Well it is one step I guess.

 In this situation, there really is only so much Stelmach can do. The worst repeat offenders end up in federal courts and institutions. The province can only do so much to keep the populace safe when the federal “justice” system insists on releasing violent criminals among us.
Here is the plan:


Province spending $10M to target 60 worst repeat offenders

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach says repeat offenders who return to crime when they’re released from jail will be back behind bars quickly.

He says the government will spend $10 million over the next three years to help probation officers, sheriffs, RCMP and city police in Edmonton and Calgary monitor 60 of the province’s worst criminals.

Solicitor General Fred Lindsay says the goal is to target the 15% of criminals who commit 60% of the crimes.

It’s been a get-tough-on-crime week for Stelmach and his ministers.

On Tuesday, the premier announced that 183 new police officers will be hired to target drug dealers and gangs.

Alberta has become a hotbed for drug dealing and gang-related crime over the last couple of years, with the murder rates in Edmonton and Calgary now among the highest in Canada.

  That cost when tallied works out to nearly $60,000 per year per offender in order to essentially tail them and wait for them to commit another offense. The top repeat offenders indeed do commit most of the violent crimes. This program may indeed prevent some major crimes perpetrated by these scum. This will likely be money well spent.

 The sad part of all this though is these offenders should never have been released in the first place!!

 While I hope that some crimes are prevented in this plan, the failing is that we have to wait for these animals to reoffend before we can lock them up. These are the top 60 scumbags, we know they will offend again yet we release them.

 The responsibility for fixing our pathetic revolving door “justice” system falls straight on Steven Harper’s lap now. Harper was stalled by Bloc/Liberals/NDP and their hug-a-thug views when he tried to reform justice in the last parliament. Harper now holds a virtual majority for at least a year. There is no way any opposition party will vote down confidence legislation right now. I hope that Harper gets justice reform on the table right away and passes it before the bleeding hearts in parliament can regroup.

 Another are in need of reform is in immigration. It is bad enough that we have to deal with our own homegrown scum, but we have hogtied ourselves when it comes to ridding ourselves of imported scum.

 Jackie Tran is a scumbag who came to Calgary from Vietnam and has been criminally active since arrival. Tran is involved with a gang known to be involved in eight Calgary homicides. Tran was ordered deported in 2004. Well it has been four years and what has Tran been up to? Well he skipped out on an appeal hearing last January (yes he bought four years in Calgary by appealing). The appeal ruled to deport Tran in his absence. Tran was later arrested at a funeral for another shot gangster. Immigration then decided that poor Jackie deserved yet another appeal and released him!!

 Oh they were tough on Tran. They said he was to go home to mom’s place every night and was to stay away from guns and drugs.

 Well, within three days Tran was arrested drunk while partying with a bunch of fellow gang members.  Tran is behind bars now, but for how long? How complicated is it to put a piece of shit like Tran on a plane and send him to Vietnam to be dealt with? I fear it may never happen.

 We have a short window of opportunity in front of us in parliament. Harper has a chance to close some of these shameful holes in our “justice” system. Lets hope that he does.

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Proportional representation. The tired panacea for losers.

 It is pretty standard that we see people howling and demanding that we need proportional representation after an election. Those demanding this change are essentially admitting that whatever group or movement that they support will never garner more than a small fraction of electoral support.

 People calling for proportional representation usually do not look too terribly deeply into the actual system itself, they simply are trying to find a back door for whatever fringe movement that they support.

 One irony I see is that those who howl for PR are often the same whiners who come out of the woodwork whenever an election is called and scream that Canadians neither want nor need at election at this time. Well, have a look at Italy for a second. They have PR and have enjoyed some 61 governments since 1945. Do we really want to go to the polls annually as a dysfunctional pizza-parliament stumbles along? Rest assured, many people would look back wistfully to the stability our current spate of minority governments.

 Our system is far from perfect. There are many democratic improvements that I would like to see come about. Legislated fixed election dates, binding citizen’s initiated referenda and more free votes come to mind. Those steps would help empower the electorate and locally elected representatives.

 Speaking of locally elected representatives, we can say goodbye to having those any longer in a PR system. The parties will choose who gets a seat in the parliament/legislature after an election, not you. These people will most likely be appointed to their seat due to internal party issues as opposed to any kind of merit they may provide to the constituents. If there is some sort of local issue that is pressing in your area, you will not have a member chosen by yourself and your neighbors who can address that issue for you.

