This is Canada’s culture?

Well it looks like Prime Minister Harper has raised the ire of Canada’s “art” community by announcing a modest cut in their funding. The yowling and howling from the other parties is unsurprising.

Justin Trudeau roared in with this statement: “This is yet another example that the fact that Mr. Harper simply does not understand Canadians and does not trust Canadians in the choices they make.”

Uhh Justin, by letting more art stand on it’s own rather than being subsidized, Canadians actually have more choice. Consumers of art would determine what is worthy and what is not. It really is not that confusing. It is the “arts” crowd that does not trust the judgement of Canadians and insists on having tax dollars fund their work rather than letting Canadians judge the merit of it.

Jack Layton crowed: “We say the arts are at the core of the economy!!”

 Really Jack? Arts must rival oil exports, auto exports, wheat and such eh? Why, I can hardly go a day without reading about the frothing international demand of Canadian art. If indeed the arts were the core of our economy, why the hell are all these artists always looking for handouts then?

There are many great Canadian artists from writers to painters. There always will be great Canadian artists with or without taxpayer funding.

The artists who are most annoyed with cuts to arts funding are the ones that produce shit that they damn well know would never sell on the open market.

Oooops. Did I say shit? It is rare that I use expletives in my postings, but in this case it is a good segue into highlighting some of Canada’s great subsidized “art” works.

A few years back, a tax funded art gallery in Ottawa hosted a five week exhibition of; Scatalogue: 30 years of crap in contemporary art.

This was no misnomer. The display was truly focused on poop and included such profound displays as soiled underwear and shrink wrapped turds.

My God??? How many priceless works have I flushed down the toilet without even considering the potential artistic value in it?

I have been creating and sadly wasting what could have been yet another integral part of Canada’s cultural fabric (according to Justin Trudeau) and I never even knew it.

 There is already a well established online gallery where fecal artists may display their works and critique each other’s creations. It is called ratemypoo.com (not for the weak of stomach). Scatophiles and connoisseurs of crap may view dung to their heart’s delight with nary a dollar of my money spent.

 Going down the list we come to the Canadian icon that was hosted by our tax-funded national gallery in Ottawa; The Meat Dress.


Renowned artist Jana Sterbak conceived of this brilliant concept.

Recipe for wasting Canadian tax dollars:

Ingredients:

50 pounds of flank steaks,  salt,  mannequin, tax funded art gallery.

 Salt meat and allow to air dry. Hang from mannequin and display in federal gallery for months while periodically replacing meat due to decomposition. Soak taxpayers heavily and justify it with pithy justifications such as: “It emphasizes the contrast between vanity and bodily decay.”

 How deep!!! This little number was displayed for months at our expense and has even ranking being listed at Snopes(a site dedicated to urban legends).  The reason this mess of meat was worthy of Snopes is that most people could not believe that somebody could be so profoundly stupid as to pay for such a thing.

 An irony in this is that the “arts” community is usually front and center in howling about how we must feed the underprivileged. I am sure that a few of the hungry would have appreciated a few hundred pounds of steaks but alas, it is much more important to contribute it to the building of that fabric of Canadian culture.

 Of course, not all of our contributers to Canadian culture need to be Canadian. How can we forget Israel Moras AKA the Mexican Masturbator?

 This Mexican received Canadian funding to wheel a cart full of test tubes filled with his own ejaculate around my home town of Banff. I tried to find an image to go with this one but my efforts were not only futile, but stomach wrenching. I strongly suggest that you never type “mexican masturbator” into a google image search! (unless you are in to that sort of thing)

Another non-Canadian but recipient of Canadian arts funding is legendary porn actress Nina Hartley. While googling Hartley does produce images more appealing to my eye, I found few that were appropriate for posting here given her career history.

 Bubbles Galore received $55,000 of our tax dollars for it’s production from the Canada council. This porn (and it most definitely is a porn) was considered “art” as it portrayed lesbians. Straight porn is degrading to women of course and must be stamped out.

 Look at the recognition that Canada has gained from this great tax investment however. Bubbles Galore won the best film award at the International Festival of Trash Cinema! A big white tear of pride is running down my leg in knowing that part of my income went to the funding of this Canadian masterpiece.

 How about our recent tossing of $9,000 to a proud lesbian single mother who feels that displaying of a breast milk bar is of artistic merit? Yes the entitled “lactation station” will provide samples of real breast milk for visitors.

 “Artist” Jess Dobkin states the milk will be provided from six different women. For health and safety reasons the milk will be pasteurized.

Well I guess if it is pasteurized……..  Bleah. Nope can’t get around it this is pretty gross.

I can see some tourist draw from this though. There is a subculture of fetishists who are into infantilism and want to revert to their babyhood. These fellas have a tough time finding genuine wet-nurses for grown men and doubtless jumped at the chance to get on this wagon.

Of course, are these the kind of tourists that we want?

infantilism

 I guess when these fellows are finished feeding, they will go on to view our “Scatalogue” display.

 There are many other examples out there but this posting is getting rather long. I will finish with displaying one of Canada’s most famous wastes of money. American “artist” Barnett Newman sold Canada his painting “Voice of Fire” (pictured below) for $1.8 million dollars.

voice

 Is that not an incredible piece? Imagine how many sleepless nights the artist endured in conceiving this one? “Should I do the red on the outside or the inside? Narrow stripes or broad ones?”

 The arts community often likes to pooh pooh critics by implying that the public at large is simply too obtuse to see the profound inference of the production. Uhhh, how much can really be read into a couple of stripes? I must be incredibly dense.

 Come on!! I have seen children’s finger paintings with more artistic merit than that piece of trash.

 I will give Newman credit as a businessman and a con-artist. He did manage to find somebody stupid enough to pay almost $2 million for a couple stripes. Unfortunately his mark was the Canadian taxpayer.

 The above examples are inevitably the outcome when money is blindly thrown at art. Contrary to what leftists think, tax-dollars are a finite resource and we really have better things to spend them on.

