Every road is different. Speed limits should reflect that.

It looks like Calgary City hall will be beginning their fall session with a discussion on a blanket lowering of speed limits in residential areas to 30Kph. I guess it is a nice distraction from the growing debacle of a potential Olympic bid. 

The usual lines are being tossed out there as pearls are clutched: “We need to protect the children!” or “its only a few more minutes a day to your commute” or my very favorite in vapid justifications for things “if it saves just one life…”. This of course tells one that the effort is being driven by emotion and ideology rather than actually being concerned with the outcome. 

There is a large segment of ideologically driven anti-auto folks on city council and particularly in city administration. They canonize pedestrians and cyclists while demonizing motorists at every possible opportunity. We have seen everything from Druh Farrell’s idiotic closures of Memorial Drive for a pedestrian festival (it was finally shut down due to public outcry over the sheer stupidity of it), to the narrowing of streets and building of bike lanes and tracks for a cyclist demand that doesn’t exist in any large numbers. Downtown parking supply is strangled leading to huge parking fees despite a 30% vacancy rate in downtown office buildings. The anti-auto efforts haven’t built a comfortable, pedestrian Nirvana in downtown Calgary. If anything, they have contributed to making the downtown into a ghost town as businesses and consumers have fled to the suburbs where they can still drive and park comfortably. 

Next on the block is a potential blanket lowering of limits. I look at this with a jaundiced eye in light of the past actions of city hall. I see this as just another way to chase down and hound those dastardly motorists who stubbornly refuse to embrace an urban hipster’s life of bicycles and public traffic. If we could just harass those motorists enough, they may change their evil ways right? 

To begin with, there is no pedestrian crisis in Calgary. Calgary is actually already one of the safest cities on the entire planet with a tiny number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities relative to population. Of course it is always good to seek to reduce that number but to set a zero goal is unrealistic and frankly idiotic. How did that plan to completely end homelessness go? Of course, proponents of these kind of plans aren’t driven by actual outcomes. They are driven by ideology and feel good goals. The only way to get to a zero pedestrian collision level would be to ban all automobiles. Not exactly realistic. 

Of those few pedestrian incidents (a couple hundred per year in a city with over a million people and most have no serious injury), most of them happen near the downtown core and on main streets rather than on residential streets. In other words, lowering residential limits will have utterly no effect on those incidents. 

All that said, there are many streets where 50kph is simply not a safe speed to travel. Many streets in the beltline are terribly narrow with vehicles parked on both sides and a 30kph limit is more than reasonable there. Many winding residential streets in suburban areas are not appropriate for 50kph limits as well due to the blind corners and narrow points.


Many many streets in residential areas can and do safely sustain travel at 50kph though and have no doubt, these are the ones that the anti-auto gang want to target. That is why they come up with plans to lower limits in a blanket way rather than picking and choosing by street and by real need. 

People need to get places and they need to do so in realistic time. We should not and do not have to justify ourselves as to why we want efficient travel. When some clown asks “Hey, whats a few minutes a day?” it has to be remembered that to a commuter that adds up to literal hours of lost life per year. We don’t want to give that up lightly. 

Not surprisingly, when the anti-auto set goes on about pedestrian safety they neglect to mention pedestrian responsibility. Many pedestrian collisions are a result of pedestrians jaywalking or crossing while drunk or distracted. That is a facet of this worth addressing but of course pedestrian education and law enforcement upon them doesn’t fit within that narrow anti-auto agenda. 

A common and often tragic pedestrian/auto incident is when a person is backed into/over. Speed limits will do utterly nothing to address this issue. Better driver education and pedestrian education is what is needed here. I swear, when people go on foot they suddenly lose all memory of what it means when those white lights come on in the back of a vehicle. I don’t care if you are legally in the right, don’t walk behind the thing at this unless you want to become a statistic. Don’t assume that the driver can see you. 

Kids are often brought up. They tug at the heartstrings and it is always most tragic when they are harmed or killed. Kids are far from being in the majority of incidents but due to their size they can often sustain some of the most grievous of injuries. Kids are kids as well. They can be tough to control and can sprint out into a street if you turn your back on them for a second. Sadly, this means we have to watch them ever more closely rather than trying to bubble wrap entire communities. 

Nenshi has a very expensive vanity project that he is pursuing right now. If he is to get those billions required for that two week party called the Olympics, he will need new revenue flows. Lowering the speed limits on streets designed for higher speeds coupled with a massive increase in speed cameras will be a great revenue generator. They can then justify it by saying they are saving children or vapidly say “If you don’t like it, don’t speed”. Not all laws are good or reasonable people. 