 Many people complain about partisanship. Well rest assured you will see hyper-partisanship like never before if we had a proportional representation system. People seeking seats will no longer have to appeal to the electorate in order to win a seat, they will have to appeal to party brass. Is that more transparent?

 How much voice will the fringe really have in a PR system anyway? Hell, if the system were PR in Alberta in 2001, I likely would have gotten myself a seat as leader of the AIP. Would I then have been able to make any real progress or changes? I would be stuck in a corner of the legislature with a handful of other notables such as the old Natural Law party or the Marijuana Party or FSM knows whatever other fringe bands will be able to scrape together enough support to get a seat.

 When yowling for PR back in 2004, Jack Layton also proposed that seats be set aside exclusively for aboriginals. Perhaps we would go further and divide up the entire parliamentary seats exclusively based on race. The certainly would do wonders for unity in general. Some women’s groups have demanded seats based on gender as well. The proponents of PR seem determined to remove all elements of real democratic choice from the system. If we tear down our current system, we put ourselves at risk of such kooky notions as mandated racism that the NDP supports. It may be difficult to get that toothpaste back in the tube.

 While the fringe movements will have gained a little more of a voice, governments still will be dominated by a coalition involving the top two or three parties. Essentially things will be much the same as they are now except that we would have lost local representation while we were at it.

 There is merit in pursuing political change from outside of the mainstream parties. I certainly have dedicated enough time to that. Even though we won no seats in the last election, we still had an impact. Leading candidates could not completely ignore Green and Wildrose Alliance candidates particularly in constituencies that were close races. The best way to counter such spoilers is to embrace some of the policies of those outside contenders. Candidates were forced to address “green” issues as well as fiscal conservatism more than they would have were there no candidates pushing those issues from the “fringe”. The current government still has to keep those issues in mind while in power or risk the election of Green or WAP candidates in the next election.

 The Wildrose Alliance and Green parties did not win any seats in the last provincial election because they failed to inspire enough electors in any constituencies. I do not see the efforts as failed as issues were raised and candidates were influenced. To claim that the system screwed them is simply sour grapes.

 If a party wants seats in an election there are steps to get them. For one, the candidate must have policies that reflect the views of the largest segment of that constituency (one would think that speaks for itself but PR supporters want to bypass that). The candidate must work effectively and hard to contact those electors and gain their support. Whether it is through convincing the electorate of the merits of their policies, or modelling policy to reflect the views of the electorate the bottom line is that a candidate has to appeal to more than a fringe.

 It is a hard route to follow in order to win seats and it should be. It takes a strong party and strong candidates. PR would eliminate the need for either to a degree thus weak parties with weak candidates want it.

 Stelmach decisively won the last provincial election. The PCs won the right to govern Alberta fairly. I do not agree with many things that the PCs are doing and will continue to strive to replace them. I will not cry at the sidelines for some panacea such as PR in hopes of bypassing the work required to gain the support of a larger share of Alberta’s voters.

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I peed in a cup this morning (no I am not a waiter).

 I have been drug tested many times over the years as a job requirement and it never fails to irritate me.

 I never sweat failing the test. While nicotine, caffeine and occasionally alcohol will be found, I am quite clean of illicit drugs.

 Despite my not using any drugs, I find this testing to be intrusive and annoying to say the least.

 While testing has been around for quite some years now, I can safely say that it has had no impact on substance abuse that admittedly is pretty rampant in some sectors of the oilfield.

 I am not eager to work next to a person who is stoned and could make a dangerous mistake. The drug testing does nothing to reduce this however. For one, the test does not determine if the drugs were used in the workplace. A person who smoked a joint a few weekends ago is not going to be dangerous to me today because of it. The other thing I have found is that the potheads in the field are really not a problem.

 Over the years I have had to deal with problems due to substance abuse by workers in the field. Never have I had to bail a pot smoker out of jail due to starting a bar brawl. Never have I had to try and drag an unconscious pot smoker covered in their own vomit and feces from their hotel room in order to try and put them on a bus. I have not dealt with pot smokers so messed up from their indulgences the night before that they could not go to the field for the day. I have not seen a couple of pot smokers beat each other nearly to death in a camp room due to smoking some joints.

 I have seen all of the above examples caused by people drinking too much of course. The drug testing does nothing to address this reality either.

 Oilfield safety has turned into an industry unto itself. I spend countless hours per year keeping my safety tickets up to date as the requirements grow and the expirations are reduced. Despite that, I see no less field injuries now than I did 15 years ago.