 Art will endure with or without tax-funding. Most of the greatest works in history had no government funding and likely most of our future best works will have been created without it.

 To reduce funding for the arts is not censorship by the way despite the yelping of some. These “artists” are more than welcome to produce all the tasteless crap they like. Nobody is stopping them. How much money does one need in order to shrink-wrap a turd anyway?

 If indeed this reduction impacts Canadian culture, what will the impact be? Will we lose our recognition of celebrating feces, public breast milk samplings and masturbation?

 You know what, I am willing to take that chance.

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A change in attitudes.

 As per usual, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine is taking advantage of the federal election in order to put his hand out for more money. Hey why not? Effective lobbying means pressuring political figures at times when they are more receptive and there is no better time than during a federal election. While Fontain is excellent at highlighting the suffering and poverty that is occurring on our reservations in Canada, he never seems to be able to point to any solution aside from demanding more funding be thrown at the problem.

 While cutting money off from reservations would certainly lead to a social disaster like none we have ever seen, spending more on that broken system will not lead to any improvement in the lives of the average native either. Spending has been increasing dramatically from all levels of government on aboriginal issues. Despite the extra dollars, we can see an accelerating decrease in the status of life on most reservations in Canada. I have spent most of my adult life working in isolated Northern communities that are predominantly populated by natives. Witnessing the conditions that these people are living within and the speed of decline of their conditions is distressing to say the least.

 The most troubling aspect that I observe is the general attitudes of a major part of the native community. Defeatism, embitterment lack of pride and a deep rooted sense of entitlement is endemic, particularly among youth. This does not bode well for the future and no amount of money will change this growing outlook.

 What is required is strong leadership and management in order to restore the sense of pride and ambition that so many natives have lost. The Assembly of First Nations falls far short in the department of leadership and I do hope that their influence falls by the wayside as individual bands begin to pursue success.

 It is easy to point out shortcomings and failures on the part of many bands and reservations, the examples are unfortunately myriad. What is more productive however is to point out the success stories and highlight them in hopes that other bands learn to emulate them.

 Two bands and their leaders are very worthy of highlighting as successful models. One is the Membertou Band of Nova Scotia led by Chief Terrance Paul, the other is the Osoyoos BC band led by Chief Clarence Louis.

Many have recognized that the development of business on reservations can be a path to increased independence by the bands and their members. There is tremendous potential as reservations have an often completely untapped labor potential, can be geographically well placed for all sorts of business development from raw resources to tourism native reservations enjoy tax and regulation advantages that other jurisdictions do not have. There are a few reasons that business and outside investment has not exploded on native reservations. There have been many examples of corruption on reservations, courts are not eager to enforce contractual obligations on the part of aboriginal businesses and often reservations simply are not prepared to properly manage and maintain a business.

 On the Membertou reservation, Chief Paul recognized this and took the initiative in order to turn his reservation into an attractive place to do business. Paul had the reservation pursue ISO 9001 certification. This can be a tough process to endure and it takes years of dedication. In 2002 that ISO recognition was earned and the results of this have been striking.

 ISO 2001 as defined by Wikipedia:

ISO 9000 is a family of standards for quality management systems. ISO 9000 is maintained by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and is administered by accreditation and certification bodies. Some of the requirements in ISO 9001 (which is one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family) include

 

    * a set of procedures that cover all key processes in the business;

    * monitoring processes to ensure they are effective;

    * keeping adequate records;

    * checking output for defects, with appropriate and corrective action where necessary;

    * regularly reviewing individual processes and the quality system itself for effectiveness; and

    * facilitating continual improvement

 

A company or organization that has been independently audited and certified to be in conformance with ISO 9001 may publicly state that it is “ISO 9001 certified” or “ISO 9001 registered”. Certification to an ISO 9000 standard does not guarantee any quality of end products and services; rather, it certifies that formalized business processes are being applied. Indeed, some companies enter the ISO 9001 certification as a marketing tool.

 

 The ISO certification alone is hardly enough to change everything, but what it did provide was an assurance of accountability and good management to both the band membership and the business/consumer community. This helped raise the pride and ambition required in order for band members to get involved in the formation and management of new businesses and has helped guide the band council in the ongoing management of these ventures.

 From the Membertou website:

In 1995 the Membertou Band had 37 employees, was operating on a $4 million dollar budget while dealing with a $1 million dollar annual operating deficit.

 

Over the last ten years, Membertou’s budget has grown from 4 million dollars, to a current 65 million dollar operating budget. The number of employees has jumped from 37 to 531 to date. There are many new internal departments and businesses such as the Membertou Market, Membertou Advanced Solutions, Membertou Mapping Service, Membertou Quality Management Services, and most recently the prestigious Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.

 

 

 

  In surfing the Membertou site, the committment to transparancy is impressive and very apparent. The audited band books are available as PDF and the salaries of  the Chief and council are shown openly.
 While the Membertou still has challenges to overcome, clearly they are on the right track. With the leadership of Chief Paul and recovered sense of pride by the membership, I am optimistic that we will see this band as a positive model for generations to come. The ISO membership was a big step and a good one. The more important aspect of the Manitou story however has been the leadership of Chief Paul and the change in approach and attitude by Paul, the council and the band members.

 

 Last August I had the opportunity to play a round of golf on the Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf course near Osoyoos. On the down side, my golf game is still terrible. On the upside, the golf course, winery and resort that has been created by Chief Clarence Louie is outright world class. Everything was impressive from the service, to the construction to the wine in itself.

 The creation of that resort among other successful initiatives on the part of the Osoyoos band can be directly attributed to the leadership and attitude of of their ambitious and outspoken Chief.

 In a reading a presentation Chief Louie gave to an aboriginal conference held in Fort McMurray in 2006, it is hard not to see the ambition and courage shown by Louie when speaking to a group that is often not receptive to change.

 

 

 

 ROY MacGREGOR

 

September 21, 2006 at 2:26 AM EDT

 

FORT McMURRAY — The man with the PowerPoint presentation is miffed.

