It’s bonus season!!

 As we see the economy slip into the tank, as we see layoffs in all sectors, as stress in households grows with decimated retirement portfolios and as we hearthe Stelmach government tell us that they must borrow our grandchildren into debt for lack of room to cut spending, we hear that the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta has handed out $110,000,000 in “achievement” bonuses for senior civil servants in the last 3 years.

 Considering the explosive increases in spending in the last few years, all we can assume is that the rewarded “achievement”  is achieving excellence in creatively pissing away the hard earned tax dollars of Albertans.

 Bonuses can be an effective means of getting better performances from employees. These bonuses only apply to a few thousand of the senior elite in government however. The civil servants working in the trenches don’t see these lucrative perks. Most of this bonus money has gone to deputy ministers who make an average of $250,000 per year and have seen their salaries increase by 61% since 2005.

 Would not those disproportionate raises in the last few years constitute something of a reward for these people already? Apparently not.

 While the government is bound to report the spending on these bonuses in their respective departments, one department is unsurprisingly exempt from disclosure; that is the Alberta Executive Council.

The Executive Council is made up of the Premier and cabinet ministers.

Well Ed, how many perks have you lined your own and the cabinet’s pockets with bonuses? I guess those 30% raises last fall were not enough. Sadly as Albertans we are not allowed to find out these numbers.

 Keep these kinds of things in mind in a couple weeks as the government releases a deficit budget and claims they have no way to avoid budgeting on our collective credit cards.

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Property rights? Not in Alberta.

 

 Actually, we do not have property rights enshrined in our federal charter either. Pierre Trudeau made sure of that.

 Expropriation is a requirement at times for any region under development. Countries with property rights such as the United States still have to take land at times. The enshrinement of property rights obligates governments to assure that full compensation is given to landowners in expropriation situations and that land cannot be taken in a frivolous manner.

 When a province/country lacks property rights, governments may bring in repugnant legislation that attacks the rights of landowners just as the Stelmach government is proposing with Bill 19: The Land Assembly Project Area Act.

 What this odious bill proposes is to give the government carte blanche power to slap a land development restriction on land that they may consider developing in the future.

 Now we know from experience how quickly the Progressive Conservative government moves on development ideas. Why look how they are speeding along with that hospital in South Calgary or the perpetual negotiations on the ring-road.

 Bill 19 proposes no timeline. The government can slap a landowner with a development restriction for a project that may not begin for decades if ever.

 Now, try and imagine what happens to the value of your land if suddenly you find yourself with a development restriction on it. Nobody in their right mind would purchase such land. How useful is your land to you when the government has told you that you may not develop? Not very.

 Of course, in their usual manner of dictatorship the Stelmach government put no protections in the bill for landowner rights, but they sure spelled out the penalties that they will hand out to a landowner who dares do some terrible act such as building a shed on their land.

“Offence

(1)

A person who contravenes an enforcement order under

 

section 7 is guilty of an offence and liable,

(a) in the case of an individual, to a fine of not more than

$100 000 or to imprisonment for a period of not more than

2 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment, or

(b) in the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than

$1 000 000.”

 Landowners beware. You may be bankrupted or possibly even jailed for a couple years should you dare defy the Stelmach government and try to alter land that you thought you owned.

 Look at the nifty outcome for the PC government if they get this one. Land can have an order placed on it a decade before development, the land massively depreciates over the decade due to the order and then when the government indeed does expropriate they can pay the landowner a tiny fraction of the original value of the land.

 Only real property rights may protect us from such government incursions upon us. The PCs certainly would never consider supporting such an initiative. Left-leaning parties such as the Liberals and NDP have traditionally never supported property rights for individuals. Only the Wildrose Alliance Party has has a policy to entrench property rights in an Alberta Bill of Rights. I strongly suggest to anybody who wants to protect the rights of Albertans to take out a membership with the Wildrose Alliance and get to work to rid Alberta of this increasingly disconnected government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cure for criminal insanity discovered!!!

 We must assume that such a cure has been found.

 Vince Li (the nut who decapitated an innocent passenger on a bus) was found to be not criminally responsible for his act due to insanity the other day. It is hardly unexpected that Li was determined to be a lunatic. A person does not exactly need their doctorate in psychology in order to conclude that Vince Li was crazy. Of course, how many people who commit murder have all of their marbles rolling around correctly anyway?

 I do not believe in a vengeful justice system. As horrific as the murder that Li committed was, I am not one of those calling for his execution or a lifetime of daily torture in a deep hole. What I do believe though is that the protection of the public must be paramount!

 While some people are expressing shock and rage with Li’s being found not responsible, the usual hug-a-thug crowd is quick to come in and point out that Li will likely never be released back into the public. That would indeed be comforting if indeed there was any reason to believe it. Unfortunately that is nowhere near the truth in Canada’s “justice” system.

 The media did not need to dig too deeply to find a local example of an insane murder released among us with a paltry amount of time served in a nuthouse.

 Stephan Gaetan Lee

 Steven Gaeten Lee (the clearly remorseful man pictured above) murdered Steven Tavares in a Kananaskis hotel room in 2004. Tavares’ body was found to be viciously perforated by 28 stab wounds.

 Well, Lee was found to be not criminally responsible due to being insane. We were assured that he would be in an institution for a very long time.

 Steven Gaeten Lee was released last May!

 Perhaps I am being simplistic, but would it not take a little more than three years to confidently “cure” a man who is capable of committing such an act?