 The problem is that the HSE industry is building a culture devoid of personal responsibility. We used to fire incompetants. It was a very effective and simple method to reduce dangerous workers in the field. Now we are told that all accidents are the fault of the employer whether it was a lack of safety meetings or tickets or whatever. We are not allowed to point out that those who hurt themselves are most often simply idiots.

 Ahh well, I still need to pay the bills and I am not going to financially martyr myself by refusing to be tested.

 I will however bitch about the testing and rest assured I will be eating a great deal of asparagus prior to giving my next sample and encouraging others to do the same.

 It is a small and petty form of rebellion, but still has some satisfaction. Giving the sample is not a pleasant process, why make it pleasant for those who are going to be testing it?

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Never responsible.

Last Sunday, a pack of wild dogs attacked a man fishing just outside of the Tsuu T’ina Indian reserve that borders on Calgary city limits.  It only took two days for apologists to come out of the woodwork and point out how this incident is clearly the fault of pretty much everybody but the reserve itself.

Bill Bruce (Calgary’s chief bylaw officer) has lept to the fore and said the problem is fully Calgarian’s fault as residents are driving on to the reserve and dropping unwanted pets upon it. Platt with the Calgary Sun gleefully promoted that view with quotes from Bruce here.

All I can say to Bruce is bullshit!

Wild dogs have been a problem on indian reserves across the entire country for decades. This problem is not new and it is not the fault of people who do not live on the reservations.

This issue is a very serious one as well. Children have been killed.

November 16 2006,  five-year-old Lance Ribbonleg was mauled to death on the North Tallcree First Nation reserve.

June, 2004 — A three-year-old boy was mauled to death by several dogs on the Sayisi Dene First Nation reserve near Tadoule Lake, Man. One of the dogs, a husky-cross, was shot and killed by a band member shortly after the mauling.

November, 1999 — A pack of starving dogs killed five-year-old Cecilia Alook in Garden River, Alta., after she stopped to pet a puppy just 200 metres from her home. One of the dogs, a Rottweiler, was destroyed.

December, 1998 — At Cross Lake First Nation reserve in Manitoba, an eight-year-old boy was killed by a pack of stray dogs after they spotted him walking home with food in his hand. The boy, whose name was not released, was the second child on the reserve to be killed by dogs since 1996. A two-year-old was also mauled to death in the summer of that year.

There are Eastern cases of wild dog attacks on reserves as well but I am sticking to the West as these are the reservations that I have spent time on.

The evidence is rather clear that there is a large problem and it has nothing to do with neighboring urban dwellers. The problem is that reserves are largely populated by people with little to no sense of personal responsibility. Residents on reserves get pets for many of the same reasons that anybody else does eg. companionship, home protection etc. The difference is, responsible practices such as spaying/neutering or even restraining dogs in heat are completely foreign concepts on reserves. I have seen this first hand many times. Most houses will have a few outdoor dogs who are never tied and never fixed. Guess what happens?

Many natives are having difficulties taking care of themselves responsibly, much less caring for animals. When the dogs inevitably breed, the offspring are neglected or even chased from the household area. These now starving pups do what comes naturally to them. They pack up and keep breeding. It really is not a complicated issue.

Iwrote about the excellent outcomes on some reservations when band leadership embraces and encourages intitiative and personal responsibility within the membership. One of the main factors in changing their attitudes and leading them to success has been to quit blaming everybody else for their problems. There is tremendous potential on all Canadian reserves for the residents to pick themselves up and prosper.

This will never happen for more reserves however as long as residents keep blaming the world for their problems and idiots off reserve such as Bill Bruce keep feeding that attitude of irresponsibility.

The problem on the Tsuu T’ina reserve may very well lead to the death of a child if it is not properly addressed. Is there any chance of this being fixed however when Calgarians are blamed for the Tsuu T’ina’s homegrown wild dog problem? Likely not.

Most of the deaths on reserves from wild dogs that I listed were on very isolated reserves. Are we to believe fools like Bruce in that people from Edmonton have driven 8 hours to get near Ft. Vermillion in order to abandon their dogs? Edmonton is the nearest major center to the reserves with dog problems thus by Bruce’s logic Edmonton must be to blame. Why are there not packs of wild dogs roaming the NE,NW and SE quadrants of the city? One would think that this mass of city dwellers abandoning dogs would go in all directions would they not?

There have been many past injustices brought upon natives by Canada. The damage will never be solved however if we continue to encourage them to feel that nothing that ever goes wrong is their own fault.

The dog problems land directly on the band management on all of these reserves (welcome to “self-government”). I am sick and tired of being blamed.

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Brad Wall for Alberta Premier!!

