June 23rd, 2024

Noteworthy: Will he have the Wright touch for southeast Alberta?

By Bruce Penton on November 1, 2023.

In less than two years, Justin Wright went from finishing 19th out of 33 candidates for Medicine Hat city council in the 2021 municipal election to one of the most powerful political figures in southeast Alberta.

Wright, who earned the UCP nomination for Cypress-Medicine Hat after veteran MLA Drew Barnes became an independent MLA and subsequently bowed out of the provincial political picture, was an easy winner in this past April’s provincial election.

Wright is in Edmonton this week for his introduction to the Legislature and he is saying all the right (Wright) things as an enthusiastic freshman should. We wish him well and expect this corner of the province will not be as forgotten as our past nickname has indicated.

This area’s other MLA, Danielle Smith, wields a touch more power than Wright, but the one-two punch of Smith and Wright can’t help but benefit Medicine Hat in the long run.

• Speaking of Smith, which is greater? Her love for Alberta or her loathing of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals?

• Athletic Park, home of Medicine Hat Mavericks, is a beautiful facility that just underwent an impressive facelift, but more improvements could always be done, right? I’m sure team owner Greg Morrison could find a way to spend some money that could become available through a Blue Jays-TD ‘Field of Dreams’ promotion that’s giving away $1.5 million for refurbishing local ball diamonds across Canada. Applications are now being accepted.

• Graham DeLaet, the pro golfer from Weyburn whose PGA Tour career was recently derailed by back injuries, seems to have found a new career – TV broadcasting. He has done a little bit of work for TSN in the last few years, but now has been added to the Golf Channel’s broadcast crew. In the world of televised golf, that’s the big leagues. He was in the tower on the 18th hole at the Zozo Championship in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago.

• The headline in the New York Times, if followed by millions of Canadians, would give them more lazy time on the couch: The headline said: ‘Don’t rake leaves. They’re home to an entire ecosystem.’ I believe it. Now, how about a beer and some TV?

• Alberta country singing star Brett Kissel is partnering with a small Manitoba community, Minnedosa, to help promote its tourism goals. A story in the Brandon Sun said Kissel recently posted on Instagram his intention to partner with different businesses, big and small, and he sought out their stories.

Kissel said he received 400 applications, whittled it down to 15, and then chose the presentation put forth by Sabine Chorley of Minnedosa Tourism. Mayor Ken Cameron says having Kissel promote the community “should open up some possibilities to more tourists.” Hey, Brett, Medicine Hat would love to have you, too, although you’d still be second string behind MacKenzie Porter.

• This could be just an urban myth, but it’s a good one: One of the major family executives of the Loblaw grocery chain is named ‘Robert Loblaw’, and he insists on being called Robert, not Bob. Why? Sound it out, using Bob.

• Medicine Hat went through the divisive political and societal debate about safe consumption sites a couple of years ago – eventually saying no to the idea. Saskatchewan, too, recently said no to having its government fund such centres. Says the government: “If you’re using illicit and potentially lethal drugs, you’re not on the path to recovery,” according to Minister for Mental Health and Addictions Tim McLeod. Says the other side: “We’re here to keep people alive. We’re here to keep them going until they make that decision until the right time comes.” – Émile Gariépy, harm reduction manager at Regina’s Newo Yotina Friendship Centre. To its credit, the Saskatchewan government, after saying no to safe consumption sites, announced funding for 500 addiction treatment spaces.

• Medicine Hat city hall officials are at your beck and call today from 4-8 p.m. No municipal matter will be off the table when Joe or Jane Citizen meets the decision makers and city employees in an informal, casual setting. But please, don’t bring your over-ripe tomatoes; keep them at home for a toasted BLT.

• Every time I drive across a bridge spanning the South Saskatchewan River and look at the low water levels, I vow to be more careful about my water usage.

• Something I wouldn’t have known if not for following Brian Krassenstein on X: There are approximately 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the observable universe. That’s 10 septillion.

• Buffy Sainte-Marie not truly an Indigenous Canadian? Say it ain’t so. Might as well tell me that Rudyard Kipling said Medicine Hat has nothing but water in its basement.

Bruce Penton is a retired News editor who may be reached at brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca

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