Sharing needs to apply to more than just resources

A proposal has been floated by the Alberta government which would see some casino charity profits generated in the major cities pooled with casino charity profits generated in rural areas.

A proposal has been floated by the Alberta government which would see some casino charity profits generated in the major cities pooled with casino charity profits generated in rural areas. It’s an equalization idea, being the charity profit share of a city casino averages $60,000 plus and rural profits run as low as $5000. That’s due to the reality that the big cities have not only a larger population base, but also have many more high rolling gamblers than the smaller centres. It’s the repeating gamblers with big bucks that generate the real business for casinos in Alberta.

When casinos were legalized in Alberta there was a provision that eligible charities and non-profit organizations had to receive a percentage of the casino profits. In return the participating organizations had to provide volunteers to help run the casino. This wise arrangement has turned out to be a bonanza for charitable groups, as profits added up to tens of thousands of dollars for the organizations. They are so successful that groups have to wait up to two years in order to partake in a casino.

Besides the main urban centres, casinos sprung up in smaller cities and towns, but due to economic and population demographics in those areas profits just aren’t the same. The mandates of charitable groups and non-profit societies in the countryside is no different than in the urban centres. Many are local service clubs, but most provide some sort of assistance to the disadvantaged or some other social need. Those activities are as important in rural Alberta as they are in urban Alberta. Its just that the groups in the countryside have less money to work with from local casino profits.

The Alberta government is considering a way to equalize this financial disparity by pooling some of the profits from both city and rural casinos. This would see rural groups receiving more money from casinos and city groups receiving less. At this stage it is just a proposal, but it ignited a firestorm of protest from city media and naturally urban-based groups who were not very charitable towards their poorer country cousins. To deal with the matter a government committee headed by Doug Griffiths, MLA for Wainwright, was established. That committee is to come up with some recommendations to resolve the proposal or perhaps abandon it all together.

City media commentators have condemned the proposal as nothing more than a political reward to shore-up the Progressive Conservative government’s rural base.

That would be nothing new in Alberta, government’s are forever balancing the political considerations of many programs between Calgary and Edmonton. What is forgotten in the fulminations and rhetoric by urban media pundits is the clear inequality of what cities contribute to Alberta’s wealth and what the countryside produces.

There are no oil wells, oilsands, mines, forests, farms or ranches in downtown Calgary and Edmonton. The folks that drill, service, extract, cut-down, produce, grow and transport the products from those activities live in small towns and the countryside. The billions in royalties, taxes, stumpage, land sales and other fees that the government receives comes from those products and the labour of those folks living way out there.

One would hope that reality would register on city folks but in most cases it doesn’t, which sees somewhat ignorant comments that folks outside of the main cities don’t deserve anything more than those that don’t produce in the urban centres.

This is not the first time that the urban me-first mentality has reared its head. Whenever government cutbacks are in the works we hear the tedious demands that rural hospitals need to be closed to save money. That’s always a curious idea as it presumes that if those facilities are closed that somehow rural people will no longer get sick or have accidents. It then doesn’t take long to hear complaints that city hospitals are crowded because of an increase in patients from rural areas.

The point here is that that people living in rural areas that produce the wealth of this province deserve equal if not better access to services received by city residents. That includes an equal share of pooled casino profits to be shared by deserving rural charities and non-profit groups.

As a comparison can you imagine the howls of outrage that would come from city media if landowners and rural municipalities imposed royalties on the energy products that came from the countryside. Apparently some believe resorce profits from the countryside need to be shared equally but profits from city activities are not to be shared.

Just Posted

Trial for man accused of 2006 Eckville murder “unreasonably delayed”

Lacombe’s Shayne Gulka is awaiting trial for the 2006 murder of Bradley Webber

Clearview Public Schools approves Gus Wetter trip to Dominican Republic

Trustees also approved a draft calendar for the 2019-2020 school year during the May 10 meeting

UPDATE: Puppies rescued at structure fire in Lacombe

The Bentley Fire Department assisted Lacombe in a structure fire where crews saved some puppies

Gus Wetter students headed to the Caribbean this summer

Ten senior leadership students going

Todd Pawsey to run for UCP nomination in Drumheller-Stettler riding

Pawsey will challenge Strankman, Horner to represent the party in the next provincial election

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

3 survivors after airliner with 110 aboard crashes in Cuba

It was Cuba’s worst aviation disaster in three decades and its third major air accident since 2010

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

Individuals face 84 criminal charges related to stolen, counterfeit credit cards

Investigation and search warrant executed collaboratively by Red Deer and Sylvan Lake RCMP

Plane with 104 on board crashes on takeoff in Cuba

Boeing 737 operated by state airline Cubana crashed on takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport

UPDATED: Gunman opens fire in Texas high school, killing up to 10

Santa Fe High School which went on lockdown around 8 a.m. Friday

Coroner speaks about mix-up of Humboldt Broncos crash victims, release of name

A coroner involved says it wasn’t until an injured player woke up in hospital and said he was a different person that officials realized the mistake

‘Nowhere near close:’ U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal

The United States declared the NAFTA countries were nowhere close to a deal in a statement Thursday

Prices at the pump spike as long weekend brings out Canadian drivers

Motorists in many parts of Canada are expected to see rising gasoline prices as they fire up their vehicles for road adventures on the Victoria Day long weekend.

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.