 Well, one can wish anyway.

 Saskatchewan has always served us as a stark example of the failure of socialism. While Saskatchewan is rich in natural resources, they have spent decades mired with a stagnant local economy due to NDP governance and business mistrust. The nationalization of Saskatchewan’s potash industry by the NDP in the seventies frightened virtually all outside investment from the province.

 When Devine came to power, things began to pick up a little as Devine wisely cut energy royalties and spurred some increased exploration in the province (the lost royalty revenues were more than made up with the increase of economic activity by the way). Unfortunately, Devine’s government was corrupt and they paved the way for over another decade of NDP rule in Saskatchewan.

 Less than ten years ago, oil dropped into the $10 per barrel range. While activity slowed down to a degree in Alberta, we still weathered the low commodity prices in Alberta as Klein had demonstrated fiscal conservatism and a pro-business atmosphere in Alberta. Oil and gas companies were willing to remain in Alberta to weather the low prices as they were confident that when the low price cycle passed they would be able to continue profitably in Alberta.

 Those low oil prices decimated local industry on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster however as the cost of operation in NDP land and the ever present fear of more tax gouging or further nationalization by the NDP made it senseless to invest in Saskatchewan.

 While Alberta boomed, we saw a flood of young economic refugees pour into our province from their moribund economy. Despite increasing energy prices and a great deal of oil and gas to be developed in Saskatchewan, companies simply would not invest in the future of a socialist province.

 Oh how the tides gave turned and it is astounding how quickly it happened. Two factors have led to the record growth in Saskatchewan’s economy. The election of Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party was the prime factor of course. Wall immediately declared Saskatchewan open for business and investors quickly entered what has always been an under-rated province as far as business goes.

 The other factor that has helped lead to the lightening turnaround of Saskatchewan’s economy is that while Brad Wall was finding ways to bring business into Saskatchewan, Ed Stelmach was working hard to drive business from Alberta. The Alberta Royalty gouge encouraged energy companies to look outside of Alberta and the massive jump in land-sales in Saskatchewan and BC proved that.

 Now that markets in general are falling as well as commodity prices, we are seeing billions in Alberta oil projects being shelved and cancelled daily. Profit margins are narrow in oil and gas.  Increased royalties coupled with dropping oil prices has made many projects become unviable. The lack of trust in the business community that Stelmach fostered is keeping companies from being willing to weather the current storm.

 With their tax and spend method of governance, the Stelmach PCs are now sweating as they see their royalty revenues plummet. Credit must be given for the conservative estimate of oil prices by Evans. Had she assumed $100 oil the PCs would likely already have been in deficit as it has been policy to pretty much spend money as quickly as it rolls in. All the same, the PCs had better re-examine idiotic notions such as expensive carbon capture schemes as they will clearly not be enjoying their past surpluses for some time to come.

 Though oil is dropping along with the market, Saskatchewan is still humming happily along and will likely be leading the country in growth. Brad Wall just announced the largest single tax cut in Saskatchewan history. While there is still plenty of room for tax cuts in Saskatchewan, we can be assured that we will lose a great deal of the skilled labor that we poached from Saskatchewan in the past as they eagerly return home to a growing economy with a reduced tax burden.

 Stelmach is throwing away the hard earned “Alberta advantage” with his listless and almost anti-business form of government. Brad Wall and Saskatchewan are happily reaping the benefits of this (and power to them).

 Meanwhile, the PCs are debating backing loans for people with bad credit.

 What will it take for a semblance of fiscal conservatism to return to the PCs?  Alberta will weather the current economic storm far better if we embraced an attitude such as Wall’s. So far I see no sign of that though.

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Just Brilliant!

With the unfortunate lack of opposition in the legislature of Alberta (left or right) we can look forward to many ill-conceived schemes sliding under the radar.

Anybody who has even peripherally been watching the news has observed that we are in the midst of a global disaster in the financial markets. One of the key elements in the financial collapse was the American sub-prime fiasco. Under the misconception that home ownership is a right for all individuals. With the government subsidized entities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buying and guaranteeing mortgages from lenders, lending institutions were encouraged to expand into the market of people who normally would not qualify for mortgages.

Lengthy terms, low interest and a low bar for qualification encouraged by these entities led to a boom in the real-estate market that lasted for years. Alas, what goes up must come down.

Reality came crashing down and the USA financial market discovered what lending institutions sort of always knew; there is a reason that some people do not qualify for mortgages. Some people simply do not make enough money to properly repay a mortgage, some people are too irresponsible to pay other bills and thus their credit is too poor to qualify for a mortgage. With Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buying and backing these high-risk loans however, banks were encouraged to keep lending this money out.