 

He is speaking to a large aboriginal conference and some of the attendees, including a few who hold high office, have straggled in.

 

I can’t stand people who are late,” he says into the microphone.

 

“Indian Time doesn’t cut it.”

 

Some giggle, but no one is quite sure how far he is going to go. Just sit back and listen:

 

“My first rule for success is ‘Show up on time.’ My No. 2 rule for success is follow Rule No. 1.”

 

“If your life sucks, it’s because you suck.”

 

“Quit your sniffling.”

 

“Join the real world — go to school or get a job.”

 

“Get off of welfare. Get off your butt.”

 

He pauses, seeming to gauge whether he dare, then does.

 

“People often say to me, ‘How you doin’?’ Geez — I’m working with Indians — what do you think?”

 

Now they are openly laughing … applauding. Clarence Louie is everything that was advertised — and more.

 

“Our ancestors worked for a living,” he says. “So should you.”

 

He is, fortunately, aboriginal himself. If someone else stood up and said these things — the white columnist standing there with his mouth open, for example — “You’d be seen as a racist.” Instead, Chief Clarence Louie is seen, increasingly, as one of the most interesting and innovative native leaders in the country — even though he avoids national politics.

 

He has come here to Fort McMurray because the aboriginal community needs, desperately, to start talking about economic development and what all this multibillion-dollar oil madness might mean, for good and for bad.

 

Clarence Louie is chief — and CEO — of the Osoyoos Band in British Columbia’s South Okanagan. He is 44 years old, though he looks like he would have been an infant when he began his remarkable 20-year-run as chief. He took a band that had been declared bankrupt and taken over by Indian Affairs and he has turned in into an inspiration.

 

In 2000, the band set a goal of becoming self-sufficient in five years. They’re there.

 

The Osoyoos, 432 strong, own, among other things, a vineyard, a winery, a golf course and a tourist resort, and they are partners in the Baldy Mountainski development. They have more businesses per capita than any first nation in Canada.

 

There are not only enough jobs for everyone, there are so many jobs being created that there are now members of 13 other tribal communities working for the Osoyoos. The little band contributes $40-million a year to the area economy.

 

Chief Louie is tough. He is as proud of the fact that his band fires its own people as well as hires them. He has his mottos pasted throughout the “Rez.” He believes there is “no such thing as consensus,” that there will always be those who disagree. And, he says, he is milquetoast compared to his own mother when it comes to how today’s lazy aboriginal youth, almost exclusively male, should be dealt with.

 

“Rent a plane,” she told him, “and fly them all to Iraq. Dump ’em off and all the ones who make it back are keepers. Right on, Mom.”

 

The message he has brought here to the Chipewyan, Dene and Cree who live around the oil sands is equally direct: Get involved, create jobs — and meaningful jobs, not just “window dressing” for the oil companies.

 

“The biggest employer,” he says, “shouldn’t be the band office.”

 

He also says the time has come to “get over it.” No more whining about 100-year-old failed experiments. No foolishly looking to the Queen to protect rights.

 

Louie says aboriginals here and along the Mackenzie Valley should not look at any sharing in development as “rocking-chair money” but as investment opportunity to create sustainable businesses. He wants them to move beyond entry-level jobs to real jobs they “earn” — all the way to the boardrooms. He wants to see “business manners” develop: showing up on time, working extra hours. The business lunch, he says, should be “drive through,” and then right back at it.

 

“You’re going to lose your language and culture faster in poverty than you will in economic development,” he says to those who say he is ignoring tradition.

 

Tough talk, at times shocking talk given the audience, but on this day in this community, they took it — and, judging by the response, they loved it.

 

“Eighty per cent like what I have to say,” Louie says, “Twenty per cent don’t. I always say to the 20 per cent, ‘Get over it. Chances are you’re never going to see me again and I’m never going to see you again. Get some counselling.’”

 

The first step, he says, is all about leadership. He prides himself on being “a stay-home chief who looks after the potholes in his own backyard” and wastes no time “running around fighting 100-year-old battles.

 

“The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.

 

“Blaming government? That time is over.”

 

 

 Clarence Louie’s departure from what has become pretty much stock lines in pursuit of increased dependence from “leaders” such as Fontaine is pretty clear. Louie is tired of excuses and waiting for somebody else to do the job for him. Louie is not hesitant to be critical of the attitudes of his own people, but he clearly is speaking based on pride and frustration that so many are mired in defeatism and entitlement. It is little wonder that so many “leaders” in groups such as the Assembly of First Nations attack Louie as a sellout.
 It took more than hard talk for Louie to turn his band around from being bankrupt to being what is likely the most successful native band in Canada. Despite his young age, Louie has been Chief for decades and it has taken that long to turn things around. His leadership has been strong and his ambition contagious. This has led to a general change in attitude for the entire band and has allowed them to grow and prosper as they have.

 In the two examples I have outlined above, what I have primarily pointed out was economic success. I understand that the social issues run deep. Pride and financial independence are what has been addressing these issues on the bands highlighted. Reservations need money to get out of their rut. Earned money instills pride and ambition and a sense of purpose. Handouts only add to dependency and entitlement. Lack of self-worth leads to substance abuse and crime. In a sense money is the solution to many native problems. It is how the money is generated that is key to long-term solutions however.

 Chief Louie and Chief Paul demonstrated an ability to look outside the box for solutions to problems on their reservations. Both Chiefs did not wait for others to do the job, instead they demonstrated great leadership and guided their people to success. They did not simply lead people somewhere, they were key in changing the general attitudes of their people and bringing about an appetite for success.

 There is coverage out there in the general media of these great Chiefs. The accomplishments of the Membertou and Osoyoos bands are often overshadowed by coverage of welfare beggars such as Phil Fontain and the ivory tower academic enablers who insist that more blind spending will solve native misery on reservations.

 The failures and problems on reservations need to be pointed out. What is critical however is to highlight the success stories and how they happened.