There is room for movement here. Yes, lower to 30 on some streets. Perhaps 40 on others. I say we could raise some to 60 if we look closely at them. When we see the usual suspects signing on with a blanket lowering in order to address a non-existent pedestrian crisis however, we have to get a little skeptical of their motives. 

Nomination minefield

Party candidate nominations are inside ball. Most people don’t have party memberships in any party and they only pay attention to candidates during an election period. Nominations occur outside of their radar until and unless there is something controversial in the race. 

Being an internal sort of race, a party nomination can and often does become heated as a political civil war can form within a constituency. No battle is more intense than one between former allies. Some constituencies never recover from nominations as divisions from dirty and personal races run too deeply for the association to come together as a functional unit after the race is over. 

Despite all that, nominations are still the best and only manner to date for parties to choose candidates with member participation. 

Nomination winners are not always those who best represent the membership of the party much less the electorate at large. A nomination race is based on who can sell the most party memberships and best get them out to vote when the time comes. Nothing more, nothing less. Successful nominees are those who can gather a group and organize them. Those groups are often based on a cultural or religious basis which gives a good base from which to draw supporters. There is nothing wrong with people organizing to win nominations in this way of course. They are using their existing strengths. It has to be kept in mind however that candidates who won in this manner were often propped up by a base that is not actually representative of the party. 

The only nominations that go trouble free tend to be uncontested ones. The only nominations that tend to go uncontested are ones in constituencies where a party likely has no chance of electing a member to the legislature. 

Right now, the United Conservative Party is the hands down favorite in most constituencies outside of Edmonton. That is why the vast majority of the nomination races have been contested and hundreds of aspiring nominees have been applying for the job. Due to the volume of applicants and the high stakes of the races, some nomination eruptions are expected and inevitable. 

Parties such as the Alberta Party have pretty much no hope of winning any seats. They are simply trying to find rational contestants to run for them in the general election thus acclamations are common and what few races there are tend to be pretty subdued. It spares them of nomination flare ups. 

The NDP have many seats in play but are a top down party that discourages open nomination races. Hell, one can’t even find information on their website directing folks in how to even apply for the job much less encouraging them. Because of this, nomination aspirants for the NDP run into the dozens rather than hundreds as with the UCP. While being terribly undemocratic, it does spare the NDP the untold grief of managing open nomination races. 

Partisan folks and media members love jumping upon nomination race issues in hopes of tearing down parties that they don’t care for. It is cheap politics but it can be effective as many folks in the public don’t understand just how little a nomination can actually represent a party as a whole. 

The latest nomination mess is a pretty striking one as an image was released of a group of men violently attacking a man on the ground. Apparently this attack was motivated by a UCP nomination race in Northeast Calgary. 


This is politics at its ugliest. No party condones or encourages these sort of actions. That won’t stop the unprincipled from trying to claim as much though. 

Northeast Calgary is a political nightmare when it comes to politics and it has a long history of dirty politics on every level. There is no sense beating around the bush, that part of the city is dominated by people of South Asian heritage and that culture comes with an acceptance of dirty political play that we are not accustomed to. Many in that part of the city view rules as things to be stretched or broken at any and every opportunity and they will do so without hesitation. They see strict adherence to party rules as a sign of weakness. This is not true of every person of South Asian decent of course but anybody claiming that this sort of political attitude is not dominant is simply being disingenuous. It will take time to shed those old attitudes but for now, it leaves NE Calgary as a political hornets nest. 

In 2011 I was on the Wildrose Party provincial executive while the nomination race in Calgary McCall was called. Four candidates vied for the position. They were Deepshikha Brar, Khalil Karbani, Braham Luddu and Grant Galpin. Astoundingly almost 6000 memberships were sold by the first three mentioned candidates within weeks. This is well beyond what is normal and we looked into things. We burned up the phone lines and literally sent people to hundreds of doors to check the veracity of these memberships. It was immediately apparent that cheating was occurring. Countless memberships had been sold to people who didn’t exist. All of the candidates aside from Grant Galpin had duplicate members in their list as they unwittingly shared lists and signed people up without their knowledge. We covered our bases carefully and did what we had to do. We disqualified the three proven cheaters. The optics were still terrible. We punted the three brown people and kept the one white one. What else could we do though? 

This was hardly unique to the Wildrose in Northeast Calgary. Alison Redford had to deal with a Calgary McCall nomination race that had nine candidates and devolved into death threats. 

Federal Liberals, the old Reform Party and the contemporary CPC still wrestle with trying to keep the scandals and cheating to a minimum in Northeast Calgary ridings. Its just a political reality in that part of the province that every party will have to deal with. 