Low and behold, a tremendous number of people began to default on these mortgages that they never should have had in the first place. Foreclosures skyrocketed, real-estate values plummeted and banks were left owning a great deal of real-estate with negative equity. This of course has rocked the entire American market which in turn has rocked the entire world market.

The sub-prime fiasco is not the entire reason for this massive world market correction, but it is the main factor involved with it. It really does not seem that complex. Leave lending institutions alone. They want to make money. In order to do so, lending institutions create their own standards for loan qualifications so that they reduce the risk of people defaulting on their loans and the banks can continue to enjoy profits from loan interest. Due to that, some people will simply not qualify for credit. Get over it!

Even while we are in the midst of such a brutal lesson in basic economics, one idiot in our legislature has cluelessly proposed that we walk down the same disastrous path.

Progressive Conservative MLA for Lethbridge West Greg Weadick has tabled Bill 208; the Alberta Affordable Mortgage Protection Act. This bill explicitly states that the government should guarantee mortgages for people who would not normally qualify for one. WTF!!!!!!

Even without the current world financial crisis as an example to learn from, this concept is so stupid it should not even hit the legislature floor. Government is good enough at finding business losers to back financially an piss our money away (Magcan, Nova-Tel, Gainers). Greg Weadick wants the government to actively seek out losers with low incomes and bad credit so that the government can back their loans. If ever I have seen a recipe to waste Alberta tax dollars this is it.

The real frightening part of this is that while Weadick is clearly utterly clueless as to basic finances, this has not stopped him from taking on economic roles in government. Weadick is currently chair of the Cabinet Policy Committee on the Economy and sits on the Standing Committee on the Economy (the duplication of committees in the PC cash-cow committee system is fodder for another post). I almost fear that Ed Stelmach is gearing this twit for a position as finance minister considering his committee appointments.

Weadick is an alumni of Alberta civic politics. Few people are better at wasting tax-dollars and showing less grasp on reality than municipal politicians. Nuts like Tooker Gomberg and Brian Pincott come to mind.

Weadick came from Lethbridge city council, the place that spawned the Queen of crazy councilors: Dar Heatherington I know many are trying to forget Dar and her imaginary kidnappings and such. Heatherington should still be held up as an example that the voters can be rather mistaken in their choices of representatives at times.

Perhaps Weadick and Dar rubbed off on each other  a bit during their years on council. There has not been any proof yet that insanity is contagious, but I see this as evidence.

With any luck, this bill will die a swift death on the legislature floor as MLAs recoil from such an idiotic idea. We had best watch closely though. if Bill 208 passes, we may look forward to our provincial government absorbing billions in bad-debts.

Greg Weadick had best be watched closely as well. Clearly he should not be near any position where our tax-dollars or economy are involved (though that is already too late) and should be relegated to the deepest of back benches.

There is a reason for such things as credit ratings. Home ownership is not a right. If more people had grasped those two simple concepts in the last decade or so, we would not be seeing the current financial mess. It is almost unbelievable that some elected officials can’t read that rather stark writing on the wall.

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Hey!! That’s my money!!

 Harper just what the hell are you doing? We just endured over a month of watching you promise the moon in spending increases while your lips were solidly locked on the collective asses of the Quebecois (who rejected you again by the way), and now you announce that you want to piss $100 million Canadian tax dollars into third world countries to help fight climate change????

 Sorry Steve I have to say that I am lost here. Who’s ass are you trying to kiss this time? I can assure you that increasing your popularity with dictators in Africa will not get you any closer to that majority that you so desperately want (and apparently don’t deserve).

 In your own words:

 “The funds would be destined almost exclusively to countries that are not necessarily major contributors to climate change or major sources of greenhouse gas emissions but will nevertheless be affected, in particular small insular and vulnerable states”

 Uhhh what? So you are even admitting that these countries are not major emitters. What schemes do you think these third world dictators will come up with to fight that climate change boogeyman anyway Harper?

 Lets see, below is a picture of Robert Mugabe’s home. Perhaps he will install solar heating for his pool in order to be more “green” eh?

 Perhaps Mugabe and others of his ilk will kill two birds with one stone.

 Increased insulation in the basement torture chambers will not only save energy, but will keep that damn screaming from interrupting the opulent meals enjoyed as the citizenry starves.

 

 Perhaps we could put some conditions on the military hardware that your pet dictators will surely buy with that money eh Harper?