 I am confident that we will see further success from Chief Louie and Chief Paul in the future. What I really want to see though is more coverage of them and other native leaders being inspired to emulate the actions and attitudes of these Chiefs. If we can turn the trend on reservations in Canada around, we all will win.

 Below is a link to a CBC piece on Louie that is well worth watching as well.

Chief Clarence Louie

 

 

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What Bronconnier can do on crime.

 I have low hopes for Dave Bronconnier (Liberal Mayor of Calgary) doing much regarding crime in our city. As Rob C aptly pointed out in a comment in my prior posting, our Mayor is prioritizing pissing money away on grossly overpriced pedestrian bridges as opposed to addressing the exploding street violence in the city. Whether it is crime, infrastructure, housing or any other issue, Bronconnier’s response to issues has been pathetically predictable. Bronconnier whines and shifts blame to the federal/provincial governments and holds his hand out for more money much like an irresponsible teen who has pissed his allowance away on toys and now cannot afford bus fare to get to school. There has never been an indication of any initiative or creativity on the part of Mayor Bronconnier. He simply keeps spending money on idiotic and poorly managed projects, and then raises taxes upon Calgarians while snivelling to every other level of government for more funding.

 As I said before, it will take effort on the part of every level of government in order to stop this growing trend of violent crime. The criminal code of Canada is federal jurisdiction. Harper has been trying to pass justice reform to no avail for years now. Hopefully Harper indeed gets the majority required so that those reforms can be passed into law. While the proposed changes may not go far enough in my view, they certainly are a step in the right direction. The provinces are responsible for management of legal proceedings and management of correction for criminals sentenced to less than two years (a sadly large amount of sentences). To his credit, Stelmach has been speaking of pursuing bail reforms and hiring more prosecutors in hopes of cutting back on bail being granted to violent criminals. The province has some authority on the appointment of judges as well and I do hope that they begin to appoint wisely.

 In the realm of our violent and repeat offenders, sentences and parole must be addressed and that is federal turf. That the the number one problem regarding the violent crimes.

 In the city of Calgary there are many things that can be done with the resources at hand and we need not wait for federal or provincial initiatives.

 New York city in the 80s was known around the world as a haven for lawlessness and violent crime. In my youth I remember the images of graffiti strewn subway cars and gangs roaming the streets unchecked. Shootings occurred daily on the streets of New York and the city was constantly the butt of dark humour as it’s citizens lived in fear.

 George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles wrote a book called “ Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities” which expanded on an article that Kelling wrote in the 80s. The basic premise of the initiative is that urban crime needs to be tackled from the bottom up. That is summarized below:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

 

 The bottom line is, when there is an appearance of no pride or order, disorder will grow and flourish.

 My son works downtown. One evening not long ago I went to pick him up from work. I arrived early so I parked in a lot across the street from what is known as the “Crack Mac’s store” on 8th and 8th. I cannot count the open drug transactions and solicitations that I saw in that short 15 minutes. These dealers and buyers did not even make a token effort to hide their activities at a busy downtown LRT stop.

 With a targeted crackdown on known dealing spots such as these, I understand that crack dealing and use will not be eliminated. What will happen however is that the visible tolerance of this crap will disappear. What kind of municipal pride do we have when we let this happen right in plain sight? How many commuters choose to walk blocks in all seasons in order to avoid using that notorious train station? The simple presence of a couple police officers there would end that.

 Broken windows, graffiti, aggressive panhandlers and open drug dealing all lead to the atmosphere of lawlessness that breeds even more crime. We have lost municipal pride and it is showing on our streets.

 We need to take on a zero-tolerance approach and aspects of the “broken windows” method have proven to be greatly successful. Bronconnier’swildly overpriced, artistic pedestrian bridges will mean nothing if they are covered with crackheads and bums.

 Calgary has tried the coddling approach with our homeless drug addicts and squeegee kids. That has simply led to downtown streets crawling with bums aggressively approaching working people at all hours of the day. This keeps law abiding citizens from nearing downtown whenever possible. That leads to criminal citizens happily filling the void. This has to end. This costs us socially and economically. How does it affect investment in our city when visitors see bums on every corner, open drug deals in progress and they are accosted by beggars in our downtown? It certainly does not encourage people to invest or relocate their businesses into our city.

 Getting back to New York, when Rudy Giuliani became mayor, he expanded the “broken windows” method to the entire city as it had shown great success in New York Transit already. Zero tolerance was implemented along with a “compstat” program that helped police track crime and vandalism trends.

 The outcome of the New York initiatives speaks volumes. In the last 12 years in New York violent crime dropped 75%. The murder rate in New York dropped to levels not seen since 1963 and now ranks with Boise Idaho for murders per-capita. In a city the size of New York this is astounding.

 The “broken windows” method is no panacea and not every initiative can be directly applied in Calgary. It sure as hell would be a beginning however.

 Perhaps Mayor Bronco could redirect some officers from setting up speed traps in our myriad of construction zones with no workers into having them crack down on the open drug dealing, vandalism and bums in our city center. Unlike Bronconnier’s other “initiatives” it would not cost tens of millions and I bet the results would become apparent within months.

 We need to fight violent crimes on all levels. There is a great deal of power in the hands of Calgary’s city hall should they choose to actually exercise it. Blaming the federal and provincial governments is not an excuse.

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Let’s make justice an issue.

In federal and provincial elections, we hear ad-nauseum about the basic core social program issues such as healthcare, education, childcare etc. While those issues are of importance, somehow the critical issue of justice reform in Canada always falls far down the list of electoral priorities.

 In our current federal election, we seem to be hearing more about real or perceived gaffes on the part of parties and candidates than we are hearing about any issues. I don’t care if a cartoon puffin pooped on Dion. I don’t care if Layton apparently smoked a joint once. I do however care about Canada’s failing “justice” system and I am hearing next to nothing from all of the parties on this issue.