Are nominations important? Of course they are. Should we pay attention to them? Of course we should. Should we jump up and down and try to paint entire parties when a race goes off the rails? Not if we want to be honest about things. 

There is no perfect system but this is the best we have right now. Lets not waste the hysterics on nomination races that have little to do with the attitudes of the parties as a whole and save it for the general election when they truly contest for the seats of power. 

Empowering Maxime Bernier

Bernier’s departure from the Conservative Party of Canada was bitter and from most appearances self-serving. The timing spoke to a planned effort to cause the most disruption possible for Scheer as he began the CPC convention in Halifax. There is little doubt as well that much of Bernier’s motivation is driven by sour grapes after having been handed a leadership loss to Scheer by the narrowest of margins. Some second place finishers can handle remaining within the party to try again another day and some simply can’t. We don’t need to wonder where Bernier lands now. 

Scheer covered pretty much all of the above when he responded to Bernier’s exit. 

Things could have been left at that. A man was embittered and he parted ways with the party in an explosive way. Life goes on and the party moves forward. Unfortunately the Conservative Party of Canada then moved into their convention and seemed to almost purposely work to prove some of Maxime Bernier’s contentions correct.

 Christopher Bataluk summed it up excellently in the tweet below:

What I am getting at is the party’s unwavering support for Canada’s Soviet style supply management system due to Andrew Scheer cutting a deal with the dairy cartel in order to win the party leadership. 

It is no secret that Scheer sold his political soul to Canada’s supply management lobby in order to win the leadership with a tiny margin.  Scheer even gallingly joked about the deal at the press gallery dinner this year as he guzzled milk for the crowd. 

Look, I understand how politics works and understand that deals get cut. 

At some point though a leader has to choose between well funded minority lobbying interests and the interests of the party and the nation. The only principle we are seeing out of Scheer right now is that when Scheer gets bought, he stoically stays bought. 

Supply management is undoubtedly one of the worst and outdated economic policies in Canada. There is utterly no reasonable defense of the policy from a fiscally conservative perspective and any conservative trying to defend the policy is either delusional or to be frank, full of shit. The dairy cartel has been incredibly effective in lobbying for this rotten policy that rips off all Canadians (particularly low income ones) to the point where a “conservative” leader won’t even show shame in protecting it. 

A proposal to debate ending support for supply management was to be presented to the Conservative Party of Canada’s membership yesterday. The party blatantly killed the proposal before members could even debate it much less vote on it. 

I am familiar with these tactics. I was VP of policy with the Wildrose Party for multiple terms. If we wanted to make sure that a controversial policy didn’t actually make it to the floor this is exactly the sort of thing we would do. It gives the impression that the policy was addressed while not actually letting it get into open discussion where there is potential for embarrassment. We did this with policy proposals that were crazy or offensive however, not with ones contrary to the very core of conservative principles such as supply management. 

The bottom line is that if the CPC wanted to let members debate supply management at their convention, they would have. They purposely buried the proposal despite it being a big news item lately which is causing our entire nation untold grief with NAFTA negotiations. 

The only reason to bury this debate was solely to protect Scheer’s deal with the Canadian dairy cartel. 

Within hours of killing any debate on supply management, Scheer was in attendance with his masters at a reception. They surely patted him on the head and promised more dollars for future campaigns. 


It is through this sort of action that Bernier will not be going away. It is in proving that there is intellectual dishonesty within the party that Bernier will be able to capture supporters and donors with his fledgling party. Bernier could have been shepherded into the political sunset but instead Scheer chose to empower him through his dogged support for the lobby that bought his leadership. 

No, I do not support Bernier nor am I calling for people to get behind his new party. I am however disgusted with the behavior of the CPC under Scheer right now and through these actions he very likely ensured that we will have another term of Trudeau. 

Let’s face it, Scheer has demonstrated all of the political charm and hype of an over ripe eggplant so far. Most of the nation couldn’t pick him out of a lineup and his chances of dethroning Trudeau next year were already rather limited to say the least. If Scheer is to win the next general election, it will be by the most narrow of margins. That will be pretty much impossible if Bernier is taking 10% or so out of him in select ridings throughout Canada and Scheer just gave Bernier a great wedge issue to work with. 

We can and should be upset with how Bernier has done things. 

We shouldn’t forget however that through his unwavering loyalty to the dairy cartel that Scheer has turned Bernier from a lone malcontent into a potential leader of a spoiler party in the next election. 

Scheer could have defused this by simply letting members debate the policy. If supply management went down, he could shrug and say it was the will of the members. 

Unfortunately Scheer chose instead to remain firmly bought. 

The libertarian conundrum

There can be no political ideology that is more inherently self-defeating than libertarianism. 

