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Parker’s Pen – September 2022

David Parker

A friend motored up to Banff to enjoy what he said was a magnificent concert at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Pondering a late drive home, he thought about staying the night and making the return trip refreshed in the morning.

The cheapest inn on the strip was quoted at $350.

He drove home – as would I have done.

And checking the first page of web I find that most of the Banff hotels listed was priced around $400 per night.

We are being encouraged to vacation close to home, but those prices had me dreaming back to much cheaper accommodation in Italy and a fine fish dinner with an in-restaurant €5 nice Calabrian wine.


Inflation is the current scary word so it was nice to get a – surprise to me – cheque from the Government of Canada as my climate action incentive payment.

The letter gave a figure for my entitlement, but the cheque at the bottom was only half that amount. Back to the letter to find that the rest was coming in two instalments – one in October and one in January.

Why? Why not one lump sum?

Simple, said an old friend, who told me that when he had a business, he paid staff monthly and they were happy. Then he switched to twice a month, and guess what, they were happy twice a month. One payment and we would thank Mr. Trudeau, now we get to think nice things about him three times.

Or perhaps cutting three cheques instead of one just provides more work for government employees.


Talking of bureaucrats, didn’t the big bonus for Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on top of a fairly healthy salary, cause a few gasps. But let’s face it, they look after each other as it was reported that “cash benefits” were also handed out to more than 100 other management positions as extra pay for their efforts during the pandemic.

As columnist Don Braid wrote, ‘Their very job description – public servant – suggests a duty to plunge into a crisis and do whatever is necessary, without hope of a cash prize’.


We all like to celebrate anniversaries, but few can beat that of the scout troop that has called St. Barnabas Anglican Church its home for a remarkable 100 years.


I was introduced at the Fairmont Palliser parade morning breakfast – always my best Stampede event – by a young public relations person who asked what was my biggest beef with people in her profession? “Believe it or not,” I replied, “It’s communications, starting with the fact that so few people want to talk on the phone these days.”

But, of course, that’s a huge problem with most companies.

Trying to talk to someone at the bank I’ve been a customer of for decades became too big an irritant. I don’t want to talk to a virtual advisor, I want to go over my security problem with a living human being. Ninety minutes one day and try again the next, I listened to 11 teasers to get a U.S. account. Using the web to get an appointment meant waiting four days for a phone discussion and the next week for a face-to-face.

When I finally got through, I explained that I had called another nearby bank, was invited for a meeting that afternoon, and by the end of the day had opened two new accounts and signed up for a new Visa card.


Final words: If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?