I heard a kitten meowing in a brush pile that my father was about to light on fire, and I stopped him. The kitten belonged to the neighbours up the road. I saved that little cat. My dad and I took him back to his home, and that was how I met Mr. Andrew, and Mrs. Marry Kapustinski. The couple had received the kitten from their grandchildren who lived all the way in the community of Beverly in Edmonton, and were quite thankful that it was returned unharmed. They then extended an open invitation for me to come back and visit from time to time to check up on the kitten. I ended up following up on that offer and had a great time visiting every couple of weeks.
On one such occasion as I was out in the garden with Mr. Kapustinski checking on the garlic, the onions, and the carrots I was in a sad mood, and my new friend had picked up on it, and asked me why. I told him it was because I didn’t have a grandpa. One was dead, never met him because he died before I was born, and my other grandpa had sold the farm and moved far away to Kelowna, so he may as well have died because I’d probably never see him again. Mr. Kapustinski stood a bit taller, and in kind of a deep voice said, “well what do you think I am, I’ll be your grandpa, but you will have to call me Giddo, that’s Ukrainian for grandpa!” I can’t tell you how happy that made me feel, and Mrs. Kapustinski became my Baba, and I then inherited an extended aunt and uncle, as well as three shirt tail cousins. We had several Ukrainian Christmases together, as my parents were then swept up, and my brothers as well when they came into the world.
My first summer job in Edmonton was for a small patch paving company by the name of Aubro Services, because my “Uncle Norman”, Giddo’s Son, had a gravel truck working for the company, and one of the owners of the company, a man by the name of Rick Aubin gave me a shot as a labourer on one of his crews. I ended up working for that company for several summers, and he and his partner Wayne Brown, made a spot for me as an estimator in the front office when I graduated from college. In my community there were many Ukrainian families. They have woven themselves into the fabric of Alberta, and I could not imagine what it would be like without them. Heck, I even married a Ukrainian lady whose own Baba and Giddo settled in the Grassland area. Her grandmother having been a survivor of the Holodomor and saw firsthand, the cruelty of the Stalin Soviet Union regime.
So, a few weeks back when I received a call from a friend of mine who is a pipeline engineer that moved here from Ukraine with his wife to raise their family here in Alberta, and he updated me on how things were progressing in Ukraine with the Russian invasion. He said with all sincerity, everyone back home thanks Alberta for their donations and support, but we don’t need more pillows and warm blankets, we need level 4 armor, helmets, and ammo. As well, if you could let Albertans know that we are going to need to help people who want help, women and children who need to flee the region to have a safe place to weather the storm. Ruslan had served as a young man in the Russian military, as at the time, Ukraine was part of the USSR, he knew full well what he was asking for.
I let Ruslan know what I could do, and as soon as I hung up with him, I was calling Duncan, a gent I’ve known for a few years, that had a booth at the gun show for body armor. Duncan went to work and began getting pricing and quantities of armor. The next day we had a Caucus meeting and I made the statements that Ruslan had made to me, and we received the update that of the 10 million the province had committed, 5 million was going towards equipping 5000 Ukrainian soldiers with night vision goggles, body armor, and helmets. The federal government was doing the same, and in addition, sending over battle rifles.
I know full well our members of parliament out in our neck of the woods have been bringing to the forefront the need for support, and as well helping to expedite the immigration, and temporary asylum process. We have all been doing what we can, within our areas of influence and authority to help those who need it most. We are going to be facing something that only several years ago would have been unfathomable, a potential food shortage in Europe, and in North America.
I would submit because of fool hearty policy, with ideological driven abandon for real world realities we have caused much of the calamity on the world stage. We are having a negative impact on food supply, and energy security, while filling the coffers of our competition, and potential aggressors on the world stage. We as Canada are not energy self-sufficient, the provinces in the east are literally purchasing oil from socialist countries, countries with brutal human rights records, with little to no environmental regulations, rather than embracing our energy from Alberta and Saskatchewan. We go so far as a country with farmland enviable in the world, but we are not fully self-sufficient when it comes to the supply of the fertilizers that we use to produce our own crops. We import finished foodstuffs, there are not enough made in Alberta or Canada products on our own shelves to feed ourselves.
Our largest trading partner immediately on our southern border is going to be facing similar challenges, and we are jointly seeing the cost of energy, services, and food costs rising. They are searching the global markets to secure their supply, and we need to be able to let them know just look to us, look to the north, Alberta is the answer! We need to break through the rhetoric that our own countrymen have created, to shun our sectors, to tax them out of the country, who have put in tanker bans, whom have done everything to stop energy pipelines from making our country self-sufficient, and supplying our closest allies.
This is the hard truth, because of all hard left extreme green policies have been made from a place of security, from a place of wealth, and a place of safety. The truth is the rest of the world is not in that enviable place, and they will fill the void. Many nations are still in energy poverty, many have no choices other than to buy energy from the same countries that they may indeed have to fight. Russia literally has over 40 percent of their economy based on their energy sector exports, including fertilizer, and other petrochemical industries.
We are going to have to face facts, and I hope that people will do that before we are experiencing a food shortage firsthand. If you have any doubts about how real it can get, how real it was only a couple of decades ago in Eastern Europe, just talk to some of your friends and neighbors who moved here. They are the ones raising the alarms, bringing back the hard truths, of feeding the wolf that will one day be hunting you.