The Page – April 20, 2022

Is there much difference between Athabasca University in Athabasca and Northern Alberta’s Northern Lakes College, based in Slave Lake and High Prairie?
Both the schools, despite having nice campuses in Athabasca, High Prairie and Slave Lake, are heading full-steam into “online” learning.
Interestingly, the communities of and around Slave Lake or High Prairie seemed to publicly not care much about Northern Lakes. Meanwhile, the people and local governments in Athabasca were busy hammering constantly about the move to distance learning at Athabasca University.
In fact, in their efforts they have gone so far as demanding the provincial government force employees of the school actually live in or near Athabasca. Plus, they want the school to work harder at teaching students locally right in Athabasca and communities served.
This is quite a concern in Athabasca. Basically, it is only about an hour drive from Edmonton. During the pandemic, so-called remote working was the rage. Now the pandemic is over, staff still like staying at home. So, when staff and managers don’t even commute to work every day, but phone it in by computer, one asks exactly why the Athabasca school even exists. In the long run, if the school is only a name, and every one works remotely, what does it matter if staff work from Edmonton? Calgary? Vancouver? Australia? Nigeria?
Well, it should matter to all Albertans if the jobs go out of province. And it sure as heck should matter to all people with schools and hospitals and health clinics and even stores in our rural communities. Athabas- cans are fighting to keep those well-paying jobs.
How about the Northern Lakes situation? Hardly a peep publicly on this from people in Slave Lake or High Prairie, especially politicians.
NLC should be commended for the work they are doing expanding the school. At the same time, they should consider there is an unspoken mandate they are contributors to local economies. If some staff don’t like working and living locally, that’s an attitude that rubs off on fellow staff, and eventually students.
People in Yellowknife in the north often say, one of the nicest things about Yellowknife, or Whitehorse, is people there want to be there. They might not all have plans to retire or die there, but for the present, they are happy there, making their community the best it can be.
Those are good words. Young people everywhere love saying, “I can’t wait to get out of this town.” Some grow out of it. Some have to go elsewhere to find their dreams. But nobody really wants to hang around with adults saying the same thing.
It’s a rare person who gives 110 per cent to their community. Shopping locally. Volunteering. Socializing with their neighbours. It’s almost impossible to find that in somebody who wants to commute in like a fly-in politician or manager working on taxpayer money. Or somebody phoning in their work from far away.

Ah, this is the week that global warming is finally supposed to kick in!
About a month after the official start of spring. And six weeks after spring usually starts.
Global warming? Sure.

Every time we see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or deputy prime munster Chrystia Free- land blabbering how much they are helping out Ukraine, we have to get some air spray and mouthwash. The air stinks. And we have to rinse out the gagging in our mouth!
When it came to introducing the Emergencies Act because of some noisy truckers, Trudeau was hot to trot. Tossing people in jail. Seizing bank accounts. Taking a wide range of government powers into his personal hands with no debate, checks or balances.
But when it comes to helping a fellow democracy, Ukraine, against a murdering tyrant, he is all harsh language, holding on to Canadian money that could be used in the war effort, and flapping his lips.

The High Prairie United Church asked us to tell the public they recently donated $2,500 to the United Church of Canada. They will forward the money to the Ukrainian Relief Fund.

“I’m a little hoarse tonight. I’ve been living in Chicago the past two months, and you know how it is, yelling for help on the way home every night. Things are so tough in Chicago, at Easter time, for bunnies the kids use porcupines.” – comedian Fred Allen

Slave Lake property owners will see their taxes go up this year. The new tax rate there is up 5.9 per cent.
Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman says this is actually good news. He says when the budget planning started, they were looking at a 15 per cent increase. Slave Lakers are sighing with happiness, joy and relief!
News stories at on a few towns announcing their 2022 property taxes have increases of zero per cent. Others are up two to three per cent. We have no idea why. Maybe increased values of homes, which means the taxes they pay automatically goes up if the tax rate stays the same, might have something to do with that.
Then, of course, there is the price of everything else going up, from groceries to gas to power and heating. Even interest rates on loans. Ugh!
We won’t name the High Prairie town councillor who once upon a time answered a question why taxes in High Prairie were going up.
“Because the mill rate is going up,” he said.

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