 Look at all that smoke!!!! How dare those dictators emit carbon while suppressing and slaughtering their people!!!

 Perhaps Harper will demand that all third-world dictators use bio-diesel in their tanks (much better than using crops to feed people) and attach carbon capture devices to the machines.

 Harper, you were chosen by me as the least of the evils in the last election. You are quickly losing even that status.

 $100 million is a lot of our money. Why the hell did you not announce this while campaigning? You acknowledge that we are entering a period of fiscal crisis, yet you can’t wait a week to piss $100 million of our dollars away on some scheme to prop up dictators.

 If I wanted this kind of crap and wasting of money, I would have voted for Dion. At least Dion’s harebrained scheme kept our money in Canada.

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There is no excuse for not voting.

 Within days of the federal writ being dropped, I observed people making their lame excuses as to why they will not take part in the election. The only honest answer is when somebody says they don’t care. Aside from that, those who keep spitting out their excuses as to why they wont vote must know that they are turning their backs on a very important responsibility thus they scramble to try and justify their sloth.

 We see some journalists and pundits talking about how systemic changes or different advertising initiatives may bring out more voters. That is all simply a load of crap. The bottom line is that an increasing amount of Canadians are simply too lazy and apathetic to make that twenty-minute effort once every couple to few years.

 Lets look at some of the common whining excuses:

None of the candidates/parties fully represent my views.

 Well suck it up princess. Unless you yourself are running or leading a party (there is nothing to stop you from doing just that by the way), you will never have a candidate/party represent 100% of your views.

 Whether you take that supreme effort to vote or not, one of those candidates will end up in the position of representing you anyhow. What a voter has to do is examine all of the candidates and choose which one most  represents their views and cast a vote towards them. This of course will take at least a few minutes of time and a little mental effort thus many use lame excuses to avoid such responsibility and forgo the right to vote.

 Of course in seeking (not really) information on the candidates, we get on to another common and sad excuse:

I don’t know enough about the candidates/party to make a decision. I have heard nothing from them.

 To put it bluntly, the above excuse is simply bullshit. During the entire campaign every form of media whether radio, newspapers, TV or internet has been barraged with coverage of the parties and candidates.

 Teams of volunteers and candidates spent a month knocking on doors and dropping flyers. I hear some people claiming that they never receive any information to their homes. While I guess it is possible for there to be some strange Bermuda triangle zones in parts of the city where campaign literature disappears and doorknockers magically shy away, just about every household in Canada gets at least a few flyers during the campaign. FSM knows my household hardly passes a day during a campaign without something in the mailbox about the election.

 I have heard some whine about the lack of candidates at their doors as well. In a federal election, each candidate has over 100,000 constituents. Rest assured that in any serious campaign, the candidates will knock on as many doors in person as possible. It has been proven countless times that the most effective method of campaigning is to have the candidate meet as many constituents as possible in person. It is physically impossible for any federal candidate to hit every door in a riding in one campaign however. If your household is missed, if you take a few minutes to call the headquarters of virtually any candidate, they will arrange to get the candidate to your door if possible. Truly undecided voters are difficult to identify and no decent campaign will ignore one that contacts them.

 The internet has given us a great resource in elections. Even the most low-budget of fringe candidates can set up (and they do) a campaign website offering info on where they stand, contact information etc. If you are reading this, I can safely assume that you have access to the internet and some degree of literacy. In a couple minutes on google, you can find out who is running in your riding and what they are proposing in general.

 Even without internet, it is rather easy to get information. Every party has a headquarters and a phone line. They will gladly direct you to contact information for their candidates if you simply contact them.

 The information on all the parties/candidates is abundant and easy to acquire. For one to claim that they did not have enough information is simply a BS excuse and does not hold water. The real reason is simple laziness.

 Another of my shallow favorites is:

They are all the same.

 Again dear reader I must call bullshit. Using the means of gathering the information on the candidates I proposed above, anybody will find out within minutes that the candidates are all indeed very different and go to great pains to point out how and why they differ from each other.

 Do you honestly think that an NDP member will vote the same way on bills in Parliament as a CPC member? Do you think a Liberal party member will raise the same issues as a Bloc member? The parties/candidates are different and their behavior in office shows that rather clearly.

 To say they are all the same is just a simplistic and lazy excuse not to trouble yourself to choose among them.

 The above excuse invariably leads to the next one if the whining non-voter is questioned:

They are all crooks and in it for themselves.

 To be a politician is on of the most unstable and thankless career choices that anybody could imagine making.