 In Calgary we are hearing about our lapse system from local journalists and our clearly frustrated Chief of police due to our streets having turned into a war-zone in the last few months with increasing shootings caused by chronically released gang members. Due to the election results in Alberta being a foregone conclusion, “local” issues such as Calgary crime are not making the political radar with federal parties. Every major city is facing the same problems with scum on their streets yet our politicians are still stuck on motherhood and apple pie issues such as maternity benefits or ill-conceived environmental policies.

 It is refreshing to hear Calgary police Chief saying it like it is though it is sad that he has been pushed to such a point of frustration as he is. Chief Rick Hanson has the unenviable job of trying to keep Calgarians (and his officers) safe in a growing city while our justice system works it’s hardest to release violent criminals back into our midst. How must it feel for a police officer to risk his/her life in apprehending a criminal only to see that criminal released often within months? How must it have felt to see the blinded, innocent, 24 year old victim; Jose Ribeiro Neto taken to hospital after having been shot in the face by a man who had attempted to kill two police officers not long ago?

 Hanson was blunt about some of the idiotic “solutions” that our “justice” system has come up with for violent crime. The waste of resources in the gun registry clearly grates on him despite how many pointy headed criminologists claim that police forces love it. Below are some quotes from Chief Hanson.

Chief Rick Hanson:

I can tell you he’s got one of those feared prohibitions from possessing firearms.

There’s a little bit of sarcasm there.

Personally, I’m tired when politicians trot out the same tried and tired old solutions. We’re going to ban certain types of weapons or make it more restrictive. They’re not getting it. They’re not getting it. These are criminals, these are criminals who use illegal means to perpetrate illegal activities.

Get off the backs of the duck hunters. It’s about criminals who are bringing guns into the country illegally. These are unregistered and any of these weak-kneed solutions that speak to tired old suggestions for problems that aren’t our problems today, there’s no sense even talking about them. We need substantive solutions.

What quality of policing, what type of policing, do the citizens want in Calgary? For too long now every time something happens people say: ‘What are the police doing? How does that happen?’ Guess what? This isn’t Kansas any more, Toto. This city grew. 

  And changes to the justice system aren’t going to happen overnight. It’s taken us years to get to a point where the system is comfortable with taking a person who is in court charged with shooting somebody and releasing him into the community hours later.

  Our politicians rarely listen to folks such as Chief Hanson who has worked directly with criminals for a lifetime. Instead, our justice system continues to take the recommendations of ivory tower academics and folks from the John Howard society who rarely leave their gated communities and who’s hearts bleed them anaemic.

 Sadly those hearts never seem to bleed for the victims of crime who suffer when violent animals are released into our society.

 I was directed to a treasure trove of documentation of “Canadian Justice” at the site Justice Canada Monitor.

 The work at that site is excellent and they have documented some of the (and there are plenty) more heinous examples of Canada’s lapse sentencing and repeat offenders.

 I strongly suggest that people spend some time on that site looking at some of these issues in detail. I will highlight some of the headlines that they carry below.

Peter Whitmore – Released long-time child molester abducts and sexually assaults two Saskatchewan boys

Jurgen Sheitz – No jail time for molesting 10-year-old girl

Teen commits armed robbery while out on bail for the same crime

Michael Jeffery Plante – Man who crashes stolen pickup, critically injures victims and leaves scene of accident will serve less than two years

Meir Mariani and Lee Cochrane victim Matti Baranovski – Youths serve eight months and one year for savage beating death

Steven Taylor – Gruesome sexual sadist and murderer granted parole, police association outraged

Fred Sheppard – Man who beat wife to death paroled four years into sentence

Serena Davenport – No jail time for intent to distribute over 15,000 images of child sex abuse

William Herbert Maurice Harlos – Eight months for massive stash of child porn, including a baby being abused

Dean Zimmerman – Paroled sexual offender ties woman up, sexually assaults her for nine hours

Sadly the list goes on and on and on.

Another excellent thing pointed out on the site is how Canada’s statistics have been manipulated to seem as if the reformation of criminals has been successful in Canada.

The Statistics

Many repeat offender statistics in Canada are deceptively low. One of the reasons for this is that Corrections Canada excludes provincial statistics from their rates (federal and provincial correctional departments do not currently share information with one another). An offender serving time in a federal jail who had previously served time in a provincial jail would not be labeled a repeat offender. Out of 310,000 convictions in 2002-03 only 4281 offenders were sentenced to a federal prison. In addition, Correctional Services statistics do not take into account conditional sentences or other non-prison sentences, which have grown in popularity. Finally, Correctional Services rates do not include offenders that have been free for more than three years. In light of these factors, it is easy to see just how misleading these statistics can become.

The few studies that do attempt to track prior convictions across jurisdictions peg recidivism at alarmingly high rates. Six out of every ten convicted offenders aged 18 to 25 in 1999/2000 had at least one previous conviction, according to a new pilot study of court-based recidivism in seven provinces and two territories. Among these repeat offenders, 72% had multiple prior convictions. Nine out of ten offenders sentenced to a federal corrections facility (meaning at least a two year sentence) had at least one prior conviction either in adult or youth court. (Source: Statistics Canada)

 

 Those are the real numbers people. 9 out of 10 federal convicts had a prior offense!!!

 We have warning indicators with these violent offenders. One of which is a long string of convictions. It does not take a string of degrees to realize that we must incarcerate these scum for longer periods. Reform efforts for violent and sexual offenders are an utter failure. The recidivism rates are unacceptable and the protection of society must come first. Instead the only heated justice debate I remember hearing recently is whether or not convicts should have the right to vote.

 Voters must speak up and politicians must begin to listen.

 I unfortunately do not hold much optimism as fewer and fewer people even bother to vote much less pay attention to the issues.  All the same, we can’t give up on this. Public safety is far too important.

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Circling the drain.