We are seeing a growing number of people who identify as libertarians as they shed outdated social conservative values of the traditional right along with rejecting bloated and intrusive government of the traditional left. 

This trend among gen-x was recognized in the 90s and they were labelled as “South Park Republicans”.

Libertarian wings of main stream parties have been formed and in some cases have been quite influential for short periods.

Libertarian parties have sprouted up like daisies but tend to remain mired within the political hinterland. 

So why the hell can’t libertarians get anywhere politically? 

Unfortunately the very nature of libertarians makes them the least likely to succeed in a partisan system. How the hell do you organize self-styled individualists into any sort of working group? 

Living and working under a central authority is utterly contrary to the very nature of a libertarian. Staying silent and taking one for the team is tough if not impossible for a libertarian. They can hold it together for awhile, but eventually the cracks will show and a blow up is almost inevitable. 

Maxime Bernier and Derek Fildebrandt were both recognized as libertarian thought leaders in their respective parties. Both rose to prominent positions with high expectations. Both flamed out and have marched off to form their own parties. 

There were contributing factors in the cases of both Fildebrandt and Bernier aside from their libertarianism which led to their departure from their parties of course. Fildebrandt created a lot of grief for himself with some poor personal judgement calls and Bernier is clearly still holding some personal sour grapes after losing the party leadership by such a tight margin. Non libertarian types would be able to suck it up and move on within the party more easily.

Individualists chafe and get bitter under party discipline.  That can and does lead to some pretty rough breakups when they part ways. 

So what can libertarians do? 

I do wish I had a simple answer for that. I do see libertarianism as the way of the future and betterment of us all as the state grows ever more intrusive and malevolent. I am just not sure how to accomplish it. 

The party system is essential whether one likes it or not. No major wave of ideological change will come without a party driving it and either coming into power or holding the balance of it. So how does a purely libertarian party come into power? It doesn’t. It simply won’t happen. 

I am not saying that there is no role for libertarian parties. I ran in the last federal election for the Libertarian Party of Canada after all. Tim Moen has been doing a fantastic job in holding things together with that volatile bunch and has been promoting both the party and the ideology excellently. I don’t know where he gets the patience and energy from. 

I was under no illusion that I would win or even threaten the seat of the winner in the last general election. My goal was to use the electoral platform to ensure that libertarian questions were asked and answered and I think I did a good job of that. Issues such as supply management or increasing private involvement in health care provision will never even be brought up without a libertarian candidate forcing the issue. The reality that has to be faced though is that libertarian parties exist to promote ideas rather than win elections. 

Another partisan challenge for libertarians is that they can almost never get along with other libertarians. I gave up on most online libertarian discussion groups as they inevitably devolve into categorizing themselves into sub groups and begin fighting with each other. Anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, libertarian socialists (still can’t wrap my head around that one), geolibertarians, classical liberals, objectivists and the list goes on and on as new sub categories are invented. Fervent adherents to any of those sub categories will invariably declare that folks who follow any other sub category are clearly not “true libertarians” and will stomp out of the room. 

Pure libertarianism (whatever that may be) won’t be coming along any time soon. Principles of libertarianism can be promoted and embraced by administrations though. Libertarians just have to learn to accept incrementalism.

People who can manage to bite their tongues and take one for the team can and should promote libertarian principles within mainstream parties. It is a tough role for any individualist but it certainly is one that benefits us. 

Those more dedicated to full on individualism should stick to promoting libertarianism through discussion and activism. They will only cause damage to organized parties if they try to work from within. 

It is more fun working as an individual anyway and if you do it right you can make a point and influence policy. 

For example, the Notley NDP thought it was a good idea for the state to manage party nomination contests. I have been having a great time ever since as an aspiring NDP nomination contestant in rubbing their noses into their own shitty legislation while exposing it for the crap that it is.

I would not be able to pull such stunts were I constrained by a party however. It took me awhile to recognize where a nutty libertarian such as myself belongs and I have been embracing it. I hope that more libertarians find their comfortable roles rather than taking a scorched earth approach to parties in the future. 

Death by regulation

 

The writing is on the wall and the numbers are distressing to say the least. Foreign investment is fleeing from Canada and we are becoming an international investment pariah.

Sadly, this trend should not surprise anybody as our national regulatory environment for large projects in the energy industry went from onerous to outright obscene. The Trudeau government is obsessed with adding unreasonable requirements for new business ventures and they have pushed things to the tipping point. Private enterprise can no longer do large projects. We are losing billions though lost development and price markdowns due to lack of infrastructure.

