Special congratulations need to be relayed to our local Communities in Bloom Committee and the Town of Maple Creek, which captured a first-place finish in the 2017 national competition. That is an awesome achievement and we can all be proud, but let’s also be humble enough to recognize that we need to continue to work on improvements. We have the momentum now, so let’s run with it in 2018!
A big high-five also goes to Reesor Ranch for being designated a provincial heritage site. The title is the first of its kind for a ranch, so the Reesor family can enjoy the achievement while Southwest Saskatchewan gains another distinguishing feature to share with friends and visitors.
Looking at the world scene, the German election on Sunday saw Angela Merkel win an impressive fourth term as chancellor. However, an extreme rightwing party also scored a major victory by winning 13.8 per cent of the seats, the first time since the Second World War that a radical political party has garnered such support. It is believed contentious issues such as allowing massive immigration into Germany by war refugees is fueling support for the right. As a result, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is now the third largest political force in the country’s parliament. The AfD is anti-Islamic, anti-immigration and is skeptical regarding the European Union. Only time will tell if the party will become more hardcore – radical – and attract more followers.
It has been said that time heals all wounds, but in the case of national pride I believe it causes people to forget the past or treat it like ancient history that will never be repeated. It will not be many years before all remaining veterans of the Second World War will be gone and I fear the lessons learned from that horrific period of time will be lost. That will give rise to ever-increasing hardline leaders, as well as fascist and neo-Nazi parties. In light of worldwide terrorism, the question is: can we truly stand on guard against the rise of evils on the far right of the political scale?
I was surprised that a massive earthquake registering 8.1 received little attention as the world’s media focused mainly on damage Hurricane Harvey was inflicting on Texas. The quake killed at least 90 people, which was at least twice the number of casualties caused by Harvey. However, the hurricane’s damage impacted far more people than the Mexican quake.
Hurricane Irma then followed hot on the heels of Harvey and decimated the Caribbean and the southern States. At the same time and 11 days after the first quake hit Mexico, a second earthquake hit Mexico. It measured 7.1 and caused extensive damage and loss of life. Many people did not have time to escape as multi-level buildings collapsed into piles of debris. It is estimated 400 people perished in the disaster, far more than the fatalities caused by Irma. The death toll caused the media to wake up and look beyond the damage caused by the two hurricanes.
Irma was apparently the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years. It has been estimated that repairing infrastructure and utilities will take many months, if not years. The 7.1 earthquake at Mexico hit exactly 32 years after a magnitude 8.1 quake hit Mexico in 1985 killing almost 20,000 people.
Those types of disasters make me very grateful that I live in Canada. In Saskatchewan we have the privilege of baking in 30-degree plus temperatures in the summer and enduring -40 C in the winter. Of course, drought conditions add extra excitement to all environmental extremes.
Thinking of extremes, an abortion pill will now be covered by our provincial drug plan. I guess it’s not surprising since we live in the age of convenience when people insist on fast service and fast results. However, terminating the life of any person, even an unborn child (except in an extreme situation) does not seem right to me. A little more than 20 years ago I spoke to a young woman who was the survivor of an abortion. Her perspective and value of life opened my eyes to things I had never considered such as the number of abortions that occur annually. Last year, there were slightly less than 2,000 abortions conducted in Saskatchewan. Another 292 out-of-province abortions were also funded by the government.
The pill typically costs about $360, but will be significantly discounted through the provincial drug plan. Regarding reliability and safety of the abortion pill, there is a 10 per cent chance it will not work. It has serious safety concerns according to doctors and may cause heavy bleeding, sepsis and embryonic toxicity.
I suspect there were two motivating forces in the pills development: profit for drug companies and an alternative to messy hands-on abortions so everyone involved can have a clear conscience. We all do things we later regret and quick solutions that are not thought out well can lead to a lot of heartache later in life.