UPDATE: On my digression regarding the murderous scumbag Roland Warawa. Warawa shot a jewelry store owner in the neck in a robbery attempt in 1997, Warawa fired upon two police officers at the time as well. He was of course released after a pathetic and lenient sentence. In 2006 Warawa was convicted on drug charges. He got three months for that (two months with Canada’s shameful 2/3 mandatory release policy) and was banned from possessing firearms until 2014 (that worked well).

 Since all of those arrests, Warawa has shot two more people. Does it take a psychological genius to realize that this maniac should never have been released? Apparently so.

 Warawa is only 30 right now. You can rest assured that unless we change our system this piece of human trash will be free and trying to kill people well before he is 40.

 What does it take in this nation to get a real prison sentence??????

 

 

 According to the Red Star, Stephane Dion is now claiming that the “Green Shift” is not a major campaign plank.

 Not since Kim Campbell have we seen such an inept federal campaign. The Liberals have desperately been trying to put Ignatieff and Bob Rae in the spotlight as voters have been visibly recoiling from Dion’s incomprehensible campaigning. Now the Liberals are backing away from main basis of their own campaign.

 A Harper majority is still far from a sure thing. Many of those who are fleeing the Liberal Party are landing in support of the NDP and Greens. This likely will cause the CPC to swing even a little more to the left in hopes of harvesting enough disenchanted Liberal voters in order to get that elusive minority.

 I can understand that strategy, but still am worried about how far left the commitments will go.

 I dearly hope to see a CPC majority. That is the last hope that the old Harper will re-appear and begin to pursue the Libertarian/Conservative values that he used to promote. If Harper ends up being another Mulroney and remains bound to the wishes of Quebec and Toronto I guess we in the West will have to introvert and push our provincial leaders into a more regionally defensive sort of role. Time will tell.

 In the last few months, Calgary has been something of a shooting gallery. Gang murders have been hitting record levels and recently an innocent man was caught in the crossfire and shot in the face. An arrest has been made in that recent shooting today.

Roland Ashley Warawa, 30, of Calgary, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, unauthorized possession, discharging a firearm with intent to wound, and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Warawa has also been charged in connection with a Sept. 4 shooting that left a man with a stomach wounds.

 According to radio news, Warawa has a lengthy criminal past. This is no surprise in Canada’s system. The majority of arrests that have been made in the spate of shootings in Calgary have involved suspects with long violent histories. Innocent people are dying because of Canada’s pathetic, bleeding heart justice system that cares nothing for victims and releases the most dangerous of people among us after embarrassingly sad little sentences.

 Calgary’s Mayor Bronconier has been predictible in his calling for more provincial money for police officers. Ed Stelmach has been predictible in his refusal to increase that funding for our growing (and increasingly dangerous) city.

 Calgary needs more police officers, of that there is no doubt. Officers alone are not a solution however. We need to lock up our violent offenders and lock them up for life. How many more people have to die before our politicians clue into this concept? It is not that complicated. I understand that we will never totally eliminate violent crimes. It is inexcusable when we see crimes committed by people with such violent histories. These people should never have been released in the first place. Personally, I think those who sit on parole boards and release violent people among us should be forced to billet these violent animals in their own households. Perhaps then they will consider a little longer before releasing murderers.

 It will take effort on both the federal and provincial fronts in order to fix our failing justice system. Harper has been trying for some time to pass an improved crime bill and has been handcuffed by our leftist, criminal-coddling opposition. Should Harper get a majority, I hope and expect that one of his first orders of business will be to expedite his justice reforms in the house.

 Dion is giving out gifts in his terrible campaign. It is up to Harper to turn those political gifts into a majority.

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More on Stelmach’s lie about fixed election dates.

 Yes I will come right out and call Stelmach a liar now as I am seeing more detail on his prior statements regarding fixed election dates.

 The Calgary Herald has been kind enough to point out Special Ed’s flip-flop in an article today.

At last year’s Tory party convention, the premier vowed he would adopt fixed election dates if party members approved the measure in a resolution. “I’ll live by whatever the party decides,” the premier told the Herald at the time.

Conservative members voted for fixed election dates at their 2006 convention, approving a resolution from the Battle River-Wainwright constituency association. This issue came up again in the spring legislature, when Edmonton-area Tory MLA Ken Allred proposed fixed election dates in an unsuccessful private member’s bill.

Henry Czarnota, president of the Battle River-Wainwright Tory association when it proposed fixed election dates, said Wednesday it would be a “disappointment” if the Stelmach government doesn’t adopt fixed voting days.

“We feel that it’s in the best interests of democracy if people know when there is going to be a date,” Czarnota said, “and, therefore, we don’t have any gamesmanship.” 

 

The rest of the article is here.

 Ummmm, hey Ed, is not a party resolution supporting fixed election dates sort of an indication that the party supports fixed election dates?

 Some PC tactics have not changed since Klein. Klein used to always speak in support of bringing in a law for citizen initiated referendums in Alberta. Then the PCs would present a private members bill for such a law, find what they feel is an error in the bill, and vote down their own bill. That was done multiple times with direct democracy bills and it looks like they will do the same with fixed election dates.

 To begin with, if Stelmach had any interest in real debate on this issue, it would be a government bill not a private members bill.

 In reading the Hansard, I have seen that all of the opposition members and some government members were very supportive of the bill for fixed election dates when it was introduced.

http://isys.assembly.ab.ca:8080/isysquery/irl2658/4/doc

 The attitude of the members certainly changed by second reading. It looks like somebody laid down the law and told the PC members to get this bill out of there. Suddenly the PC members were all rising and speaking against fixed election dates. Most of the members fell back on the old canard of saying such a move would Americanize our system.

 After attacking the bill, a hoist amendment was proposed and accepted by the house. A hoist amendment is a parliamentary trick where the government can reject a bill without appearing to actually vote it down. The bill then gets deferred to the next session for second reading if indeed it is ever seen again. It is a cowardly abuse of legislative power and the PCs used it and supported it in lock-step (including the member who put the bill on the floor in the first place).

The final votes and debate are in the hansard here.