I spent four years working in the Arctic back in the early 2000s. The area was booming as people trained and looked forward to development of a local industry. There is a massive oil and gas deposit in the Mackenzie Delta that would bring billions if not trillions into Canadian coffers over generations if we could only get the product to market. We spent decades and countless dollars in drilling wells and acquiring data in the North in anticipation of a pipeline which would run a relatively short distance from Inuvik down to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. There are literally thousands of capped wells just sitting up there waiting to be brought into production.

Pipeline discussion began in the 1970s. In the early 1990s cost estimates for such a pipeline ran around $1 billion. After nearly two decades of studies, permit applications, hundreds and hundreds of public hearings and infrastructure investments into the Mackenzie Delta area, the projected cost for a pipeline had ballooned to an astounding $20 billion dollars.  Regulations had utterly destroyed the viability of the line.

The Mackenzie Valley pipeline consortium finally, formally pulled the plug this year after 40 years of wasted time and billions of dollars. Inuvik, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk now languish as impoverished communities dependent on government welfare with no realistic local industries to develop. The hopes that they had for a prosperous future died when the pipeline did. There is no viable fishery, forestry or mining in that area. Just a little tourism and some sustenance hunting. Many will end up having to move down south to make a living while leaving behind one of the richest energy deposits on the planet.

It was in watching a government employed lawyer spouting off on twitter about how it was natural market conditions as opposed to regulation that killed the Energy East pipeline project that I found inspiration to write on this issue. Not enough people understand just how much our bloated regulatory environment harms our energy industry. Misinformation from parasitic, taxpayer employed lawyers who thrive on an ever increasing bureaucracy spreading self-serving pap about what does or doesn’t harm industry isn’t helping.

Massive LNG projects have vanished while pipelines in all directions are either cancelled or stalled while every level of government adds to the hurdles already killing development and investment in Canada.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is the last one left and few people feel much confidence that it will be built. This isn’t even a new pipeline, it is an expansion upon an existing line which has safely operated since the fifties. Rather than cut regulation and streamline the process, the Trudeau government bought the pipeline project before it could be cancelled. Just today we are hearing that the cost of the pipeline has gone up by almost $2 billion. 

How on earth is this or any other large project going to get done until and unless we truly cut and gut our regulatory burdens? In British Columbia alone, the Trans Mountain line needs 1187 permits! 1187!

That is just one aspect and one level of government. How could so many permits possibly be required? How many studies? How many applications? How much time to wait for approvals? How many revisions get called for? By the time the last permit gets approved, the first ones will have expired. It is nothing less than madness.

Today we see a government in shock as Saudi Arabia cuts ties to Canada over a tweet. Some are trying to dismiss things by pointing out that Saudi Arabia only supplies 10% of Canada’s oil imports. 10% of an entire nation’s oil imports is no small amount folks. The vast majority of Canada’s imported oil is coming from the USA. Trudeau hasn’t exactly been endearing himself with the American government lately so we remain vulnerable on that energy front too.

Canada has more than enough oil and gas to supply the entire nation with domestic sources. What we lack however is transmission infrastructure. We can’t even build a bloody pipeline across our own nation due to regulatory burdens. It appears that the government would rather see foreign tankers of oil travel up the Saint Lawrence river daily than see a pipeline come out from Alberta.

The situation is absurd and it is untenable. Sadly nothing will change or improve until we admit that our regulatory system is out of control and then make a serious effort to fix it. I won’t hold my breath.

Racists, junkies and sex offenders. Camp Cloud has it all.

While the City of Burnaby continues to sit on its hands, the squatter encampment that calls itself “Camp Cloud” continues to spiral ever more out of control.

Violent eruptions are becoming common place while rampant and open hard drug use seems to be taking over the encampment.

Here is an account from a native activist who used to be supportive of the camp. After having been repeatedly groped by the camp members who have also harassed female joggers and in seeing the drug use she gave up on them. The camp also apparently houses and twice convicted child molester. This was a common theme as multiple child molesters were found to be dwelling in the “occupy” Calgary squatter encampment years ago. They seem drawn to these places. The full account is below.

Here is a video of the impaired denizens of Camp Cloud assaulting a young couple.

Here is a video of the matriarch of Camp Cloud going on a racist rant calling Chief Ernie Crey a “son of a bitch raised by white trash”.

Here is a part of a video that Camp Cloud shared today. At the 18 second mark, one can see the filthy collection of syringes that they keep presumably for hard drug use.

Here is a picture showing their two story shack built illegally and dangerously under power lines.

They have ignored multiple eviction orders and manage an open fire during a fire ban due to dry conditions.

JUST WHAT THE HELL DOES IT TAKE FOR AUTHORITIES TO FIND THE WILL TO EVICT THESE BUMS?

