It was a move made by your nickel and diming United Conservative-led Government of Alberta that will leave us all paying a little bit more.
And it occurred with so little fanfare even the New Democrats didn’t jump on it to raise their proverbial stink. Not that we heard anyway! This was so small the NDP did not even bother to raise the alarm, if they even knew. Might come across as petty!
And in the giant scheme of things, it wasn’t exactly a big newsmaker!
The news broke to the media July 10 at the Town of McLennan council meeting when they heard it will cost all member municipalities of the Peace Library System (PLS) a little more money to be a member in 2024. And 2025. And 2026.
PLS chair Carolyn Kolebaba wrote June 13 about the requested increase: five per cent per year over the next three years, or about 32-35 cents per capita, or $200 to McLennan residents. What is will cost people in Falher, High Prairie and Peace River we have not calculated.
Part of the reason for the increase, in addition to inflation and increased cost of utilities, is the government will no longer provide deliveries.
This, dear readers, is another story of what local municipal politicians like to call downloading. Any of your local reps can give you several examples. Ask them and be ready for the venting!
This example goes back to 2020 (yes, three years ago!) when your loving Alberta government decided to stick it to libraries by removing the Government Courier service from libraries. In short, no longer would government be doing deliveries of any kind for libraries.
PLS says they decided to absorb the cost. That is not entirely true, because the excess money paid for the service came from somewhere, that being the taxpayers. It’s just that the PLS had a bit of a war chest and did not need to raise more money.
Back to your provincial government. How cheap can you get? What miserly bureaucrat decided this was a good move?
Of course, delivery services would be more in remote areas of Alberta. It is not a stretch to believe the bean-counter who thought up this brilliant piece of money saving resides in the city, where the effect is less than the rural area.
What a surprise!
In the recent election campaign, the UCP campaigned – even bragged – about all the work they did to make living more affordable for Albertans, all the while knowing they implemented this sleazy fee to save a few bucks in someone’s budget.
So, is this a big deal? Yes, it is!
The fact this service affects libraries, which are community hubs which provide reading and learning opportunities at affordable prices, makes it extra sleazy. Government should provide easy and affordable access to libraries for everyone.
It begs the question: if the government is willing to stick a knife in the back of your local library, what will they do next?