 As I said before and as I will say again, one of the leading causes of the growing cynical apathy in the electorate is the chronic lying on the part of elected officials. How long will people continue to participate in the process when they are continually told one thing and seeing another?

 Ed Stelmach clearly does not even respect the wishes of his own party, much less the wishes of the electorate.

 While I don’t see such dishonesty inspiring more people to vote, I do hope it does inspire more of those who do vote to reject these liars in future elections. The only cure for lying politicians is to have them take it on the nose in elections. Unfortunately Albertans (and Canadians for that matter) have proven to be willing to re-elect liars. I still hold out hope that this trend can be changed.

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Fixed election dates.

 Fixed election dates are a simple and basic electoral reform that should have been instituted generations ago. When I speak to American friends about our system that allows Premiers and Prime Ministers to call elections whenever they please, the response from those I have spoken to is invariably astonishment.

 A lack of fixed election dates is an affront to basic democracy. Having the power to choose the date of an election gives a governing party an incredible advantage thus while many leaders pay lip service to the issue on the way up, the leaders quickly forget their commitments upon achieving power. Klein used to revel in his cute hints about making election calls and watching opposition parties scramble in efforts to prepare for an election that often never came. Stelmach is enjoying the same power as was demonstrated in the months of election speculation that began in Alberta last fall and continued until an election was finally called last spring.

 Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer released 182 recommendations for Alberta’s electoral process yesterday. The scorn with which Stelmach rejected the concept of fixed election dates was insulting in his arrogance. In a petulant way, Stelmach gladly accepted handing off added responsibilities to the Chief Electoral officer. The prior appointments of returning officers by the governing party was a joke and even Stelmach could see that. Stelmach is happily accepting of increased advertising controls at election time as well. Stelmach is still bitter about those union commercials that were mean to him in the last election and in his usual anti-democratic ways is pursuing gag-law legislation.

 The increased responsibilities given to the Chief Electoral Officer are a good thing, but it will be difficult for him to act upon them without fixed election dates. I truly do not envy the task that Alberta’s elections staff have. Elections get called unexpectedly and elections Alberta has less than a month to arrange the hiring and management of enough people to conduct and election in 83 constituencies. This is a nearly impossible task considering Alberta’s labor shortage. It is little wonder that there was mass confusion at the polls in last spring’s election. It is not like a hiring and training program can be implemented when the election date is unknown.

 Fixed election dates would greatly improve the preparation for and management of elections. Special Ed clearly will not implent that simple and critical electoral reform. Stelmach has already demonstrated a trend of protecting his power jealously.

 When rejecting fixed election dates, Stelmach snapped that it would have no impact on voter turnout. Voter turnout alone is not the reason we need this reform. To put it simply, fixed election dates are needed for a proper democratic system. One thing that is leading to our dismal voter turnouts is increasing voter cynicism due to being lied to by their elected leaders. Stelmach barely got out of the gate as Premier before flip-flopping on the promise to reduce cabinet to 17 members. Special Ed quickly learned that the plum of cabinet appointments is his best method of caucus control. The more cabinet positions Stelmach has, the more incentive MLAs have to kiss the Premier’s ass.

 Harper’s reversal on his commitment to fixed election dates did little to instill faith in the electorate. Harper’s shaky excuse of having a dysfunctional parliament hardly cuts it. Joe Clark proved what happens when a minority leader acts as if he has a majority. Harper could very well have simply governed as he pleased and called every vote a confidence vote. In that case, either his bills would be passed (parliament would have been functional), or the opposition would bring the government down and Harper would get the election that he desired without breaking the spirit of his own law. Using the aforementioned strategy would have taken the power from Harper’s hands to have an election when it best benefits his own party however thus he simply ignored his own commitments and dissolved parliament.

 As somebody who has ran in a few elections I have always had to deal with hearing people spout about how all politicians are the same and how all politicians are liars. I do not agree with that assessment, but our examples in our legislatures certainly do not make it easy to counter the assertions of the bitter. It is up to the electorate to vote out politicians when they lie to us. Rest assured if enough MLAs and MPs lose their jobs over the course of a couple elections, we will see a great change in attitude among those elected. Sadly, instead of taking an increased role in democracy as we need them to, many voters are simply sinking into a cynical funk and are not voting at all. It is a sad and dangerous trend for us all.

 While I generally loath Canada’s version of Pravda (the CBC), one gem the CBC does retain is Rex Murphy. Murphy stands up for free speech and does not hesitate to be critical of any party when it is warranted whether Liberal or Conservative. He sums up Harper’s flip-flop quite well.

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Good luck guys.

 

 I see that one of the first efforts of the new head of the Canadian Auto Workers union is to attempt to unionize Westjet.

 Unions have despised the existence of Westjet pretty much since the company’s founding. While airlines have been foundering and draining subsidies in North America  since 911 with every excuse from fears of terrorism to increased fuel costs, Westjet has continued to chug along with increasing profits and expansion. The executives of Westjet have never hesitated to point out that one of their primary reasons for success is that they are not bound under the yoke of organized labor.

 Unions would love nothing more than to bleed this successful company and drag it into non-profitability as they have with every other airline. Organized labor is fading and such a glaring example of union failure drives the fattened union-heads wild.

 CUPE has tried multiple times to get into Westjet and failed. The crooked Teamsters union tried to get a piece of Westjet and failed. Now the Canadian Auto Workers union is getting in line to be rejected by the workers at Westjet.

 Westjet has never had layoffs. Westjets profit sharing system and general employee satisfaction is the envy of the corporate world. Why on earth would they employees of Westjet consider jumping on with the Canadian Auto Workers union which has been instrumental in the layoffs of tens of thousands in the Canadian auto sector? The Canadian Auto Workers are part of Air Canada’s unions. Air Canada has been losing countless millions and is doing mass layoffs. The union has been an utter failure wherever is manages to organize.

