meetings.
One item raised was the poor quality of both video and audio. In fact, the audio even right inside the council chambers often makes it hard for the audience to understand what is being said. They just can’t hear the words.
Of course, this has been going on for years. No effort has ever been made to fix this.
One wag said, “They won’t fix it because they don’t want anybody to hear what they are saying.”
One observer said there is no problem with the system. Councillors just have to lean forward and speak into the microphones. “Leaning forward” is necessary because microphone cords are too short to allow a speaker to pull the microphone closer. And because councillors often like to lean back in their chairs as they make their thoughts known.

Also in this week’s newspaper is that McLennan town council may be cutting their numbers from seven to five. The move is to save money. Not a huge amount but some days, every dollar counts!
One member of the council, while talking about the move, said it might reduce the variety of viewpoints that help council make their final decisions.
This is true. It is also true that council members, usually in their day-to-day lives, see, hear and learn about items that might impact their community. It is also true, if any councillor so wishes, by themselves or even with the whole council, can invite citizens to come forward with their ideas.
In practice, this doesn’t happen very often in any community. But, it does happen and can be made to happen by any elected official in any manner, even if just a text message or an email.
As once was said by a “town hall” organizer that held such public meetings just to hear from citizens: “It’s always a good idea to listen to the public. The single biggest complaint I hear from the public about such meetings is simple – people say we give the council all kinds of great ideas. Then we never hear anything more about them.”

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