Will it be an overdose? Will it be a rape? Maybe a murder? Maybe a few more assaults? How about if they set fire to the area and burn down some of the neighboring homes?

This is a national embarrassment and something needs to be done.

These criminals will be evicted.

The only question that remains is by whom.

Will it be by the authorities or will it be by the hundreds who have been gathering on facebook at the group linked below who are planning to do it themselves?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/214809372557103/

Only time will tell and it is passing quickly.

Its time for citizens to get to work and clean up “Camp Cloud”

The ramshackle two story shack built dangerously under a power line acts as a giant, symbolic middle finger to Canadians who value commerce under the rule of law. Indeed as can be seen in the picture above, the squatters in the encampment that they have named “Camp Cloud” like to use the shack to stand upon and literally give the finger to Canadians.

The shack and the surrounding mix of tents, trailers and trash send a message to the the world investment community. It says that the administration within Canada is so cowardly, they will let a group of miscreants set up an illegal encampment in a community and impede legal commerce with impunity. It says that following process and law in Canada is pointless as crazed, extreme minority groups can bring your efforts to a halt on a whim and the state will do nothing to protect your investment. It tells neighboring property owners in Burnaby that compliance with bylaws, construction standards and public safety rules is only expected of them as legal, taxpaying homeowners. Self-identified “water protectors” can squat at will without paying any taxes and while flaunting all local laws.

The continued presence of “Camp Cloud” sends the message that violence is an acceptable means of discourse as the squatters repeatedly have assaulted people in the area as shown in the video below.

 

Click here for the full account of the latest violent encounter with “Camp Cloud”.

The City of Burnaby sneaks in during the early hours to drop eviction notices for “Camp Cloud” and scurries away. The city gives the squatters 72 hours notice to vacate due to a plethora of safety and bylaw violations. The squatters scornfully ignore the warning and are rewarded as the callow authorities do nothing to enforce the law.

The camp grows more deeply entrenched and the violent, entitled attitude of its dwellers grows. Why shouldn’t it? It appears that they are above the law. Warnings are toothless.

Enough is enough.

If the authorities will not clean up “Camp Cloud” it becomes incumbent upon citizens to do so. Energy workers have endured a deep recession for years only to have economic recovery hindered by illegal opposition to energy infrastructure. Many of them are more than happy to take a day to come out to clean things up. Many Burnaby residents are ready to come out and help clean up their community. Many citizens in general are tired of a government that lets extremists walk all over them.

I created a facebook group late last night to gather these citizens and organize the cleanup. By this morning the members neared 200 and it continues to grow. Click here to join in the organization effort. 

Its time to bring this standoff to a head.

The illegal and dangerous squatter encampment called “Camp Cloud” is going to come to an end in coming weeks. Whether the clean up is done by authorities or whether it is done by the group I am organizing is up to the state. I and others are going to continue planning, gathering people and organizing them under the assumption that we will have to do this ourselves.

We are left with no other choice.

Competition brings better outcomes in politics as with enterprise.

Let’s face it, barring a complete meltdown the UCP will be forming the next government of Alberta as soon as they get a chance in a general election. While politics are volatile and strange things happen, I don’t think I am taking a long shot position here. While Albertans were clearly discontent with the old PC government and they were not yet ready to trust the nascent Wildrose Party, they did not really understand just how brutal an NDP government could be until they got a taste of one for a few years. We won’t be going back to that for a long time.

That said, we should not let the government in waiting take that status for granted. We need an incoming government that will win the election based on goals and principles. Just winning for the sake of getting rid of the NDP is indeed appealing enough on its own but we still need the party to demonstrate and maintain a commitment to the conservative, grassroots principles upon which it was built. This will be much less likely to happen if there is no competition to the UCP from the right flank.

No, we don’t need to split the vote again. It must be remembered though, it was not simply a vote split that got us the NDP government of today. The NDP won due to an appallingly arrogant and disconnected PC government and a Wildrose opposition that was still recovering from being torn apart from its former leader. There was never a risk in prior elections of electing socialists despite there always being multiple options on the right. Conservatives had managed to put multiple unpalatable options before the electorate in 2015 and we all paid the price.

As it began to look inevitable that there would only be one conservative option on the table in next general election, everything suddenly changed when Derek Fildebrandt popped up as the interim leader of the newly re-branded Freedom Conservative Party.

There is little sense beating around the bush. Derek ran out of partisan options and that is his prime motivation in taking on this new party. Through a series of incidents due to a terrible lack of judgement, Fildebrandt left Kenney with few options but to keep him out of the UCP at least by my interpretation.