 Remember, in every riding there are at least four candidates running. That means at least three will have nothing in personal gain to show for their efforts after the campaign. The reality is that most of the candidates are running for idealistic reasons and are not expecting personal gain. Hardly a selfish endeavor.

 Many of the winning candidates are often professionals who made pretty good cash when in the private sector. While MPs get pretty good compensation, many lawyers, doctors and business people actually take a pay cut upon being elected.

 If all those people running for office are simply in it for themselves, they certainly are taking a painful path to personal gain.

Below is another common excuse:

My vote makes no difference/doesn’t count.

 Hmmm how will I respond to that one? You guessed it! Bullshit!

 I wonder how many people in Edmonton thought that Rahim Jaffer was a sure thing and did not bother to vote for him? There were countless other races that were determined by a handful of votes as there are in every election. Even in  a jurisdiction as huge as the United States, we saw in 2000 how a tiny number of voters actually determined the presidency.

 Lets say however you feel more closely aligned with one of the alternative/fringe candidates. Surely voting for one of them is a waste of time as they will never win right? Wrong!

 The old cliche out there with elections is that the only poll that counts is on election day. While tired, that cliche is very very true. There is no better cross country poll for measuring the views of the electorate and you can rest assured that the results for every riding will be dissected and studied in the next few years as future candidates prepare to challenge the incumbents. Had Jaffer seen the rising trend of NDP in his riding, perhaps he would still have a job today.

 To win a riding a candidate has to follow as well as lead. This means measuring what the voters want and to provide that for them. If an incumbent sees the vote creeping up for the Green party in their riding for example, they will likely adopt a more environmentally friendly stance in the house in hopes of undercutting that rise in their riding. The NDP member who won in Edmonton will likely swing more right than other NDP members as she knows that if a Libertarian candidate takes even 1000 votes from her she may very well lose her seat next time.

 There is some truth to the fact that our elected representatives often ignore us between elections. Those MPs do pay very close attention at election time however and it is foolhardy to waste that window of opportunity by not taking part. There is no better time to get their attention.

 I don’t care for the new system where tax dollars are dedicated to parties based on votes. Whether I like that or not, the system is there and it does add a great deal of incentive for people to select non-mainstream candidates at times. The Green Party never came close to winning a riding in the last election. They did however get thousands upon thousands of votes which will translate into annual funding for their party. Money is essential in politics and any party trying to build up needs a regular flow of it. No Green Party supporter can truly say they wasted their vote on that party as they have contributed not only a vote of support, but a portion of funding so that the party can retain a voice and prepare for the next election.

 There is no such thing as a wasted vote.

I couldn’t find out how/where to vote.

 As with the other excuses, this one is simply more bullshit.

 Every election Elections Canada makes it easier and easier to vote. Advertisements are running on all forms of media, the internet provides all the information required and of course there are toll free numbers that will direct you to your voting station and the requirements for voting.

 I work in the oilfield and am rarely in my riding on voting day. Despite that I don’t miss the vote as they make it incredibly easy for me to walk in and vote by special ballot.

 Voting is a twenty minute task and there is no excuse aside from laziness in not doing it.

 

 The bottom line is that people simply want to dodge any form of personal responsibility (a disturbing trend in many areas). True democracy is the epitome of personal responsibility whether we want to deny that or not. Our system is not perfect, but the bottom line is that the electorate chooses who runs it. If a person refuses to take part in that, the system surely will not represent them.

 It seems that the chronic whiners who refuse to vote are often the same ones who whine about those who assume office. Complainers are rarely doers and it shows in voting patterns.

 We are lucky to live in a democracy and to have control over our government should we choose to exercise it. Anybody can run for office, form a party or simply vote to take part in the system. We can freely join parties and vote on policy or nominees. We can be vocal whether on the streets, internet or in the press with our views.

 Due to our having it so good, many have unfortunately slipped into lazy apathy and take our great right of voting for granted.

 It is an embarrassment and people should be ashamed of not voting rather than belching out shallow excuses as to why they wont.

 I see people and some journalists whining saying that the electorate needs to be better inspired. Inspired? By who? Why? Why is it the responsibility of others for you to be inspired? Inspire yourself you lazy electorate and take part in the system. The means are there, you simply have to make use of them. Again so many people dodge any form of personal responsibility. Our system is referred to as a participatory democracy. Uhh, that means you are expected to participate rather than whining that you need to be inspired and have your hand held all the way to the polling station.

 There is the saying “In a democracy, the electorate gets the government that they deserve.” This is true.