 The only union “victories” we have seen in Canada in the last few years have been the organization of some individual McDonald’s restaurants and Wal-Mart stores (that subsequently shut down). Perhaps the unions should stick to organizing fry-cooks and greeters. Skilled labor no longer has use for unions and the coming rejection of the CAW by Westjet employees will demonstrate that yet again.

 Oh yes, I must not forget another recent Canadian union milestone. The Industrial Workers of the World have managed to organize panhandlers and squeegee kids in Ottawa and Vancouver. I imagine the dues being collected must be significant.

 How would we ever get by if pandhandlers went on strike?

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Oil companies are not doing themselves any favors.

 

 

Having rallied to the defense of energy companies in the past when ill-informed people go into attack mode against them, I simply can’t see any defense or justification in the recent gouge we have seen in gasoline prices at the pump.  Speculation that hurricane Ike would damage US refineries caused the hike in prices. OK fair enough. I find it hard to believe that the pricing process can move so quickly as to change the price of the gasoline that was sitting in the tanks of gas stations overnight like that.

 Whenever wholesale prices for gasoline come down, we as consumers are forced to patiently wait for weeks to see that drop in price reflected at the retail pump. It is explained to us that the current inventories were purchased at the previous high price and need to be sold at the high price until the cheaper gas comes on stream. When speculation causes wholesale prices to rise however, somehow the value of existing inventories immediately rises.

 Lets face it, the consumers are simply being gouged.

 While I have an opinion on everything and a proposed solution for damn near everything, I am not sure how this gouging can be addressed. Government imposed price controls inevitably fail and the concept of nationalization is always a disaster. In most markets, simple competition and the rules of supply and demand keep products at reasonable prices for consumers. In the case of fuel though, we see all suppliers moving in lock-step with pricing. Competition is not coming into play and consumers are losing. Monopoly situations always cost the consumer greatly whether it is a government monopoly or a private one. While there is not a monopoly in gasoline sales, when all of the suppliers act together as they have been we essentially are living under one.

 People see the prices of crude dropping and they see the price at the pump rising. Most people at large do not see that the reason for the disparity is a lack of refining capacity. As we regulate, tax and cancel domestic production and refining projects, our consumption is rising. The prices in general simply must rise.

 

 Lets face it, the majority of voters in Canada do not look deeply enough into this issue to see the correlation between refinery capacity and pump prices. What the electorate sees is the raw commodity price and the price at the pump. Flagrant gouging as we saw this week leaves the energy companies very vulnerable to knee-jerk proposals such as nationalization or price regulation. There could be no more idiotic time for such a shock to consumers as in the middle of a federal election where incensed voters can be drawn to policies that punish energy companies.

 One would have thought that Alberta companies learned last year that the public at large is not terribly fond of them as they embraced Stelmach’s royalty gouge. Public support is vital for companies that want to avoid government incursion into their industries.

 Currently our energy seems more determined to alienate the public than ever. I understand that the prices still reflect what the market will bear and that energy companies are rightly in business to make a profit. Will the short term profits from this recent price spike be worth the potential punishing legislation that could be earned by this? Are those folks in the boardrooms even considering this? I know that many companies run advertising trying to humanize themselves and they are massive contributors to local economies and charities. All of that is quickly forgotten by the public when it appears that the consumers are being screwed.

 I hope that some of the tall foreheads in the boardrooms figure this out soon. If we end up with price controls or nationalization, we all will lose.

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Canadians are stupid……

 At least we are according to leader of the Canadian Green Party, Elizabeth May.

 Last year on TVO’s the agenda with Steve Paikin, Elizabeth May stated that Canadians were stupid for not embracing the concept of a carbon tax that she supports.

 Blogger Steven Taylor put together a little YouTube video with audio directly taken from May’s rather insulting rant and posted it on his blog. You can hear the clip here. Despite the twisting and turning of some dogged Green Party supporters on this one, upon listening one can clearly hear Elizabeth May saying that she feels that Canadians are stupid for not supporting the idea of a carbon tax.

 May’s statement made some small ripples when it was first uttered but had pretty much ended up forgotten by most. Canadians have learned to disregard and forget the inane mutterings of Elizabeth May. I guess we are not all that stupid.

 What has brought May’s arrogant insult of Canadians at large into the spotlight again was not Steven Taylor’s posting of the clip on YouTube, it was John Bennett’s (communications director of the Green Party) reaction to a blogger who dared link to Taylor’s video.

 Bennett called the clip slander, threatened legal action and claimed that the clip was doctored. Bennett also claimed that TVO was threatening legal action.

 Well it would appear that Bennett is as inept as a communications director as a national party leader who calls the electorate at large stupid.

 To begin with, directly quoting somebody is hardly slandering them. Elizabeth May certainly did do some nasty damage to her image in stating her profoundly arrogant and insulting views on the intelligence of Canadians. May only defamed herself (and Canadians) however. Nobody else is under any kind of legal threat. In other words, John Bennett is full of crap with his threats.

 TVO has confirmed that the clip was not modified in any way. Elizabeth May really did say something that rude and stupid. In other words Bennet lied in a sad attempt to defend May’s words.

 TVO also has stated that they are not and have not been considering any kind of legal action. The legal action on the part of TVO was simply another blatant lie from John Bennett.

 Had this audio clip been ignored, it likely only would have been under discussion by a handful of bloggers and would have faded away. John Bennett’s brilliant work however has turned the clip viral. There has been 13,400 views of the clip as of this posting and it has been played on radio stations across the country.

 All that can be concluded is this; Elizabeth May holds Canadians in contempt and considers us stupid in her own words. May’s communication director holds free speech in contempt and assumes that the bloggosphere is stupid enough to cave under his hollow threats in hopes of stifling speech.

 It is ironic but not surprising that while May screeched that her expression and speech was infringed upon when she was not initially included in the election debates, May has appointed as head of her communications a man who uses lies and threats in hopes of stifling the speech of others.

 I suspect that after the federal debates many Green Party supporters will wish that their leader had never gained entrance. One can only imagine what May will say on the national stage. I look forward to it.

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