That said, I like Derek. He is smart, driven and doesn’t beat around the bush. He is driven by solid libertarian/conservative principles and has a great history of holding politicians to account. While his maverick ways have made him difficult to handle in a partisan setting, he is an asset in the legislature. It really is too bad that it has come to his being on the outside looking in with the UCP but it is clear that he isn’t giving up and this could be a productive thing.

Nobody said that forming the next government would be easy and I am sure that Kenney has never been under any illusions that it would be. Trying to coast as an opposition party and hiding from issues is not a good way to get there however. When the choice was made for UCP members to walk out over and over again rather than face and debate the NDP on their abortion clinic “bubble zone” bill, I was pretty disappointed.

Any political watcher knew that the bill was a political trap. Yes, the NDP were trying to make the non-issue of abortion access into a current issue and that was the point of the bill. Well, too damn bad. Trap or not, it is the role of the opposition to examine these bills and to offer either support or constructive opposition. By walking out the UCP did neither.

Fildebrandt was the lone working opposition member on this bill. He proposed amendments to the bill, they predictably got shot down by the NDP & he voted against the bill with a clear conscience based on that. The world didn’t label him a crazed anti-woman member and life carried on. He did his job.

There will doubtless be other bills set as traps in the coming months as an increasingly desperate NDP tries to find a way to make the Kenney juggernaut implode on social issues. With another conservative party on the sidelines willing to give a reasoned opposition to these efforts, it will be tougher for the UCP caucus to duck and hide on these bills. They will only be giving more legitimacy to the FCP. This makes for a better democracy for us.

One of the most elusive yet critical facets of parliamentary democracy in Canada is free legislative votes. Many parties pay lip service to free votes but it is rare when they practice them. Whipped votes are an insult to the electorate who send not one but 87 members to the legislature. I know I am being idealistic but we really could get some better political outcomes with a number of unrestrained voices speaking to, debating on and voting on issues in the legislature rather than a couple parties doing what are essentially token whipped votes.

An escape hatch has to be present in order to allow some degree of caucus freedom. The NDP has the Alberta Party to woo and pull discontented left wing members. The UCP now has the FCP to their right. These options will hardly cure all ills for the parties but it will make the leaderships consider things a little more before cracking the whip at times.

Fildebrandt’s assertion that the FCP will only run candidates in constituencies where it is pretty much impossible to win despite multiple vote splits is critical here too. Nobody wants to take a chance on giving the Notley government four more years. I will be living in Banff-Kananaskis when the writ drops. The thought of having Cam “the Weenie” Westhead as my MLA for four years is appalling. There is no way I would entertain the thought of supporting an FCP or any other right of center candidate in my constituency for even a heartbeat. I am sure that reasonable voters in any other constituencies where the NDP may remain in play feel the same.

Time will tell if the FCP develops into a productive entity or simply becomes a haven for malcontents and second place UCP nomination contestants.

I do feel that reasonable opposition from the right is essential for us in Alberta and I think that to a degree the FCP will be able to provide that. I want to see unrestrained voices speaking politically. Not hateful or insane voices (though those labels will be tossed out there) but voices that are not afraid to rattle cages a bit. We can’t make worthwhile changes if we hide from the tough issues.

I am not sour on the UCP. I want and look forward to them forming our next government with Jason Kenney as our Premier. I also however want that administration to be held to account as effectively as possible. Hopefully the FCP can aid in doing that. Time will tell as this new party begins to fill out. It will be interesting if nothing else.

“Gotcha” politics don’t win elections.

It is doubtless that NDP operatives & their allies at Vice giggled themselves to sleep last week as they prepared to release what they felt was a pivotal media “gotcha” shortly before the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake would go to the polls in a by-election.

Who knows how long Vice sat on this “scoop” but let’s not bullshit here, they clearly sat on it until just before the election was held in hopes of having the most possible negative impact on the UCP candidate.

Yes, they had found out that Devin Dreeshen had been active on Trump’s campaign a couple years ago. On top of this revelation, there was a picture of Dreeshen in a MAGA hat.

This is “gotcha” gold Jerry!

The usual suspects on the left went wild on twitter and facebook around the clock when the picture came out. Why, this was akin to the UCP running Hitler right?

Surely the voters in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake will abandon the UCP en masse at the polls.

Yes the UCP would likely still win, but their support would surely drop. While NDP may not enjoy all of the gains of this collapse in UCP support, the nascent left-wing Alberta Party will doubtless see a surge in support right?

To the horror of the myopic left, the great “gotcha” of 2018 appeared not to mean a damn thing to the electorate.

Dreeshen won with an astounding 82% of the vote. 

The existing NDP support had collapsed from 23% down to a paltry 9%

The Alberta Party and the Liberal Party proved themselves yet again to be utterly electorally insignificant with showings of 7% and 1%.