 When half of the country is too lazy to spend the few minutes that it takes to vote however, I often get the government that those lazy assholes deserve.

 That sort of grates on me.

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City of Calgary priorities.

 In light of the shameful federal election turnout, it is rather clear that Canadians need to begin to pay attention to politics more closely on all levels whether they like it or not.

 I see a direct correlation between low turnouts and political idiocy in our municipal government. In the 2007 civic election, a pathetic one in five or so Calgarians took the twenty minutes out of their lives to vote and look at the collection of fools that we have populating city hall now.

 We have been watching the economy slow rather dramatically lately. Naturally property values have followed suit. Now city hall will be faced with a large drop in revenue and in light of their past performance, it is very unlikely that our alderman and mayor will have a clue how to deal with this.

 Bronconnier has never been able to conceive of anything more creative in policy aside from whining with his hand out to every level of government for more transfers of funds. Annual tax increases have come along with Bronconnier’s simplistic beg, tax and spend strategy. We can be assured however that our simplistic mayor will retain his job as long as he chooses to as Calgarians are by and large much too lazy to pay attention to municipal politics much less put in that terribly heavy effort of voting.

 Even worse than Bronconnier with his lack of creative initiative is when our Alderman decide to get creative. Nobody typifies this more than Brian Pincott.

 Due to Erskine resigning with next to no notice within days of the municipal election, Pincott got lucky and was elected before any rational candidates could get organized and make a run for the seat. Now Calgary has it’s very own version of lunatic Darwin award winner Tooker Gomberg (wanted to flood Edmonton’s streets in winter so people could skate to work and save the environment).

 It has been a challenging year for Calgary. Gangs have been roaming our streets, infrastructure is well behind, traffic is a mess and on and on.

 Instead of dealing with these issues, Pincott has focused on a strategy of banning and spending. Pincott wants to ban you from fertilizing your lawn and killing anthills. Pincott wants to violate your property rights and ban you from cutting trees on your own property. Pincott was happy to support spending a million dollars to have artistic decoration at Calgary’s sewage processing facility and wanted to go one step further by hiring a city of Calgary poet for $250,000 per year. Pincott happily supported spending $50 million dollars on pedestrian bridges downtown while we have countless unfinished infrastructure projects in every sector of the city. Pincott has howled for a review of Calgary’s off-leash dog parks. Apparently they are cutting in on the pleasures enjoyed by his latte-lapping buddies doing their daily jogs who feel that the thousands kilometers of dog-free pathways in the city are not enough for their chosen jogging routes.

 With the coming cash crunch in Calgary’s city hall, is Pincott finally beginning to show some common sense and planning? Not for a second.

 Brian Pincott’s latest crusade is the banning of backyard fire pits. While city hall is considering pissing away a fortune in licensing fire pits in this non-issue, Pincott feels this is not enough and we must ban them. Apparently, city hall has had over 300 complaints in a year about fire pits. Hmmm, out of a million people, how much of an issue is this? How many of the 300 complainants are the kind of folks who call the city when a neighbor leaves their outdoor light on one minute past 10pm?

 Hours will be wasted in debate and countless thousands wasted in trying to enforce new regulations. The real reason for Pincott’s push here is his environmental extremism of course. How dare people burn the carcasses of deceased trees!!! This celebration of the passing of one of Gaea’s creations is repugnant and must be banned!!!

 As with Elizabeth May, Pincott is of the Sierra Club alumni. This “green” version of PETA is churning out record numbers of nuts who realize that in partisan politics they would be exposed as the nuts that they are thus they have gravitated to civic politics where they can slip under the radar.

 Pincott has pulled off quite a collection of idiotic notions and motions in his short year in office. Doubtless he will be doing a great deal more in the way of policy pollution in his remaining two years in office. Perhaps a policy enforcing the mandatory wearing of organic clothing and veganism by Calgarians will be next.

 The time to arrange an opposition to nuts like Pincott is now and it is important. Had there been any indications that the  electorate in Calgary is awake, I would feel somewhat confident that the residents in that ward would already be determined to turf this loon at the next possible chance. Unfortunately I am not so confident in this and it will take and effort to dislodge this tax-draining parasite.

 We are clearly coming into a period where fiscal restraint is going to be critical on all levels of government. The city of Calgary is no exception and we need to clean house in city council. NDP Bob Hawkesworth and Druh Farrell are well worthy of removal as well but Pincott does indeed stand head and shoulders above them in waste and foolishness. Our future comfort as Calgarians depends on our municipal management. Will we take the reigns and fix it?

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