 We must assume that he has been cured. The institution would never have released him otherwise right? I must have missed the headlines when this cure for insanity was discovered. Criminal insanity has plagued humanity for centuries, one would think that the cure for such a condition would have been trumpeted far and wide. Sorry folks, there is no way that a person who can commit acts as Li and Lee did could ever be considered safe and stable.

 Obsessive compulsive disorders take years of treatment to bring under control (they are never cured), how the hell is murderous rampaging exactly cured?

 Li is a young man and we can rest assured that his crazy and dangerous ass will be walking Canada’s streets again.

 The benefit of the doubt is given to these killers far too often and the public is paying the price. Just ask the families of the victims that Gingras killed when on a three day rampage after being released from an Edmonton institution.

 The safety of the public must come before giving the benefit of the doubt to these nuts.

More here.

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Let’s talk bailouts.

 

 OK, it looks like reality finally bit Special Ed Stelmach in the butt and he has realized what tax hikes and socialism do; they stunt and reduce business activity. The greedy “fair share” strategy and royalty hike that Stelmach and Knight pursued brought no increase to provincial revenues and simply managed to pluck the golden goose. On what is Stelmach’s 8th or so “tweaking”  of the royalty regime, the engines of misinformation are working overtime to demonize the oilpatch again.

 A Herald headline the other day demonstrates this rather well:

 Stelmach announces bailout for junior, mid-cap energy companies.

 Tax relief does not constitute a bailout!

 You would think that with all of the real examples of bailouts that we are seeing lately that people would understand the difference. The “stimulus packages” that Harper and Obama are flogging on the backs of our grandchildren are bailouts. The cheques being handed to the auto sectors are bailouts. The cash that the CBC is demanding would be a bailout. The money Air Canada gets every time they mismanage themselves to the brink of bankruptcy is a bailout.

 Where is the cheque coming to the big bad oil companies? Where has the oil industry even asked for a bailout? There are cheques going out, have no doubt of that. The cheques however are going from energy companies to the government.

 Will every tax reduction in the future (should we see any) be defined as a bailout? When Harper reduced the GST, was he offering a bailout to the entire population of Canada? Are we all welfare bums in that sense that we have been bailed out?

 Unsteady Eddie was already realizing that his new royalty scheme was idiocy even before oil prices and the market went into the toilet last fall. Land sale revenues (another cheque from energy companies to government) had plummeted in Alberta to the point that government was not gaining anything with their new “fair share” royalty program. Stelmach had made Alberta uncompetitive and it was very apparent as exploration and development boomed in Saskatchewan and BC while Alberta saw a reduction in activity despite $140 per barrel oil prices.

 In light of the world economic situation, clearly Alberta would be seeing tough times right now whether Stelmach messed with our economy or not. The pain Alberta will feel through this recession will be far more acute due to the market mistrust that the Progressive Conservative gang led by the idiots Ed Stelmach and Mel Knight.

 We are hearing of a credit crunch. Energy exploration and development are capital intensive ventures that require long-term planning and investment. When an energy company seeks credit, like everybody else it must demonstrate assets to the financial institution that may finance development. In energy that translates to proven reserves and speculation on their value when these reserves are developed. Now imagine how hard it is to get credit when the value of your reserves and cost of development changes by the month as Stelmach keeps trying to tinker with the rules. Would you like to invest in a jurisdiction known for tearing up agreements and increasing their take after the development dollars have been invested? Rest assured investors are asking these very questions.

 Stelmach can reduce royalties to even below the levels we had prior to his initial messing around. The market mistrust in Alberta will not go away. It will take a change of government or at least a decade of some true and steady leadership before we see business confidence in Alberta again.

 Some people claim that energy companies have not done enough to win over the hearts of the public thus they lack support at times like this. Just how far are they to go exactly? Have a look around. How many billions must these companies invest in communities before some appreciation is shown? How many more hundreds of millions in charitable initiatives and sponsorships must they invest?

 I don’t think anything will help. Too many people like to simplistically imagine that all of these companies are headed by Scrooge McDuck types who are swimming in money taken from the public. People don’t look at the millions employed, the billions paid in income-taxes and billions spread from the community level to the entire nation. Many do not realize how deeply their pensions are invested in these companies or how many government services are provided thanks to revenue generated from these companies. I don’t know if perception will ever be changed.

 One area that energy companies are working on in hopes of getting a better perception is pumping money at groups who have fully dedicated themselves to demonizing the entire industry and I have to admit I am stumped with this one.

 The Pembina Institute is a leftist organization that is dedicated to misinformation and pretty much every effort possible to halt all energy development. In looking at their report, I am astounded and disgusted to see who is funding them:

There is only one donor listed over $50,000. That donor is ConocoPhilips. In the $10,000 to $20,000 category we find the Canadian Gas Association, Enmax, Nexen, The North American Oilsands Corporation, and Suncor Energy. Getting into the $1000 dollar range there is an even longer list of energy donors.

 Why are you guys paying this group to kick you in the nuts? Have these investments made the releases from the Pembina any more rational or fair? Do you really expect these people to suddenly embrace you?

 When we see anti-energy types howling that energy companies are being bailed out, I would suggest that the dollars wasted on the clowns at the Pembina would be much better spent on ads trying to inform the public on what a bailout actually is.

 Giving more cash to the Pembina is an exercise in masochism at best.

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