David Inscho ran as an independent representing the “Marilyn Burns Party” to bring in a whopping 63 votes.

While some are doggedly trying to dismiss this outcome, it is significant. Many tried to claim that it was not granted that the voters who used to support the Progressive Conservative Party and the Wildrose Party would not come together under the new UCP.

Well, the combined PC and Wildrose votes were 71% in the last election. The UCP didn’t simply combine that support, they increased it.

Gotcha indeed.

But what about the Fort McMurray-Conklin race?

It was revealed that not only did UCP candidate Laila Goodridge work for a time for CPC MP Joan Crockatt, she spent time as a political staffer in Ottawa!

While not as good a “gotcha” as her having helped the evil Trump, this was profound indeed!

This would surely drive voters into the arms of the NDP in Fort McMurray-Conklin. It works just like that narrative that Jason Kenney wasn’t Albertan because he spent time in Ottawa as an MP. That has nearly made Kenney unelectable in Calgary right?

Oops!

Laila Goodridge with the UCP came in with exactly the combined past PC and Wildrose vote with 66% and a decisive win.

The NDP did maintain their past support level at nearly 30% and the Liberals and Alberta Party candidates remained consistently insignificant at 3% and 1%.

How is it possible that these UCP candidates managed to pull off such huge wins despite the rage and horror that dominated social media about them for weeks?

To put it simply, voters don’t really give a shit what hyperpartisan types say on Twitter and Facebook. They choose based on looking at what the parties as a whole have to offer and pay passing attention at best to whatever the faux outrage of the week is on social media.

Right now the left is swarming and raging over the nomination shenanigans in the UCP and the improper use of constituency funds by the now former UCP MLA Prab Gill.

These issues are important to political wonks and are important in the broader vision of principled politics but they really don’t mean a thing to the common voter at the door (or most importantly in the voting booth).

I love partisan online games and nasty shots. I thrive on them. I never have deluded myself to the point of thinking that those games have a heavy impact on the electorate. At best I bring specific issues a little more into the spotlight for a time and hopefully speed the rectification of them a little bit.

Personally, I hope that the left sticks to their games of gotcha. I hope that they continue to label the party that is currently supported by the majority of Albertans as being extreme or even fascist. While they won’t bring Albertans to their cause this way, they will entrench support for conservatives even more deeply as they get tired of being called troglodytes for supporting parties other than the NDP or left wing Alberta Party.

I will leave off with a few choice tweets that I saved from election night demonstrating the respect that the NDP types online show towards the electorate.

NDP MLA Marie Renaud got right into the game

This NDP supporter feels that rural Albertans would vote for a cow patty

 

This NDP supporter compared supporting Dreeshen to supporting a mass murderer

This NDP supporter did a double gotcha by calling Goodridge an outsider and Dreeshen a “Trumpist”

Gotcha!

Free vacation property in Burnaby! Join me in building a party palace!

I know this sounds too good to be true. With real estate prices in lower mainland BC skyrocketing, how could Burnaby possibly be letting people build vacation homes for free?

Well the precedent has been set.

A large group of bums has been constructing buildings and clearing land to make their own personal little vacation spots outside of the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby since last winter.

Clearly the city of Burnaby and the province of British Columbia have declared a lawless zone right there in the city where anybody can build and reside without paying a nickel!

Zoning and building codes clearly do not apply in this free land zone either as the local squatters have even erected a two story building right underneath a three phase power line. Here they are pictured giving the middle finger to all of Canada.

If these guys can build for free in Burnaby, why can’t anybody else?

I contend that we can, we should and we will!

Burnaby is beautiful in August. Lets set the date for Saturday, August 18 this year for us all to build our little vacation paradise.

Bring wood. Bring tarps. Bring saws. Bring stereos. Bring furniture. Bring trailers and bring broken down old cars!

Have an old trailer gathering dust in the back yard? Bring it out and put it to use!

Lets hold the biggest summer party that Burnaby has ever seen (outside the Kinder Morgan terminal anyway).

Fire permits don’t apply either. The current squatters are claiming that their fire is “sacred”.

Well, we are in luck. I am an ordained Pastafarian minister and as can be seen in the picture of me while deep in prayer, I carry the mark of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

We are on a mission from FSM and keeping the fire burning in order to cook pasta is our holy right! After all, He boiled for our sins!

While writing with tongue somewhat planted in cheek, I am serious.

Lets do it. How often do we get a zone in such a beautiful area as that part of Burnaby opened up for full and total free use? Lets make the most of this people! Book that weekend. Get that hammer and nails.

Email me at albertarep@hotmail.com so we can communicate and organize.

We can make this summer truly unforgettable.